I hope this finds you feeling renewed and refreshed after the celebration of Easter. These are some photos Marilyn took from Mt Coothha in Brisbane during a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. The sunrise was worth waiting for!
The six months was much more demanding than I had anticipated. Your prayers were a great encouragement through it all. All in all it was an adventure which took me well beyond my comfort zone. I am not good at multi-tasking and doing things at short notice. But God’s grace was sufficient.
Here are some highlights
National Day of Prayer and Fasting – It was a great joy to see people streaming into the Great Hall in Parliament House Canberra on 10th February. There was a wonderful atmosphere and a sense that God was happy to see us there. There were also encouraging reports of generally small gatherings across the country.
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting – We saw some incredible answers to prayer regarding pro-life issues during these 40 Days. I think these are real indications that God has heard and is answering our prayers for Life Breakthrough in Australia.
Even so there is a long way to go as the shedding of innocent blood continues. Not surprisingly there is also a major counter-attack by the enemy through an abortion bill in Tasmania which aims to put into place abortion laws which appear to be worse than Victoria which are some of the worst in the western world. We need to keep praying and speaking out and showing compassion. The final day for submissions for the rushed Tasmanian bill is 24 April.
40 Days for Life – Taking part in the 40 Days for Life campaign in Brisbane was another experience that took us out of our comfort zone. Praying outside an abortion clinic on the footpath at night was a new experience for Marilyn and I. Praying with others for the ending of abortion and for those affected by it was a special fellowship. As another person in the prayer vigil commented, you get to know which cars are honking in support and which are not. There were 40 Days for Life campaigns in approximately 500 cities worldwide including for the very first time, Moscow. Praise God for reports of more babies’ lives saved, abortion workers coming to Christ and abortion clinics closing down.
Visit to South Korea – Then there was the big surprise of a ten-day visit to South Korea to see how they pray! I am still reflecting on that time and asking God what to do with things I saw and heard and experienced. You can find a report at http://www.nationaldayofprayer.com.au/team-visit-to-korea The recent threats of nuclear attack by North Korea are a sobering reminder of our need to pray for the world.
Reflections on KOKODA for Men – A writing retreat at the Gold Coast in March went very well. Seventeen reflections in acknowledgement of the seventeen chapters of Peter FitzSimons book KOKODA are now in first draft. I hope to have a test version of the booklet by ANZAC Day. If all goes well I hope to launch the booklet as a Canberra Declaration resource on 23 July which is the 3rd anniversary of the Canberra Declaration and the 71st anniversary of the start of the Kokoda campaign.
Marilyn – One of the greatest joys for me was the way Marilyn supported me so wholeheartedly throughout the six months. Her acting as a sounding-board, her proof-reading, arranging travel, preparing PowerPoint presentations, sending out promotional materials by courier and Australia Post, sending out e-letters to large networks and updates to the prayer team were indispensable. But over and above that she bravely took on a whole new area of management of the 100,000 Prayers for Life website. Everyone was amazed at how she picked it up so quickly. Now she has also became involved in other related websites. Marilyn also became very involved in the National Day of Prayer and Fasting in the Queensland Parliamentary Annexe in Brisbane as well as in our home church.
Rally for Life – At this year’s Cherish Life rally on 2 February Marilyn and I set up a table for the National Day of Prayer and Fasting alongside other pro-life groups. During the rally we were given three minutes to share. The rally was led by Teresa Martin of Cherish Life who is a fellow Life Breakthrough team member. Prior to the Rally for Life another Life Breakthrough team member, Pastor Glen Vines, led a special prayer time in nearby New Hope Church, which is pastored by the chairman of the National Day of Prayer and Fasting, Pastor Matt Prater. It was the first year that the Rally for Life wasn’t rudely interrupted by pro-choice hecklers. It has been a great joy to work with the members of the Life Breakthrough and National Day of Prayer and Fasting Organizing teams who are from a variety of church backgrounds and different parts of Australia. This Rally for Life was a reminder that God is indeed with us. We are not many but we are on the winning side!
Every year I always look forward to the balloon release right there at Queen’s Park in the Brisbane CBD. Every year the balloons are released to Louis Armstrong singing ‘What a Wonderful World!’ In all the intensity of the spiritual battle, it’s a happy moment to gaze upwards and see, in the words of Louis Armstrong, “the colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the skies”. God did indeed create a wonderful world and even though sin and death are prevalent in the world today one day they will be no more.
We look forward to our continuing fellowship.
Your brother in Christ,