An interview with Peter and Tanya...

Tanya and Peter have been fellowshipping with us at Barney’s for a little while now, and they are about to embark on some exciting stuff in a local school. We interviewed them last Sunday to find out a bit more about them and what they are about to do. Tell us a little about yourselves and your backgrounds

Peter: I started here at Barney’s about 60 years ago when I attended Sunday school! I later moved to Perth, WA, where I went into business and got involved with Teen Challenge (a Christian organisation that helps people with drug and alcohol addictions). I remained involved with them for 25 years, sitting on the WA and national boards. In that time we saw about 10,000 people go through the programme.

Tanya: I’m originally from WA and have been in the automotive industry for about 20 years. I became a Christian after having met Peter and getting involved in Teen Challenge and other ministry work. Coming to Tasmania has been very enlightening, and has been a time of massive growth for me spiritually.

Before you came to Launceston, you were in Mathinna. Can you tell us a little about your work there?

Peter: We moved to Mathinna, at upper Inveresk, four years ago. It’s a very remote area right in the middle of nowhere. In consultation with the minister at St Mary’s, we started “Church in the Valley” which provided people there with the opportunity to meet together and communicate. We meet every three months and at Christmas about 50 people attended. There have been many great things happen there and a number of people have come to know the Lord and been healed.

Tanya: One example was a young guy of about 30 who came the first time but left immediately. The next time he came and stayed, then came with his family. It turned out he was suicidal because he had a brain tumor and had been given only 3 months to live. He got more involved with us and St Mary’s, and he’s been prayed for a lot and has become a Christian. He had an operation they said he either wouldn’t survive or that would leave him in a vegetative state but he did survive and the tumor is completely gone! He is about to achieve his lifelong goal of driving around Australia.

Tell us about the vision God is leading you to now

Tanya: When I was in WA, I heard someone speak about Kids Hope, a program that connects with kids at risk in primary schools and provides mentors for them. I was very moved and touched by that and when we came to Tassie, I started to look for opportunities to be involved in something similar, but nothing turned up. Through the business, however, I kept getting connected with one of the local schools which has a program that gives at risk kids a pathway into the automotive industry. Through helping from a business point of view, I had some insight into some of the kids’ lives, and found it very moving to hear what happens with some of these kids and then seeing the difference an 8-week program based around cars can make.

By chance (!), I heard someone at the school say that they really wanted a mentoring program for the kids to go through. That clicked with me and I talked to them at the end of last year about what I’d like to do. I didn’t know what program I would use but knew I wanted it to be a Christian based one, which they were very open to.

I’ve done lots of homework over the holidays and have had many prayers answered. I met with the school again last week and have been given permission to start the mentoring program. Six at risk students from years 7-10 are being selected to take part and we are seeking mentors to come on board as well as people to support the mentors in that role.  We are also setting up a steering committee to ensure we keep the vision in mind and are achieving our goals for the kids.

Peter: With Teen Challenge, we were dealing with kids who had fallen off the cliff, but we’ve always wanted to try and stop that process from happening. Hopefully with this program we can make a difference and reach some of the kids before they fall off that cliff.

How can we pray for you and the program?

  • For the overall program; that the school staff will remain positive about what we are doing
  • For the young people; that they can know that God is a God of order, and they can have order in their lives
  • For the mentors; that they establish good bonds with the young people
  • For those supporting the mentors
  • That we, as a community at Barney’s, can also support some of the families the program encounters through the kids

Please join with us in praying for Peter and Tanya and this exciting opportunity that God is giving them.