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.