By Jim & Natalie Watson, BCA Field Staff, Nunugalinya College, NT
After 13 years serving as Co-Workers in Kununurra, Jim and Natalie Watson have moved to Darwin with Jim taking up the position of Property Manager at Nungalinya College. Here they share a few ministry highlights from their time in Kununurra as well as what they are doing now.
Our Bible study group of Aboriginal families in Kununurra met together to be refreshed by God’s word, to share our most heart wrenching joys and sorrows, and to cry out to our Lord for His mercy and grace. These precious brothers and sisters brought their children, the children that they cared for and the children who sought their refuge on the way.
After Bible stories and prayer, we enjoyed conversations by the fire with a simple meal, sharing life’s dilemmas and searching for the Bible’s answers, while the children enjoyed safe but raucous play. One friend said it was ‘a spring in the desert’ for him.
We learnt so much watching The Revd Ron Johnson and his wife Robyne minister as a team, skilfully and sacrificially during their time as BCA Field Staff in Kununurra. Ron wove the gospel smoothly into any conversation and Robyne’s perseverance inspired. We delighted in and were sustained by the strength of Christian community in this isolated town.
While we were in Kununurra, Oombulgurri Community was closed and the last of the Forrest River Mission families moved to Wyndham or Kununurra. Their life experience and cultural heritage is vastly different from our own but our common faith in Jesus allowed us to walk with some of them during this painful transition.
Started for specific family needs and modelled on Godly, experienced local families, we home-schooled our children in Kununurra. We didn’t anticipate the great joy in teaching and training our children in this way. ‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’ Proverbs 22:6
We cherished 14 months with our two little foster daughters who were completely embraced as part of the family and whom we miss. That time was intense in every way; love, laughter, demands, behaviour, change, growing, and sorrow in leaving them.
Jim is employed full-time as Property Manager at Nungalinya College, a combined churches training college for Indigenous Christians. Most of the students live in remote communities and stay on campus for study blocks. Jim is responsible for maintenance of the property infrastructure and management of new projects.
This year new accommodation units are to be built and there is opportunity for BCA Nomad involvement at the College. Jim is looking forward to getting to know students and families with the hope of pastorally supporting the men.
Our four children have commenced study at Marrara Christian College after their years of home-schooling, with Natalie supporting the family in this transition. We attend St Peter’s Anglican Church Nightcliff, and enjoy the fellowship and friendship there.
We ask for your prayers as we settle in to life in Darwin and that our ministry here will bear fruit.