Once you’ve been on outreach believing in coincidences becomes impossible; you begin to understand that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. Out of all the people you could have met and of all the places you could have gone, you meet this one person and they happen to need YOU. Soon you come to realise you also need them, this one person, maybe even in just one interaction, teach you something that you’re going to carry for the rest of your life- this is no coincidence. Meeting Felix*, while on outreach on Palm Island, was one of those moments for me.
Palm Island is situated in North Queensland and is home to the largest Aboriginal population in Australia. However, the community’s haunting history of racial inequality continues to cause a cycle of pain and struggle for its inhabitants. Palm Island is known to have extreme levels of theft, domestic violence, sexual assaults against children and alcoholism . This behaviour has been attributed to the loss of self-worth among the population and the suggested absence of role models- it this behaviour and toxic cycle that we have come to Palm Island to break . We came to install hope, to teach them how to reach for more and to share the love that is lacking in their lives. I strongly believe that prayer can bring breakthrough and life, and with this in mind, prayer is a gift to be shared and given freely.
Felix is a 12-year-old boy who has spent his life on Palm Island, surrounded by the dark circumstances that encapsulate his people. Felix roams the streets of Palm Island lacking purpose, in a continuous search for direction. Somehow our paths crossed and one afternoon he began tagging along with our outreach group, this is the point when he enters this story and in effect my life.
I had a couple opportunities to talk to Felix about his life on Palm Island, as well as what he felt about Jesus. Both of which he didn’t think much of. However, he continued to tag along everyday and to every outreach event, which spoke volumes to me. It became clear that like many of us he had questions that he couldn’t solve on his own, ‘What’s the point of life?’ ‘Why am I here?’ He was searching for answers and I was determined to offer some.
After days of Felix watching us pray, worship and fellowship there was a change in him. It seemed he had begun to see there is something bigger than us, he was beginning to get the answers to the questions he had held in his heart his whole life. During a night of worship and prayer Felix joined in and began to pray for the people from his community. It became apparent he had let hope creep into his heart. It was like he had come to realise that prayer can change circumstances and he desperately wanted change for his people.
On New Years Eve our outreach group decided to do an all night prayer session. We prayed for the Island, for its leaders and for it’s inhabitants that are trapped in the cycle of drinking and abusing drugs. Felix was there. Felix had hopped our fence before the prayer session had even begun. He stayed with us, praying into the night. That’s not the story of someone who doesn’t think much of Jesus. That’s the story of someone who had found purpose. That’s the story of someone whose hope had multiplied threefold.
He is the reason this matters, he is the reason I cannot go back to a normal life. Far too many people are desperate for hope and truth and have just been forgotten. Now that I’ve seen, I am responsible.
Meeting Felix was no coincidence.
*Name has been changed for privacy
Department of Education and Training unpublished data, July-September 2009. Web: www.datsima.qld.gov.au/…/palm-island-quarterly-report-jul-sept-09.com Accessed: 31 Jan, 2013.
 Hooper, Chloe. “Inside Palm Island’s Heart of Darkness The Tall Man. By Chloe Hooper.” The Monthly, Australian politics, society & culture. March, 2006. Accessed: 31 Jan. 2013.