Oasis Christian Church is situated in Ceduna, 800kms from Adelaide and 500kms from the West Australian border. Ceduna (population 3,000) is the last town in South Australia and is 1,200kms from Norseman, the nearest town in Western Australia.
Heather and I pioneered the church in 1990 and now head a small team committed to ministry in this remote part of Australia. The ministry of this church now covers an area of over 180,000 square kilometres of outback South Australia, reaching into the small communities of the Far West Coast, Nullarbor, Maralinga Tjarutja Lands and the Great Victoria Desert.
Our base church in Ceduna ministers to a mixed Aboriginal/White congregation of around 100 and we also hold services in Pitjantjatjara (the local Aboriginal language) for the ‘Town Camp’ and ‘18 Tank’ traditional Aboriginal communities.
From Ceduna we minister to the Aboriginal communities across the Nullarbor Plain, particularly focussing on Koonibba, Scotdesco and Yalata, as well as Oak Valley (600kms NW of Ceduna) and Tjuntjuntjarra (a further 600kms west of Oak Valley)
As an integral part of the church’s ministry, Last year, with the help of a small government grant, we provided emergency food relief to around 1,200 families. At present we have no welfare office so the emergency food supplies are stored in a small room at my house and we meet all the needs from there.
As traditional people are extremely itinerant, we never know when to expect our guests. People call in seven days a week at almost any time. Over the years we have developed some great relationships and our church now has quite a few people worshipping with us that started coming just because they were hungry.
Through the relationships, built up over many years, people now frequently call in, not for food, but wanting prayer and a yarn.
We would see the welfare part of our ministry as being a vital outreach to our community. Jesus said: ‘whatsoever you do for the least of these, you do unto me.’ That’s our job, to meet the needs of the ‘whomsoever’, that others may reject, but Jesus died for. I’ll be honest with you, that it took a big change in me to be able to answer the door for the 17th time while I’m trying to prepare a Bible study or sermon, due in two hours. However, once it lodged in my self-centred heart that these are the people that Jesus loves, suffered and died for, it has become a joy to open the door and say, ‘Welcome friend, what can I do for you?’