Pastor William Dumas is a minister of Ganggalah, an Australian Council of Churches (ACC) church in Tweed Heads in northern NSW. He is married to Sandra and they have six children and nine grandchildren. Here he explains his conversion and his vision for a revival through Indigenous Christians.
When I was 19 years old in Long Bay Jail, I met a Christian in there. I couldn’t run away from him because I was locked up with him. He started to preach to me. And when he said “Jesus is coming soon”, well, I went away with that thought and it just kept on repeating in my mind. And I believe now it was the Holy Spirit that really spoke to me, even though it sounded foolish.
When I was a young boy, about 10, 11 years old, I used to run away from home. We had a background of violence and alcohol was a big issue in our family. So I used to take off as a kid trying to find some sort of safety. And so I’d go and stay with this old lady. And she would take me to church, but later on when I became 19 and when I was in jail and came back out and went back to the Christian hostel, who was sitting there? That old lady!
And she leaned across the table, she said, “Son, would you like to give your heart to Jesus?” And I went [tentatively], “oh, yeah”. So I opened my heart to Jesus. And you know, at that very moment when Christ become my Lord, my saviour, drugs and alcohol – everything – just began to just totally be cut off from my life. I was so caught up in sin, so caught up in my own little bubble world, I had no meaning and purpose.
God just began to give me purpose and understanding about the whole creation and about his whole beautiful world and how he puts things into place. So I just told people about Jesus, all my friends. I went to Kings Cross [in Sydney], I went all around the city, just preaching about Jesus because I didn’t know the Bible until later on. I began to read the Bible, [ but] I couldn’t even understand the Bible because when I was in high school, I only went as far as 8th class.
No matter what we’ve gone through, his love just becomes so real and tangible to every person’s life. Jesus’ love is beautiful.
The Holy Spirit began to teach me. My grandmother has seen the change in my life. She’s seen what Jesus could do, and so that revealed to my grandma that God’s real because no one could actually change my life – no culture, no land council – but Jesus Christ was the one that changed my life. And she gave her life to the Lord.
I’m now in ministry full-time; it’s all because of the power of Jesus; it’s all because of what God had done for my life,
What I love about Jesus is how he can touch people’s lives within the soul, the heart of a person; the Holy Spirit can just reach down inside and just remove all the darkest shades and then makes it so bright for Jesus to walk straight in. It’s not just a religious thing, but it’s changed by the power of Jesus beyond all our mistakes and all our weaknesses.
It’s like Jesus loves us beyond all description. You know, you see a little 5c coin. You throw it in the middle of the ocean. That’s the size of Jesus’ love. And the little coin is our sin. That surrounding water is like the depth of his love. It just covers every deep area of our life. No matter what we’ve gone through, his love just becomes so real and tangible to every person’s life. Jesus’ love is beautiful.
I think God sees me as maybe the best person he’s ever created.
How does God see me? I think God sees me as maybe the best person he’s ever created. I think with my identity with God, knowing who I am, what I am only comes with me growing up, understanding my relationship with the Lord. The Bible says, if you don’t love yourself, you don’t love others. So there’s a healthy respect. He created my whole features; you just have to be who you are.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got weaknesses, doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. With a mum, you can say the worst thing about the kids, but the mum still loves them – that’s how God is. We just have to have a healthy understanding of what God sees who we are, how God accepts me.
That sets me free because Jesus said “I didn’t come to condemn the world, I came to save it. The old things have passed away and all things become new.” So it’s really knowing what Jesus has done for us and what he’s given to us.
My real passion is to raise up our Indigenous people of Australia and to have strong leaders within their own community. I believe we can train up strong leaders and build a strong church. So we’re looking at the long term and I believe that the Lord told me about this training school to see how Indigenous people can rise up and see churches being planted in their communities and have strong leaders.
My real passion is to raise up our indigenous people of Australia and to have strong leaders within their own community
So we’re starting to see that happen. So we have a Ganggalah church, which is the Bundjalung word that means a place of learning and wisdom. The training school also has 160-170 students in about eight years. And 60 per cent of that is probably Indigenous. It’s a real great privilege to see what the Lord can do in young people’s lives and how God can transform their hearts.
I went to this prophetic conference in Sydney, one African guy come and kneeled beside me and prayed for us. And then suddenly in this house of God I felt the Lord was saying to me, “The land is wounded” and I felt God was beginning to show me the deepness within the land. And Romans 8: 26-27 says that he groans, there’s this groaning within the Holy Spirit that he wants to heal the land and heal the people of the land.
I began to ask the question to the Lord in my brokenness. I started crying before the Lord. But in that time too, I had this graphic picture and the Spirit of God began to show me that every community goes to pray for the elders of the community and release the spirit of woundedness that was over the communities.
And God said, “As this takes place I’m going to prosper, they have prospered.” It could mean spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or materially, but I believe the Lord wanted to bring that healing to the wounded hearts. He’s got to come between ourselves. We’ve got to have this healing service between ourselves to embrace the Holy Spirit, to bring healing to the woundedness of our hearts.
And once that takes place, I believe revival is going to set this nation on fire of the Holy Spirit pouring out his spirit upon this nation like nothing. Because a lot of our communities are still wounded today. Still carrying the scars. When we’ve been wounded, we can identify with our own natural mind, but there’s some things that we don’t know.
Only the Holy Spirit could bring that deep with the deep in our lives with our song. It’s the work of God that he wants to do within our life, being free; our life becomes liberated by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.
I sense a new wind of the Spirit over the land that’s going to bring such healing to our people.
I believe that God’s going to really raise up Indigenous people of Australia. I sense a new wind of the Spirit over the land that’s going to bring such healing to our people. And our people are going to be effective with this, first of all, I think.
God’s words are really coming that way, there’s such a liberty, and such a freedom that we’re not going to be entangled with the past and that’s not going to be a one-night thing, but it’s going to be a definite process.
When I see non-Indigenous churches open their hearts for all Indigenous people and see them on their platforms, acknowledging the First Nations people in major conferences – respect and honour – that’s going to be showing to each other, so that’s why the perspective of God wants to be on the nation.