Making the film, A Pocket of Fire John Blacket
I have lived and worked with indigenous Australians for most of my life, and it was out of personal experience of revival, as well as personally collecting Aboriginal people's stories, that I wrote the book, Fire in the Outback. In that book, I really tried to let Aborigines in Arnhem Land and Central Australia tell their own stories of their revival.
When it was finished, I realised that it met my aim of inspiring non-indigenous people, but missed out on a lot of the tribal and less literate indigenous people. One old man in Kalgoorlie said his eyesight was going and he wanted to hear that story.
I became increasingly filled with a desire to see indigenous Christians telling their own stories in their own ways through audio-visual media.
Then, about eight years ago, Ps Tim Edwards' brother, Terry, told June and I a little of another revival story at Pinnacle Pocket, a tiny indigenous community on a farm in North Queensland, and something stirred in our hearts for this story to be told. But it just sat there until the end of February last year, when a friend introduced us to a retired Christian film producer, Es Giddy. We decided to make it our project together – as the first of a series called GOD's FIRE, in which indigenous Christians not only tell their experiences of God, but also produce the films themselves.
I mentioned it briefly to our pastor, Tim Edwards, and suddenly things started to happen.
I was really concerned that we should not be too late to meet one of the key people there before he died, and within two months of our first meeting, Es and I took an indigenous crew to north Queensland to film the story. That key leader, Pastor Arnold Con-Goo, died five days after we met him and filmed him, and we had a sense of awe at God's hand on the project.
We have been absolutely awestruck at what God has done through a small group of Aboriginal and Islander Christians who were prepared to be whole-hearted in prayer, putting aside absolutely everything for prayer - all night and day - until God acted. These people were 'nobodies' in the eyes of the world, but the results were that God took some of them to many parts of the world, hundreds of thousands of Muslims, as well as indigenous and non-indigenous Australians have committed their lives to Jesus Christ, and tens of thousands have had dramatic healings and totally transformed lives.
I did a lot of work on the documentary in 2010, with several trips to Sydney to work with Es, but in September last year, it became clear that the computer and software I was using were inadequate for the job, and I had to go to professional editing software and upgrade the computer. That was a huge jump that I did not want to take, but I felt God wanted me to work on this project myself in every phase, so I would be able to help release indigenous Christians into film-making.
All of this, plus health and family issues, including the death of June's mother, was a major challenge to me and delayed the project until the end of May this year. I needed some incentive to get it finished.
That was when Wendy Yapp rang me unexpectedly and asked about the film and when it might be finished: Would it be ready to screen at the CHOGM Commonwealth Prayer Initiative on 28 October? In faith, knowing that that was the incentive I needed, I said 'Yes' - …then I really called out to the Lord with renewed vigour.
He directed me to Ephesians 3:14-21, and so I read those verses every morning before I started work until it was finished.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I have been constantly amazed as we have experienced the truth of these words and GOD's assurance to me that He has given me all I need to produce this film. I have learnt a huge amount about what is involved in making a film, and I know the final result is not a professional job, but this documentary is a powerful incentive to me - and to all our Christian lives. Get serious with GOD – ask GOD, trust Him, and expect GOD to do incredibly more than we can conceive in all our wildest dreams