Greetings to you all as we draw near to the end of the year.
There is a lot to reflect on this past year, and let me begin with a report from our last annual Prayer Day at Scotch College in September.
Though numbers were down faithful supporters who attended were again encouraged as we heard testimonies and shared in times of prayer and worship together.
Twelve primary schools and seven secondary schools were represented and of those, there were eleven active prayer groups praying in or for schools. Our thanks go to Scotch College for hosting us and providing refreshments and to all who helped in planning and helping on the day. Special thanks to their Chaplain Doug Campbell for his invaluable input as he spoke to us of his work.
Liz, from Scotch College, shared that at the school there is a diverse group of different religions, so they have called themselves the Chaplains Prayer Support Group, and have that unity particularly with their Chaplains. They meet weekly and pray for issues arising in the school, for their Chaplains, students and the wider school community. Their group is a mixture of school parents and grandparents, and they have got to know each other more and at times share meaningful passages of Scripture with each other.
Tracey, a Chaplain at Weeden Heights P.S. mentioned how important it is to get alongside the children, and get to know them. She and her husband have compiled a booklet titled, “The Real Me”, which is about a child finding their true identity; who they really are. It is a 4-week program which is working well, emphasizing that names have meaning, and discussing how labelling affects them. One exercise she mentioned is where negative words that are said are put in a bag with a rock and tossed away thus discarding the bad things said. The aim is to be their real self, and this applies to us all, remembering who you are, your rightful identity, and accepting that.
Sylvia, Kids Hope Coordinator at Anderson’s Creek P.S. mentioned it was her attendance at a Prayer day in 2016 where she was inspired to pray more for schools, and how the Holy Spirit stirs up a passion in our hearts. Sylvia started prayer walking around the school grounds and after a period of time ‘Kids Hope’ was started in the school. Then Nancy prayer walked with her and finally, in God’s perfect time, the school agreed to have a Chaplain – the right person in God’s time.
Sheryn, Chaplain at Warragul North P.S encouraged us that what works well for their prayer group is to email short prayer requests weekly and then meet monthly. Nancy organised a prayer walk around their school. Sheryn shared an example of answered prayer: A student was running laps around the oval and Sheryn prayed for her. Later the student came up to her and said she felt different after the run and felt at peace. Isn’t God good the way he prompts us to pray for others? Their group has grown in faith as prayers have been answered. Sheryn quoted Philippians 4:6.
Marg Perry was our guest speaker and is the National Program Director for Kids Hope Australia. Kids Hope is run in schools with mentors from a neighbouring church meeting with one child for one hour, on one day a week for at least a year. Many (like me, Marilyn), have been mentors for many years. It’s a one-on-one program and kids are matched with a mentor who often shares a common thread with them. The child is covered in prayer before the session time, and the mentor tunes in to the child’s needs, especially as things might not always go according to plan.
The Kids Hope banner shows a figure on bended knee. All work done is undergirded by prayer and scripture. “Thy Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my path” – a lamp shows us the next step ahead and a light illuminates the whole area. The word of God shows us the way forward. We can have such an impact on many kids’ lives, and Marg communicated to us the importance of mentors.
Throughout this year, prayer walks have taken place in the east and west and regional Victoria. We encourage you to start or be involved in prayer walks in your area and experience answered prayer.
In April we mentioned we needed to have a bright light to guide us ahead in the future of PGS and to have the younger generation come on board. We have faith that God is taking care of this.
After much prayer and 12 years as coordinator of PGS, I am stepping down and moving on to new ventures. It’s the start of a new season, and a time of rebirth for more seeds to spring up and to reach out to new and young people. The old is past the new is to come.
Through networking, PGS connected with other school ministries such as Scripture Union, Korus Connect, Mustard, Kids Hope, CCCVaT, Inspire and Children’s Ministry Network (CMN) to work in conjunction with them. Nancy Moyle is involved with all of these, so will be the contact person overseeing all future correspondence. Nancy can also facilitate starting groups and leading prayer walks. So feel free to contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 0409 425 587.
Nancy has been building relationships with schools, chaplains and churches, in the North, South, East and West of Melbourne aiming towards a Prayer Day type gathering annually in each of the areas to pray, worship and celebrate what God has been doing through prayer.
Lai Poh is also finishing up maintaining PGS website and database, and I want to thank her for her faithful service and commitment in this area over many years and for her support working on team with us and we wish you well. Bless you and thank you Lai Poh.
We wish Nancy God’s blessing as this time of rebirth grows and expands to more regions in Victoria. Thank you Nancy for your commitment and support on team over these past two years.
The PGS website will continue for a short time before closing down. Nancy will keep you informed and has set up a “Care Group for Schools” page on Facebook to inform. Donations given to PGS will be used to further the work of Prayer in schools and ministries with whom we are working.
Thanks to all who have faithfully supported and encouraged me and the team in prayer and financial giving over the years, and your faithful prayer for schools. Now as we face 2020, I’m trusting God to direct my paths as I put my trust in Him. He knows the plans He has for me and you.
I would like to close with this blessing from Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Thank you and may God bless you this Christmas,
Marilyn, Lai Poh and Nancy