Rodney Rivers, MoolaBulla Gidja and Gooniyandi Tribes, Musician and Translator, Perth, WA, longs for unity among the churches in Australia as a model for a global outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
G’day. My name is Rodney Rivers. I come from the Kimberleys in northern Western Australia. My passion for Australia is one day I’d like to see the glory of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
The Lord gave me a vision back in the mid-80s, the Lord took me out of this world into a different realm and showed me this global outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but it started here in Australia. And this kind of glory spread all over the world. And I also saw the islands of the sea, there was a big wave coming in as well for the South Pacific as well.
As so my role as an Indigenous person is just to prepare the way for what is coming and then set the stage for this global outpouring because the global outpouring is going to go into all parts of the world as well. And the whole earth is going to be filled with the glory of the Lord.
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“But when this guy came, Mr Faulkner, and told me about Jesus, my heart was broken that day.”
I first heard about the Lord in 1954, I was on Moola Bulla [a cattle station in the Kimberley], I was about 7½ years of age. And an old missionary came there with a friend. His name was Ern Faulkner and the story he told me about how Jesus went to the cross and died in my place. And it was that story that really impacted me that day.
Because before that, we didn’t even know who Jesus was. We used to worship the spirits, worship the environment. But when this guy came, Mr Faulkner, and told me about Jesus, my heart was broken that day. And then he left the property but the seed, the word of God was sown in my heart that day.
And in 55, that same settlement closed down and the new station owner gave us 24 hours to leave the property. And there were around 300 Aboriginal people living there, it was like the stolen generation. I went on a truck with 20 other kids to Fitzroy Crossing in 1955, but then in 1956, I was fast asleep in the dormitory and I heard this voice, it was like a majestic voice.
And I went back to sleep again, then the person called my name again. And I said to this person, “Who are you?” And I didn’t know who the person was. But it was like Samuel, but this voice was really majestic, it was friendly. But it was the voice of the Holy Spirit. And then I asked the man, the Superintendent, “Actually, there was a person came to me the other night. I don’t know who he is, but this person would keep calling my name.” But this guy said “It’s the Lord Jesus. You need to ask him to come into your life.”
My mum came to the Lord in 57, she got baptised in a little muddy waterhole there. She was sent to this mission we call Moola Bulla as a stolen generation and she had bitterness and unforgiveness, but when she met the Lord, she forgave what happened.
My grandmother came to the Lord as well. She was living in Fitzroy at that time but we couldn’t really mix with the full-bloods because they separated us. They used to call us half-castes or coloured people and we couldn’t mix with them. The Lord told my mum not to have any bitterness or grief against the white man, but my grandmother had a chain around her neck, tied to the horse’s saddle of this police.
But then when she heard about the Lord, she gave her life to the Lord but she had to forgive those policemen, what they did. And my grandmother said to my mum, “Well, I want you to forgive as well.”
I went to a church here back in the 70s when I was at Bible college down south in Perth here, and they wouldn’t serve me communion. It was really wrong what they did and I had to forgive them.
People get hung up on little things like that. And I said “No, mate, we’re all going to the same place whether you’re black, white or brindle. You’ve been bought by the blood of the Lord, we’ve got the same Holy Spirit living in us, we eat the same spiritual food.”
“Let’s walk away from Botany Bay and rebuild our lives and rebuild this nation for the Lord Jesus.”
One of the things I’m doing with a friend of mine from Canberra, pastor Ossie Cruze, Tom Hallas, Lindsay McDowell, one day we’ll all march over to Botany Bay and reverse the lie that Captain Cook told, but we want to go there and dig a grave and bury the lie Terra nullius, have a celebration for one week, black and white, and let’s walk away from Botany Bay and rebuild our lives and rebuild this nation for the Lord Jesus.
I think the Lord sees me through his son, the Lord Jesus, as righteous and without sin. And I think that’s how God sees us. The Lord died for us and he sees us like that – spotless. The Lord sees me as his son, you know? And we’re joined here with Christ and we’re working here together with God.
My role here on earth is to continue the work that He did, that He started, to reinforce the victory of the cross over Satan over all the demons and all the sickness. So that’s what I do now. From time to time, I go and pray for sick people in the hospital here and I’ve seen amazing results, you know. The Lord started that work and so my role is to complete it or to continue his work. So I’ve been praying for sick people and I’ve seen a lot of healing here in Perth. I’ve seen a person here last year, their legs were going to get chopped off and the Lord healed him. Someone with kidney stones came to Fremantle hospital here and the Lord healed him. There was a kid paralysed who came to Princess Margaret Hospital here, he was totally paralysed on one side and me and my wife went there and prayed for this kid and the Lord totally healed that kid and he’s back in the Kimberley.
I’m a musician, I taught a lot of musicians in the Kimberley and I toured once with Slim Dusty. I’m a translator as well. I did the Kriol translation for some institute of linguistics. About say 10 years ago, I went to the Tamworth country music festival and there was a guy there and he had melanoma and he was dying. So I sat him down and I told him what the gospel was. So I told him the story about the fig tree, that Jesus cursed the fig tree and the fig tree withered up and died. So I said, to him, “I’m going to curse the cancer in your body, and the cancer is going to wither up and die as well.”
Two weeks later when I rang him up, he said “As I was driving the next day, I looked in my rear vision mirror and the lump on my jaw went down overnight.” He said, when he went back to Charters Towers he saw his doctor and the doctor said to him, “There’s something strange happening in your body – all the cancerous cells are dying in your body.” In the weeks later, he rang up and said “I’m healed!” So the Lord says “That work that I’ve done you’re going to do also and greater work than these because I go to the Father, that you shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” And so I take the Lord at his word because the Lord doesn’t tell a lie.
I believe the Lord is coming back for a glorious church, without spot, without wrinkle and the whole earth is going to be filled with his glory.
“I just pray that one day the church would be unified.”
We’ve got to clean up our own personal lives, our corporate lives in the church and nationally in Australia as well. And I’d like to see unity amongst all the different churches in Australia because we represent Christ and the body of Christ should be undivided. And I think the Lord is sad himself, he’s really sad. I just pray that one day the church would be unified because the Lord prayed in John 17 that we’d be one so that’s what I pray, that we’d be one. And if you want to sing and dance and swing from the rafters, do that. And if you want to sit in the church and don’t jump, well, do that as well. But let’s respect one another – it’s the body of Christ.
And then I think once we do that in Australia, I think Australia is going to be a model for the rest of the world, I reckon, because the Lord says “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” And the Lord says “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy might and thy neighbour as thyself.”
So to the churches in Australia, who is your neighbour, in the church across the road? We should be all neighbours. We worship the same Lord.
“I think Australia is going to be a model for the rest of the world.”
I speak around four different languages, but in the Kimberley where I come from, there are about 27-28 totally different languages. So I mixed their language with the Kriol, but I did translation work in the Kimberley, but we used a Pidgin they call Kriol. 20,000 of us can speak and understand Kriol. And this it’s like a heart language and [we] communicate better with Kriol. A lot of our people in the Kimberley, you tell them the gospel, it really clicks with them. That’s why I love Kriol because I know a lot of people would benefit from it, mainly up in northern Australia. But people from New Guinea can get it as well because they speak similar Kriol and also in the New Hebrides [Vanuatu] the Bislama is similar. There are about four million of us who can speak and be understood by the similarities in our pidgin.
[Rodney then explains John 3:16 in Kriol] “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”