Veales in Arnhem Land

Derek and Anna, together with their children, Ollie, Hannah and Jacob, live in Yirrkala, a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory of Australia. Derek works for the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), whose purpose is to use aircraft, and other technologies, to bring help and hope to people in some of the world’s poorest communities. It assists local people, mission organisations, churches, aid and development agencies, and other local groups to transform lives, share the love of God and fulfil the MAF vision to see isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.

Derek is the Building Maintenance Manager, overseeing the building maintenance, development and upkeep of around 25 homes, plus aircraft hangers and offices essential to the operation of MAF Arnhem Land and its staff.

Anna has looked for ways to build relationships in Yirrkala and has recently begun working as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant in Yirrkala School. This is an indigenous school, with bilingual education – in English and Yolngu Matha. She has been supporting a number of students with specific needs.

The family’s greatest desire is to come alongside the Yolngu people, who have suffered from many years of oppression, poor policy and decisions made against their wishes has had. The people suffer from terrible health, alcohol abuse, suicide and petrol sniffing, amongst many other issues. The family are slowly being accepted into the clans, which is very difficult to do; gurrutu (relationship) underpins everything in Arnhem Land – Yolngu are known to have probably the most complicated kinship structure of any culture in the world. The Veales hope to spread the love and hope of Jesus Christ through their ministry.

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