Friday, 24 April 2015

"We're flexible" - "We'll boil the billy"

Making calls to arrange the up- coming visit to the Riverina, in May, by the Moderator allowed me to meet some great people!

When asked about hosting a visit from Rev. Myun Hwa Park all were enthusiastic and jumped at the offer to have her visit their town and their church -no matter what day or time.

"We're flexible " from David at Hay, seemed to sum up the reaction to any of my concerns about this time or that or what they would need to do. And so it is that Hay congregation will lead the Moderator in worship on the 17th May, with the local Anglican minister serving communion, as has become the custom in Hay, as churches share their expertise to help each other.

One small concern was whether the visitors would be able to find the church. Apparently,despite being in the main street and white -it is hard to find. Hay locals are wondering why that is seeing as it's bright white but it has been known for visiting speakers to miss it.

Hay Uniting Church 
Barb offered to boil the billy for the visit on Monday 18th for morning tea. Not literally, of course, but definitely scones will be involved somewhere on the day as they celebrate the fact that the church has grown to 45-50 people.
Not bad for a town of 300!

With several younger families attending and taking responsibility for a lot of the leading.This gives those older lay people who have been working quite hard for quite some time, a chance to have a bit of a break.

Gwen and Sharene offered to co-ordinate the visit between Lake and Tully* and pointed out the men may not be there due to the sowing that takes place at that time of year. Nothing will keep them off the tractor at sowing time. It's too important to the whole year's income. It is hoped there may be time to see a property on the way to Griffith that night. The thing is, there are a lot of roos about so it is not wise to travel on dusk over too long a distance.

Sunset over the Hay plains

During her visit Rev. Myun Hwa Park will also visit Barellan, Leeton, Lockhart and Griffith.

This photo shows just one of the amazing outback views the Moderator will see on her visit to this area ........and hopefully they will also find the Hay church!
I've not known Julie to get lost yet so I expect they will :)


* Lake Cargelligo and Tullibigel

Friday, 17 April 2015

What We Need is Rain - Good Soaking Rain.

Rain on the Breeza plains

As I hit the road in late January I found areas of good crops and high stock prices. The storm rain had brought hope, some got big numbers, as I said in my last blog, but for many it was low and others, none. 
I joined with the Uniting Care Burnside Drought team and as before Christmas, I was down to one working leg. My knee had chucked a wobbly but using our car I was mobile and I had to tidy up some connections as I was heading for a new knee in March.


Farm visits give you a good chance to 1) hear the story and 2)more importantly, build a good relationship and see the land. It's still dry. The crop is off but it was average.  We need some good rain to get some moisture in the sub soil and in the tanks. To make it worse, the roos (cute) eat feed for the stock and knock down fences (not cute.)

"So what has been done to improve life for stock?" I asked one farmer.
"I've tapped into a water supply below. We have a 3 way water trough- this gives more options when tanks or dams dry up."

Farmers are adding these improvements to build drought proofing for their land. The sheep are doing well but without good rain the hot summer winds will dry up the feed so stock will go backwards. There will be no planting as the soil contains no sub-soil moisture. Any seed would only die if planted.

For some storms came. 
Around Narrabri and Gunnedah we had good rain. But storm rain is also likely to bring hail, which hit our home town, A number of friends had damaged homes and now have tarps on but the rain has fallen and brought minor flooding of low land and roads.
In the three weeks I was a way in hospital I got 75 ml left in my gauge.The van took a few hits for the team, saving the work car damage. But sadly the other thing with storm rains, it hits and misses areas. The ones in the dry zone have for the most part had very little rain, so they continue to wait .


What praying can you do?

Keep praying for rain.
Support country towns on holidays by spending money in shops and servos. This helps keep them alive. Motels and Caravan Parks use local people to service their work  places.
Little things like giving to appeals all help. Your few dollars go back into the community and we do not see empty shops and no jobs. 

We work with all people from rural areas. We listen, we act in faith. Thank you for your support from all those we have helped with many areas of life. As we are not tied to one thing, we can help with most of what we are asked to do as we visit from place to place.

       Matthew says these words from Jesus. "For as much as you do for them, you do for me.
I tell people this comes from the people of the Uniting Church, their friends and those who just care. We don't do flashy hand outs- often it is a bill paid. The stories are not for us to share.

       Who cares? God cares and so do you. Thank you for your trust and your faithfulness.

                So I pass to you the smile, the hug, the nod and the silent look of thanks.   

 PS - I had few days away from the road but I'm passed the meds and brain is working.
I have my daily work outs and visits to the physio. 

Slowly I'll be back.

God bless you all,

* Note - Apologies to Hillston -Merriwagga locals - of course, it was not Roma but Lorna, in the photo last week. The mistake has been corrected- Sue

Friday, 10 April 2015

News from Beyond The Black Stump* - The Merriwagga Ladies

Muriel,Val, Marg, Judy, Lois,Helen and Lorna.
Muriel works on a quilt,watched by Marg.
You have been reading about the Innovations Grant -Creative Solutions over the last few blogs and occasionally last year too.
The activities funded by this grant have been operating in Hillston and Merriwagga for over 18months.
You have read about the successful computer classes for seniors and the Conversation groups for non-native speakers but another part of this grant has been the provision for the ladies of the Merriwagga Craft Group. Living in a lovely but small isolated town these women are a self- sufficient bunch. They are used to caring for themselves and for others.

Craft time - beading and quilting -whatever takes your fancy.
Marg shows me the bead bangles for the kids.

The Uniting Church at Merriwagga has been able to make some changes to their facilities, thanks to some grants organised some years ago by Julie.
They now have a modern toilet and air- conditioning. This means the building can be used comfortably at all times of the year and the Craft Group and Women's Guild meet regularly to talk, eat Loi's morning teas and sew, bead or knit.
The recent Creative Solutions grant has enabled workshops to be provided to enhance skills and enrich the life of the group. Their final budget will be spent on a road trip to Cobar to enjoy a 2 day -3 workshop bonanza. Everyone is looking forward to this time away as an opportunity to affordably do something different and have fun together.
On the day I visited, the Women's Guild were making bead bangles for the Good Samaritan Shoe Boxes a big annual project each year based in Hillston Uniting Church, participated in by many in the community, and run, as a project close to their heart, by Dot and Doris -who look forward every year to thinking about the smiles on kids faces as they open the boxes.

 Judging by the colour and glitter of these bangles at Merriwagga there will be many smiles on little girl's faces this year.

* Merriwagga is one of the towns laying claim to the Black Stump Legend - In this case a drover's wife was burnt to death cooking her husband's dinner on an open fire. When he returned he said there was nothing left of her but a black stump.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Day

If Christmas shows us that God is prepared to enter into our world, as a human being, to live as we live –as one of us,that He is not a God who is aloof; then Easter shows us that He was prepared to show Himself to us and let us choose to accept or reject Him. He was prepared to allow us to choose to put Him to death, so real is His desire for our acceptance or rejection to also be real.

But Easter also shows us that He is God. He can’t be killed, for He is Life itself and will triumph over death.
Easter shows us we are deeply loved and forgiven. We are saved from ourselves. We can’t do ourselves the ultimate injury of getting rid of God. We can’t kill God and we can’t stop Him loving us.
 We can ignore Him, we can reject Him but we can’t stop Him loving us and we can’t stop being His favourites.

                                     Happy Easter! 

                                                  Let us live as people who are loved.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Good Friday

Little Child,
For you Jesus Christ has come:
He was born for you;
He has lived for you;
For you he endured
the shadows of Gethsemane
and the sufferings of Calvary;
for you he was raised
from the dead
and has ascended into heaven;
for you he prays at God’s right hand;
all for you little child,
even though you do not know it.
may you come to confirm the witness
of the apostle John:

We love, because God first loved us.”

From the Uniting Church baptism booklet -a wonderful statement of faith.


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