Peter and Jessica Blake

Peter and Jessica Blake are missionaries in Australia. Pastor Walton spoke with them recently about coming to know Christ and making a commitment to serve Him.

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Episode transcript:

Chris Harper: Welcome to Harvest Time. My name is Chris Harper, and our host on this program is Pastor Gary Walton, the Lead Pastor of Harvest Baptist Church. Every week, we spend these 25 minutes together telling you the stories of our church by interviewing our members and other friends of the ministry. We’d like to invite you to join us at Harvest Baptist Church this week. We have 2 services on Sunday, the first at 8:45 AM, the second at 10:45 AM.

We have Spanish translation during the 8:45 AM service, Japanese and Korean translation at the 10:45 AM service, and that’s also when we live stream at, This week, we’re still in our series from 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9. Let’s begin today’s harvest time by welcoming pastor Gary Walton. Hi, pastor.

Gary Walton: Hey. Hafa adai, Chris. 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9, we’re coming back this Sunday just walking through this passage and talking about the generosity of God’s people for the needs of others and just thinking about God’s call to us as his people, and the blessing that it is to be joyfully generous, to God and his church. And so we’ll be talking about that just directly from the scriptures. We’d love to have you come and join us, again this week.

Well, as you’re listening today, we’re actually going to bring you back in time because we’re recording, at the studio, in the 1st week of March connected with our missions conference. Because we have the opportunity to record and talk with several of our missionaries, missionary families that were here for the missions conference. So we’re really glad to have with us in the studio, Peter and Jessica Blake, missionaries to Australia. Welcome back to Harvest, you guys.

Peter Blake: Yeah. Thank you very much. Good to be here.

Jessica Blake: Thank you.

Gary Walton: Our missions conference, we’re in the middle of it right now as we’re talking, has really been fantastic. It’s been thrilling to, for our church family to be reacquainted with the Blake family. And actually for me for the first time, we’ve been supporting, praying, reading about, hearing the ministry there, and, really thankful that we’ve had the opportunity to actually connect. Thankful for your ministry. Faith and I have really enjoyed our time with you.

But, Harvest has supported, you and your ministry, I think since 2002, right from the beginning. Is that right?

Peter Blake: I think around 2003, but very soon after we arrived back into Australia, yes.

Gary Walton: Justin Hwang Okay. And, had a privilege to be part of your ministry and God’s been blessing that. You’re currently serving on the pastoral team at Trinity Baptist Church in Kansas. Is that right? And, then with some dreams for that church to be church planting in that area, I wanna ask you about all of that.

But, thank you guys for being willing to be with us. Peter, you grew up in Australia, right?

Peter Blake: That’s right. Grew up in Brisbane, Queensland. That’s the northeastern state of Australia.

Gary Walton: Tell me about growing up there. What’s different from Guam? And, Well, it’s a little bit cooler

Peter Blake: at times than Guam. Further north, you go in our state, it becomes more tropical, but our winters get a little cool, at least we think so in Brisbane. But, yeah, growing up as a kid in Brisbane, an Aussie kid, loving the stuff most Aussie kids do, like playing cricket in the backyard, going to school, being with your mates or your friends. But I grew up in a in a pastor’s home, so thankfully, that was my introduction to the gospel as a child Wow. Which is rare for most kids growing up.

Gary Walton: Yeah. I wanna ask you some questions about that. I know our listeners will be interested in this, you know, just the spiritual, culture and the temperature in Australia and how God’s at work there. Jessica, you guys have 4 children. Can you tell us about your kids?

Jessica Blake: Yes. We have 4 children ages 23 to 16, 2 boys, 2 girls, and, Nathan, Abby, Jeremy, and Christa. They’re all, not all in different places, but all definitely, differently, gifted, of course. And we just enjoy seeing how the Lord is helping and using them in their different, capacities. Nathan is an auto electrical apprentice, finishing his 4 year apprenticeship this year.

Abby’s overseas studying music education. Jeremy just finished high school. He’s got a a day job and, sort of looking to see what he wants to do long term. And Chris is still in school, very musical girl, very organized as well, and she’s, the caboose of the family.

Gary Walton: Well, harvest cares about your family and cares about your kids. We’ve had the privilege of watching kind of from the distance, but really watching them grow up. I think you’d said your oldest was just a baby when you went back. And so really privileged to to see that and pray along with you for them. Now, Peter grew up in Australia, but you didn’t.

You grew up stateside.

Jessica Blake: Where did

Gary Walton: you grew up? And then how did you guys meet?

Jessica Blake: I grew up in South Carolina. My parents were in full time ministry. And, Pete eventually came over to study in the US to study at a Bible college. I I went to, Christian University, studied music education there, and I ended up staying. I hadn’t really wanted to stay around.

I was burdened for, being on the mission field. I wasn’t sure where that would be. But it was a bit of a, obedience to the Lord to stay. I knew I was supposed to stay for a while anyway. And obviously, the Lord made that clear when Pete arrived, for seminary where I was teaching and, we had mutual friends.

We were set up, but it was a wonderful time.

Gary Walton: Wow. That’s great. Let me back up just to to your personal testimonies, your spiritual story. Peter, you said you grew up in a pastor’s home. It didn’t make you a Christian.

How, you know, how did you come to know Jesus?

Peter Blake: Yeah. Well, at some point, I guess, I just assumed Christian parents, Christian faith, and that made me a Christian, but it wasn’t until I heard my mom really explaining the good news of Jesus to my little sister Elizabeth, who’s 2 years younger, that it finally hit me that I’m the sinner, and I deserve God’s judgment. But Jesus lovingly, graciously took the penalty for my sins. And even as a young kid, I could understand that, and I knew God was real, and I knew I could call out to him. And so a precious verse to me is Romans 10:13.

Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. And I knew it was true. I knew it was real. And in simple faith, I called out as

Gary Walton: a young boy. We’re just talking about that passage, Monday night. The the verses that come after that talk about how do we hear, and how can we hear without the word and how can we gonna hear unless somebody sent to tell us the scriptures because whosoever shall call. So how do we make sure that they know which I it’s a big part of your life, in your life calling. Jessica, you said you also grew up your parents were, in ministry.

Mhmm. What about your story?

Jessica Blake: My mother was a first generation Christian and was very, keen to make sure her children understood the gospel. And my first memory in life is hearing my mother, give the gospel to

Peter Blake: me. Wow.

Jessica Blake: And I I at that point, I was 4, and I went to her and I said, oh, mom, I wanna, you know, I need to pray. And and I prayed. I don’t remember what I said, but I know I wanted, to be a Christian. I don’t think I understood well, I know I didn’t understand fully, till I was probably 9. I went to a Christian camp.

I heard a gospel message and I understood more at that point that Jesus’ death was in my place. And I don’t think I understood that fully, until that point. And so at age 9, again, at when I was at home one night, I called out to the Lord and I re I think that at that point, I really repented of my sin. So I think at age 4, you know, if I died at age 5, I think I would have gone to heaven. I had called upon the name of the Lord.

But as time went on, the Lord, more fully helped me to understand the gospel. Yeah.

Gary Walton: Yeah. I think it’s an interesting thing. Thank you guys for sharing that. To for maybe even people that are listening to understand even if you’ve grown up in a pastor’s home and full time ministry home, there’s the Bible talks so clearly about this that there’s a place for each of us to make our own personal, faith commitment to Jesus as the one who’s forgiven our sins personally and the one who would be the leader of our lives. We don’t just, you know, automatically get it because our parents, you know, are followers of Jesus.

There is a place where we but I love that that idea too. The Bible talks about just the faith of a little child. I mean, in some ways and, Jessica, you explained that so clearly. Maybe that you didn’t know, of course, all the answer to the bible, but you knew that Jesus loved you and you wanted to give your life to him. And God hears that and as he brings truth in to our lives, the truth on which we’ve placed our faith in.

It’s really an amazing thing. Thank you both, for sharing that. Peter, then what about, you know, you’re you’re also serving as a pastor. How did you come to the spot where you felt like that’s what God wanted you to do with your life? I’m sure you had many options.


Peter Blake: Yeah. Well, actually, it was not at the top of my list. As a teenager, I had other dreams and plans, and I thought I was gonna be a carpenter. We’d call them a chippy. A chippy in Australia, we shorten everything, give everything a nickname.

And, I know I was starting to pursue that. I was able to finish school a bit earlier, get some training and experience, but, there weren’t as many jobs around, actually, And through a series of circumstances and an actually, an evangelist came to our church at that time, and I came under heavy conviction. Even though I would have professed Christ, my life was really more about Pete Blake, what I wanted to do, and I was just trying to get God to rubber stamp my life. And I realized God was tugging on my heart to commit myself to the gospel ministry, and I really did not feel capable or competent. I thought, I’m not the first one, Lord, to choose, but that really didn’t matter, And, I remember distinctly, giving all of my life, all of my future over to the lord, and there was a dramatic change from that point forward.

And then I sought training, and the Lord just opened up doors for that and then for ministry.

Gary Walton: It reminds me of, somebody who had influence in both of our lives. I had a conversation recently with, Les Ollalla, doctor Ollalla. One of the things that he said again, which you have heard, before, but he said again, there’s not enough people, Christians willing to have an abandonment theology. And what he meant by that, what he’s meant by that all along is I’m giving up my life, whatever you want, wherever you’re sending me. I am abandoning my plans for life and given them to you.

And, you know, our burden is that here at harvest and, at Trinity Baptist and all across Australia, that testimony would grow. There’d be more and more. They’d be willing to abandon their lives as you guys did. Jessica, you said you had, a burden for missions and God didn’t release you that until you and Pete together went back. I know from your story, you went to Australia as a new mom, and that’s a whole new life.

You’re you’re going to some place that Pete’s very comfortable with. He grew up there, but it’s brand new for you. What did that look like for you?

Jessica Blake: I was a new mom, and we the the year we arrived or shortly after we arrived, we were expecting our 2nd child. So I think my brain was sort of fried, with 2 little ones and sleepless nights and stuff. I think I didn’t really notice at the time that it was difficult. Looking back, I can see I wasn’t necessarily accepted in the community, even in the church for a while, being an American. And But I was sort of I think the Lord kept me, pleasantly blind to that.

Mhmm. Pete was very helpful. It was it really is wonderful being married to a native of that country because I could ask him the questions I needed to ask or what does this mean or he would say, you know, he would explain to me maybe how people were thinking because the mentality is so different. We speak English the same, but, it’s a very different culture to the US or any other English speaking country. So, it was, yeah, I think it was it was hard in some ways, but it was an adventure.

I Yeah. I just really I did enjoy it, but I don’t look back with any regret on that.

Gary Walton: Yeah. I love that. That’s great. It’s hard to fly under the radar though because you have an American accent. Right?

So it

Jessica Blake: just Yes.

Gary Walton: Yeah.

Jessica Blake: So yeah. You know, even I remember later, because we’re going to this camp ministry, and it was primitive out in the that camp, property. And when the church, we were going to was talking about whether to have us come or not, I found out, you know, 15 years later or whatever, that, some of the people said, well, you know, this this wife of Peter, she’s not gonna make it out in

Gary Walton: the No.

Jessica Blake: In the bush, you know. Yeah. She’s and, I don’t I never I always enjoyed it because I I was prepared to go into missions, and missions in my mind was kind of 3rd world missions. And so it was fine. We actually got to do some 3rd world type things when our power went out for 2 weeks, and we were washing clothes in the creek and, you know, different things like that.

So, yeah. It was the perception was definitely different maybe than what I thought.

Gary Walton: Yeah. That’s great. If you would, tell us about, the church in in Australia. Are there many Christians in the country? What’s a spiritual state of, you know, maybe the land of Australia?

Peter Blake: Yeah. There’s there’s churches of, I’d say, all different flavors. Not as many Bible believing gospel preaching churches. It’s not like a church on every block like there would be in some parts of the United States. And so you really notice that the, Christians there really they really value fellowship and friendship with one another, even if we’re not of the exact same denomination.

If we know and love Jesus and believe that same gospel, we’re immediate friends.

Gary Walton: There’s not that many, so you feel that.

Peter Blake: Exactly. And so at church gatherings on Sundays and those type of churches, they’re very precious. People will stay for quite a long time because that’s their one time in the week away from everything else, and they can just be with their Christian brothers and sisters. It’s very precious. So with most, Aussies am I

Gary Walton: saying that right? Would most Aussies consider themselves, just secular? Or is there some religious religiosity there? Or what would be the typical or the majority of people?

Peter Blake: Yeah. In in decades gone by, we would consider ourselves a religious, even Christian country because of our British heritage, we had Anglicans, and then of course it was Catholics, had a large part in our early years, but now it’s very nominal to next to nothing, and there’s a growing percentage of our population that has no belief in God, and that comes up on our census every 6 years. So that’s the increasing majority now, and we’re having generation that’s that’s coming up. They’ve never heard the gospel. It’s just so new.

It’s very refreshing.

Jessica Blake: Mhmm.

Peter Blake: It hasn’t been tainted, although Yeah. They’ve still got a generation that have gone to maybe a private religious institutional school, and they’ve had a very bad experience. They thought, this is religion. I don’t want any more of it. And unfortunately, that that’s become a barrier to many accepting the true story of Jesus and what we believe about Him.

Gary Walton: God has always called out a remnant, you know, in his work. But would you sense that people, in Australia, are are they spiritually seeking? I know there’s always be some, but in general or just heading on their own path, not really a lot of spiritual thought.

Peter Blake: I think it’s a mix. But I think post-COVID, we’ve seen an increasing number of people that are genuinely, spiritually seeking, some obviously seeking in the wrong areas, but there’s a greater acceptance that there’s a spiritual component to our lives, even if people don’t know what the answer is. So I think that’s sometimes an inroad into talking people, talking to people about the God who made them. And yes, you’re sensing something because you have a spirit, and God has designed you for a relationship with Him forever.

Gary Walton: I don’t know. Maybe this isn’t a fair question, but are you optimistic about the church in Australia, about the future of Christianity there? Or is it

Peter Blake: I am, and partly because of what the scripture says. Jesus says, I will build my church. Yeah. And it’s a pretty imperfect church, as it is in many places of the world, and we could look at it from a human standpoint and think, man, we’re losing ground, we’re going backwards, and and maybe, but I know where we are, what’s what God has called us to. There are so many open doors of ministry and opportunity.

It’s refreshing to just share the good news of Jesus Christ and see people’s lives changed, and, I see I see that God is building His church, maybe not the pace or the rate we would, you know, desire, but I know He’s doing that in all places of the world too, We just need to be faithful in in giving out the word, the seed, and it will drop into good soil. God knows. God knows.

Gary Walton: Seeing lives changed, that’s the power of the gospel that we can’t see in any other way. And so it’s the the reality of the of the gospel bearing fruit in lives that’s, that’s really awesome. Tell us about Trinity Baptist Church. Is it an old church, relatively new church? I know you’ve got some, you know, vision for the area around there.

So tell us about that.

Peter Blake: Well, actually, we’re relatively new. Okay. We came there in beginning of 2020. It’s been going for, I think, 45 years.

Okay. And I’ve just had a number of different pastors, and, you know, we thank God for those who were called to to plant churches, and, and then God moves them on and others come. You know, every church has its ups and downs, but we feel like that God is really moving and working, and he’s brought a leadership team together that hasn’t been there of that number and quantity before, and quality of leadership that’s allowing us now, as a church, to do things such as plant another church, which has been a vision, has been a desire of Trinity Baptist Church, but now it’s actually happening. And we want to plant more churches.

Gary Walton: That’s great. The gospel bearing fruit and maturing within churches. That’s fantastic. I’ve been asking this question more commonly. I don’t wanna do it, every time, but I think for you guys especially.

So who changed you? Not not not God. I mean, he’s he’s the one, but as you look back on your lives, who invested in your lives relationally at such a level that it marked you in a way that you’ll never be the same? So who mentored, who, and then and then the follow-up would be, and what is it or was it about that person’s person’s life that was so impactful for you? Maybe I could ask you both that.

Peter Blake: Yeah. Well, I know I could probably point to at least 5 men in my life, but one of those men early on was he was actually an American missionary who ministered in Australia and then went to South Africa and came back to Australia. We had the privilege of he was preaching and teaching in our church in Brisbane, and he had the power of God upon his life in his ministry. He was crippled from the age of 18 in a football game. He was on crutches.

You could tell he was in pain every day of his life, but he loved Jesus, and he loved people. And I was what you’d call a ratbag teenager, like, you know Ratbag? Yeah. You know, I wasn’t, you know, the nicest kid or the most well behaved young person, but I could tell he he wasn’t just looking out for the the nice people, the spiritual people, he loved even the ratbag teenagers, whereas other people would have just, you know, dismissed us. And, that I didn’t realize it at the time, but his love for me just loved me where I was where I was at, and and that really made an impact on my life.

And I know he was praying, but I really really respected him. And, you know, as I matured and as God got a hold of my heart, there was more direct influence that he had and but he was an encourager, a real encourager. And he just tried to take people to that next step, whatever it was, didn’t have high ex or impossible expectations. And that was the start of me actually stepping into some really early opportunities for Christian ministry. He kinda believed in me, whereas other people maybe wouldn’t have given me a go.

Gary Walton: Wow. That’s really good. He I think I heard you say he loved Jesus, and he cared about people. I mean, love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and and love others. Love your neighbor as yourself.

You really represented Christ for you. It’s really powerful that those would be the things you’d pull out from his life. Jessica, what about you?

Jessica Blake: I think they’re too numerous to recount. My parents most definitely set an example. My father loves the word of God. I look to that, with incredible thankfulness. I had the privilege of growing up in a Christian school and a Christian university and, I look back at my teachers that prayed for us and were very patient with us.

I worked at a Christian camp for 10 summers of my life, and the people there on particularly the staff, again, it’s older people, investing time, their free time, even on weekends when, you know, at the camp, we’re supposed to be able to rest and recuperate. And they’d have us to their house and they would, you know, play games or we talk and just developing the trust. As a, a young person, I don’t think I I didn’t trust easily, but developing knowing that I could trust these people in my life, and when those big questions came up, or I was struggling with something, I knew who I could go to, and I knew that they would help and they would love me and they would, give me a biblical answer. So, yeah. I just I don’t know if I could even name Yeah.

Everyone. It’s just been the Lord has been so gracious to I I think I needed all that help. I’ve always said, I think if I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, I don’t I think knowing my stubbornness, I don’t know if I would have come to the Lord. Just as an adult, I think I would have rejected him. So I the Lord knew what I needed to bring me to himself, and he surrounded me with wonderful Christian people who sacrificially gave to me.

Gary Walton: Amen. Mentioned this before, but we’re really feel honored and privileged to be part of your your your support family and thankful for the work that God’s doing in your life. Praying that, you know, these years to come that your fruitfulness would just grow and grow in that area. So, thanks for joining us here on harvest time. Our prayers are that God would bless you immeasurably.

Jessica Blake: Mhmm.

Peter Blake: Well, thank you, pastor Gary and, Jessica and I just wanna express our love and appreciation to you, all the people at Harvest. It’s a team effort. Yeah. But but we know, that the people here love God, love people, and and love missions. And, we feel privileged, we feel honored, we feel humbled to be, a small part.

We’re we’re on the receiving end, but we’re very, very grateful. Thank you.

Jessica Blake: Thank you, Pastor Gary.

Chris Harper: And thank you for listening to Harvest Time. Of course, at this point in the program, we always wanna personally invite you again to Harvest Baptist Church this week, an 8:45 AM service and a 10:45 AM service, Spanish translation at 8:45, Japanese and Korean translation during the 10:45 AM service. You can also listen here on 88.1 FM and on We do hope to see you this Sunday. Thanks again for listening to Harvest Time.

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