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Challenging news

Wednesday 12 November, 2014

In this past week, one of our larger families, has regretfully shared their decision to move to Perth, WA. This has been a difficult decision for Brad & Michelle Pleiter (and their children), who enjoy living in Cairns, and play an integral role in our our Church work and development. However circumstances surrounding their older children's university choices has made it difficult for them to remain in Cairns, and they need to return to WA to pursue their studies. We pray that God will bless this family as they prepare for this move, and also open the necessary doors for their move to go smoothly.

In any small Church group, where close relationships are built, farewells are never easy. This family will be sorely missed by all, and their departure is something many of our members are still coming to terms with. It is our prayer that God may carry our congregation during this challenging time of readjustment.

Whilst we lay our trust entirely in God's hand for His future care and protection over our Church group, it is also our sincere desire that He may open the hearts of other families and individuals to consider moving to Cairns, to support the work which is happening here. God has placed much need on our path, both physically and spiritually. Our arms are constantly serving in our local community, supporting our broader missionary community as well as being busy with our own Church activities. Whilst we love this work and the blessings that come with it, it requires much energy, and regularly we feel that our Church numbers are not always able to cater for the need that is placed on our path. Additional support from families and individuals who have energy for assisting us in our work, is something we would value in a big way.

Please join us in our prayer, both for the Pleiter family as they move back to Perth, as well as our own Cairns congregation as we continue in our task, in this amazing place that God has called us to be. And if anyone has further interest in being part of the work here in Cairns, feel free to private message our Church group through our Facebook page or contact can be found on our Church website - www.frccairns.asn.au.

More good news!

Sunday 09 November, 2014

Hello from Far North Queensland! We had some wonderful news in the past two weeks. Firstly we rejoice with the Wildeboer family who were able to welcome into the world a baby daughter named Ava Adriana. What a blessing for them all, especially seeing that all has gone well throughout the pregnancy and birth. We pray God will be with Ava as she grows and ask that God will guide her parents as they carry out the precious task of bringing her up as a child of God. Secondly, Classis Central has met and has agreed to support Armadale church financially in the calling of a pastor for Cairns. This is wonderful news and a big step forward for us all. Over the next few weeks, details of the way forward will need to be worked out and preparations made to present a 'proposal to call' to the Armadale congregation. We all thank God for this wonderful blessing.

Last week also, we could hear the announcement that our brother Matt Postmus was appointed to the office of elder by the Armadale consistory, and if no lawful objections are brought forward, we anticipate his ordination will take place on 16/11.

It is a busy time of the year for the students among us, with the end of year school/uni exams beginning already. A School awards night was also held during the past week and graduation is not far off for Cameron Pleiter who is finishing year 12 this year. It is a blessing that his grandparents are able to be here to witness and participate in these events. We can also enjoy the company of our sister Cheree's mum who will be coming this week to spend some time among us.

In this past few weeks a number of people have reached out to the church here asking for help. We remember the example our Saviour gave and the compassion he showed to all people. We keep the unfortunate in our prayers, but we are also able to give them a basket of food items which members contribute towards week by week. We keep these food hampers ready for such occasions, filled with lasting food items as well as encouraging Biblical literature. It has certainly helped in the formation of relationships with those that hit rough times.

We have also had some sad news of late. A pilot for a mission project in PNG was involved in a motorbike accident  which resulted in one of his legs being amputated. While we did not know this gentleman personally, he was close friends with some of our past visitors and ongoing contacts. He is now in hospital in Cairns and will be spending quite some time here recovering, with his young family in tow, before returning to the US. We pray God will grant them the strength needed to cope with the consequences of the accident he has endured, and hope we can assist them through this tough time. With a mission conference happening next week, we expect to have the company of quite a gathering of mission families and will also hopefully be able to hear a number of them preach on our pulpit. Your brothers and sister in Cairns.

Good News!

Saturday 25 October, 2014

Greetings from Cairns! We certainly did get quite a group of visitors last week. People from the local area as well as Holland and PNG. This makes for a wonderful day of worship. We are also richly blessed to have the Wildeboer family here and enjoy the preaching of the Word from Pastor Ian. We pray all will go well with Nadia and the child she carries, as it gets very close to the time of delivery. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the Sikkema family as they take time to recharge themselves. Being close to PNG we do have quite a bit of interaction with missionaries and aid workers from our churches as well as others outside of our bond. We regularly have them join us for worship as they spend time in Cairns on their way to/from PNG. Many times they also come to Cairns for medical treatment. The work on the mission field requires  much labour from the missionaries and they can face very challenging situations and difficulties. Please continue to keep this important work and the workers in your prayers.

Talking about labour, a lot of work has been done during the past 5 years, both by the members here in Cairns and the consistory in Armadale, working towards the goal of having a minister of our own to work here in Cairns. With this in mind we have all been paying very close attention to Classis Central as they met on Friday morning just past. We are very thankful indeed, that they have pledged their support in financially supporting a pastor to work here in Cairns. We have certainly hoped and prayed for this positive outcome that allows us to take the first step toward calling a pastor. We do remember however that all that is done here is the work of the Lord, not us. He uses our labours to achieve His end and does it in a way that is sometimes beyond our understanding.

This Friday we can remember Reformation Day. It is an awesome blessing that God has enlightened us through the Holy Spirit working through the Word, so that we may know the Truth that it holds. We can rejoice that the veil of darkness was lifted from the Church and the light allowed to shine once more. Let us all keep this Light shining bright in the world, lifted high like a beacon and not hidden away and protected from all possible threats under a bucket. Sometimes we worry too much about the challenges to the Light instead of concentrating on lifting it high and letting it shine bright. God will ensure it continues to shine, let us live as He has called.

Tomorrow we will hold elections for a new elder to serve among us. We pray God will bless also this process and equip the group here with a new elder to oversee His flock. Have a blessed Sunday tomorrow! Your brothers and sisters in Christ, in Cairns.

Farewell Jacco

Saturday 11 October, 2014

Last time I finished with an invite to all, to visit us in here in Cairns during the school holidays. Some of you did take us up on that and we have enjoyed the visits. We have enjoyed the presence of a couple from a Reformed Church in the WA Metro area, and a family from Albany,WA who have spent a couple of weeks amongst us. Our sister Wilma Postmus was also blessed with having some family members visit and help her celebrate her birthday. The van Laar's  have also had a number of visitors, one who has been amongst us for nearly a year. We are sad to have to farewell Jacco van Ravenswaaij, their nephew, who has been a part of us for so long. It will be hard to say goodbye as he returns to his home in Holland. In return, we expect a group of  8 Dutchmen to join us in worship next week as they make their way to PNG to assist in some MAF projects.
We are excited to have the Wildeboer family arriving and spending quite some time among us. They hope to spend a couple of months among us as they anticipate the birth of their next child. We pray God will grant that all things go smoothly with the birth and they can also recharge for the work they do in Lae, PNG. In the mean time we can enjoy reconnecting with the family, as well as enjoying the blessing of having a pastor in our midst. 
With that in mind, we are also very eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Classis meeting and the outcomes from it. We pray earnestly that all things will happen in such a way that God may be honoured and glorified as much as possible. We rejoice with the church in Mt Nasura who have received the exciting news that Rev Bredenhof has accepted the call they extended. A wonderful blessing indeed.
We have also been blessed with one more visitor. Hopefully this one will be a very long term one. Regular local visitors,  the Irons family, have been blessed with the birth of a new son. We thank God that all can be well with mother and child and pray for them to have all they need to guide him and their other 3 children in the ways of the Lord. 
Have a blessed Sunday! 

Spring Holidays

Tuesday 23 September, 2014

Hello from Cairns. Spring is a lovely time of the year. It is a time of new life, abundant colour and growth. It makes us all very thankful for the blessings God provides and the new life He gives in Christ. We rejoice with the church in Launceston, Tasmania, at the news that the call to Rev Bredenhof has been accepted and pray God will be with him, as well as the church there, as the transition occurs. May God bless him as he undertakes the shepherding of the new flock. Speaking of shepherds, it is that time of the year when the call goes out asking for nominations to fill the roles of elders and deacons. We too are requesting nominations for a new elder to carry on the task br Matt Plug has undertaken over the last 2 years. It is drawing near to the end of his term of office.

 Nearly every fortnight the younger ones amongst us enjoy the afternoon Sunday School. This is not a replacement or alternative for the worship service, but does play an important role in the lives of those amongst us who are too old to just be playing in crèche, and yet a little too young to follow and fully understand the preaching of the word. Each school lesson begins with some engaging questions followed by a Bible story. At the moment they are working through the book of Genesis currently focusing on the lives of Jacob and Esau. A relevant worship song is often sung together, followed by prayer time. Prayer time consists of each child being asked and given the opportunity to suggest prayer points relevant to them and their peers, after which the teacher leads the little ones through these points in prayer together. Following this, a craft activity that brings home the message shared, is enjoyed by all.

The children here are already half way through their school holidays. It is a much needed break for most of them as they recover from the heavy workload they have. The end of Term 3 always seems to be a very busy time for the students here in Cairns. We pray they will be fully refreshed by the end of the week and rearing and ready to start school again. We pray all those that travel in this break time will have a safe and enjoyable trip. You can always come over and visit us here in Cairns. Have a blessed Lord’s day.

Rev Hagg visits

Sunday 14 September, 2014

We in Cairns have been blessed with a visit from our minister Rev Hagg and br. Van Leeuwen. It was a great opportunity to catch up with each other. While we had our minister here, we were allowed to enjoy the celebration of the Lords Supper. Rev Hagg also took the opportunity to conduct the catechism classes in person on the Thursday night, rather than by the usual method of Skype. Both the Rev and the children thoroughly enjoyed the benefit of the free and open communication that is possible in person and reflect on a great night of learning. While catechism occurred in the one room, br. Van Leeuwen was able to join a number of us in our weekly prayer meeting outside on the deck. There is always so much to pray for, but of late we especially feel for and remember our Christian brothers and sisters in Albany, WA who have endured a number of very sad occasions in close succession. We continue to remember them and pray God will grant them the strength to endure. Much suffering is also happening in Iraq and elsewhere as fellow Christians are persecuted for their faith.  We pray that God may always be with them. Hopefully Rev Hagg's trip to PNG was also a success and he has returned home safely to WA by now.

Apart from the visitors mentioned above, we have enjoyed many other visitors. On Sunday past we said farewell to a number of sisters from WA who spent some months among us. Recently we also farewelled a travelling couple from WA who blessed us with their presence for quite a few weeks. We enjoyed a visit from a young couple from Victoria, who were here for a short holiday before heading West. A local family who joins us when possible, was able to come along with their father from Brisbane. Another local lady who has visited once before in the past could also bring along her elderly parents for the morning service and coffee. Another regular visitor is a young lady who attends the local university and worships with us nearly every week. As well as that we could enjoy the fellowship of some of the Tablelanders(the Tablelands are over the range from Cairns). We very much appreciate the support and fellowship we receive from our guests. It is also very encouraging to meet so many others from here as well as far away, who look up to Christ as their King and live to His glory. Blessings from your brothers and sisters Cairns!

Anticipating a visit.

Monday 25 August, 2014

We are looking forward to the arrival of Rev Hagg and br. Van Leeuwen who hope to spend a short time with us, providing support to our group. The Lord willing we can celebrate the Lords Supper today with Rev Hagg leading the service. They come to us from Armadale, WA. As most of you may be aware, the church members in Cairns are actually church members of the Free Reformed Church of Armadale. The call for support was made to Armadale by some local people in the Cairns region back in 2009 which resulted in the creation of a subcommittee to investigate the possibility of supporting a house congregation in the area. In Mar/Apr 2009 two committee members, Rev W Huizinga and br. L VanDyk travelled to Cairns to visit the people there and assess the situation. The need for a truly reformed church in the area was established and many visits were made. Upon their return an extensive report was made by the subcommittee. Visits were also made to two families in the metro area who wished to join the prospective house congregation in Cairns with the view of establishing a Free Reformed Church there. A group had formed. Here follows a quote from the Una Sancta magazine, vol 56, num 16, 13 June 2009 written by W Huizinga. "Could the FRC Armadale accept spiritual responsibility for this group? On 28 April the consistory with deacons, after an ample discussion of the extensive report, decided to take the spiritual supervision and care of this group." And that's why even though we are on the other side of the country, we belong as members to Armadale church. Things have progressed slowly in the 5 years since the group was formed. Although there has always been the same vision since the beginning, that of forming a Free Reformed Church in the Cairns region, the way forward has not always been clear. We are travelling new territory. This sort of thing has not been done previously in the bond of churches and opinions differed on how things should go. Do we institute first or call a minister first? Who is able to support financially? Individuals, churches or is it the responsibility of Classis? While much work and patience has been required by all involved, it is heartening to see that things are moving forward. We currently await the next Classis meeting, where further discussion will be undertaken. Throughout the time involved in this process, one thing has become undoubtedly clear, and that is the need for a minister to work in the Cairns area. As a group here in Cairns, we thank Rev Huizinga and those following, for the support we have received in times past. At the same time we constantly and earnestly pray to God for the way forward to be made clear, so that we may have a minister in our midst as soon as humanly possible, and we ask that you all will join us in this prayer. Your brothers and sisters in Christ, in Cairns.

A bit about us.......

Saturday 16 August, 2014

We have a desperate need for a pastor here in Cairns. While we are sometimes richly blessed with a visiting pastor, the norm here is to have reading services. Our normal Sunday looks somewhat different to other churches. We stay at church for the whole day without going home between the first and second service. The time between worship services is spent having coffee, lunch, and singing songs of worship. This practise began to accommodate those who travelled long distances to worship with us and has continued, as it is very convenient for the visitors amongst us. More importantly though, we have found it gives us a wonderful opportunity to witness, get too know our guests, and build the bonds between us. The strangers that walk in to church off the street, become acquaintances and friends over coffee and lunch. We can build much better relationships this way than if we all just wandered off home. The downside however is that by the afternoon, we are feeling somewhat tired and have a full stomach. This can sometimes make it hard to focus in the afternoon service. All our readers try their best but we are certainly not all gifted speakers like many of our ministers. For this reason we now regularly have worship services during which we watch/listen to, a sermon on video. The service is conducted by an elder as per the common liturgy both before and after the sermon. This has blessed us richly, allowing us to be nourished by different gifted pastors from our bond of churches, while easing the workload on the small group of readers we have here. Yet another gracious gift from God. 

Boys night out!

Tuesday 29 July, 2014

On the night of 17th July 2014 all the males from our group went on a 'male bonding' session together. They spent one night at False Cape sleeping under the stars (well some did) and enjoying fellowship with each other. It was immensely enjoyed by ALL and from recent indications it will be an often repeated event!

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Easter Church Camp 2014

Friday 13 June, 2014

Although this event took place a couple of months ago, the memories are still very fresh of the fabulous Church camp we could experience at Easter time. This is the second year in a row that we have been able to host the camp, and from all accounts it was a great success and enjoyed by all. We thank God for allowing us to experience such rich opportunities of fellowship and fun, in a more relaxed setting. He also provided us with lovely clear weather, something which is definitely not a given for the Easter period.

With the camp taking place over the Easter weekend we were able to share in some additional devotions specific to this topic, under the guidance of Rev Kroeze, who was ministering to our Church group for a couple of months. We were very thankful to have Rev (and Mrs) Kroeze along with us at the Church camp and for the way in which they could minister to our group. 

Our group size was slightly smaller in number, (in comparison to last year), however we were able to have equally as much fun :) Our program was also a little less full with discussions and speeches, allowing for a little more free time, of which most of it wsa spent by the water. Two of our church families took their boats to camp, and both children and adults had an amazing time ont the water, enjoying all sorts of water activities.

Now for a few photos of this event:

The food hall, where all our meals took place.

Some of the Blue team members.

Having fun in the water!

Cousins having fun together!

Relaxing by the water's edge.

Playing volley ball with an oversized ball.

The big orange ball had many different purposes, for all age groups!

More water activities...

Dinner time...yum, yum...

Time on the crash mat - a real winner for all ages!

Early morning views over Lake Tinaroo.

Table tennis - another well loved activity, played continuously throughout the weekend.

Playdough - you are never too old to be creative :)

Evening games including poisin mat. 

Not sure what game this is called...Im sure we could think of many interesting names :)