THE FORGIVENESS MOVEMENT MOUNTING THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA

Forgiveness (1)

This is our first in a series of articles on the Forgiveness Movement by Robert Warren. The second article is i4Give Week.

“Father … Forgive us our sins as we forgive others.” (Matthew 6:9-12)

Over many years there has been a strong and focussed prayer initiative across Australia aimed at bringing revival to our nation. Prayer teams have criss-crossed this land in preparation of seeing the fulfilment of prophecies that Australia and the South Pacific region were destined to become The Great Southland of the Holy Spirit.

Many perceived that revival would first break out upon our First Nations people, and they would carry the Holy Spirit out from remote communities to impact all Australia and then the world.

The Island Nations of the South Pacific

In 2002, two men were sent from Australia to Fiji, a nation on the cusp of genuine revival.

They had a message from the Lord Himself … Fiji was to have an annual week of forgiveness, not just in the churches but openly, throughout the entire nation! The message was presented to the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji (ACCF), the church unity group representing many of the major denominations in Fiji.

The Prime Minister embraced the message and in 2004 funded the inaugural National Week of Reconciliation and Forgiveness which was held across the entire country including all the major cities and twenty regional centres. The principles of forgiveness were taught throughout the land, and Jesus was unapologetically preached to the population as the foundation for all our acts of forgiveness towards others.

Similarly, Vanuatu Forgiveness Week was held in 2010 on the islands of Efate and Espiritu Santo, also government funded. And the message that Australia should hold an annual week of forgiveness was brought to the Aboriginals dwelling in Beswick in Southern Arnhem Land. To this day, Forgiveness Week is observed annually in that remote community, having impacted many Indigenous communities throughout the Top End.

i4GIVE Week

In 2020, the National Forgiveness Week (NFW) team was developed as a prayer initiative to bring NFW to broader Australia. Bishop Philip Huggins, then President of the National Council of Churches in Australia, connected the NFW team with Danny and Leila Abdallah (their story below), who were embarking upon an identical venture which they called i4GIVE. We decided to walk this out together. Some of the Australian activities of NFW will help form i4GIVE Week. It will be an annual 8-day event where the value of forgiveness is openly promoted and taught throughout our nation.

i4GIVE Day was launched by our Prime Minister in 2021. In February 2022, i4GIVE began an awareness campaign which was carried by commercial print and broadcast media. i4GIVE Sunday, held at The King’s School in Parramatta, was attended by the Prime Minister and State Premier, and many church leaders.

The organisational committee is preparing programs to impact key sectors of society including prisons, education, commerce, military, sporting organisations, and more. Key to their strategy, is the First Nations people bringing the message of forgiveness out from remote communities into Australia-wide focus, and to put the ‘microphone’ into the hands of our nation’s Aboriginal people.

In The Blink Of An Eye: Four young lives lost by the side of a Sydney road | 7NEWS Spotlight

The Abdallah and Sakr Tragedy

The 1st February 2020 was a truly fateful day for the Abdallahs, a Maronite Christian family from Sydney. Three of their young children were out with their cousins, off to the local shops to buy ice creams. A drunken and drug-affected driver lost control of his vehicle, mounted the kerb and drove over the seven children innocently walking on the Oatlands footpath.

Danny and Leila Abdallah heard the sirens and ran to the horrific scene. Antony (13), Angelina (12) and Sienna (8) lay dead on the path. Veronique Sakr (11), their cousin, was also killed. Liana Abdallah and cousin Charbel Kassas (11) were injured.

What they saw sent Danny and Leila into shock. Danny tried desperately to revive the children, but to no avail, they were gone. He said, “Something happened there bigger than me and Leila. So, I surrendered to God. I said, ‘Lord, this is something bigger than me. You are in control.’”

Danny and Leila had always taught their children to pray and to forgive. Now they faced the greatest test of their lives. The news reporters approached the grief-stricken couple for comment; Leila calmly said, “I forgive the driver. I just want the courts to be fair.” From that moment their lives had changed. Three of their six children had departed this world and their deep grief has not abated. Tears continue to be a part of every day, but they have held to their resolve to forgive the driver. They bear him no grudge for they put the words of the Lord’s Prayer into action, “ … as we forgive others.” It has not been easy, and some days are better than others. They realise their pain will be a lifelong burden. But they have taken their stand … they have forgiven. They continue to attract strong media attention, as their heartfelt testimony has not ceased to amaze people, who ask, “How could they forgive something like that?”

On the 25th June 2022, they addressed the Vatican World Meeting of Families in Rome. Their message of forgiveness is flowing out to impact other nations and will continue to broaden and deepen with time as the i4GIVE Week initiative strengthens and flows out to all Australia.

We are delighted to bring this first in a series of six articles, written by Robert Warren who is the leader of National Forgiveness Week and on the i4Give and PIPES Boards.

This series will highlight the value of forgiveness and invite you to pray for and apply forgiveness in your own life – and ways you can join the emerging Forgiveness Movement for genuine Holy Spirit led revival across our nation.

Recommended Reading:

Robert Warren, When Angry Hearts Forgive: The Wonder of Heartfelt Forgiveness.
It is available from Amazon.

Rob & I would like to express our deep love and gratitude to those who are richly contributing in the NFW and i4Give teams and the many groups who are partnering with us.

All praise and glory to the Lamb who is worthy,

Sue Tinworth

sue@partnersinprayer.org.au
PIPES: Partners in Prayer & Evangelism
www.partnersinprayer.org.au

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