Across Australia, we have dedicated and passionate people who make this work possible. Although the full extent of their work is often unseen, they make an incredible difference in the lives of young people and families all across the nation – encouraging and sharing the message of God’s love, hope and good news.
We wanted to take the opportunity to shed light on just four of our amazing supporters from across the country: Gay, Margaret & Brian and Chris. These individuals have been partnering with SU ministries for decades, and we’re incredibly grateful for their support.
Chris Barnett – Victoria
Chris Barnett from Victoria reflects on the 50 SU Missions he’s been a part of!
Part of every summer of my life has been spent on the McCrae/Rosebud beach. As a teenager I’d attend the activities of the McCrae team, and eventually asked if I could join the team. Over the course of my first SU Mission experience, I was blessed with a deep sense of “this is who I’m called to be and what I’m made to do” and of belonging to SU.
For me, the foundation of SU’s unique approach to Mission is in the genuine commitment to being biblical, relational, invitational and incarnational. The model of enthusiastic volunteers of all ages, living together in Godly community while serving the broader community, is a powerful one.
My heart for those camping on the Foreshore, my connection to particular families, and my sense of commitment to SU Missions continues to grow. It energises my faith to hear the stories of grandparents who were part of CSSM at McCrae decades ago, or to see the excitement of kids connecting with SUFM for the first time, or to engage with those I led in my first Small Groups now parents themselves.
To be able to be part of the on-going tapestry of God’s work in the lives of those we connect with, to continue to bear witness to God’s faithfulness and the Good News story we have to share, remains an immense privilege.
Thank you for your dedication, Chris. You’re an inspiration.
Chris Barnett celebrating 50 SU Missions
Brian & Margaret Hill – Western Australia
Brian and Margaret’s lives are intricately bound to Jesus and to his mission through SU, and this continues into their 80s.
Based in Perth, each term, they faithfully host people to pray for SU’s ministries at their home. Brian made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ at an SU camp in 1948 – before there were even any SU staff workers in WA! In those days, everything was done by volunteer committees, and the dedication of these volunteers established a strong grassroots movement which still characterises SU ministry in the West today.
Brian’s career was in teaching and in education administration, so naturally he has a special heart for ministry in schools. In 1956, Brian started the first rural ISCF (Inter School Christian Fellowship) group at Albany high school. Margaret was then based in Sydney, where she was on ISCF staff. They met and worked together as ISCF workers when Brian moved to work in NSW; so you could say their marriage was an early merger of SU East and SU West!
Brian and Margaret’s dedication to supporting SU ministry through prayer, financial support, and their interest in current SU ministry is a great encouragement to us all over Australia, and a witness to the faithfulness of our God.
Thank you so much for your commitment, Brian and Margaret!
Brian and Margaret Hill
Gay Turland – South Australia
Gay and her husband live in Adelaide, and have been financial supporters of SU for over 30 years. They have a heart for young people, and Gay coordinates the Western Suburbs team that goes into local schools with Christian Option programmes.
Raised in a non-Christian home, Gay met the Lord and was baptised at age 11, and says that she’d heard about SU’s work with Bible Notes and ISCF Fellowship Groups right from the beginning.
“From the age of 15, I believed I was meant to travel overseas to work in missions in Papua New Guinea. Me and my husband travelled there, and I worked as a teacher. Interestingly enough, we used SU Bible Notes there, too,” says Gay.
When they returned to Australia, Gay was keen to find out more about SU ministries, and she happened upon Christian Option programmes in schools.
“SU in South Australia has hundreds of people in teams all across Adelaide and in the country regions who are involved. There are so many faithful volunteers who make it happen, and the kids really enjoy it. There are some who have heard of the Bible before, and some who are brand new to it.”
“We cover a range of different topics, from Friends, Christian Values and Heroes (in the Bible). The kids’ attention spans may have shortened over time, but the relevance of who Jesus is stays the same, and they love hearing about him. It’s lots of fun. We use interactive videos and worksheets, and have students who practise different religions join in too, such as Muslims, Buddhists and Sikh.”
“I’ve been doing this work since I was 38-years old (now I’m 73), and it’s the most rewarding thing. I regularly see people at the supermarkets who come up to me and say ‘I know your face – are you that God-lady who came to our school?’ There was one young lady who said she could still remember the team visiting her primary school, and she’s now nineteen. It’s pretty amazing to hear those stories.”
Thank you so much for the life-transforming work you do in South Australia, Gay!
If you have a heart for children, young people and families and you’d like to get involved in SU Australia ministries, you can head to our “Get Involved” tab here.