Friday, April 22, 2011

WHEELS to WINGS - From Indiana to the Outback

One of Martha's many LP records
Raised on a farm in Indiana, young Martha Chastain yearned to be a singer. So when the Macauleys came to town it was providential that they needed a soloist for their evangelistic team. In God's perfect timing she soon became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and within a year sang her way across the United States.

It is ironic that at her graduation she sang "Far away places with their strange sounding names are calling, calling to me" And when the team, by invitation, sailed to Australia to hold evangelistic crusades she met a dedicated young man who played the accordion. Her first impression of Leslie Nixon was that he swung his arms in a swagger very much like John Wayne!

Determined not to miss the opportunity, a smitten Les invited Martha to a romantic cruise on Sydney Harbour before she returned home, And after many letters were exchanged their love steadily grew. Soon Les headed for studies at a university in the United States. Things developed from there, and on spring break he accompanied Martha back to the farm to meet her mother. The bus was packed with standing room only for Les. Yet word somehow got around that an engagement ring was burning a hole in his pocket.

At 1am, the bored passengers needed some excitement and began egging him on. "Go on, propose to her. Do it now!" Letting go of the strap, Les dipped his knee, took her hand, and proposed. The whole rocking bus strained to hear her soft answer, "Yes". The passengers broke out into enthusiastic applause with some even dancing down the aisle!

After their marriage, they returned to Australia to begin taking tent missions throughout rural areas. However, many years of this exhausting ministry drained them and they had to take time off to regain their health. Les realized there had to be a better way to cover the vast distances of Outback Australia. He found a beat up old WWII plane that had ended its previous "Flying Doctor" career. It was perfect for missionary patrol work and he paid for it by engaging in aerial photography. With children at home, Martha was snapped up by Channel Nine on "My Song For You" and "Strike a New Note", and she produced many fine recordings.

This was the beginning of a fruitful time of the aerial ministry known as OUTBACK PATROL. And for the past several years they have enlisted many other gifted folk in this exciting outreach to outback folk.

They have produced an entertaining and educational DVD How We Began in which the beginnings of Christian faith in Australia is traced through narration and with fifty singers and their songs.

For more details go to their informative website for updates at


Christine Lindsay said...

Beautiful blog, Rita. And I love reading about the pilots on the outback patrol. What stories they must have.

Blessings on your book, may the work of your hands glorify Him, and bring much spiritual fruit. Hugs to you.

Rita Galieh said...

George went on a patrol with Les Nixon and was amazed that they landed on a main road. A policeman drove toward them, but Les said "Don't worry. He'll escort us into town!"

Wendy Sargeant said...

Thanks for bringing this fascinating story to us, Rita:-)

*Dr Margaret Lepke from Sydney, Australia said...

Thanks! I never knew how they met. Henry did one of those Outback trips with Les many years back, so there you go.