Transformations - Walo Ani in WA
We are ALL narrow minded – NO EXCEPTIONS!
- from Smoke Signals – newsletter of Wiconi International by Richard Twiss Feb 9, 2007
Richard Twiss and other indigenous North Americans recently met with young adults from forty countries at a gathering of the Institute For World Christianity. Richard reports:
“I yakked around aboutworldview issues and their importance to enlarging our self-centered heart andinforming our narrow-mindedness to allow Jesus to make Himself known in themidst of every culture and nation of the world. My new mantra these days is, ‘weare ALL ethnocentric [focused on our own culture] – narrow-minded – and onlysee in part – NO EXCEPTIONS!’ The sooner we can cop to this fundamental realityof the human condition, the sooner we can experience the wonder of God in themidst of the diversity or otherness.
“…The impact of America,for good and bad, is felt around the world.… Across the former Soviet Unionthere is a surge of materialism as they flee from the bland, impoverishing,dehumanizing and colorless psychological oppression of soviet communism. Thewealth, freedom, availability of endless products and lifestyle of the west,particularly America, is introducing a new kind of colonialism; the neocolonialpower of materialism. Communism had to be attached to political power to invadeother people. Materialism has no such limitations. Globalization is creating anew superpower – consumerism; it is creating a new empire. This empire isexerting its will to create a generation of consumers with an insatiableappetite for stuff. One young father shared how 2nd and 3rd graders in hiscountry of Moldova are comparing who has the best cell phones at school andhow, many families will skip meals and make other sacrifices to wear the bestclothes.
Concern was expressed “bythe majority of these next generation emerging leaders was how the Americanchurch is exporting its ‘invented theologies of consumption’ that justifyconsumerism. It is an American ‘Christian’ phenomenon that is spreading aroundthe world in the guise of biblical prosperity. The brethren from Brazil wereheartsick over the fact that the poor of their country are flocking to churchesthat have imported these theologies. They attend and give what little moneythey have in the hope of becoming wealthy like the pastors are guaranteeing, ifthey follow their prescribed principles of giving; but instead, they onlybecome poorer, while these pastors are becoming very wealthy. This concern wasshared by most of the delegates I spoke with.
“In each of theirsituations, they want to escape the overbearing influence of western cultureand theology to find the authentic Jesus. They love the Word of God and onlywant the Kingdom of heaven to visit their countries. It is the same longing Ihear in so many 20 and 30-somethings [young adults] across America who arebecoming increasingly disillusioned with the church as they know it. Thoughthey may still attend a church, nonetheless, they are careful to avoid ‘buyinginto the system.’
Richard and three otherswere also sponsored to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC,attended by President Bush and many other government people, They had someplatform time and opportunities to speak with a number of leaders, including theSecretary of the Interior, responsible for oversight of the Bureau of IndianAffairs. They shared the importance of God’s heart for justice and theirconcerns that land and sovereignty are matters of biblical justice more thanissues of natural resources. “I offered to him the possibility of some FirstNations Jesus lovers that would be willing to serve him as a ‘Jesus loving’native sounding board and his staff when it came to making decisions aboutcritical issues impacting native people.”
He also reported that manyof their politicians have “a deep love and appreciation for one another becauseof who Jesus was in their lives. Something you never hear about in the media.They told of their weekly prayer gatherings where they encouraged and supportedone another.” =
New voice for Indigenous Christians
NationalAboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Christian Alliance
Thefirst general meeting of the newly formed National Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander Christian Alliance will be held at Collaroy Conference Centre, Sydneyfrom 26-27 February this year.
Aseries of meetings have been held over the last two years to establish a solidfoundation for a united voice from the widest possible group of indigenousChristians in Australia. The initiative has involved indigenous groups from themainline denominations as well as pentecostal and evangelical organizations. TEARAustralia, World Vision and the Evangelical Alliance have sponsoredaccommodation and meeting costs, but participants have been asked to find theirown travel costs.
Thoseinvolved ‘strongly believe this is a vision from God for such a time as this.Aware of the ongoing pain and disadvantage of our people, believing that Godhas a redemptive work to do through us, and convinced that now is the time toact’ they are committed to bring ‘healing and positive transformation in ournation.’ There is a strong sense that no one organization can do all that Godwants and we need each other. Membership is open to Christians organizationsinvolved in indigenous ministry and individuals having a recognized interest inthe aims and objectives of NATSICA.
KhesedMinistries was invited to join and has signed up. John Blacket will beattending this first gathering, as our Aboriginal Council members are not ableto attend at this time.
Mission Statement: NATSICAseeks to glorify God in bringing a unified Christian voice to advocate forchange in government policy, in churches and in the wider community to addressthe spiritual, social, economic and political issues that affect indigenouspeoples.
Praise God that the manuscript of our new booklet, God’s Feet, hasbeen completed after 18 months of prayer and thought and discussions. It isteaching and stories in simple English designed for indigenous people, ongetting free from the crippling power of shame and curses to live in God’sblessing in His glory.
Copies have been sent out to a small group of people for comment,and layout and design work has begun. A number of those people have respondedwith details and very helpful comments and suggestions.
We are planning 3 versions: a CD, a DVD and a booklet, to bereleased at the end of March this year.
We are excited at what God will do through this, and believe thereis a strong anointing for significant ministry to many people. We wouldappreciate your prayerful support.
TulkuPutingka - the dances and songs of the people
IndigenousSongs and Dance performed by lawmen and women from Western Desert communitiesand the Goldfields Wangkatha people.
Arather unique ceremony was held on Morapoi Station in the WA Goldfields inJanuary this year. This sort of ceremony has not happened in the Goldfields forat least 40-60 years. It was described as ‘handing back the songs and dances ofthe land’.
Itwas a significant, but fairly low key, event. There were about 300-400 present,with a good number of non-Aboriginal Christians, and also a professional filmcrew making a film from the event that will be shown on ABC later this year andavailable on DVD.
At atime of drought in December when the dams were almost empty, Wongayi Christianleaders, Ps Greg Stubbs, Ps Geoff Stokes and Richard Evans stood holding handson the site where the dancing was to be held and committed the gathering toGod. God answered with heavy rains immediately.
Duringthe event, there were times of singing and dancing in which men and women –both Aboriginal and Watjellas – were taught the dances and songs. Some of thesewere held in nearby bush settings of significance with Goldfields Aborigines,although recent rain prevented most from getting to the Seven Sisters site. Icame to appreciate this story for the first time while there: it is about aperverted old man chasing seven sisters to make them all his wives. It is seenas Satan chasing pure and virtuous people – the seven churches. “The mystery ofthe seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands are this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and theseven lamp stands are the seven churches” Rev.1: 17
Ihad some great times talking things through and sharing insights such as God’sDirt with a number of people, including Aboriginal Christians - Greg Stubbs,Geoff Stokes, Bruce Smith [Christian lawman who organised the Central Desertmob], Brendon Cook from Tom Price – and non-Indigenous people, including anIrish elder who is working with Cedric Jacobs on constitutional law issues.
OnSaturday night, two dancers wore a red, yellow and white ochre mask and carrieda pole with feathers, which was presented to a senior Goldfields Wongayi togive them the authority to perform and teach the dances and songs. There hadbeen a lot of discussion between the Desert lawmen and Goldfields men duringthe day about aspects of the ceremonies, with the Godlfields Wongayi menstanding up for Biblical standards, affirming ceremonies and acts that areGodly and standing against those they believe are not. They believe the lawmenwill need to break free from some things or they will be really ostracised byChristian Aborigines and by God, and are telling them so. There are thingsthere that are morally and Biblically wrong/evil.
Therehave been other times when small ceremonial changes have been made inAustralia, but I feel this is a sign of significant cultural redemptiondeveloping. But it is warfare and we need to continue to support all involvedin prayer, especially asking for wisdom and insight and strength.
Itis probably also very significant that the last Wongayi ‘wati’ [initiated man]went to be with the LORD a few days after the event – shades of Simeon waitingfor the Messiah’s birth in Acts 2. He was a Christian who taught Sunday schoolin NSW country towns to other Aborigines many years ago.
After we sent out a call to prayer for this event, we received a numberof encouraging emails – even people saying they have been waiting for this formany years. We also received a few phone calls and emails, particularly frommissionaries and Bible translators, expressing very deep concern that this wasexposing Wongayis to very powerful evil forces. The secrecy involved is a greatconcern, and I agree that this is not Godly. Prayer support for discernment andstrength are very important. One linguist tried to convince me that God onlycreated languages – not cultures – so he believes my basic starting point isflawed. I disagree, especially as Satan is a destroyer, not a creator.
Therehas been a lot of prayer support as we challenge forces in the culture andceremonies. We know that Jesus has already won the battle over all evil spiritsand Satan, and we must appropriate this in every part of life.
Itis important to remember that this event came after significant times ofspiritual warfare, including Wongayi Christian leaders travelling to the‘gates’ of their country and to other significant places, praying and placingangels there to guard the gates against any evil – physical, moral or spiritual– from entering their land.
Thismove is breaking away from the missionary attitudes of a huge number ofChristian leaders and people over the last few hundred years. You may feelthreatened by it, or believe it is totally wrong, but please ask God what theHoly Spirit is saying to the churches.
Overthe years, many Christian Aborigines have said that they ‘walked away from theLord’ to attend ceremonies and later ‘came back to the Lord’. Some have said tomissionaries ‘After dancing and dancing for days, we didn’t want to read theBible or pray.’
Ibelieve there are two reasons behind this attitude and these comments.
1.There are demonic powers at work in these ceremonies.
This is true, but it loses sight of Jesus’ victory on the cross overSatan and all his hosts. Demons have NO power when Jesus and the Holy Spirit arepresent, and Christians have died to their own power, to sin and to Satan’spower, and Jesus Christ Himself now lives in them.
2.They have developed an attitude –mainly through the influence of otherChristians, including missionaries - that ALL of their culture, ceremonies,songs and dances are demonic, so they feel guilty over attending theceremonies.
I am totally convinced that this is not true, and that the guilt isbased basically on a lie, because God created every culture [see Genesis 11 - languageand culture are intertwined]. In every culture, people have listened to Satan’slies, and the culture God gave them has been corrupted and needs to be redeemedand brought back to God through Jesus Christ.
Therehas been a racial blindness that assumes Aborigines are ‘primitive’ becausemany tribes didn’t wear clothes traditionally, were nomadic, and didn’t havepermanent houses, agriculture, or laws and economics that made sense tooutsiders. Most missionaries and other outsiders couldn’t understand or acceptthese things or see anything of God in Aborigines.
Ibelieve the time has come for a confrontation over these lies and corruptions,especially relating to Aboriginal culture in the Central Desert and Goldfields- but not a confrontation by hosts of angels snatching Jesus from the cross.That was not God’s way, and He still surprises us over how He overpowers anddisarms the enemy. Some evil practices have already been challenged by theirown people and have been modified or changed, but it needs something muchdeeper.
Anumber of Indigenous Christian leaders around the world are now saying that thechurch has approached Indigenous people the wrong way and we need to showrespect for the people in authority and for the traditions in their cultures -that is scriptural. Read how Joshua circumcised his men in Joshua 5:1-9, andRomans 13:4 and Colossians 1:16. Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day and wentthrough the teaching leading up to his bar-mitzvah when he was 13.
Pleaseread Acts 15: 1-12 and 23-29 to see how this type of issue was handled by theearly apostles, where they decreed only four requirements that were notcultural transposition – abstain from drinking blood or eating meat fromstrangled animals or offered to an idol, and sexual immorality. But note thatPaul observed the Jewish law carefully after he became a Christian, and hadTimothy circumcised to make their ministry more effective with Jews [Acts16:3]. Very few missionaries to Aborigines have been initiated to make theirministry more effective! Much of the past and even present missiology could becompared to Christians from one tribe trying to impose their initiation orwedding ceremonies on other tribes as a requirement of being Christian –clearly absurd.
Weneed to realize that the church is crippled and has locked itself out fromcompleting the Great Commission by cutting off these lawmen – the gatekeepersof their land and people - who see the church only as a place for women andchildren. Without their involvement, we don’t have the authority of those whohave been placed in authority by God. =
atthe ex Mission site, April 13 - 15th 2007.
Organisedby Wangka Maya Link Up, together with the Wangka Maya Pilbara AboriginalLanguage Centre and the Carnarvon
MedicalService Aboriginal Corporation
Hedland: Rose Murray 9172 3275
Carnarvon AMS: Owen Gillespie 9941 2499
Broome: Gordon Tittums 9158 3209
Onslow: Anne Hayes 9184 6876
Activitiescould include visits to the old Mission site at Ingada Village, art craft,Karaoke, healthy living activities, a Church service, story telling, a visit tothe old cemetery, barbecue, exhibit photos. Talks about the future of IngadaVillage.
Transformationsin Western Australia
For many years, Rodney Rivers has been trying to get Walo Ani tominister in the Kimberley. Walo is from PNG, on staff at Toowoomba City Churchhelping facilitate transformations in the Pacific and Australia. He was aspeaker at the Highway of Holiness gathering in Perth last September.
Rodney met Walo in PNG while he working with SIL. Rodney is fromthe Kimberley and was involved in translation of the Kreol Bible, due to bereleased and dedicated at the Kathering Convention, 4-6 May 2007.
Last July, Rodney travelled through the whole of the Kimberley,asking God which place was ready for transformation ministry with Walo. When hecame to Looma, he saw Christians from totally different streams of the churchmeeting together at 5am for prayer and at other times during the week.
Walo will be ministering at Looma and in some other parts of WA15-27 April.
IndigenousDiscipleship Training School - March - August 2007
Ps Willy Dumas and Tweed Valley Community Church arerunning their first 6 month discipleship course from March to train and releaseyoung indigenous
Christians into mature ministry. It is a CertificateIII in Theology.
They expect studentswill be granted Abstudy funding, but they need sponsors to help with a gap ofaround $2000 per student to cover live-in accommodation, tuition fees andtransport for the outreach phase.
Can you help? Maybeyou can give $100 or $200 a month towards training a future indigenous leader -or even a one-off donation.
If you can help, please contact
Pastors Willy & Sandra Dumas, Tweed Valley Community Church,
Phone07 5524 7856 Fax 07 55247856 Mobile:0405 229 619
World Christian Gathering 0n Indigenous People
Plannow to be there!
Easter Convention with Eagle Rock Community Church, Perth
atthe Community Centre, Alcock/Yule Streets Maddington
Pastors Tim &Di Edwards invite everyone.
Rallies at 7.00pmFri/Sat/Sun 6-8 April + morning teaching sessions and family sport andactivities. Guest speakers.