Through LCA International Mission, over the past eight years the community of Good Shepherd Lutheran College at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory has formed a strong partnership with Bethany Home in Malaysia. A part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia, Bethany is a training centre for young people with disabilities. As well as fundraising for the centre, teacher Anita Synnott has visited Malaysia twice with a group of Good Shepherd’s student leaders.

by Anita Synnott

Bethany Home is a truly awesome place in every sense of the word. The staff who work with the children are outstanding – patient, kind and extremely knowledgeable.

It’s incredible to sit amongst the staff and students and see and feel God’s love permeating every aspect of this amazing school.

Visiting there I have been overwhelmed by just how much each of the children of Bethany Home is truly loved. Not only is there a day program for the students, but there are multiple group homes that enable them to develop life skills and to be housed closer to Bethany Home. The older and more capable students join ‘The Entrepreneurs Program’, which allows them to derive a small income from taking on projects for larger companies – for instance, putting handles onto saucepans or packaging other items for sale.

One of the sayings of Bethany Home is that ‘every day is a good day’, and the community truly lives by this. Instead of focusing on the disabilities of individuals, the abilities are celebrated. Students needs are met on educational, personal and social levels.

But more than all of the incredible educational outcomes, the most astounding thing is to see the fingerprints of God everywhere around Bethany Home. The staff and leadership live their faith and have sacrificed a lot to be working for a Christian organisation. They share their personal journeys, heartaches and the sacrifices they have made to follow the calling to work there. For a lot of them, this has meant being outcast from their families or other educational circles, which has come at a great personal and professional price.

Australian students who’ve had the opportunity to visit Bethany Home always come away saying that they have never seen so much of God’s love in action.

While we go to Bethany Home to serve, assist and be educated about the needs in Malaysia, we have all left as different people.

Visiting Bethany Home is a truly humbling experience that allows us to integrate into their precious community in such a welcoming way. Each time we go we are asked to deliver professional development to the staff and quite often we are at a loss because there’s just so much we can learn from the dedication and commitment of everyone who works there.

Anita Synnott is the chair of the LCANZ’s Committee for International Mission and a teacher and career counsellor at Good Shepherd Lutheran College Howard Springs NT.

If your school would like to discuss an international partnership with a school or support a ministry like Bethany Home, please contact Erin Kerber on 08 8267 7300 or

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