Nursing Plus is well-named! It certainly does tell the story of Edna Brooker’s 24 years of service with CMS, providing nursing care in a remote part of Northern Australia, often as the only medical professional on her station, and in living and working conditions that could at best be described as decidedly challenging. But it does much more than that. It gives a window into the lives of the indigenous people among whom Edna served and the various challenges they faced as their culture came into contact both with the Gospel and with the increasingly available accoutrements of urban culture. Drawing heavily on letters written home during those years, Edna paints an honest picture, often laced with humour, of the joys, frustrations, disappointments, sleep deprivation, medical crises and various other adventures that made up her life in Arnhem land. Above all, however, she tells of the individuals who peopled it and of the way God led her there, sustained her for two and a half decades in a demanding environment, and enabled her to minister both physically and spiritually to the communities among whom she served. Edna’s story is worth the telling and worth reading!
Last week Steve visited St Andrew’s Hall in Melbourne. The following are some of his reflections while he was there.
I’m now sitting on my bed in my flat at St Andrew’s Hall after a 3am start this morning (in order to leave Christchurch at 6.30am). I will be meeting the students in 20 minutes time. St Andrew’s Hall is a small community of staff and students – students are called MITs, meaning Missionaries in Training.
Since they live in community, they get to know each other quite well. I was welcomed to my flat by Sharon, the house keeper. She was able to remember not just names but the unique aspects of each of the Kiwis that have trained here in the last few years – that’s the sort of community St Andrew’s Hall is! I’m thankful to God that CMS Australia has opened this place for NZCMS to train our long term Mission Partners for over 50 years.
In the hall way are photos and names of all those who have been trained here. From this place people have gone into all the world sharing the Good News of Jesus. The main focus of SAH is cross-cultural training – although I think many Kiwis find coming to Melbourne to be a cross-cultural experience in itself!
‘Missionaries in Training’ leave this place with great tools to help them minister effectively in other cultures. I believe the training at SAH has contributed greatly to the many years of cross-cultural service these Mission Partners have offered. As we celebrate 50 years of this partnership, it’s only right to honour CMS Australia for their generosity.
“… in all my prayers for all of you I pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel.” Philippians 1:4-5 NIV