Report by Megan Maxfield
We were blessed to have Wendy back with us today. We certainly missed her on part of our tour and it’s good to have her with us again (I know that John was certainly happy!).
This morning was a later start for the group, which, I am sure some of us were most grateful for (I know that I certainly was).
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, the group headed for breakfast (of which we’ve been very spoilt!). After breakfast, some of our members headed off to the Police Remembrance Service which, I am told, was very moving and such a shock that so many Police Officers lost their lives in the line of duty within a 12 month period. This group were then blessed by Gloria (Jeans) with a quick stop off for a coffee, before heading back to the motel.
The other group shared with the Uniting Church, Frontier Services ‘Old Timers’ Aged Care Facility in a chapel service. We had a few sickies (including myself) that dropped off one by one as the service progressed, but we were all in fine form by the end of the service and were very spoilt with a Devonshire tea. It was a great time and was fantastic to hear the residents join in with us singing.
After our separate services in the morning we headed onto Alice Springs Corps where we shared in lunch with some of the corps folk, including the officers, Majors Adye and Kaye Viney. We then shared in attempting to learn an indigenous song, ‘Have A Little Talk With Jesus’ (some of us did better than others) with the excellent coaching of Noreen and Kathleen who just had the most superb voices. This song was to be used in the outside concert for the night. There were four verses, three of which were in the aborigine western culture and one verse was in English, this, we were most pleased about. Fortunately for us, the song is sung phonetically, which, you would think would make things a little easier…..well, it didn’t!. The third line in every verse was simple, and, MSS went to town with this line (in every verse) because it was so easy. There was some ‘ad-libbing’ every now and then, but the ladies were gracious and were impressed as to how well we learnt it. We promise to keep the song up our sleeve for a future engagement!.
We then did some sightseeing and headed off to Simpsons Gap for a quick stop. It was just beautiful, but, slightly hot. It was, however, a good opportunity for the ‘happy snaps’ to get some great photos. Some of the group couldn’t work out the sign that said ‘No Swimming’, when, there was actually ‘No Water’!.
Before heading back to the motel, we stopped off to fill up the bus with some of the group trying to guess how much diesel would be put in the tank. Our illustrious leader, Brian Hogg kept this going by keeping us up to date with how much was being put in the tank. I think it came to about 450 litres, cost about $700 and we all agreed that the service station attendant had now reached his quota for the day and would pack up shop!. Sally Anderson won, and her prize was to buy us all a drink, of which, we are yet to see!.
Back at the motel we had some resting time….some decided to sleep, others, went shopping (if you know our group, you can guess who they were!) and others decided to ‘hang out’ by the pool. A really nice afternoon and time to catch our breath.
After our rest, we headed off to the local mall and had a concert which was enjoyed by all. We counted about 100 people who stayed to listen to the whole concert and many passed by. We enjoyed our song with the Indigenous Choir and made sure that they, the choir, were front and centre in front of the microphone so that the people couldn’t hear how bad we were…they did, however, hear the third line in every verse, with gusto!.
The songs that we sang, again, with gusto, included ‘Make It Glorious’, ‘Almighty’, ‘Send It On Down’ and, ‘Bridge Over Trouble Waters’ (our boys are getting better with that one!).
We had a friendly furry visitor who decided that it took a liking to our flag and cords and was very confused when the Commissioner was speaking as to the very tall skinny man that he had never seen before (he was standing near the speaker!). We had a great time and were very blessed by the reaction of the people. The Commissioner, as he always does, spoke very well and we, the group, are blessed every time he speaks.
Marilyn Hewitt presented Major Adye Viney with the money that we had raised from the ‘Restorative Justice’ (fines) that all members had paid at least one point during the tour (including the Commissioners) for things that they had done or said on the tour. The money raised will go towards their youth project in Alice Springs.
After dark started to set upon us, we packed up and some of us did some souvenir shopping on the way back to the motel.
We then had a lovely meal and we had a couple of naughty songsters (one being Craig Minty) who decided that he would attempt, within all his power, to annoy our group as they were walking out the door – it was a great laugh though!.
Some retired to bed early and packed their cases, making them much heavier (including me) for the flight to Darwin tomorrow, others partied on with coffee and M&M’s until the not-so wee hours of the morning.
We head off to Darwin tomorrow and we are nearing the end of our tour. We have had some very special moments and God has truly blessed our ministry.