May Report from Stephanie Baughman, Tasmania, Australia
I hope this letter finds you well. Here is your May update a day late. Yesterday was Pentecost. In honor of that, one of the Scriptures I’ve been reflecting on this morning is Galatians 5. When the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the believers, His fruit was a manifestation of that as well. My thoughts took me to the chaos we’ve been experiencing here in the U.S. during the last few days. Paul speaks of the deeds of the flesh and the Spirit being opposed to one another. Repentance for the past and present is needed. Forgiveness is needed. As Christ followers, the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us to give us that fruit in our lives. You know the ones. You may have memorized them as a child, as a pastor’s daughter recently told me she did with a song: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Paul goes on to finish the passage with “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Will you let the Holy Spirit manifest that fruit in your life that comes with your new nature for God’s glory to the ones you meet/call around you today?
May has been spent, in my world, communicating with Tasmanian children, youth, and adults. I learned some new technology skills to keep up with that along the way. I have been discipling Cody. You may remember him. He’s the little boy that when he moved with his Mom to Tasmania, she was determined to raise him Muslim. He’s since become a Christian and been baptized. We’ve been meeting for most of May via video chat, but just last week I worked out how to share screen to show him a video of an object lesson that went with the Scripture passage I was reading with Him and send a file of a coloring page on the story right there on the chat. It’s been good to spend some one on one time with a few of the children. You can see a picture of Cody showing me his recent LEGO creation attached. He also made Noah and the Ark while we were together as we spent two sessions on Noah.
After meeting with Good News Club teachers, also via video, they voted to do what is called “letterbox packs” to all of the Good News Club children as well as some extra children we normally reach through holiday club, but don’t come to a Good News Club. I was actually very proud of them, because that was the option that would take the most work on their end. They delivered these to the children’s mailboxes with a Scripture passage, memory verse game, craft, learning activity, a letter from me, a tract about COVID, and candy.
One of the Good News Club teachers received this response back “Hi its Millie and Jesse, Thank you for dropping of the good news club yesterday. We enjoy doing the little activities and learing about God 🙂 we hope you are well and we hope to see you soon.” I’m attaching to this email also the tract about COVID that all of the children and families received.
We have four churches in Tasmania that operate a youth group together. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned in previous emails, but I am on the youth team. So I’ve been joining in the youth group Friday nights (which is 5 a.m. Friday morning here). We’ve been studying the life of Peter. I was very surprised when the leader said we would be doing a study of Peter as that is what I am studying to teach to the Good News Club children whenever I can return to Tasmania and we can go back to in person clubs. The youth vary in where they are spiritually, but I have noticed some growth in some of them as they discuss things on Zoom that I never saw when we were meeting in person.
There are various other meetings as well such as getting a budget done with my bookkeeper for the ministry year that starts in July in Australia, church morning teas, and Bible study discussion groups. As you can imagine, these things most often take place during the middle of the night while America is sleeping. This brings me to my biggest challenge during this time. Living in two time zones. Perhaps, my biggest prayer right now, is that my body will stay strong while I do this time of living in two different worlds.
I also don’t want to miss the opportunities that God puts right in front of me here in South Carolina though too. In that vain, I am on the teaching team of Christian Youth in Action. Young people are being trained to reach boys and girls around the State of South Carolina this summer with the Gospel. Some of these 5-Day Clubs will be online and some smaller clubs in person. For training, young people will meet in small groups at CEF offices and churches to tune into Google Classroom classes.
I’ll be with two young ladies in person in the Orangeburg CEF office while I teach the rest over Google Classroom. I’ll have two Bible lesson classes, a class on Teaching Children to Pray, and sharing my missions testimony. It will certainly be a new adventure for everyone doing this format of teacher training.
It will be a jump out of my comfort zone relating to American teenagers. While I have picked up on some ideas from the Aussie youth group on Friday night, it is a different culture here. Pray for God to give me more ideas to make this more interactive for them. Pray for the principles of studying a Bible passage, especially come across understandably. CYIA will be June 14-19. The youth will then be released to do 5-Day Clubs in their areas of the state for four weeks.
· Praise God for some special one-on-one time with a few of my Good News Club children.
· Praise God for allowing me to have my birthday with family.
· Praise God for the technology that allows us all to stay in touch and do ministry around the world.
· Pray for God to open the door for me to return to Tasmania.
· Pray for wisdom for the National CEF Board, the Australian Government, and the Tasmanian Government as they work through all situations involved in this.
· Pray for my body’s immune system to be strong in the midst of having a very inconsistent sleeping schedule.
· Pray for Good News Clubs to be able to return in person when it is safe to do so and fits government regulations.
· Pray for Tasmanian church leaders as they work through what it will look like for churches to return in person soon.
· Pray for South Carolina Christian Youth in Action to reach many children this summer.
· Pray for wisdom for CEF directors, staff, and the teaching team who will be working with the young people June 14-19.
· Pray for the technology to work.
In Christ for the children,