Shining God’s light into the world can happen wherever you may be, whatever your skills, and whenever you least expect it.
It may take years to see where God is calling you, where God wants you to shine his light. In the case of Sunshine Coast retiree Arthur Hall, it was a 62-year long journey that began when he was a nine-year-old boy. It was 1956 when his family moved to the Papua New Guinean paradise of Rabaul, a township on the island of New Britain. Arthur’s father was posted to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a magistrate, serving in a country that was a mandated territory of Australia until 1975.
Arthur fell in love with the place, enjoying an idyllic childhood of freedom, canoeing and fishing for tuna and red emperor near the wharves in the town’s renowned harbour, and also out from nearby Matupi Island, where his dad had some local friends. ‘It was a wonderful place to grow up’, Arthur reminisces.
He returned to Australia for his secondary schooling, as a boarder at Brisbane’s St Peter’s Lutheran College, Indooroopilly, which set a foundation for his Christian faith journey.
After school, Arthur remained in Australia, developing a career at the now-defunct Ansett Airlines as a customer services officer.
However, who would have imagined that his childhood connection to PNG would lead Arthur, now aged 73, to accept an opportunity to share his God-given talents in the country of his youth? It was a notice in the LCA International Mission publication Border Crossings in late 2016 and early 2017 that kept niggling at him. The notice called for a volunteer to help train volunteers for the Lutheran radio station in Lae, PNG. Fortuitously, Arthur had spent the past 30 years producing and hosting Christian radio programs on Caboolture Community radio station 101.5, in Queensland, as a volunteer!
After seeing the PNG volunteer notice repeatedly over several Border Crossings editions, he finally picked up the phone and discussed the opportunity with the LCA International Mission Program Officer Nevin Nitschke.
Arthur had begun volunteering in broadcasting after being interviewed by the Caboolture station about his role in the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel, a multi-denominational global group. He had become involved with the fellowship through earlier work in Brisbane. He helped organise annual South Pacific Conferences in Brisbane and PNG in the 1990s, which attracted the interest of the Caboolture Christian community station.
‘The enthusiastic hostess then suggested I get involved, so over the next 30 years I hosted Christian programs on Caboolture 101.5’, he says.
This experience provided his mission opportunity in November 2017, when Arthur travelled to Lae in PNG for two weeks to lead staff training sessions at the Lutheran radio facility located at the Martin Luther Seminary.
Through Kristen Radio 89.1, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea is ‘the voice of the gospel’ in Lae, shining the Christian message to the people of Morobe Province.
Arthur’s volunteer trip included supporting a weekend conference for new recruits and training up the local volunteers to develop their broadcasting skills. ‘What a privilege it has been for me to be able to serve God and the people involved with the radio program at the communications centre at Martin Luther Seminary at Lae’, he says.
Arthur was supported to undertake the mission trip by the prayers and financial support of the Lutheran congregation of St Paul’s at Caboolture, for which he is greatly appreciative.
The grandfather of 11 – who are spread from Mackay, about 1000 kilometres north of Brisbane, to Eildon in north-west Victoria – feels so blessed with the experiences he’s had. ‘How great is our God’, Arthur reminds us. ‘He blesses so much more than we can ever imagine. The Lord has given me an amazing life and I am so blessed.’
Now based with wife Glenda in Bli Bli, nestled between Maroochydore and Nambour on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Arthur’s new home is too far to commute to the Caboolture radio station, so he now volunteers at Caloundra’s Queensland Air Museum.
When asked if he has another broadcast training trip in him, Arthur says, ‘We’ll see where the Lord leads’.
‘It comes back to knowing that all things are possible through him’, he says. ‘Frequently I didn’t appreciate it at times when I was younger, but now I’m getting long in the tooth, I realise it more than ever.’
No matter where his next opportunity comes, Arthur is passionate about the need to reflect the light of Jesus in all we do, as reminded by his favourite Bible verse, from Matthew 5:16: ‘In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’.
Helen Beringen is a Townsville-based communications advisor who has been richly blessed through a career as a wordsmith. She is inspired by the many GREYT people who serve tirelessly and modestly in our community. She hopes by sharing stories of how God shines his light through them, others will be inspired to share his light in the world.
Know of any other GREYT stories in your local community? Email the editor email@example.com
Your chance to volunteer in mission
If you are interested in volunteering in international mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, contact LCA International Mission Program Officer for Volunteers, Nevin Nitschke on 08 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/join-gods-mission/volunteer/
This feature story comes from The Lutheran June 2018. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.