‘From Here We Hope to Change Kalgoorlie’s Story’
In Australia, it’s common to shorten words and phrases.
“Roo” for kangaroo. “Macca’s” for McDonald’s. “Sunnies” for sunglasses. “Brekkie” for breakfast.
But as Will Graham said to a crowd of more than 1,200 on Sunday night in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia—not everything can have a shortcut.
Preaching for the final event of the Goldfields Celebration, he talked about the prodigal son in the Bible who wanted to shortcut the process for getting his inheritance.
“He didn’t want to wait. He wanted it now,” Will explained. “And we live in a world that wants everything now.”
As he gave the invitation to accept Christ, Will assured those listening they’re much better off with God’s timing—and with Him in their lives.
Scanning the crowd that walked forward, it was a moving sight: Two people in wheelchairs having the hope of salvation explained to them. A woman embracing another in her arms for upwards of 5 minutes. A prayer volunteer kneeling on dirt so she could be eye level with a little girl who walked forward. A young man with an arm cast listening with his friend as a volunteer in a Christian motorcycle club jacket prayed with them.
“Being here … this was like a little picture of heaven,” said Josh Havens, lead singer of The Afters. The group performed each night of the Celebration.
Earlier in the day while speaking at the “Church Together” event, Will also talked about the unity seen throughout the Goldfields Celebration.
“It’s one of the greatest testimonies when we can come together and proclaim the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ together, especially here in an open venue for the rest of Kalgoorlie-Boulder to see,” he said.
Although Church Together was meant to bring area churches together for a combined worship service, many people without a church home—or even a relationship with Christ—attended.
Will candidly shared childhood stories, explaining the close-knit relationship he and his siblings have.
Still, “Even good families have problems,” he said. “Even the Graham family.”
Will then talked about God’s ability to restore every broken family, marriage and relationship in the crowd.
“Some of you here today are mad at God,” he said. “God says, ‘Give it to Me. Give Me your anger, bitterness, brokenness. Surrender it all to Me now and I’ll make you into a new person.’”
By the end of the morning event, more than 130 walked forward during the invitation to accept Christ. Combined with the evening service, the Celebration finale closed with over 200 responses to the Gospel message.
Tucked away every day of the Celebration under a blue and yellow tent, members of the prayer team interceded before, during and after the event.
Since planning began early last year, the Goldfields Celebration has been saturated in prayer. Sunday, the local committee could look back and see it all come to pass.
“It’s great to see God’s testimony,” said Prayer Team Coordinator Peter Young. “Prayer is the foundation for what you saw this weekend.”
Young is a Kalgoorlie resident by way of Ghana and has seen the good and bad of his town. Typically in the news because of substance abuse, prostitution and crime, he hopes what happened at the Goldfields Celebration will give Kalgoorlie a new name.
“Our prayer is that Kalgoorlie will be in the news again after this event, but with good report,” he said. “We want the story of Kalgoorlie to change.”
Prayer team member Candace Lahr shared one story she’s certain was no accident:
“On Thursday, Kalgoorlie had two earthquakes. One was a 2.6 [magnitude] and the other was a 2.8,” Lahr said.
The next day, she received a call from a prayer warrior in Perth who’d been seeking God about the Celebration.
“She didn’t know about the earthquake but said she was led to Haggai 2:6-9,” Lahr said, noting that Haggai 2:6 and Haggai 2:8 not only coincide with the magnitude of the earthquakes, but speak to Kalgoorlie’s emphasis on gold mining.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” —Haggai 2:6-9
Young and Lahr gave a big smile in awe of how God showed His hand.
“You’re going to begin to see things happen in this place,” Lahr said.
Vowing to not lose momentum, the prayer team will meet Wednesday to thank God for His work during the Celebration, then have a 12-hour prayer chain next Saturday.
The goal now is to help those who made decisions continue to grow. In addition, they’ll be holding on to Will’s words:
“Your community will never be the same because God came down this week.”