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So many things have changed in our life that we haven’t been able to put it into words yet. The only thing unchanged is that we are still in Arnhem Land serving the Yolŋu people with MAF. What has changed, is the location, we’ve left Milingimbi behind and now live in Nhulunbuy, the main base of MAF. What has changed is René’s job. He is now Crew Training Manager, responsible for the training of all pilots. What has changed too is our family situation. Noah is now attending school four days a week, which changes Janneke’s life’s rhythm.

We live in Nhulunbuy now, a Western bubble in Arnhem Land. Because of the bauxite mine this town is kept alive, with a number of facilities, so that people from elsewhere in Australia actually want to come and work here temporarily. There is a swimming pool, a Woolworths, a tennis club and primary schools. The small town is characterized too by the lack of Yolŋu people living there. Most of the mine workers live a Western life style, apparently oblivious to the fact that they live on Aboriginal land. There is alcohol for sale, a pub and some night life. Completely different compared to Milingimbi. It takes us a while to get used to it, but at the same time is it easier to get used here than it is to get used to life at Milingimbi, just because of the fact that we fit better in a Western life style. In the three years at Milingimbi we discovered that the culture cap is enormous, and that we will never be Aboriginal. We bridge the gap to bring across God’s love, and to show these people that they are loved and that God’s Love is for all race, tongues and peoples. Despite this, it remains a constant stressor that we lived in daily. Now in Nhulunbuy we notice that just going outside is less stressful, just because it feels more natural to us.

This is not to say that, God willing, we will never jump into the deep end again and live amidst an indigenous culture, but to be honest we have chosen intentionally to live in a ‘Western’ town for a little while to ‘reset’ ourselves and to get some rest. We are orienting ourselves how we could, aside from René’s work, be involved ministering to the Yolŋu privately as well. There are regular outreach trips to the homelands. There has also an initiative been started to form an indigenous Aboriginal church in Nhulunbuy. Possibly we will join to support this initiative. 


Our new home, at the edge of Nhulunbuy


The carport and right a small guest lodge, where visitors of MAF can stay


The rear entrance with kitchen


The yard, a lovely enclosed play area for Noah and Judah

 

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