Saturday, June 23, 2018

We are very happy to share that over 100 people joined together for the Missionhouse Dinner on 22nd March. We ate a wonderful dinner, listened to great music from Ellen and CJ, and heard and saw stories of the journey towards Missionhouse and the vision for Missionhouse. Thanks to all who came for sharing with us and making the night such a success. We have been so blessed by the responses from the people who came and offered to partner with us.   

Please contact us by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or phone (6147 9049) if you would like to be added to the prayer list, donate or offer help in other ways.

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There is a girl who sits at the pedestrian crossing here in civic, asking for change and often looking like she hasn't slept for days. I've been trying to find a good time to talk with her, because the last time she hung around Missionheart, she wasn't doing very well. She borrowed a swag to sleep out, even though she has a flat. Like many of our people who disappear and then reappear, we don't forget them, and are often praying for them when God brings them to mind. I was glad to see her in civic again, but every time I walked past she was asleep or talking with someone else. I was stuck in the dissonance between wanting to reestablish the relationship, and not being able to find a natural moment to see if she even remembered me. I prayed that God would help me find the right time, and left it with Him.

A couple of weeks later I was making toasted sandwiches at Drop in. One of our usual volunteers was away that day, and another had not been able to get in until late. There was only myself and one other volunteer, and we had just enough time to prepare and open up. The day became busy and I spent 2 hours making sandwiches. We ran out of milk, so the volunteer offered to go get some more. I wasn't looking when he walked back in but when he exclaimed “look who I've brought in”, I noticed straight away the girl I’d been praying for. Without knowing my specific prayers, he had invited her and another man he encountered in the short trip to Coles to come have lunch with us. I was grateful that God had brought her in at a time when Drop in had almost finished and there was time to talk with her. She remembered me, and even asked how my kids are. While I made her sandwiches she wandered around and took some warm things and toiletries.

It is small moments like this that are my favourite Drop in times. Moments where God is in charge, when we can show love to someone, and where my team works together towards the same goal.

Thank you to everyone who supports this ministry through prayer, donations or by coming along and playing cards, sharing a meal and being Jesus to the people of the city.

 
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As a part of moving towards the realisation of Missionhouse, the Missionheart community has established our first Connect House. We began renting a granny flat in North Canberra that will house 1-2 participants at a time. This house, being a part of the Missionhouse ministry, will foster the culture and hopes thereof, and offers its residents support as they journey towards living life to the fullest becoming more of the people they were created to be.

Our first tenant is doing really well, we are already seeing the benefit of being in the Connect House and the support they are receiving. We hope to see another person benefiting from this venture soon. The movement from isolation towards greater experience of community is so very important to the success of all Missionhouse endeavours. A number of our team are regularly in and out of the house, James has been running a Boundaries course there for 8 people, people have come in to engaging bible studies and facilitate a Life Transformation Group, others to help with navigating NDIS, routines and keeping house, or just to spend time together. We are so grateful for our landlord Linh and his generosity and Kingdom partnership that makes this Connect House possible.

Don’t forget to register for the Missionhouse Vision Dinner March 22nd (register before March 12th) to discover more.  

 
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The last few months have seen a flurry of activity for the Missionhouse Action Team. First off, let’s briefly recap what Missionhouse and its action team is. Missionhouse is a concept that has been years in the making and seeks to be a live-in residential ministry in which people who most need it can receive growth, healing, discipleship, love, compassion and purpose. Thus far, the ideas and plans for Missionhouse are steeped in prophetic words and visions. Missionhouse has over one hundred and thirty thousand dollars saved so far, with many of those dollars having very captivating and God-breathed stories behind them. The Missionhouse action team is a group of about thirteen people who are dedicated to seeing the hope of Missionhouse realised. They meet regularly to make plans, research, wait on God, pray, and figure out in which direction the next steps for the Missionhouse ministry are headed. In July, the action team went on a road trip around the surrounding areas of Canberra to look at different properties that may or may not be suitable for a Missionhouse ministry. It was a very useful experience that helped the team develop more of an idea about what aspects of a property are important to Missionhouse. There was also a tangible sense of excitement in the air as members of the team began to really feel the nearing fulfilment of Missionhouse.

Kelly has begun her research project on behalf of Missionhouse in order to explore and develop how to best create the intentional Missionhouse community in which discipleship is modelled throughout every aspect of life. The action team assist Kelly with her research by being part of the insider team. In addition to this, Kelly has several very knowledgeable experts in the field who are giving her guidance and assistance with her project. Kelly and some of the action team will be embarking on their first visit to some like-minded discipleship communities in November and we look forward to hearing all the wonderful things they will learn as they live with these communities for a few days.

‘Missionhousing’ is another very exciting thing that the action team has been undertaking in different contexts over the last few months. Rather than just sit around and wait for the Missionhouse project to be fully underway with a residential property, the Action team has been challenged to find opportunities to start living out the culture of Missionhouse in their existing lives. There have already been many inspiring stories of people in the Missionheart community opening their homes to those in need (and even some pets in need), sharing meals and hospitality, and caring for sick friends.

Planning is underway for a Missionhouse vision sharing evening in which there will be opportunities to learn more about the vision for Missionhouse, to celebrate all that has happened, and look forward to all that is around the corner. More details coming soon! It’s a busy and exciting time for the Missionhouse project, please be praying for all aspects of Missionhouse and for wisdom and guidance for the action team, especially those travelling to visit other communities in the coming months.

Jen

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What a joy it is to journey with you as we engage in living faith that models the love, compassion and generosity of Jesus. We have been busy creating stories of God’s goodness in our day and look forward to sharing these with you. From the start of October, we have been exploring Practical Faith as we engage with the book of James in our sacred scriptures. It is a refreshing, yet challenging book. James calls us to prove our faith in living a life that displays it, he confronts mere talk with an expectation that alive faith is only seen in its expression (actions). James invites us to humble ourselves before God, resist the devil and draw near to Him with such wonderful promises, not the least of which is that He (God) will draw near to us and our enemy the devil will flee! He reminds us of the power of prayer and invites us to practise it. The word of God fond in James gives us perspective as it explains what is true faith or Christian living. The message paraphrase puts it this way,

“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the father, is this: reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” (James 1: 26-27)

At Missionheart we are living a lifestyle of reaching out to the homeless and many you may categorise as ‘loveless’ yet this call is as much for us as for others. It is easy to justify a shying away from the call of faith to act with strength and courage by the things we do that are seen to be faith-full… Faith is always calling us out upon the water, to places where an absence of God would mean failure - this is the edge of the kingdom, this is where faith is alive, this is where I want to live.

What is God calling you to? Are you diminishing faith through religious justification? You say you believe - prove it! says James. Go on have a go, take that step of faith, drag someone along with you, pray for somebody in a way that only God acting could see the prayer answered. Follow Jesus into deeper places of power and influence, “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5: 16bNIV) so death to sin, take a serious stance towards sin that limits todays church so dramatically, repent and call others to the same, for as Jesus says, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

We serve the same God that those of the new testament served and he has not diminished in potency or ability, or desire, next time you sense the prompting of God – respond, leave the results and outcome to Him, simply respond in faith. This dark world needs the light of Jesus to shine hope and life through the faith of His devoted children and experience the love and transforming power of God that delivers people from darkness to light, death to life, sin to righteousness. May we be those children for, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1John 4:17 NKJV

As we approach Christmas may we remember this great hope for which Jesus came into the world, to reconcile it to himself. So glad to have you on this journey with us. Be encouraged, you are here as a person of faith for such a time as this, God be near,

Jase

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This is the last remaining footing for the Allawah Flats here in Canberra City. These blocks of public housing units were home to many of our people, who have been dispersed to other public housing properties across Canberra. They have been demolished so that many more units can be built and sold to those of us Canberrans who would like to live in the inner city, across from the Canberra Centre and close to Glebe Park.

                I have conflicting feelings about the end of this public housing precinct. When I look at this picture I remember the problems associated with grouping many of our most vulnerable members of society together. If moving from here means moving away from your dealer, then it is a positive move. I remember visiting in these flats and accidently waking our guys up because their front door was open. It couldn’t shut after the home invasion the week before. I remember the fire in Bega Flats, when the second floor flat occupant lit her apartment on fire, and the apartment of the man above her too. Jase tried to look after him that night, but he was too traumatised to sleep and spent the night walking around the lake processing what had started as a normal day. I remember one occupant told me how she had to wake up at 5am to do her washing because it got stolen from the machines if she did it during the day. I also remember the day I took one of our volunteers out for their first Streetwalk, where we would go walking around the city and these flats, stopping to talk with anyone we came across. We rounded one of the buildings and saw a skinny shirtless man trying to drag one of the big waste hoppers towards his block. After asking if he wanted any help, he informed us that he was trying to get it close enough to his block so he could throw his television from his third floor balcony into the bin.  He was very cheery and friendly to us, but very annoyed with his tv.

                I remember these problems, but I also remember the love and characters. There was the time one of the ladies we had been visiting rang me up to see if I could help one of her friends who had had a fire in her apartment. She wanted to see if we had any furniture we could give her while her flat was being repaired. There is a mum who has looked after and loved her daughter with a disability for 30 years, and even after all the heartache and struggle still just wants the best for her daughter. I remember the flat of the man who always looked after people who didn’t have anywhere to go. I remember my friend who could fix anything on a car, but struggled with people. I remember delivering Christmas Hampers amongst the flats, and getting to share the joy of Jesus’ birth with our people. I’m hopeful that when our people move away from the city they are able to enjoy their new environments. However I’m worried that living so far from services will isolate and endanger our vulnerable members of society. Some of the times Missionheart has been most useful have been the times we can tell somebody just isn’t quite themselves. When we see our people frequently we can offer help when it is most needed. We attend court dates and sit in meetings with our people. We visit them when they are sick, and we notice their mental health issues have increased in severity and encourage them to get help. We have learnt that people isolate themselves when they are not doing well, and I am worried that if our people are removed from the communities they have here in the city, then they may not be known well enough to have someone know when they are regressing.

                As a society, how do we look at our vulnerable people? My fear is that we see them like we saw their flats; as taking up valuable real estate. That smelly person is taking up a table at my favourite café. That weird looking man is sitting near my kids. That loud lady is yelling in my shop.

My hope is that we look at our vulnerable people like we look at our underutilised real estate. Our guys have so much potential. Here at Missionheart we believe that God made all people to be a blessing to their communities. Some of our people have had their beauty hidden by the overgrown weeds of trauma, addiction and illness, but their capacity for love,joy and peace remains.

I wonder what the next year will bring. For our community, I wonder who the next year will bring.

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Seriously, do we have to think about Christmas already?

It seems that we are in September already and Missionheart will start to put together our Christmas events and activities soon. Every year we do Christmas hampers for those most in need in our community. There are some who are desperate for the assistance and others we just want to bless with a gift at Christmas.

If you would like to help organise the Christmas hampers this year or donate items you can get in contact with Kelly and offer your services. Useful items are toiletries, non-perishable food items, Christmas treats, gifts for children, teenagers, men and women. Our hampers are very sort after each Christmas, known to be brimming with lovely treats, blessing many individuals and families each year. This has been possible because of the generous assistance of those who donate items, help pack and deliver hampers, thankyou in advance.

Email Kelly on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 0432 867 027.

 
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What does a toothbrush have to do with camp this year?

Was it one of the everyday objects used to create an incredible catapault that launched a tennis ball further than anyone expected?

No it wasn't, but that certainly was a camp highlight. 

Were toothbrushes given to junior leaders so they would be recognised by the children?

No, the junior leaders were recognised by their maturity and important role in caring for the children during session times. We are very thankful for their help. 

Were toothbrushes used as a way to creatively show our thankfulness to God?

No they weren't, we had playdough, tree leaves, rocks and music for that purpose which we used to mould, draw, write and sing. 

Did people use a toothbrush as a microphone when telling their testimonies?

No, these amazing stories of how God has brought people closer to Him didn't need any embellishment.

What does a toothbrush have to do with camp?

Everyone received a toothbrush as a daily reminder of the camp theme "a space to become". In particular to make time for God in our lives and see and get on board with what He is already doing. The toothbrush is to help us not forget to listen and look to God in everything.

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Dr. Grace (AKA Pete Ehsman) visited us at the Gathering last Sunday to help us explore the idea of forgiven-ness. With bible scans that revealed our sin-lesions that left us all in a terminal state, he directed us to our only hope – Jesus blood! It was fun to laugh but at the same time explore the deep reality that all too often we know about Jesus’ power to forgive but miss out on the privilege of experiencing genuine forgiven-ness and the ensuing intimacy with God that accompanies it.

Knowing that I know, that I know, that I am forgiven is such a powerful experience and a place from which we can be who God has called us to be and experience what he has designed for us to experience (fullness of life). This position of forgiven-ness places us out of the reach of Satan’s influence he loves to exert in accusation, torment and shame. The freedom from guilt, bitterness and the need to earn favour provides a space where we can enter more fully into who we were created to be and we become more available for God to use for his life giving kingdom purposes.

This forgiven-ness is the key to an intimate relationship with Jesus (impossible to have this without it). If you don’t know what this forgiven-ness is like then take your sin-lesion infested self (we are all in the same boat – all have sinned) to Jesus and ask him to take you to a place where you can truly say, “I am forgiven”. Sometimes we need to do this with other Christians so if you need help – find someone you trust who has a strong relationship with Jesus and has tasted forgiven-ness and pray with them – If they have known this they will not judge you, they will be excited for you to know the beauty of forgiven-ness. Jesus died for us that we may live the life of the forgiven…

- Jase

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Bec is a member of the Mission Heart community. She has lived in Australia for the past 3 years, is married to Stew and has a very loved dog called George. She is actively involved with Soul Survivor and works as a dental hygienist and massage therapist. She has a huge heart for Jesus and loves to talk about him at every opportunity she gets. She is about to embark on the adventure of running women's fitness retreats 'shaping fit disciples for God'. she was asked by Jason to share her testimony with us and give us an insight into how her massage journey began. One full of God’s love, grace and faithfulness. 

Be:blessed started from a place of uncertainty, confusion and the feeling of being lost. 

I had moved to Australia from the UK and was beginning a new life chapter as a wife. I was working as a dental nurse while I was trying to obtain my Australian dental hygiene licence but due to visa restrictions after 6 months I had to leave and find another place of work. 

My husband Stew had recently been diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma and was very sick. We had a huge battle on our hands, Stew physically and for us both emotionally and financially but we were certain with God's amazing Grace we were going to be ok whichever way that looked. We ensured our prayer life was healthy and counted every blessing giving thanks on a daily basis.

However I was jobless and unsure if I wanted to go back into dentistry. 

I felt ashamed and guilty, while my sick husband was out earning I was swanning around, trying to work out my own future. Stew being the loving, supportive husband he is never tried to rush me but encouraged me to take all the time I needed. So I did.

I turned to God. I climbed a mountain (well large hill) every day and prayed. Mount Taylor became my place of refuge. Sometimes they were prayers of thankfulness other times he got a good shouting at. I remember singing my heart out to him one day, standing on the bench, jumping around and singing his praises and another screaming at him, why God? What do you want from me ? Why won't you use me ? I'm right here come on!!! 

Thankfully God made me - so praising him one minute and screaming at him the next I feel is ok. 

He understands me through all my what seems like crazy and extreme emotions. And he still loves me just as I am. So I continued my prayers week in week out day by day. And although he may not have given me clear answers at the time, he started me on this unknown journey into massage ministry.

A job was advertised at a local gym as a massage therapist and it flashed across my radar. 

I mentioned it to Stew and said well I'm qualified maybe I should apply. Not thinking with little out of college experience I would ever get it.... BUT after 3 weeks of intense interviewing, testing and training I was offered the job and by then I wanted it !! So began my new carer. 

But I was so confused! God I don't want to be doing massage in a gym! That isn't ministry!? 

I wanted to talk to people about my best friend and share his amazing love with them. I wanted God to be my boss not an earthly man. So there I was still feeling lost and confused. 

I worked at the gym part time and used the rest of my time to volunteer at Canberra hospital and at Missionheart. This time taught me so much about Gods love, grace and charter and I felt God used this time to equip me and grow me in my ongoing journey with him. Looking back I feel it was at this point I found my calling to serve and strongly felt he had gifted me with a servant heart which I had to use. 

It wasn't long before I started speaking to my clients quietly about church and then after time, and building relationships was able to speak about Jesus and his love. I was able to pray for people, prayers for healing both physically and emotionally and catch up with them for coffees outside of the gym. Then it hit me, I wanted to do this all the time, I didn't want to hide my faith, I wanted God to be the centre of my massages, I wanted to build relationships with my clients and know them as people, caring for them on and off the table and be led by The Holy Spirit in all I do So Began Be:blessed Massage Therapy. 

I had never ran a business before and had no clue what I was doing but I thought I would take the risk - step out of the boat ! If I walk on water great - all I have to do is keep my eyes fixed on Jesus - if I sink I knew he would catch me. Matthew 14:27-31 NIV

I now have a strong and successful business that God’s hands have shaped and moulded. I use it to glorify God - always listening for his next commands and he uses it to speak to my clients and minister to them. All they have to do is listen and receive. I have many stories of clients feeling Jesus's presence some who have never known or felt him before, I also have stories of people coming to faith and healing physically and emotionally through the short time Be:blessed has been running. I now love what I do and look forward to the next chapter and journey and what God's plans are for my future.

- Bec

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Jesus instructed his disciples to ‘be his witnesses’ to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) and it is their testimony that grew the first churches. To provide testimony in this case is to give a public recount of a religious conversion or experience, to be a witness to the work of God in our lives. Imagine if the wonders that God was doing in the disciples lives and those they met remained a secret, were not shared with everyone they met. Would our church be here today?

Giving testimony of what God has done is a natural expression of praise and thankfulness to God for his work in our lives. It gives witness to others that God is real, alive and active today. While it encourages our fellow believers it also points others to Jesus. It is so exciting to share with each other what God has been up to during our week as we see answers to our prayers and situations and lives change.

I am always excited to get to the Gathering or hope group or any meeting with my brothers and sisters in Christ because I long to hear what God has been doing and to share what I have experienced. Our hope group has become a very special time of sharing testimony of answers to prayer, as we walk with God together some of the deepest desires of our hearts are beginning to be touched by Jesus. Sometimes we spend the whole evening just sharing our testimony and giving thanks to God.

You can sense God’s presence as we share and praise God through just giving witness to God’s power and presence in our lives. Sometimes we miss what God is doing though as we rush through our busy lives, we forget to stop and take notice. We must always have our Holy Spirit antennas on, tuning in to what God is doing and cooperating with His leading. But it doesn’t stop there, we have been blessed to be a blessing, what God has done for you is your testimony and is powerful for encouraging the believers, building up the church and bring others to faith.

So come prepared when we meet to tell us what God has been doing, we long to hear and celebrate with you. When God does something awesome the story is not over until you provide testimony of His work, so we can all be blessed and our faith increased. So let’s be prepared to give testimony of Gods work in our lives, what an exciting place to be when everyone has something to share, when we run out of time to share everything that God has been doing. Take notice today, Jesus is always at work, what from your day can you share with me to encourage my faith. Please tell me - I long to hear!

- Kelly

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