I (Graham) was born in Sydney and enjoyed many of the blessings of growing up in Australia. The greatest blessing, however, was as a mid-teen when God allowed me to glimpse His great love for me and my great need for Him. He called me into relationship with Him and He has faithfully ensured that we have walked together ever since.
As a young believer, God placed me in a church committed to the gospel and to biblical discipleship. He put many others in my life to watch and learn from, who had walked with Jesus for longer than I. This helped me see how God works through many different means to achieve His purposes in our lives. It gave me a desire to invest in others, and I started to get more involved in the youth ministry of my local church.
In 1993, I was given the opportunity to study medicine at the University of NSW. Halfway through a six year course, I felt the need to seek God as to how He wanted me to use my life. There was a needy world ‘out there’ that God loved deeply, but I felt that I did not know this world well or have God’s heart for it. I took leave from uni for a year, worked to save some funds and then learned how to make those funds last as long as I could by travelling simply and being creative! I spent 9 months travelling through post-apartheid South Africa, Canada, USA, and Mexico. God helped me to see some of the struggles that many people live with on a daily basis – and so He awakened in me a love for the nations of the world, and of Africa, in particular.
I (Linda) was born into a great family! My parents love Jesus and love people. They have always been a model to me of what it means to ‘love God and love your neighbour’ and have shaped my heart for God and my heart for people, especially for people in need.
My home church for 25 years was a bible loving and mission focused group of people. I have had the privilege of hearing the great news of Jesus for as long as I can remember and I honestly can’t think of a time when I did not believe in Jesus and his great love for me. Attending a public high school was a strengthening time for my faith – it sharpened my convictions about God and gave me opportunities to stand up for Jesus.
I did Occupational Therapy at university and worked in an adult brain injury unit in Sydney for a few years before heading overseas to experience how the rest of the world lived. Besides being a whole lot of fun, travelling was a really clear lesson to me that I am never alone – God is always there, guiding, protecting, comforting and refining me.
We first met on the waters of Lake Clearwater in northern Ontario, Canada, in June 1996. We both shared a heart for reaching young people for Jesus, and found ourselves working at the same Christian outreach camp for 2 months of the summer. It was clear to both of us that God was at work, bringing us together on the other side of the world! Mission amongst the nations of the world was to be an important part of our life. In time, we returned to Sydney, were married in December 1997 and have walked together ever since.
Graham completed his medical studies and began working at St George Hospital, Kogarah, and then Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. Linda invested a year at Youthworks College, Loftus. We both were actively involved in youth ministry at Heathcote-Engadine Baptist Church (HEBC). Global mission was always on the agenda at HEBC and it was inspiring to see God calling missionaries to be sent from that church. We had the opportunity ourselves, for 4 months in 1998-9, to get involved with medical missions in Zimbabwe and Tanzania – these experiences gave us a love for the people of Africa and a taste for serving Jesus in the nations of the developing world.
In 2002, we received news that God was to bless us with a baby. Wow! What a privilege and joy to be entrusted with one of God’s brand new creations! Jasmine was born in 2003, followed by Caleb in 2006 and Josiah in 2009. We were on a steep learning curve!
As hard as parenthood can be at times, we have always known God’s faithful guidance and provision. In so many ways, God has used the experience of being parents to refine us, changing us to be more like Jesus. We are very thankful for our young family – we know our kids really belong to Him and that they are simply ‘on loan’ to us, so we are seeking to shepherd them well, for His Glory!
He stretched us and refined us in so many ways as we lived in an intensive, missional community, committed to radical discipleship, hard work, humble service and loving outreach. We started to see life as an apprenticeship to Jesus in which we learn the Way of the Master by ‘doing life’ with Him. The dividing line between ‘the sacred and the secular’ disappeared – all of life was to be lived with Jesus and for His Glory! Everything was relevant to Him! We loved the opportunities at the Ranch to be part of a team committed to introducing people to Jesus and to whole-of-life apprenticeship with Him. They were good years!
We completed our time at the Ranch at the end of 2008. During the next 12 months, we had our third child (Josiah), Graham returned to full-time medical work, and we moved (interstate) to Launceston, Tasmania. In some ways, these were big changes, but it is clear to us now that they have all been part of God’s perfect plan for us. God has blessed us, here in Launceston, with a great church and many rich friendships. We are very thankful to Him.
2011 has been a year of seeking God’s will for us as a family. Our desire is that God would be known amongst the nations of the world and that all nations would be blessed by knowing Him. It grieves us that billions of people do not know of the Lord Jesus and what He has done for them. It grieves us that billions of people are not experiencing the peace and joy of life in the Kingdom of God. It grieves us that billions of people struggle (many on a daily basis) to find food, water, shelter, or a place in this world where they can live at peace. So we asked God to show us, what part He would like us to play, in demonstrating His love to a needy world.
Sensing God’s leading to this area of the world, we explored things further with Pioneers Australia (a mission sending agency) and The Branch (our local church in Launceston). We went on a survey trip to South Sudan during November 2011 and began our first term of service in August 2012. We have grown in our love for the many peoples of this nation and have been inspired by the desire of many of them to build a just, prosperous and God-honouring society from amidst the devastation of recent years.
We are partnering with an organization called ‘Harvesters Reaching the Nations’ located in Yei, South Sudan. They currently care for 150 orphans and provide schooling for 500 students. A health clinic and church serve the local community. In 2012, the health services were expanded and a new hospital was opened. The mission of His House of Hope (“Bet Emin”, in Southern Arabic) is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through a ministry of health care to women and children of South Sudan.
It is unusual for a family to attempt to live cross culturally in a nation with the recent history of South Sudan. However, we believe health care is only part of the mission God is calling us to in South Sudan. God-honouring families are crucial to the health and wellbeing of any society. The orphans of Harvesters and the surrounding community need to see families in action – husbands loving wives, children honouring parents, mums and dads shepherding their children, and God being the centre of the family! It is God’s vision for the future of South Sudan that we are committed to, a future where He is known and honoured; where His ways are valued and respected; and where all people are blessed as a result!
To join with others in re-building South Sudan…
By providing health care to women and children
By promoting the value and values of God-honouring families
By proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, in words and deeds
By praying that God’s Name and His Ways would be honoured
For the benefit of all peoples and for the glory of God!
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, His virgin birth, sinless life, divine miracles, vicarious and atoning death on the cross, bodily resurrection, ascension and exaltation, mediatorial work, and personal, imminent, and visible return in power and glory.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in God the Holy Spirit, who indwells all believers, enabling them to live holy lives and to witness and work for the Lord Jesus Christ despite opposition from the world, the flesh and Satan.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, were originally given by God, divinely inspired, without error, infallible, and are entirely trustworthy and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice.
We believe that Adam and Eve, created in the image of God, were tempted by Satan, the god of this world, and fell; that their sin has passed to all people, who as a result are lost, are unable to save themselves from the wrath of God, and need to be saved.
We believe that salvation is a gift of God to those who repent and personally believe in Jesus Christ; that it is accomplished by God’s grace through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they who are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life with God, they who are lost unto the resurrection of eternal condemnation separated from God.
We believe in the spiritual unity of all true believers, the Universal Church, the Body of Christ.
The Great Commission
We believe that Christ commanded the Church to go into all the world and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching those who believe to obey all that Christ commanded.
Adapted from Pioneers Australia