Love is coming to life for people who are lonely or in need at a north Queensland congregation’s family ministry centre.
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The beguiling warmth and swaying palms of the tropical north suggests paradise. But amidst this serenity are communities which face the same challenges as anywhere – people simply in need of love and support.
And just as God has called us to shine his light in the world, he has placed a veritable lighthouse of his love in a congregation in Townsville, in northern Queensland.
For 13 years retiree Ann Hudson has prayed with and ministered to hundreds of locals as a volunteer with the Family Support Ministry (FSM) of St Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Practical help is combined with a friendly face and a quiet prayer over a cuppa at the suburban Mysterton centre, in the heart of the 200,000-strong city.
The ministry includes a clothing exchange, weekly morning teas, baby baskets, meal bank and, most importantly, a prayer ministry.
‘It has been an amazing blessing to me! So much joy and fun in the things I am privileged to be part of, a sense of purpose and joy at being able to tell others of God’s amazing love for us all’, Ann says.
Ann, a mother of two and grandmother of four who has been married to Allan for almost 44 years, says the centre provides a place where young and old are able to meet in a safe, non-threatening environment.
‘It is a humbling experience having others share some of their heartaches and joys with me. God … has used the gentle encouragement of some wonderful, committed people to nudge me into the areas where I was too timid to venture, except with the reassurance that we do nothing in our own strength, but with him all things are possible.
‘It is only by God’s grace and love that I am able to do what I do or be where I am.’
Ann is quick to acknowledge the ministry’s team effort involving committee work, financial and material donations, cooking, preparing baby baskets for young mothers, and packaging, delivering and shopping for meal bank supplies which go to needy youth. Pastor Steve Cronau also visits most weeks and is available if someone needs to talk to him, she says.
And the fuel for this passion to serve? Ann’s favourite Bible verses provide a glimpse: keeping a focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1–3) and praying about everything and rejoicing in the Lord (Philippians 4:4–8).
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