Greeting to you all from Cairns.
Whilst much of our country is experiencing a change in season, Cairns continues to remain pleasantly warm. We have been blessed with much sunshine in recent weeks, making it difficult to grasp that in the southern part of our state as well as other parts of the country, much flooding has taken place. Having some understanding of cyclonic storm and flood experiences, we pray for the families that have been adversely affected by the recent storms, with the loss of property and livestock, and even more importantly, family members. We pray that through these difficult events, many people may also be brought closer to God, and experience His love and care as they face the physical challenges of this life.
Despite the fact that our climatic season is very stable, we have experienced a change in season in our Church environment, as we have farewelled the Pleiter family who have left us in dribs and drabs over the past few weeks and months. Tyler was the first to head back to Perth, so as to be in the area by the time the university doors were open for the beginning of another year. Michelle and the children returned to Perth during the recent school holidays, so that they could also be back in time for the beginning of the next school term. And this week we will also say good-bye to Brad who remained behind to tie up a few work related loose ends. We wish this family God's richest blessings as they begin a new chapter in their life, finding new routines and friendships, jobs, a home, settling into a new Church congregation as well as all the many other tasks that come with moving into a new place.
Whilst the Pleiter family was in our midst, our brother Brad had been serving our Church group in the role of deacon. Following his request, to be relieved from this position, our brother Dean Visser has been appointed to this role and was ordained to this position some week's ago. We thank God for the work we could receive in Brad, during his time of office. We also pray that God will give Dean the strength he needs to carry out his task in the coming years.
Of more recent we could enjoy two Sunday's with Rev Hagg in our midst. It was a wonderful opportunity for our pastor to connect with the families, as he visited the homes, and also to share our life situations with him. We could also enjoy the celebration of Lord's Supper, being encouraged richly by the visible sign of Christ's sacrifice for us His children. Rev Hagg hasn't been our only recent visitor, in fact we enjoyed many new faces in the past weeks, particularly during the school holiday period. We appreciate the continuous stream of guests in our midst, and thank the Lord for the blessing we receive through them. This coming week we welcome Br and Sr Postmus from the Church of Rockingham, who hope to spend some time in Cairns, catching up with family. We hope that you enjoy your stay with us.
We continue to remember our Br & Sr Bruce and Dina t'Hart, who have settled into Cairns temporarily, as they struggle to solve visa issues, which disallow them back into Lae. Our Brother Bruce has been granted employment with one of our local private schools for this term, as they also seek direction in closing the chapter of their life in Lae. Whilst the situation is very challenging for this family, we thank God for bringing them into our community and for the opportunity we have to enjoy fellowship with them as well as be encouraged by them.
Yes, we are still here!! It’s been a while since we could share some of our church lives with you all, and pray that we are still in your thoughts and prayers also. There is much work to be done, and much has been happening in our small church group in Cairns, and we all feel the load from time to time, and do appreciate your support and prayers.
We have had many visitors, both local and interstate or overseas who join us with our services. Many of these are based in PNG, involved in the mission work there, both from our own church, but also others. Over the past few weeks we have had the company not only of Bruce and Dinah t’Hart, who many of us know well from their work in Lae, but also of at least two families who work in the region of Ukurumpa. Regular readers may remember the Jon and Adie Leedahl family, who we could support locally after Jon’s motorcycle accident and subsequent leg amputation. After 5 months of treatment and care, it was recently discovered that his wound is not healing properly,and so the Leedahl family have recently moved back to America to receive specialised treatment. We wish them well and pray that God is with them in their path with Him, wherever that may take them.
We have also been enjoying the company of the Pauw family. Michele and Erna came to Cairns for the birth of their 4th child, and are currently waiting for visas to return to PNG, where Michele hopes to continue his Bible translation work, which we could listen to first hand at a presentation at church last week. We wish this family all the Lord’s blessings on their work there also.
On the subject of visas, the t’Hart family are also waiting for news regarding a visa to return to PNG. After an emergency flight to Cairns with a sick child, the t’Harts have become somewhat stranded in Cairns with no passports and a difficult process to obtain correct paperwork, which is by no means guaranteed success. We will enjoy their company for a while, and really, you couldn’t find a better place to be stranded!!
Apart from the cyclones, that is. We are thankful that God spared Cairns from the power of cyclone Nathan, and pray for those who may be affected by the destructive forces of these ‘natural’ events. We know that God has all these things in His control, and pray that all may come to a knowledge of Him, also through these events.
Hello from Cairns. A year certainly does fly by, and we can look back very thankfully on the way God has directed our steps in the year past. He has blessed us in every way, leading us through the good times and the trials He has laid out before us, to strengthen and shape us. Every time we step out in faith, we can look back and marvel at how God's wisdom, grace, love and power is displayed in the way He works things out in our lives. If we don't take these steps of faith, we rob ourselves of the joy we get from watching God at work in our lives and instead we spend our time wrestling with God for control of our future. With our lives safely in God's hands we can eagerly look forward to the start of a new year. But first we may enjoy the biggest birthday on the calendar! What a marvellous truth we can remember and retell at Christmas. Almighty God humbled Himself to become man and live a perfect life for us and carry the burden of our sin to the cross. Why? Why would He do that? And why us? It's an amazing historical fact! An immense comfort.
This week we have said goodbye to the Wildeboer family (and Sjanie). We have loved having them all here. The Lord willing Chris and Nicole Steenhof will again be passing through Cairns this weekend. Chris hopes to do a presentation for us on the work they are doing in Lae, especially on the school. We hope to fit this in today between our worship services. Next week we look forward to the Kleyn family stopping over on their way back from WA to PNG. We are thankful that Rev Kleyn has offered to preach the Word and eagerly look forward to it. We pray God continues to bless these families with wisdom and strength in the important task they are blessed to be able to do in PNG. We also pray God will watch over the other missionaries especially the Sikkema family and keep them in our prayers.
Until next year, lot's of love from you brothers and sisters in Cairns!
As a church group and individually we are supporting the Leedahl family in different ways. While we did not know the Leedahls personally prior to the accident we do share many common contacts on the mission field. As mission workers, the Leedahls have to seek their own financial support. Obviously an accident of this nature cannot be planned for and increases their need tremendously.
We are just putting it out there, anyway we can. If you feel you can help, please do.
Please feel free to share this!
Introducing the Leedahls!
Jon and Adie Leedahl, together with their 3 boys, Jayden, Levi and Jace, serve with a missionary organization called New Tribes Mission. They are temporarily based in Ukurumpa, PNG serving the Lord in the area of aviation, where Jon is able to support missionaries by being their “wings,” flying into remote places that can only be reached by aircraft.
On the 15th of October in Papua New Guinea, Jon Leedahl was involved in a road accident on his way home from the hangar where he had been working. He sustained serious injuries to both legs, and was evacuated as soon as possible to Cairns for further medical treatment.
Since arriving in Cairns, Jon’s medical journey has been a huge rollercoaster ride, full of spiritual and emotional challenges, surrounded by many physical battles as he and Adie had to come to terms with Jon loosing one leg as well as fighting some difficult infections to the rest of his body. Much of Jon and Adie’s journey following his accident, can be found on their website -http://theleedahls.com/
At the time of writing, 9 weeks since the accident, Jon is still a patient in Cairns Base Hospital. It is the earnest prayer of their family that he may be able to come home by Christmas, to the place where Adie and the boys are staying in Cairns.
As a Church group we feel privileged and thankful for the opportunity we have to surround this family with love and care, during this extremely difficult situation. Apart from hospital visits, much practical care has been administered, as well as financial support for the ongoing costs this family has, whilst living in Cairns.
Pastor Ian Wildeboer has also played an important role in assisting this family spiritually, with his regular visits to the hospital, praying and reading God’s word with Jon and Adie, and encouraging them through some of their darkest times.
Through our cares for Jon and Adie, we have come to realise that Jon’s journey of recovery will involve much time in Cairns and later back in the U.S where he hopes to be fitted with a prosthetic leg. As well as time, this family will also be financially burdened in a huge way. A part from the day to day costing of making their home in a new city, the cost involved with Jon’s medical bills as well as his future prosthetic leg are anticipated to be in the vicinity of more than $100,000.
Although donations for Jon’s journey of recovery are already being called for in the U.S, our Church group would also like to share this need, which has been placed on our path.
Please consider whether you are personally able to support the Leedahls financially, either through a large or small donation. All contributions are immensely appreciated, and will go a long way towards seeing Jon hopefully take up his task once again.
Donations can be made to Jon and Adie by direct deposit into their Australian bank account. Please contact us via email for bank details.
For persons seeking a receipt for tax purposes, donations will need to be made via the Leedahl’s website – theleedahls.com.
Please note that all donations via this method will be processed at the U.S exchange rate and may involve international transaction fees.
We would also like to encourage you to remember this family in prayer, knowing that Jon’s physical journey of recovery, as well as the emotional and spiritual recovery and journey of this family, will continue to be challenged in the coming months and years.
On Friday evening, our Church group, together with the PNG families visiting Cairns for the Reformed Ministries conference, were able to enjoy a relaxing barbecue down by the lagoon. It was a great opportunity for our Church group to connect with our missionary families who live so close to us, and yet still operate in another country. Most of the families are no longer strangers to our Church group and it was wonderful to reconnect and share recent experiences in a relaxed atmosphere. Friday was also the last day of the Reformed Ministries conference and so a fabulous way to finish off the week after a full 5 day program. We are very thankful for the close and positive connections we may share with all the missionary families on the field in PNG, and pray that God may continue to bless them all as they head in different directions for the Christmas/New Year period. Please enjoy some of the photos that were taken on Friday's event.
Well things certainly have been happening around here! It was a wonderful blessing to be able to witness the ordination of our br Matt Postmus last week to the office of elder. We were also blessed with having Rev Kleyn in our midst who was able to preach an encouraging and very relevant sermon about obeying our leaders. Rev Kleyn and his family as well as many of the other mission workers from PNG have gathered together in Cairns for a mission conference. We can look back on a very enjoyable BBQ at the Lagoon on Friday night, together with all the mission families. We are blessed to have Rev Versteeg on the pulpit for both services tomorrow.
The past week has seen Maria and Cameron graduate from Year 12 and we pray God will direct and guide them as they plan for the future. The other school and Uni students are also working hard as the study year draws to a close. Speaking further of students, we have been blessed with a financial gift from some lovely young ladies at the John Calvin Christian College in WA who raised some money at their school Venture Day in support of the group here in Cairns. Thank you very much for your thoughts and efforts!
We would like to offer our congratulations to the youth in Armadale that did their confession last week and encourage them to walk faithfully in the ways of the Lord, imitating Jesus. It is a blessing to have the Gospel promises, lets encourage each other to not take them for granted but to share the wonderful news with everyone we can. After all what better way can we glorify God?
After tomorrow morning's service the Armadale consistory plans to meet with the congregation in order to move forward with the calling of a pastor for the work here in Cairns. We pray all will go smoothly so that the work of reaching out to the lost in Cairns can be carried out to its full potential. It is an honour that God is at work here gathering His kingdom and He allows us and the resources He gives us to be used for this work.
Each of us is called to give of ourselves to further His kingdom. This opportunity differs for us all, but we must seek it out and faithfully carry it out as best we can. It has been a very tough decision to make, but we (the Pleiter family) have made the decision to return to the WA metro area. We absolutely love Cairns and have invested much of our time, energy and resources into the work here, and been tremendously blessed in return with God's blessing of a faithful church community and rapid spiritual growth. However we feel our first responsibility lies with our children and found that due to their varied and specific education needs, we would very likely be living away from the majority of them over the next few years. The university in Cairns is a very good one but does not meet our specific needs. While we more than likely will return to Cairns or some other outreach/mission project in the future, we will be coming back to live in Perth for a while. We pray God will provide other families to take up the task and continue the work in His Kingdom here in Cairns.
Below is our elder Rodney Byl, Matt Plug who has recently retired as elder and our recently ordained elder Matt Postmus.
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.
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.