Friendship is the foundation

Rachel Borneman | Wycliffe Today October 2019

Rachel Borneman has been serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Northern Territory since 2009 and is currently serving in partnership with Scripture Union NT. She is also the Missions Interlink Coordinator for the region. Rachel explains what ministry among Indigenous communities involves:

I have relationships with the Indigenous people, so I’m not just another whitefella. They show me love and respect and call out my relationship term through the skin system. I carry on these relationships in all areas of life and worship. My Indigenous nannas look out for me. At times, I have a Kriol Bible story ready to share or a memory verse rap as part of fellowship. When I take people on journeys, Christian music is listened to along the way. We have recorded Christian raps that the kids and youth love.

It helps to hear from them about what they want to do, and when to do it, rather than doing something according to my schedule. There are always constant needs for food, power, transport — things that are basic but necessary. Being family means providing when I can. A lot of my time goes into these things but it also opens up conversations about God and how we can improve Scripture engagement in the community. To help people engage with Scripture, you need to ensure that the friendship is there first. 

Check the videos out at

Joseph Rap:

White cockatoo, black crow

By Rachel Borneman

My Indigenous nanna, Rachael, and I were sitting on a rug outside a Women’s Conference in 2009. Rachael was sharing about how she saw a black crow and white cockatoo flying together and it reminded her of God’s call for his people to work together in unity.

While she was still speaking, someone called out ‘Rachel’ and both of our heads turned. Because I am a muninga (whitefella), my nick name then became ‘white cockatoo’ and the other Rachael became known as ‘black crow’.

A few years later, Wendy (Rachael’s sister) shared with us, first to her sister Rachael W (black crow), ‘You know how you’re living in Adelaide? Well, you are learning whitefella way, just like how your last name starts with W.’

Then she turned to me, saying, ‘You know how your last name starts with B? Well, you’re learning blackfella way by living in Katherine, learning Kriol, and the Indigenous way of life.’

It is special to have a connection to my nanna Rachael, not just through our given names but also through the bond of friendship we share as the white cockatoo and black crow.

Thanks for your patience...

Waiting is hard, isn't it. But imagine waiting 2000 years for Scripture in your language! Thanks for your patience. And thanks for your generous support which will help bring the long wait to an end...