Twenty one years ago I set out on my first teaching assignment in the little wheat belt town of Wagin 2 1/2 hours south east of Perth. I was excited that I had been given a posting and was really looking forward to the year. I immediately attended the Baptist church and was dreadfully underwhelmed. While my city church wasn’t exciting this one was struggling even more. I decided to visit the Uniting church – which had an even less appealing reputation than the Bappos.
The night I went a local bloke was preaching and I was quite amazed. He was good. Very good. Inspiring, direct and no crap. My kinda preacher. I decided that whatever else may have been up with the church that was where I would base myself of the year.
Gavin and his wife Helen became really good friends over that one year. It was also the hardest year of my life – the year my engagement busted up. Ouch… It was good to have some people around who cared for me when I was a bit of a mess.
As much as we didn’t see much of each other over the next 5 or so years, Gav ended up being one of my groomsmen when Danelle and I got married. It was a measure of the respect I had/have for him.
Over the last 15 years we have seen each other probably no more than 10 times, but it is one of those friendships you pick up like an old jumper and fit into comfortably.
I asked Gavin and Helen to be on our prayer team when we made the move to Brighton and they agreed. He mentioned that he liked the sound of what we were doing and would even consider coming to join us. Ok…
Gav is a 3rd generation farmer (I think) so I took his interest as nice but nothing more. He mentioned it a couple more times, but still I didn’t pay much attention.
The came the email saying he had put the farm on the market.
That’s serious… especially for a farming family. Four days later came a rather shocked phone call telling me the farm had sold and they had just bought a block of land across the road about 800metres. ‘We’re coming to join you’. After 21 years we were going to spend some serious time together again.
In Australia when someone is really serious about something we sometimes use the expression ‘I’d bet the farm on this.’ Well these guys did. This is not a test run where if it doesn’t work out they go back to farming. They have taken a huge risk. Gotta admire that!
For the last 12 months their house has been under construction and on Friday it will be completely finished except for landscaping.
As things turned out my in-laws were looking for a place to stay for a few months while their house was being built. So they offered to look after the empty property. Sounded good for all until they got offered 2 months of relief teaching in One Arm Point – one of north west Oz’s beauty spots, and also home to my bro in law. They took that up, so Gav was left without a house sitter – always a bit dodgy in newly developed areas when you are the first house on the block.
Then yesterday we were chatting with Andrew & Jo Dowsett who have been here a month now from Sheffield and they let us know that as from this Monday they have nowhere to live, despite looking all over.
A plan starts to brew in my mind…
‘Come with me’ I said to Andrew. ‘Lets go meet a friend of mine who might like to meet you too.’
The upshot of all that is the Dowsett family will be living in Brighton for a couple of months as of sometime next week. I reckon that’ s a great thing.
It’ll be great to get to know them better and have them around the place for a while as they figure out exactly where God is leading them.
Then after Christmas Gavin and Helen move in and we pick up the journey with them all over again – 21 years later. How bout that?
I’m not one who sees God in absolutely everything – I reckon sometimes stuff just happens – but I get the sense that there is some kind of gracious hand at work herein the relationshio with Gav and Helen, the Dowsett family arriving in Oz and the provision of a house at just the right time. Sometimes you really do just say ‘wow God – good work!’