It was not my first time to Perth. It was, however, my first time ministering in Perth.
To me, Australia has always been a holiday destination. In 1995, Serene and I honeymooned in Brisbane and Sydney. Before having children, we played many rounds of golf at Joondalup, Perth. When our firstborn arrived, we headed back to Joondalup again; only to return three days earlier when we discovered travelling with a six month old was a totally different matter! It would be many years later before we visited Perth again as a family of 9; and after that, Gold Coast (think farm stays, sheep shearing, animal feeding & theme parks).
You can imagine the mixed feeling in my heart as I left for Perth on Thursday 26 September. It felt like I was going for a holiday. But no, I was on the way to speak at a church camp, to declare the message of Archippus Awakening. The venue – Orchard Glory Farm Resort – didn’t make it any easier for me to switch gears. That was where our family stayed seven years ago (thanks to a couple who blessed us with the one-night stay)!
This is where it gets even more interesting.
Although we were only there for a night in 2012, we met David & Michelle (previously Singaporeans), the owners of the farm. It turns out that David’s sister is Amy; and Amy is the wife of Srini (my ACS cohort and OCS platoon mate), the one who initiated the entire process of inviting me and getting me back to Orchard Glory Farm Resort – New Life City Church‘s (NLCC) regular venue for their annual church camps.
Ever since Srini heard about Archippus Awakening some years back, he had the intention of having me share this message at NLCC. In the Lord’s good time, the opportunity opened up and dates were set for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (27-30 Sept). Although the dates coincided with the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), Serene and Deborah Hope (our 6th PSLE-er) graciously released me to fulfil this kingdom assignment.
At first, a more conservative target was set at 70-80 campers. By the time registrations closed, attendance had grown to 135 – it was to be the largest number NLCC has had in recent years. Needless to say, as the camp speaker, I was very encouraged. (That did help move me out of holiday mode … a little.)
For this assignment, Aaron, Esther and Ruth accompanied me, each having their roles and assigned tasks. Aaron was the team photographer, Ruth prepared breakfast each morning and Esther helped with the laundry at the end of the trip. It was nice having them with me, like a mini family holiday (there I go again); and having them serve alongside me as they helped out and interacted with NLCC campers.
The camp programme was well spaced out across the four days and three nights, allowing everyone time to process and rest. The Archippus Awakening message was delivered over five sessions. A morning service was held on Sunday where I was led to share “Trekking Through Transitions” to encourage the church as they moved forward into all the Lord has in store for them. We give thanks and praise to the Lord that responses were very positive and many were awakened as Archippuses, desiring to be aligned and assigned for Jesus.
I am believing that this is just the beginning of what the Lord wants to do in Australia. In true Archippian form, the things of the kingdom always begins with small steps and unknown individuals. For sure, there are many more Archippuses to be awakened, aligned and assigned. Through this assignment, many new kingdom connections have been made. That said, only God can make these into kingdom partnerships for His purposes and glory.
It leaves me to record a word of thanks to the leaders of New Life City Church – Senior Pastor Yat Wan, Elder Srini, Elder Chairman Evan and Pastor Thomas (and your lovely wives & children) – for the invitation to speak at the church camp and for the partnership to bring the Archippus Awakening message into Perth and beyond. We definitely enjoyed the cool crisp Aussie air and the wide open spaces. But more than that, we really appreciated the warm hospitality and lovely fellowship with leaders and members of NLCC. We were very well fed and very well looked after! We knew that we were there on kingdom assignment but all of you sure made us feel at home and relaxed that we were able to work from a posture of rest.
Last but not least, a special word of thanks and appreciation to my dear friend and ACS Old Boy, Srini. Who would have imagined that we would one day be co-labouring with each other for the sake of Jesus and the purposes of His kingdom?! Thanks for everything! I look forward to future partnerships and collaboration with you (and NLCC) that the Archippus Awakening message may reach many more in Australia.