Evangelistic series in Oodnadatta results in baptisms

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Left to right: Pastor David Butcher, Sylvana Marks and Pastor David Fletcher.

 A two-week evangelistic series conducted in the remote outback town of Oodnadatta (South Australia) has resulted in nine people being baptised or rebaptised.

Five people recommitted their lives to Jesus and three people were added to the Oodnadatta Seventh-day Adventist Church group. An additional member was baptised into Finke Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northern Australian Conference.

Among those baptised were Donald Ferguson and his wife Carmen (Oodnadatta), and 14-year-old Ivan Marks (Finke). A number of people were also rebaptised including Ivan’s aunty Sylvana and cousin Zahara (Finke), Evelyn and Justine Churchill (Finke), Sandra Minungka and Kaye Finn (Oodnadatta).

Held from September 19 to October 3, the event was conducted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) director the South Australian Conference, Pastor David Fletcher, alongside missionaries from Finke Adventist Church (Northern Territory). The presentations—16 in total—were adaptions of the “PNG for Christ” evangelistic program, which was held earlier this year.

The folk who came to the meetings were very sincere and faithful in attendance and represented the most respected elders. The meetings grew throughout the fortnight and included crucially the support of Finke church members,” Pastor Fletcher explained. “Garry and Coralie Young from the Coober Pedy ministry team and I travelled to Finke to share plans and seek prayers and support before the meetings commenced.”

Baptismal candidates in Hookies Hole, seven kilometres from Oodnadatta.

The members who attended from Finke shared the gospel message through Indigenous word and song, which proved vital to the success of the meetings. Prior to the meetings, advice was also sought from Pastor Don Fehlberg and South Australian Conference president Pastor David Butcher about communicating effectively with the community.

According to Pastor Fletcher, Finke church members have increased their outreach efforts in recent times, also conducting evangelistic series in Yunyarinyi (Kenmore Park, South Australia) and Santa Teresa (Northern Territory). The Oodnadatta evangelistic series is just the latest chapter in Finke’s outreach efforts.

“The community of Oodnadatta have been receptive to the Adventist message for a long period of time,” Pastor Fletcher explained. “Pastor Don Fehlberg and Pastor John Beck have been involved alongside other ministers, church groups and StormCo groups. The ATSIM baptism poster includes a scene from the dam at Oodnadatta, which was utilised for the baptism of Millie Myson by Pastor Eric Davey. There has been a faithful core group of Indigenous Adventist members at Oodnadatta since then.”

Two more people from Oodnadatta, including the chairperson of the local Aboriginal Corporation, are planning to be baptised on Friday, October 23 at Elizabeth Church (Adelaide).