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Farewell to a lovely family...

Sunday 25 August, 2013

In a small church group, saying farewell to members is never an easy thing. Each member plays an important and often vital task, and when they leave their place is sorely missed. Small church groups will often create an environment for close relationships to be built, so at times of farewell, saying good bye can be quite a difficult thing to do.

Recently we had to say good bye to Ivan and Jolene Byl and their daughter Nadia. Ivan and Jolene have been with our Church group for the past 2.5 years and we valued their presence and contribution. We had opportunity to share in the joyous moment of the birth of their first child Nadia, who was always happy to receive cuddles from any arms that she was placed in. We also shared in the journey of suffering that faced Jolene's family, when her brother was diagnosed with cancer, and more recently taken to be with the Lord. We give all thanks to God for the time that we could spend with Ivan and Jolene, and it is our prayer that God will bless this family richly as they settle in Western Australia and make it their new home.


The weekend prior to the departure of Ivan and Jolene we had opportunity to share an evening by the beach volley ball courts on the Esplanade. The idea was that we would enjoy a few games of beach volley ball, followed by a combined dinner. Unfortunately we didnt realise that the courts had been booked fora Masters tournament, meaning that all the courts were busy for the time that we were there. However it did give opportunity to take out the footy and soccer balls and the children still enjoyed much time on their scooters. 

Below are a few photos of this event:

On a more exciting note we have recently received news that the proposal our congregation has put forward for the institution of our own church, will be discussed at an ad-hoc classis meeting to be held on the 13th of September, dv. We pray that God will bless the discussions that take place at this meeting that the outcome may be favourable for our church group to become an independent church of the Free Reformed Bond of Churches in Australia. We also pray that He will continue to bless the Church work that happens here in Cairns that we may reach many people in our local community with His rich gospel. 

At present our church group has been blessed with another visit from Rev and Mrs Veldman. Having recently retired as the pastor of Southern River WA, we are thankful that for a second time this year Rev Veldman is willing to lead our worship services as well as be of practical support to our elders and deacon and of general support to the families living here. We wish Rev and Mrs Veldman God's continued care and guidance when they return home in a little over a week.

Mid-year Update

Wednesday 12 June, 2013

The year is quickly slipping by and before long we will have already reached the half way point. We give all thanks to God for His continued care and protection over our Church group during the past number of months, since our last blog post.

As we reflect on recent months we are very thankful for the many new visitors that have joined us in worship. We continue to be blessed with faces from both near and far, some are here to holiday while others live in the nearby area. It has resulted in some lovely Sundays of great fellowship, a rich blessing to all of us that are living here. 

At present we are allowed to share much time with our various missionary families from PNG. Throughout the course of the next two months a number of the families in Lae and Port Moresby will be in the Cairns area for health reasons or a time of vacation. We are thankful for the relationships that can be built during the time that our missionary families are in our area and for the way in which we can be of support to one another. It is an enriching experience from both sides and something which is of encouragement to us all.

Of recent we were able to enjoy a Church breakfast at the home of Rod and Makeesha Byl. Originally this event was planned at one of the local parks, however the morning proved to be quite wet and so it was decided to head for a safer option. Breakfast included a great menu of bacon and eggs, freshly baked muffins, fruit and yoghurt, pancakes and lots of other delicious delicacies. It was a great way to start a Saturday, as we enjoyed much fellowship with our Church members as well as a number of visitors that were in our area. And to top it all off, we even had a surprise visitor...a 4m jungle python kindly welcomed all guests before heading up the stairs, where the breakafst was being hosted :) You got to love living in Cairns.

Men busy at the bbq.

Girls enjoying a chat .

Having fun with the skipping ropes.

Mr Jo helping to fix things with his drill.

Boys enjoying time together.

Yummy breakfast...enjoyed by both young and old!

In the coming months we may look forward to a number of guest ministers in our midst. A big thankyou to Rev and Mrs Veldman who have already spent time with our group back in March, and hope to join us again (dv) in August of this year. Rev Sikkema and Rev Kleyn from PNG, and Rev Rupke from Southern River WA, are also hoping to lead our worship services in the near future. We value these opportunities greatly, seeing that we do not have our own pastor at present.

As we close this post today we would just like to share that our Church group is currently working with the consistory of our home congregation in Armadale to become our own instituted Church. Much work and effort is required in this process and we ask that our readers will keep this in prayer. It is our earnest desire that God continue to bless the work that is being done here in Cairns, and that in due time we may also be an independent church of the Free Reformed Bond of Churches in Australia. 

Easter Church Camp

Sunday 07 April, 2013


Last weekend our Church group together with a few additional visitors in our local area were able to share a special time away, by the shores of Lake Tinaroo. The camp in many ways was a 'last-minute' idea and we are very grateful that in a space of about 6-7 weeks we were able to share the idea of having a church camp, find a camp available for the Easter weekend (something we thought would almost be impossible!), and then organise the itinerary and food requirements. This is not to mention that we were backed by lots of eager participants, which allowed for an combined effort of the whole Church group to see this camp 'come off the ground'.

We now reflect on amazing time away, highlighted by the many hours of fellowship, organised social activities, marriage enrichment workshops for the adults and the opportunity to focus on the events of our Saviour, Jesus Christ as remembered at Easter. 

In total there was about 45 of us campers, sometimes a little more and some times a little less. We arrived at Camp Tinaroo mid-morning Easter Friday with opportunity to make ourselves at home, before an official start late morning. Once camp started we were broken up into 4 groups, each group being responsible for various cooking and cleaning activities throughout the day.

Sleeping arranagements was organised in two large dorms, one for guys and one for girls, each able to house about 40 people in total. There was also a number of smaller rooms catering for up to 4 people which we used for the families who had young toddlers.

The facilities at Camp Tinaroo are quite old and yet perfect for what we needed it for. The location was magic and we loved the opportunity to engage in water activities whether it was swimming, having fun on old tyre tubes, fishing, checking cray pots or spending time out on the boat.

Throughout the weekend we had some organised workshops focusing on marriage enrichment. These workshops were presented by Rev Veldman who has previously ran many marriage enrichment camps in Western Australia. The information that was presented was challenging, encouraging and provided some great discussions which we all could learn from.

During the evenings we were entertained with organised games ranging from musical chairs to poision mat and lots of other relays. It definitely brought back good memories for most adults, of their years at younger youth camps. We also could enjoy a couple of bonfire nights, providing a great atmosphere for fellowship.

We give all thanks to God for creating the opportunity to host a Church camp. He blessed us with amazing clear sunny weather allowing for lots of outdoor activities to take place. He also kept us all safe from harm and accidents, providing for us abundantly in so many ways.

Below are some photos taken at Camp Tinaroo:

Camp Tinaroo - right by the shores of Lake Tinaroo in the Tablelands.

Our camp attendees for the weekeend (formal shot above...and normal shot below)

Aliesha and Brooklyn finding their new beds for the weekend.

Shakira and Mali helping out with their group chores.

Evening games - musical chairs (above) and throwing cheese balls (below)

Girls enjoying the sports equipment the camp had to offer.

Face painting was a great success thanks to Liz Irons.

Having fun on the water.

Sjaak van Laar teaching the girls to play chess. 

Mrs Veldman enjoying cuddles with Nadia - our youngest camp attendee.

Lunch time - yum, yum!!

The fisherman hard at work!!

Ordination of a new office bearer

Friday 05 April, 2013

The Sunday prior to Easter, was another memorable day for our Church group here in Cairns. Due to the retirement of our current deacon, Gilbert Jansen, elections had recently taken place for a new deacon. Brother Brad Pleiter was chosen for this office, and we were able to witness his ordination amidst members, friends and visitors. We pray that God will bless Brad in the task that he has been given in our congregation.

The ordination of Brad was conducted in the first service led by retired pastor, Rev Albert Veldman, from the church of Southern River in Western Australia. Rev Veldman and his wife Helen have recently arrived in Cairns and have offered their services to our congregation for just under 4 weeks. We are very grateful for the opportunities that come with having a pastor in our midst. Not only have we benefited from extra preaching services, we have also been able to work through a marriage enrichment program which has been of great value and encouragement. 

Below are a couple of photos captured on the Sunday of Brad's ordination to the office of deacon.

Rev Veldman together with Brad Pleiter

Brad's family was able to witness this occasion with him.

Ladies enjoying a catchup after Church.

Younger girls enjoying themselves.

Boys hard at work in the kitchen...quite a common sight here in Cairns :)

Older girls catching up.

Never a Sunday without some square ball taking place.

Easter Weekend

Monday 25 February, 2013


Due to the Family, Marriage Enrichment Camp we have scheduled for the Easter weekend, no worship services will be held at our normal place of worship (Marlin Coast Neighborhood Centre) for Good Friday 29th of March and Easter Sunday 31st of March. If we have any visitors in our area during this time, who would like to worship with us, please make contact with one of the families listed on our Contacts page.

Much to be thankful for...

Sunday 17 February, 2013

We are very thankful for the Lord's care and protection of all our church members during the Christmas and New Year break. Many of our families were granted opportunity to enjoy a period of vacation, of which we were all kept safe from both harm and accident. In particular we give thanks for God's care, when many other parts of our State was ravaged by flooding and the loss of property, animals and lives. It is this time of the year that our State is most susceptible to extreme weather patterns and every season again we are aware of the fact that we could be faced with cyclonic weather and flooding. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in the southern areas of our state who have experienced much loss. May God use times of 'natural disaster' to allow many to find refuge in His strength and love.

We experienced many visitors in our midst during the month of December and January, which was a great blessing to our group. We had opportunity to say our final farewells to Wayne and Cheronne van der Heide and family as they made their final trip from Papua New Guinea to Albany Western Australia, where they are now living. We received this family in our midst a number of times during their period on the mission fields and valued the relationship we could share with this family. We pray God will continue to bless the van der Heide family as they now settle in Albany, WA.

As we could come to the close of 2012, our congregation received news of two additional families who DV, will be joining our Church group this year. As you will have read from previous blog postings on this website, the desire for additional families to join our church group was something that we prayed for regularly and we give all thanks to God who has now answered our prayers in a special way.

With the permission of the two families we would now like to share this exciting news with our broader community. We look forward to meeting family Matt and Wilma Postmus from the Free Reformed Church of Rockingham who are hoping to make their way across to Cairns sometime early September. We also share the same excitement for Family Colin and Erin Berkelaar from the Free Reformed Church of Byford who hope to join our group at the close of this year. Both families are in the process of preparing themselves and their children for this big move and it is our prayer that God will grant them the strength, wisdom and support that they need, as they work through the necessary steps of moving and saying farewell to close family and friends.

In the coming months our Church group has a few other exciting events to look forward to. Towards the end of next month we look forward to the services of recently retired pastor Rev Veldman and his wife of Southern River, who are willing to spend some time in our midst. Although we are thankful for the capable brothers in our midst, who willingly lead our services on a weekly basis, having a Pastor in our area is always something that grants additional excitement. We look forward to the visit of Pastor Veldman and his wife in the coming weeks.

Plans are also underway for our first Church camp which we hope to host on the Easter Weekend. As a church group we hope to share much time of fellowship together up at Lake Tinaroo for the duration of 3 days. Much work still needs to happen for this event to come together, however we are looking forward to this event and the different opportunities that come from spending valuable time together as brothers and sisters. 

Before we sign off from this post, we would again like to share the prayers and desire of our Church group to soon have our own Pastor for the work in Cairns and surrounding areas. As a group we continue to pray for God's blessing on this desire and the steps that are taken for this to happen. We ask that many of our readers may also continue to carry this request in their prayers. 

Recent Church activities

Tuesday 18 December, 2012

The Christmas holiday period is already upon us, and we are enjoying the additional visitors that have opportunity to be in Cairns during this time. It is a special time for our Church group as we love the extra faces in the service and the opportunity to meet new people.

This past weekend we had one last bonfire night scheduled as a Church social activity. These evenings have been a great success so far this year and like our previous bonfire evenings this one didnt disappoint. We had a fabulous afternoon and evening down by the water's edge enjoying each other's company with a little bit of fishing for the keen fishermen in our midst.

Hopefully the photos reflect something of the relaxed atmosphere we experienced that afternoon:

The additonal families at Church this past weekend also gave us record numbers for our Sunday school class. It was quite excitng to be sharing the story of 'John the Baptist' and his important task in preparing the people for the coming of Jesus' ministry, to 13 eager faces. We had a great lesson together and it was very special to hear the various floating conversations amongst the children, as they shared things from relating to their family background and the places that they have come from. 

Here are just a few photos of the many young faces who joined us at Sunday school this past week:

The Sunday school teachers....still smiling after having such a big class to teach.

We wish all our blog readers a blessed Christmas. It is our prayer that your homes and hearts will be filled with much joy as you remember the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christmas Service

Sunday 16 December, 2012

We would like to extend a special invitation to anyone that is in the Cairns area over the Christmas period, and would like to join us in worship on this day.

A Christmas service has been scheduled for Tuesday 25th of December, at the Marlin Coast Neighborhood Centre, Reed Road -  beginning at 9.30am. We hope to enjoy a light morning tea following this service.

'For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' Isaiah 9:6


Visit from the Hagg Family

Wednesday 21 November, 2012

The past two weeks our church group could enjoy some very special time with Rev and Mrs Hagg and their four daughters. As most of our readers are aware Rev Hagg is the pastor to the Free Reformed Church of Armadale, WA of which we are also members of. The Hagg family have only recently moved to Australia to take up their role in the Armadale congregation, and so their visit to Cairns was primarily to become acquainted with their members that live a little further abroad.

The past two Sundays we could be encouraged and strengthened by the preaching of Rev Hagg as well as have the opportunity to celebrate Lord's Supper. We also had quite an influx of visitors during this time allowing for some wonderful occasions to fellowship. 

Last week Saturday we were able to enjoy a special dinner with the Hagg family at the Centre where we worship on Sundays. We were served a fabulous 3 course meal thanks to our famous cooks - Sjaak and Cheree van Laar. The meal was complimented by lots of additional salads and desserts provided by the rest of the ladies in the congregation. We reflect on a very relaxed evening with plenty of good laughs and some very full tummy's at the end of the night.

Below are some photos of this occasion:

Rev and Mrs Hagg and their four girls have now returned to Western Australia. We would like to thank them for the time that they shared with our group and for the support that we have been able to receive through their family.

We are fast approaching the Christmas season, a busy period of the year as work and school comes to a close and many families are preparing for a short time away. It is also a very festive time of the year as we commemorate the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ and the wonderful gift that God has given to His people in sending His son to earth. It is our prayer that this coming Christmas many people may hear and share in the glorious gospel news of the birth of Christ and the richness it has for the lives of all those that believe.

Please return to this blog if you will be in our area at Christmas time. We soon hope to  share more details about our Christmas service.

Welcome to the Kleyn Family

Tuesday 30 October, 2012

It has been over a month already since our last blog post. A month with lots of new faces in the Cairns area, a month which included some very special Sundays as well as extra times of fellowship. 

Our new faces have come from far and wide, some were international while others were from our own country. Some were able to stay with us for a long time while others were able to stay with us for a brief period. However for all the many visitors that were in our midst, we thank God for the opportunity we have had to fellowship together and to be richly encouraged in each other's lives.

Of most recent we have been able to welcome Rev Cornelis and Greta Kleyn to Cairns. They have come to us from PNG where they have recently been called to minister at the Reformed Bible College in Port Morseby. While spending some time in the village as part of their POC training a number of members from their family became seriously ill with suspected malaria. Their family was flown to Cairns for medical treatment which they are currently receiving. Although the circumstances surrounding their visit have been quite difficult we are very thankful for the time that they can spend in Cairns and the time that we may have getting to know this family and being of support to them. We pray that God will grant them full restoration of health and that in His time they may also head back home again. Below is a photo of family Kleyn who were with us at Church last week Sunday:

Last week Saturday our Church group was able to enjoy another afternoon of beach volley ball down by the Esplanade. It was a lovely afternoon of fellowship and fun and it was exciting to have so many visitors join us for this occasion. The beach volley ball action was in full force for a number of hours, after which we enjoyed dinner together. A few photos from this event can be found below:

The action begins...

The game begins...

Matt in action...

Tyler ready to attack.

The game in full swing.

Nadia giving lots of beautiful smiles.

3 cousins having fun on their scooters.

Kate with cheeky Callum.

Josiah deep in thought...

In the near future we are now looking forward to the visit of Rev and Mrs Hagg and their family from Armadale. Although Rev Hagg is our minister from a distance we value the opportunity we have to spend time with his family as well as share the needs surrounding our own church situation.

On a more general scene many of you will have heard Cairns mentioned in the news as the 'primary location' for being able to witness the eclipse on November 14th. We have heard from our local newspapers and radio stations to expect an additional 40,000-60,000 people in Cairns in the lead up to this event and a few days following. So if anyone is hoping to be in our area during this time we hope that you have your accomodation and car rentals all booked smiley There is definitely not much available at this stage. 

Till next time...greetings from the Cairns Church Group