by Arjan Sloots
Core leader at YWAM Perth
The word Djeran comes from the local aboriginal Nyoongar language and specifies the season Djeran, which is the autumn season and runs over the months of April and May.
The vision for the Djeran camp was originally given to Petrina Neufeld and seven years ago Petrina invited YWAM to be part of the vision and help to lead it. We have been running the camp together since then. Her vision comes on the back of the work her parents, Cedric and Margaret Jacobs, pioneered. They reached out to Aboriginal youth in the city of Perth during Margaret’s early days as a missionary in Australia.
This is one of the main reasons we run the camp: to invest in Aboriginal youth and help them reach their full potential in God and take their position as God desires for them. This year we had 65 young people attend together with 25 staff. Those attending were all from the larger Perth area, which is traditional Nyoongar land. The camp includes activities like sport, bush walks, small groups, food, input and care from the guest speaker. The theme of the camp this year was Forgiveness with Peter Brownhill. Pete has carried a deep and loving heart and vision to see Aboriginal youth released into their God given destiny. Many of the youth attending come from broken backgrounds, with many not raised by their parents but showing incredible promise and resilience.
/ THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS /
During the evening session on Wednesday, after the testimony of an Aboriginal friend, we entered a night where God chose to do what He does best – minister His love and freedom to people. We watched the movie “End of the Spear”, a story of missionaries in the Amazon. In 1956 five missionaries travelled to the Amazon to reach out to a local tribe but were killed on arrival. In the following years family members of the killed missionaries went back to the tribe, including one of their children Steve Saint.
As the story unfolds Steve becomes close friends with people from the tribe and later finds out that one of the men of the tribe murdered his father. He is faced with the want for revenge but the need for forgiveness and chooses the latter. It is a powerful message of choosing forgiveness instead of getting back at those who hurt us and ending up in a cycle of payback and revenge.
After the movie Petrina called the kids forward to respond. After an initial hesitation they started coming forward and in groups started to apply the theme of the movie – forgiveness. They were prayed for by staff members, tears were freely flowing, and the youth started praying for one another, standing together, carrying each other’s burdens. That night God healed many hearts and brought us all closer together.
The following day we started again with worship but this day was different. Those that were tentative the previous days were no longer so. It was obvious God had done a deep work in all of us. After worship we had some more teaching and we gave time for different children to share a testimony of what God did the previous evening. The testimonies were powerful and it was so evident that God had gone deep.
We could see this in how everyone paid attention to each other and came around one another. Different ones shared how they felt free; how they felt loved and accepted and were able to forgive different people who had hurt them in the past.
This article was published in the
September 2018 edition of Westcoast News.
Read the other articles from this edition: