With this man’s help, God is moving in the Australian Outback
Carl Musch, one of the most amazing men I have ever met, has escaped enraged knife-wielding assailants and spear-throwing adversaries; he has survived the threat of crocodile attacks and the hardships of the remotest regions of Australia. He is a man acquainted with troubles, often having nowhere to lay his head and little to eat. Carl, who is part Apache Indian, was well prepared by the Lord for what he was to face in the far reaches of Australia … the Never-Never.
Carl talks about God’s call and working in Arnhem Land and Cape York, the forgotten mission fields of northern Australia …
As a child, I was frequently asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Like most ten year-olds, I didn’t have any idea and so I would tell my inquisitors that I wanted to be a pest control man or a butcher; that seemed to satisfy them. Unfortunately my mother was unwell and during school holidays, I was packed off to Church camps as it was the best value childcare on offer. They were great fun. One of the young camp leaders said that Jesus was looking for disciples. This had such an incredible impact on me. I got so excited I blurted out …“Well, if I can be a disciple of Jesus then there’s nothing else in this world worth doing more than that!” With that exclamation an explosive power surged through my whole body!
Two years later, at the age of twelve, I had an amazing life-changing dream. In the dream I saw a vast landscape and gatherings of dark-skinned people. I was talking with them in a circle and I placed a Bible on the ground. I then stepped back from the circle and went away. But when I returned, I could see people still gathered around the Bible. This happened three times, then I awoke with the presence of God filling my heart like I’d never known before. I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to serve Him on the mission field. Because of all the black faces, I automatically thought the landscape was Africa.
Seven years later, I started a small tutoring business, managing a team of qualified teachers and assigning them after-hours tutoring jobs. This rapidly grew into a viable business. Not long afterwards I was praying, “Lord, You called me to be a missionary. When are you going to send me to Africa?” I was startled by God’s audible response … “If you don’t leave now, you never will!” That ‘kicked’ me into immediate action. It took me a whole three days to give away my car and business. You might think a person would find that difficult but I tell you the word from God made it so easy. I decided to hitchhike to Darwin, where I hoped to get work on a boat to get across to Singapore, and from there, travel to Africa. It was a pretty rough plan, but it was the best I could come up with at the time.
In Darwin, I was sleeping in parks or under buildings with mostly Aboriginal people. One Saturday, I was with some of them who were planning a buffalo hunting expedition. They were in the truck ready to go when one of them called out, “Hey, white-fella; do you want to come?” I didn’t need to be asked twice and squeezed into the overloaded old truck.
Out past Kakadu in Arnhem Land, I was holding onto the front of the bull-catcher (a 4-wheel drive vehicle with the roof cut off to allow for clear shooting) when we burst through the long grass on a ridge. There I saw the Arnhem Land floodplains and escarpments for the first time in my life, yet I thought, ‘I’ve seen this before.’ It was the same place that I’d seen in the dream when I was twelve years old! I suddenly realised that I was with the people to whom God had called me. I didn’t need to go to Africa! God had ordered my steps to right where I was meant to be.
I attended church in Darwin but I never told them that I was homeless. They eventually found out though. You see, I only had one pair of pants, and the bottom was seriously threadbare. So I would go to the local post office and gather pieces of free packaging tape on my arms, then go into the public toilets, remove my pants and use another layer of postal tape to hold the threadbare bottom together for a few more days. I’m very grateful to Australia Post for their generosity in keeping me decent! The fact that I crinkled when I walked eventually gave me away, and I moved into a church ministry house.
Thereafter I just moved a gear in my head, from one of ‘preparing to doing’. I looked for opportunities to bless Aboriginal people. I suppose I just went to work doing what was in front of me. I started to study the Bible with a few people, visited hospitals, and talked with people about God on the streets. I just helped people in any way I could. When I asked our pastor if he could go to the Aboriginal communities to hold meetings, he sent me! That was so exciting and I felt I had a destiny amongst the Aboriginal people.
Some Christians at Barunga asked if we could hold a crusade in their community. I had never conducted a crusade before but God’s grace was overwhelming. He had even visited the community chairman in a dream and told him we were coming. We saw broken bones miraculously healed and cancers disappear.
But the most remarkable healing miracle I saw was that of a man named Jeffery. He had some eye disease. His eyes were a reddish/yellow colour, and he could not look into the dimmest light. They were so badly infected and he was so badly intoxicated that the pus, which had been flowing from each eye, had dried onto his cheeks, in his beard and it had even run down onto his T-shirt. Not only that, but dead flies were stuck in the dried pus! It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Anyway, he came out for prayer for healing! I must admit I did not want to put my hands on him, so I closed my eyes and braced myself. Everything went into slow motion as I silently prayed, ‘Oh Lord, please no! Choose someone else; something easier Lord!’ But I prayed for his healing … When I opened my eyes, he had both hands in the air praising God. His eyes were totally clear, the colouration had gone, and he was not shading his eyes from the dim light anymore. But what amazed me was that he seemed stone cold sober, and to top it off, all the pus and flies had gone from his face and beard, even off his T-shirt! God had healed him and cleaned him up as well! I think God showed us all that night, that if He could clean up the outside of someone who looked like that, then He could do the same for any willing human heart.
After a few days we had 160 decisions for Christ (one third of the township) but there were no Christian leaders in the community, at least none with the confidence to lead or teach. So they asked me to stay and be the pastor. I was even offered a two-storey air-conditioned house, and after being homeless for so long, the idea was more than a little attractive. I asked God but got a resounding, “No.” After six months, I dropped in at Barunga for a surprise visit, and I found 60 people sharing Bible readings, singing and praying for the sick. I was so blessed to see the Aboriginal
people becoming fishers-of-men, disciples of Christ.
Over the past 30 years, we have worked and networked with at least half the Aboriginal pastors from all evangelical denominations in Australia. Our regular ministry circuits range from Cape York in Queensland across the Gulf of Carpentaria, and throughout the greater Arnhem Land region. In recent years we have concentrated on outstations – the most remote regions where there is a real hunger for God. They feel neglected; they feel that Australia and the ‘Church’ have forgotten them.
If people want field experience it would be my privilege to take them on at trip, but they certainly can’t expect five star accommodation.
For more information, visit www.imla.org.au.
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