Last Monday's meeting was a corker; we were truly blessed. We had a perfect winter's night under the stars, fresh but not too cold, & I reckon there must have been some iron bark on the fires. the aroma of eucalypt burning & "barby's" cooking created the perfect setting. I didn't feel like I was in suburbia, but out on the river bank; it was tops.
To complement the perfect setting, we had three great interviews & it's gonna be a challenge for me to do them justice.
First up, Lahrs interviewed Hilton. He grew up on a dairy farm in Tassy with a dad that had a violent temper. When he was 9, he bore the full brunt of that temper. His dad flogged him with a piece of polythene pipe (normally used to "encourage" the cows) for something he didn't do, or didn't know what to do, around the dairy. He also "belted him" with the words, "Go home, you're bloody useless!" It was a time that Hilton was trying to prove himself to his dad. From then on Hilton decided there's no point in trying to prove anything to anyone & he withdrew from not only from his dad but his whole family. He also thought all families were like his.
This attitude persisted into his teens until he met his future wife, Tracey. Her family were Christians & the only way he was going to be able to date Tracey was by getting involved with Bible study. It was to be a turning point in his life. For the first time he realised that not all families were like his own. These people knew God & He was their friend, & he witnessed God's love & power.
When Hilton & Tracey bought their first house, they decided to make it "God's house". They opened their doors to people in need from all walks of life - prostitutes, alcoholics, homeless etc. At first, Hilton didn't want to have kids, as he was scared he'd turn out like his ol' man, but he now has two sons who he has a great relationship with & both are "going great guns" in their respective lives.
Twenty years after that flogging at the hands of his father, Hilton had a yarn with a bloke about discipline in a Christian home & the role of forgiveness, and he then forgave his father; BUT GOD wouldn't leave it at that. HE said he needed to go to his family & ask for his forgiveness, as he'd shut all of them out of his life for the past 20 years. The day came when Hilton jumped on his motorbike & rode to the family farm in obedience to God's leading. It probably came as no surprise to Hilton that his dad didn't think it was much of a big deal, but his Mum broke down in tears. The "big" surprise for Hilton was the ride home. He sobbed so much on the way home that the front of his jacket was soaked with tears - tears of relief & release. The burden on his heart for the past 20 years was gone & he knew it. He was freed!!
Nugget of Gold - Forgiveness is a two way street.
Second up, Wayne interviewed James, who hails from Coffs Harbour & was in Bris to do his MC licence with Watto's driving school.
James grew up in the church. His dad was a pastor & his mum was also heavily involved with church activities, in fact, his mum "called the shots". In James's words, his dad was spineless.
At 11, his world was turned upside down when his parent's marriage broke up, however, this wasn't your "standard" marriage breakdown. James's mum had fallen in love with a woman she had been counselling through a divorce. James had to live with his mum & her new partner, & he hated it, & both of them at the time. A year later, his life got even more complicated & confusing when he was sexually abused by a woman.
At 16, James could legally choose to return to living with his dad, which he did. He'd had enough of his mum's strictness & he knew he could get away with more with his dad.
(My notes got a "bit sketchy" from here on. I think was a tad "gob smacked" at this point.)
It's probably not surprising that James has struggled with anger issues in his life & especially with those in authority. He has also recognised the need to address these issues & is in the process of dealing with them.
James's Nugget of Gold - If one person can gain from your pain, it's been worth it.
Final interview was Dave with Ian Worby, the CEO of UCB/Vision Radio/Word for Today.
Ian's journey into Christian radio began in Port Macquarie. He was working in a local electronics store when he was asked for some technical assistance at the local radio station. One of the station's DJ's became a Christian in Ian's church & asked his wife for some music to play in his afternoon "drive time" show. Well, this didn't go down well with the shows sponsor & they threatened withdrawal of sponsorship if he kept playing that "God stuff". Ian was getting fed up with the amount of smut & the ever increasing number of lewd lyrics in songs on commercial radio. The "SEED" for establishing a Christian radio station was planted & a SEVEN year battle began with the government to obtain a radio licence.
During the same period, Ian & his wife began working for a local tourist ferry boat operator. Ian set his sights on a Master's ticket & was soon at the helm. He became a partner in the business while moonlighting at the radio station. However, Ian felt called by God to do the radio fulltime & gave up his ferry work, & the car that went with it; the family's only means of transport. Ian had a barny with his dad over his decision to quit the ferry. His dad was a successful insurance rep & believed he was throwing his time & money away following this "church stuff". This incident would stick in Ian's memory & his father's words were a motivator for him to "make a go" of his vision, but also haunted him at times when setbacks or steps of faith arose.
Remember how Ian had to give up the car? He got a message at the radio station to go home, his wife had called in tears. He arrived home to find that the tears were tears of joy for, sitting in their driveway, was a new car. Another miracle occurred when they had got behind on the rates, so much so, that the Sheriff had served a final notice. Next thing a cheque for the exact amount arrived & Ian went to the council to pay it. To his amazement, the arrears had already been paid AND an advance payment had been made. It was a similar story with the sale of their house; Ian had been asked by UCB to run their operations in Brisbane.
Ian said these are just a sample of the many "last minute" blessings they have received from each step of faith.
Well, the rest is history as they say, Vision now has 573 stations throughout Australia & Ian expects that to reach 1000 within a few years; it's expanding into New Guinea; & there are plans afoot for the Solomon Islands.
Oh yeah, remember Ian's dad's scorn for his vision? Well, 5 yrs ago his dad passed away, & Ian returned to the UK to see his dad's sister; Ian's dad was a 10 pound pom. To his utter amazement, his aunty had a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of all the "victories of Vision" that his dad had sent over. In his final years, Ian's dad had been touring Australia & had witnessed the impact UCB was having in the outback & far flung areas. She told him that he was so proud of what Ian had achieved. At last, the "monkey was off his back" and, MOST OF ALL, Ian had his father's blessing.
Ian's Nugget(s) of Gold - Only one thing can change a person, circumstance or situation - the Word of God. Plus Habakkuk 1:5 & 2:2-3
I'm done n dusted, lads. Till next time,
God bless n' luv ya guts
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