What makes up the characteristics of any society? Its individuals! If individuals in a society value family, then the society as a whole tends to value families as well. The choices of individuals dictate the characteristics and values of the society they are in.
In the Kimberley region of north Western Australia, where there are many Aboriginal communities, there are certain characteristics that make it up.
Looking out over the vast Kimberley region that makes up 423,517 sq km (163,520.8 sq mi), it can seem empty, but I have found that this country is incredibly full. It’s full of life; full of history and amazing people, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and the brightest stars I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s full of kangaroos and emus and plants that can be used for medicine like eucalyptus and lemongrass.
It’s a place where time doesn’t matter and material items hold no value. It’s a place where you can sit for hours and just talk without a care in the world. Many Aboriginal people call this beautiful land home, and I feel at home there too. But, like all places, there are some characteristics of the Kimberley which are destructive; characteristics that I would like to see changed…
There is a lot of alcoholism and drug use in the Kimberly which leads to violence, anger, and a break down of families, the very thing that is valued so highly by the Aboriginal people. We can see evidence of these strongholds within the communities: bottle cans, partying late into the night, children wandering around alone… its heartbreaking, but God is moving in these communities in the Kimberley and we are seeing these characteristics beginning to turn around!
While I have been up in the Kimberley, and even from Perth, my team and I are always praying hard that these strongholds of evil will be torn down and that the communities will reflect more of God’s characteristics. On this last trip to the Kimberley, in June, we saw some breakthrough!
In Noonkanbah, a community in the Kimberley, I was driving around, picking up people who wanted a ride to the evening church service. I wove through the bumpy dirt roads, stopping at any houses that the community elder told me to stop at, picking up some of the older Aboriginal people as I drove through. At one house, a man came up to my window:
“Sister, please pray for me,” Terry said to me, “I don’t want anger anymore.”
He went on to explain that his kids had been causing trouble and, out of anger, he responded harshly to them. He clearly regretted his response to his children and humbled himself to come ask for prayer and admit that how he acted was wrong.
Terry decided that he was going to stay home that night and make things right with his kids instead of going with us to church. What an incredible moment of answered prayers and breakthrough! There was reconciliation in the family that night. That is an incredible reflection of Gods character: love, humility; not the characteristics of what the enemy brought in: anger, violence, etc.
Now we can pray that Terry’s response to doing wrong is replicated throughout the community and the Kimberley. We can pray that when people do what’s wrong they will recognize it, humble themselves, and make it right. And that they would want to be rid of their sin and anger just as terry was. “I don’t want anger anymore”.
The way that societies and countries and the world changes is by people like Terry. People who reflect God’s characteristics to their families and friends. As individuals reflect Jesus, the society will reflect his kingdom more and more.
There is so much hope for the Kimberley! Join me in praying for more Aboriginal men like Terry to rise up and be the change in their own families. Pray for men who will lead and love their families as Jesus does, and who demonstrate the right response to sin: wanting to be rid of it!