Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Traditionally, SIM has solely facilitated mission workers for overseas ministry. However, now many least reached people groups are living amongst us in Australia. To faithfully reach these people groups in our own backyard, SIM Australia has developed a local ministry called Across.
Headed by Alan Millhouse, Across facilitates mission workers within Australia to reach communities that are yet to hear the Gospel, such as migrants and university students.
One of Across’
mission workers is Angela. She is the co-founder and coordinator of Freedom To Flourish (FTF),
a Sydney-based ministry run in collaboration with Pioneers Australia. The ministry seeks to address the mental health needs of refugee and asylum seekers in Sydney who are dealing with trauma.
is reaching this community by offering refugees and asylum seekers free counselling sessions and therapeutic activities, such as gardening and craft groups.
Angela said, “I know that God is at work in the lives of people in many ways. I see people hurting and God has provided a safe place for them to deal with their hurt through the various activities that we run. They are exposed to what He has to offer and can safely consider their response.”
Below, Angela shares the story of one woman who has been attending the community garden.
Miriam*, who recently arrived in Australia, does not have any relatives or friends in Sydney. Her husband goes to work every day and her kids go to school. Miriam started to feel isolated as she spent her days alone in her house, not knowing where to go and who to see.
Angela said, “When I first met Miriam, she told me that she missed home. She used to grow her own food, but now she struggles to buy all she used to have in her backyard [in her home country]. I invited her to come to the local community garden with me.”
Miriam loved the idea and decided to join the group. She came every week, working hard in the soil and growing lots of organic fresh food to feed her family. She also met like-minded friends.
“We had a few spiritual conversations and she said that the garden was a God-sent activity because she had sun exposure, a purpose, physical activity, fresh produce, friends, and something to look forward to doing while her husband and kids were away during the day,” Angela explained.
Miriam has been introduced to new foods and even learnt how to cook new recipes. Her family are thankful that she joined the garden project. Miriam is now helping Angela to develop the therapeutic community garden to reach out to others who may be feeling isolated at home.
*Name changed to protect identity
The description of the ministry is based on normal activities without social distancing and lockdown measures implemented in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
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