Becoming Part of the Story

In 1988, a group of Yolngu made a significant trip to the Holy Land, Israel. During their time there, God gave a vision to one of the ladies on this trip of a place, saying, "I have a new land for you." She returned to Elcho Island, and she and her family started to search for this new promised land God wanted to give them. Each place they reached, she would pray and tell everyone, "We need to keep going; this is not the place." They kept going until they found the place God had shown her in the vision.

It is a place dedicated to God's glory and work, for prayer and seeking after Him. This place is called Dharrawar, and we are becoming a part of this story.

What I have shared above is only a glimpse of the story of Dharrawar. I myself am still learning about the place. The story of Dharrawar has been turned into a book that will be printed this year.

We have wanted to move to a place we could offer as a retreat for Yolngu, to draw near to God through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. We have noticed that the homeland is a much more restful place in general, but particularly for Yolngu. We thought it would be years in the future, but it turns out God intends sooner. God spoke clearly to Prabhu at the beginning of this year that we should move out of Galiwin'ku, and He has continued to show us that this is what He wants.

During this journey in obedience to God, we have been blessed by the love and care shown to us. People have tried to come up with solutions for us not to leave Elcho Island and have offered us their homelands to go and live in, both near and far. We knew God had said "move," but we didn't know where. The journey has been one of trying doors to see which one is open.

This beautiful land of Dharrawar is where the door opened. As mentioned above, it has been started by and dedicated to God. It is rich in stories of the wonders of God and how He has worked in the lives of people here.

We are well and truly aware this is not our story alone; our lives are in Christ. This is not our land; we are journeying with the people who started this place and those who want to keep caring for it and supporting it into the future. We have simply had the privilege of joining the story and becoming a small part of it.

To emphasize that we are journeying with others, let's look at the story of us seeing if this place was where God wanted us.

We had been praying about what to do, coming up with options and talking to our Yolngu family about what they thought. Dharrawar was an option some recommended. During the same time of talking with our Yolngu family, we also spoke to two ladies who have lived here for 30-40+ years and have had a lot to do with Dharrawar. We told them what God had said to us to see if they had any suggestions. That was the first thought about coming to Dharrawar. We then had to approach the elders of this particular land and the ladies who have been some of the ones to start Dharrawar, to see if they thought it fitting for us to live in Dharrawar, and explain the story of what God was telling us to them.

We continued to have other meetings as they thought it through. It was decided that our desire and vision matched the desire and vision Dharrawar started with. They asked to have a paper written up for them to officially sign and say they support us to stay here for this year as we seek God's will. We will all take time to pray and review in 2025 if it is for us to stay here or continue on. We are hoping to come back to NZ for home assignment and also visit India from October to December this year. So, the current plan is to spend time until October here in Dharrawar and, God willing, make a permanent plan to return in 2025 after home assignment. It all happened slowly and then very fast. We waited for the decision until the last moment, and moved the week after the decision was made. We have had Barmara (company) with us most of the time we have been here so far, as they wanted to make sure we are safe since we, for now, will be the only ones living here permanently. So, we have already had many wonderful fellowships and visits since we moved. We've also learned more about food to hunt for and how to live off the land.

Our hope is to host those who want to retreat and rest, who want to learn more about God and deepen their relationship with Him. We hope to bring the men's Bible study here for dedicated time to God and the study of His word. We also hope to have Bible camps for women and children in the future. My Mari (grandma) has very keenly told me that as soon as she can, she's going to organize a women's Bible study retreat to come up to Dharrawar. We are also planning to continue scripture recording from this location. We want to facilitate this and support our brothers and sisters in these ways.

Mentioned above about the book about Dharrawar, it's something I think is God's timing. It has been ready to print now for about two years, and the reason for the delay has been unknown. However, it is now set to be published this year, and those involved in the book want to have the release in Dharrawar to remind people of the purpose of this place. I don't think this is a coincidence.

Updates on the Family

Abigail, Jessica, and Joshua are loving life here. So much so, the other day we had to go stay a night back in Galiwin'ku. On the drive, Jessica was saying, "If we have to stay in Galiwin'ku, that's bad; if we stay in Dharrawar, that's good!" When they were about to sleep, Abigail added, "We don't want to sleep here because we got used to the Dharrawar house; we're not used to this house anymore." So I think it's safe to say they are happy about our new home. We spend most of the day outside. They love helping with raking and pushing the wheelbarrow. They have also started part-time at Gawa Christian School. A troopie comes to pick us up and drop us off! They are eager learners, always wanting more schoolwork. We will be doing part-time Gawa school and part-time homeschool.

Since moving here, Abigail and Jessica's confidence has grown, and they seem to be thriving. (And I'm saying this after living here only a few weeks.) The cross is our outdoor chapel. We go there for some of our prayer and worship together. The photo (below) is of Abigail and Jessica praying. It was at this cross that Joshua also said his first "Amen."

Thank you all so much for your continued support and for walking with us on this journey.

Blessings, The Pothula Family.

Prayer and Praise Points:

- Please pray as we set up this new home that we can prioritize well.

- Pray we will continue to have opportunities for fellowship, discipleship, and relationship building.

- Pray as we hope and plan to facilitate retreats and Bible camps. Pray the right opportunities will come up at the right time.

- Pray as I (Christina) have been offered a job at Gawa Christian School and have been given the opportunity to trial it. Pray for me to make a wise decision and for God's will to prevail.

- Pray we can finish packing and cleaning our old house well.

- Pray for our safety as we live in the bush.

- Pray for the children to continue to thrive.



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