Friday, January 27, 2012

Mr Kevin Matchmaker - My Brother-in-Law!

I’ve been the romantic, dreamy type for as long as I can remember. At the age of 21, I hadn’t found ‘Mr Right’ but couldn’t hide the fact that I was interested. All the movies and books I liked gave me away. My older sister and her husband used to tease and  bombard me with advice about men and dating. I’d roll my eyes and try to take it in good humour while at the back of my mind was a niggling worry that I’d never find my special someone. I wondered how old I’d be before my family gave up on me as a lost cause.

Then one day my brother-in-law came home from  the country hospital where he worked as the chef and told me, “I’ve found the perfect guy for you. He’s the new accountant. He’s twenty-two years old and a Christian, just like you. You couldn’t find anyone yourself so I’ve done it for you.”

Although I didn’t quite trust my brother-in-law to discover my soul mate, I had a look at the hospital’s staff photo which had just been taken.

“Does he look okay?” Kevin asked.
“Sort of cute, I suppose.”

“Well, his name is Andrew. I’m going to invite him to my place next Saturday for a game of chess. We’ll plan it so you’ll be here accidentally, visiting Julie and the baby. He’ll see that you’re a nice, motherly type of girl and sparks will fly from there.”

Although I wasn’t letting my hopes soar too high, I decided I was willing to take the risk. During the week I found out that Andrew knew all about Kevin’s set-up too. My brother-in-law was not the sort who could keep a secret. 

“I told him my young sister-in-law will be here and offered him the chance to turn up under the pretext of having a game of chess to check you out. Don’t worry, he’s looking forward to it.”

So there I’d be, pretending I didn’t know it was all arranged and now had no doubt that Andrew would be doing the same thing. Even then I decided to go ahead with the plan. I was in too deep to pike out without looking awkward. When the day came, I arrived in plenty of time. As Andrew walked up their path, my sister placed her six-month-old son, Jarrad, on my lap to add to a good first impression. It turned out that Andrew was easy to talk to and we had quite a lot in common. After the men had played chess and we’d had a nice tea, we all said a casual good-bye and went our separate ways. 

I had no idea if Andrew would choose to pursue our new friendship. During the week, as I didn’t hear from him, I found myself growing really sad. I’d put myself in a vulnerable position. Knowing the strings that were pulled behind the scenes, it was obvious that if he never followed up, it would mean he wasn’t interested. About five days later, he phoned, asking me if I’d like to go and see a movie with him. Maybe the end of all the ‘will he or won’t he?’ suspense helped me decide quickly.

This May, we will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary with three great children. It seemed to be one of those serendipitous stories of destiny. Our thirteen-year-old daughter looks at that staff photo from way back in early 1991 and says, “How could you have said yes? Dad looked like such a geek!”

Thanks Paula:   Author of six other contemporary novels set in Australia, Paula Vince has won the prestigious CALEB Prize 2011 for her latest novel BEST FORGOTTEN. In it, she has woven elements of secrecy and suspense with her trademark compassion.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


 We have enjoyed some lovely hospitality with Alan and Di Pattemore, Their story follows, told by Di:

I realise now that I was very fortunate to have been brought up in a home which taught me that God loved me, He died for my sins and if I put my faith & trust in Him I would be forgiven. Sunday School and Church were always happy times for me. I guess that I could say that God was always real to me..BUT.. I never knew Him personally myself. There was no real relationship between just Him & me. In my early teens I heard many messages on “You must Be Born Again”.

I was aware that I had drifted along on my mum's apron strings and there came the time when I knew in my heart that I must settle my own account with Jesus and invite Him into my life. I trusted Him for time & Eternity. All grown up at 16 my life changed forever.

Wow!!!! Christian Endeavour.Young people coming together for Rallies, Socials, Conventions, but more importantly preparing us for service within our local church. These were great times of growing in my faith as I had opportunity to give a testimony of what Jesus meant to me, and then to listen to others to see what Jesus was doing in their lives.

It was through this involvement that I met my future husband, Alan. He loved music, as much as I did, and when he found that I had purchased a small keyboard that was his foot into our home & into my heart. I knew he loved music, but not that much.!!! He seemed to come & hear it often!! We both had a desire to reach Young People for Christ (although I was pretty young myself!). Alan was the Youth Leader at his local church.

Our casual relationship quickly turned to love and we knew that God had brought us together. I remember Alan saying to me before our wedding that it must always be Christ first if we wanted to know His best & His leading for our life together.

God has truly been with us as He said He would. He has grown us, very often through situations which were not of our choosing, but in those valley experiences of testings, our faith has been strengthened. There were times when we had to take a very definite stand for Jesus and not go with the majority, even to the point of losing some friends. But Jesus was, and is, worth it all!

Monday, January 16, 2012

When a Tropical Disease Leads to a Happy Ending

My willowy, blue eyed friend Beverly lives a long way off but our history goes way back when we were in our late teens, attending the same youth group.

Here's her story:

As a result of tropical diseases picked up in Congo, MK Peter Salisbury was sent to the Tropical school of Medicine at the Sydney University and an operation followed.  Peter decided to look up some of the folk his family had stayed with when in transit some years before.  He called on my parents  – by then we had grown a little –  and as both our hearts were in missions, we felt drawn to each other. With certainty that the Lord was in our relationship, we were soon married in my home Chapel. The reception was also held there and overflowed with well-wishers.

Seeing great opportunities for service, we moved to an Australian country town and were used by the Lord to commence a Sunday School and Church Fellowship group. When we believed our work there was finished, we moved back to Sydney to take up leadership duties at the head office of South Sea Evangelical Mission, and whilst there heard about the work of Teen Missions International based in Florida. In 1985 Peter was asked to be Boot Camp speaker in Florida to over 1,000 young people who were in training for an overseas mission trip during their school vacation.  At first we thought it was a bit strange, but as we saw the change for good in the young people during the stay of 12 days at Boot Camp, we asked why we couldn’t have it in Australia also. Well,  the director looked us in the eye and suggested we pray about it. The rest is history, and Teen Missions Australia came into being with the first Australian team going to Zimbabwe in 1987.    

We have since retired from staff in that ministry, but still involved on a casual basis when required.  The Boot Camp site is at Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast in QLD where a local Christian farmer was looking for a youth mission organisation to provide land to for their work. God answered prayer, and it is now a great campsite. The Lord also used us to start the Teen Missions ministry in Zambia in 1992, and that ministry has grown tremendously since then with hundreds of African young people coming to the Lord, and  being trained for their future careers. Many are now in leadership roles in that country. Also, over 3000 orphans are being reached and given care and training also for their future lives. We are still amazed that a young man from NZ and Belgium Congo met up with a young girl from Sydney, and led them along such interesting paths in life!

Thanks, Bev. It's great to see how, in the Lord's Plan for our lives, things that we might consider as set-backs can have wonderful results when we trust and leave things in His Hands! Let's pray for the wonderful work of TEEN MISSIONS INTERNATIONAL.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


You can never overdo telling the person you truly love what they mean to you. It's far too easy to fall into the trap of taking them for granted.

You love them and you know they love you, but those words will never offend...just reaffirm. Even so, those pleasant words need actions as well. A helping hand. A comforting hand. A gentle hand. And a million ways to show you care. 

God's Word tells us to be kind and tender-hearted to each other. How easy it is to say and do unkind things when we let our guard down. How easy to use sharp words instead of tender words. How easy for the "put-down" instead of "lifting up" our loved one.

Some would never speak to a stranger the way they speak to their wife/husband. How sad.

In this New Year of 2012 we all need to take stock and honour and respect and be truly loving to our special person in every possible way. And don't forget forgiveness. A good marriage is based on two good forgivers. Remember the old saying "What goes round, comes round"? It's a truism in every way.

May everyone who reads this be blessed in this year of possibilities.