Name: Matthew Yanawana
Occupation: Teacher’s Assistant
Place of Residence: Bidyadanga Community, WA
Tribe/Language: Mangala people
A revival in Matthew Yanawana’s community in 1980 first sparked his love for God. “At the time of the revival, I just saw people get touched, worshipping the Lord, speaking in tongues, lives being transformed,” said Matthew.
Matthew has lived at Bidyadanga for most of his life. Bidyadanga is a remote Indigenous community, located approximately 190 kilometres south of Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
“I was lost, drinking too much. I decided to give Jesus a chance, give Him a try. All my friends said, ‘Don’t do that.’ I said, ‘I’m going to try this Jesus. The one they’re all talking about,” he said.
“I went to the pastor at his home and I said to him, ‘I don’t want to live the life I’m living.’ He just jumped for joy. I think he was praying for me to come to the Lord, and that night I gave my life to Jesus.
“What God has given me is something greater than what the world can offer. I thought alcohol parties could fulfil everything, but there’s nothing compared God. He’s a living river that’s flowing. Those who thirst, come to Him, and He will fill you.
“To Australia, if you’re out there and your life is troubled, there’s someone who loves you. He can solve every situation in life, solve sickness, solve finance, solve broken marriages, solve alcoholism, solve drug addiction. Come to Him. Come to Jesus. Australia, look to Jesus, He can be the answer today.”
Matthew is a descendant of the Mangala people from the north-western section of the Great Sandy Desert region of WA. He has worked at the local Bidyadanga school as a teacher’s assistant for more than 33 years.
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