In my last blog we talked about “Chances. “- what happens when we just trust in God and allow Him to lead us.
This week it was a planned visit.
I had met Chris at the 4 schools camp and felt it would be good to connect with him and his small community and explore what this could lead too. The road to Wanaaring is said to be the worst road in NSW and it is even in a song which tells all about it.
But I found the road was in good condition and being graded as I drove over one section. Such a surprise coming round a bend with three big yellow graders coming towards me! But they stopped and I drove by with a wave of the hand to all three drivers. There are a few bits of tar but after the first section they’re not very long. Funny thing the speed limit on the dirt is 100k but on the tar bits -60k.
Got love the bush! There was lots of life; 4 Utes passed me from a leading Telco company and I passed one ute with a trailer plus the kangaroos and emus,* goats and other four legged friends.
When I hit the last bit of tar, I was in Wanaaring.
I did a lap of the town, found the shop, the school and the pub, tied the car up to the rail and walked in. A big fire was blazing. Narelle says,” G’day Phill bring the car round the back and I’ll show you your room.”
Then she asked had I been up to school yet.
“No I drove past. When do they have lunch?” I asked.
The cordless phone came out of the pocket “Yea, the Rural Chaplains here. When you guys on lunch? Righto! “
“You can go now.” she informs me. So off I go.
The roo proof fence and locked gates had me stumped, then Chris sings out down the other end. “Phill.”
I got to meet his family and then his staff. All very friendly.
The afternoon was spent in a great conversation about highs and lows and great stories of outback resilience’s. I say “outback “as this really is Outback. If it rains now I could be here for a long stay.
The river is running, the water has come down from Queensland and with it the yabbies. Chris and his family are trying their hand at this food source. He told of those who get 30or more. “How are you doing?” “Yes, we got a few.” I leave it at that, but like all fish o’s information for the new guy is less than helpful. Question “So where is a good spot?” “In the river. Near the bank. “Chris will have to track them down.
Luckily Chris shared more info and his dreams for the school and village. I then spent a wonderful night with his family over a BBQ. We talked and listened to the children share their adventures in their new home.
Over breakfast Narelle, Chris’s wife, and I talked about the drought and the hard part of living 200+Ks up a dirt road. Mail comes twice a week and if it looks like rain – well, it is cancelled. The school has to fly a pool repair person in but there is a sense Community.
The long dry time is getting worse but Narelle was quick to say it’s even tougher up the road at Hamilton Gate. Lots of the stock have gone or are out on agistment down south. The hay drops happen in Bourke 200+ks away as driving into Wanaaring is too big a risk but some locals have got some bales in on small trucks. I am awaiting a local leader to contact me regarding their needs.
When we start in new areas we need to go slow, lots of listening and some well-placed questions, many follow up calls plus follow up visits.
The good and bad thing about Wanaaring is that it has no mobile cover for phone or internet. It was funny having a 24hr fast from IT but as I pulled into Bourke the phone told me “You’ve got Mail.”
The plan was to head off to Lightning Ridge but as I drove out of town I changed plans and headed home as Lyn was heading out for a few weeks work. I took her out for dinner and I’m heading to the Ridge* this week. BJ has headed out last seen sitting on the back seat of Vick’s Ute -big grin on his face.
Wife gone, dog gone – Hmm, is it me?
Till next time.
Thank you all for your prayers and kind words.
Phillip Matthews, Rural Chaplain.
*Editor's note-Apologies to those of you expecting a report from Phill on Wanarring last week.
I decided to put in a Thank you to Unitingcare ahead of it so when Phill says "this week" it now means the week of the 23-27th June.