Sunday, 21 July 2013

My Mother's Memoirs

Chapter 1

Sitting in the lounge overlooking a pleasant front garden at our home on the Gold Coast, I began thinking about all the twists and turns that had taken place in my life.  All of which have brought me to where I am today.

Like my father, I would have been happy to live out my life in the same city and suburb I grew up in.  Dad was born in Booval Street, Booval, built his first home at the other end of Booval Street, and then moved that same house to Brisbane Road, next to his parents’ home.  He was then just across the road from where he had been born.  I guess I loved living in Booval, not only because I grew up there, but I was surrounded by many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, which gave me a real sense of security.  Booval was about two miles on the Brisbane side of Ipswich, and close to everything.  Both sides of grandparents and a number of other relatives were in walking distance of our home.  Booval boasted a butter factory which had a tall chimney.  Every week-day afternoon, the knock-off whistle or horn sounded at 5 p.m.  This factory later became known as Jacaranda brand butter and dairy products.

On the 7th May 1940, I was born at St. Andrew’s Hospital Ipswich.  Since my mother had miscarried previously, I was much loved and wanted.  My auntie Vera told me that when dad was told he had a daughter, he wept with relief and joy.  I was then taken home to 31 Booval Street, Booval, where my parents Norm and Ruth Hart had built their house three years before.  The house was built to the design of their choosing - and was built by Idris Edwards who happened to be Bruce’s uncle.  It would seem that they may have resigned themselves to not having any family.  The house included the usual kitchen, dining room and lounge, bathroom, an open front porch, an open side sleep out, a small room adjoining the kitchen which was dad’s ham radio room - and just one proper bedroom.  Dad spent a lot of time in his radio room going “on air” or Morse Code, or making and fixing radios.

By the time I was one-and-half years old, our country was at war with Japan.  In 1942 dad signed up with the RAAF and went to Melbourne for training and was then posted to Townsville for the remainder of the War.  This meant mum and I, left at home, were each other's constant companions.  I’m told, by the time I was two-and-a-half, I would say all the nursery rhymes, and correct anyone who made a mistake saying them!  I quickly learned to tie a bow and tell the time, to the amazement of other folk.

When I was two-and-a-half, my mother decided to go to Townsville for a holiday to spend some time with dad.  My first memory recall happened during that time, when I found a red pen handle in the sand.  Another was going to the beach by bus with dad.  I had a play and a swim, then dad put my dress back on, alas, back to front.  He attempted to take it off.  I still remember what it felt like as he tried to pull it over my head - a real tug under my arm.  He never did get it off, and I went home in the bus with my dress back to front.

Nearly two years later mum went back to Townsville again.  Mum often said she was going there when sensible people were leaving because of the threat of invasion.  By this time my mother had become a Christian and dad was attending the Townsville AOG church.  We spent a lot of time with the church friends dad had made, as well as Australian and American servicemen.  We were staying in a guest house - two storey with a verandah on three sides - a Queensland colonial-style building.  Dad was sitting with two of his friends, all in uniform, at one end of the verandah.  I would run along the verandah, turn the corner, run and jump into his arms.  After doing this a number of times, dad decided to play a trick on me.  He swapped chairs with one of the men.  I came running around the corner and jumped up into the arms of who I thought was dad.  But something was different.  The laugh was different, and then as I looked at his face and ran my fingers over that clean-shaven space where dad’s moustache always was, I was stunned.  Of course everyone had a great laugh except me.  The church family who befriended dad was the Dayman family whose son Alan (who was about six at the time) became an AOG pastor.  This family stayed in touch for years and if in Brisbane would always visit us.  The pastor - Pastor Bruce - also visited us in later years, and in referring to dad, who never attended church after the War, quoted, “He restoreth my soul."  To put a sequel to that - one day at aged over 70, dad said to me, “I’m coming to church with you on Sunday.”  He did come that Sunday, and from then on each week, was baptised, and remained faithful until his death at 90.  “He restoreth my soul."

Back at 31 Booval Street: we were living in a war mode, with an air-raid shelter dug out in the backyard, windows blackened at night and ration coupons for food.  How thankful we could be that that was the worst we had to suffer.  Even dad was spared from being posted to New Guinea which was a much more dangerous place.  Then there was the joy for mum and I of dad coming home by train on leave.  Our house was second from the corner of the street which led to Booval railway station.  Mum allowed me to go to the corner and wait until I could see him walking up the street.  Once I saw him, I ran screaming down the road, “Daddy, daddy!” and then jumped into his arms.

In the days before shopping centres and supermarkets, our lifestyle was very different to today.  The baker delivered fresh bread every day.  The butcher came for your meat order, and delivered it.  The fruit and veg truck came around each week.  The milk - delivered fresh each morning, often straight from a farm - was unpasteurised.  It was tipped into a billy can which was hung from a piece of wire near the back stairs.  Monday was wash day, and what a chore it was!  House wives got up extra early that day.  The copper tub had to be filled with water, then under the boiler, which was in the backyard, a fire was lit.  Clothes and soap were put into the copper and the clothes were actually boiled.  Then they were lifted out with a stick similar to a broom handle, and rinsed in a tub of clean water.  In the second rinse, Reckitt’s Blue Bag was used, to make the water blue.  Reckitt’s advertising slogan was: “Out of the blue comes the whitest wash.  Everything was wrung-out by hand and hung out on the line which stretched across the backyard on posts.  Clothes props were used to make the line higher or lower.

At the tender age of four-and-a-half, I started school at Silkstone State School, the same school that my father attended as a boy.  Dad must have been home on leave and mum would have been pregnant with my sister Narelle.  So dad had the unenviable task of taking me to school.  I didn’t go too easily.  It was a big shock to me.  For so long life was cosy and secure with just mum and me - but now there was this unknown lady bossing me about, and I was one of over 30 in the class.  I can remember only too well, on the second or third day, dad giving me a good spanking outside the school gate because I was crying and didn’t want to go inside.  Eventually I settled down, and walked to and from school each day.  The school was about a mile away, but fortunately for me, my grandparents’ house was about halfway.  Most afternoons I would stop in there to see grandma and grandfather and auntie Vera who lived with them.  I had a good time with auntie Vera.  She would show me all her things - bits of jewellery, rings, make up, hair clips.  In fact she allowed me to look through her top drawer, which was filled with all kinds of interesting things.  Then she would play the piano and sing songs like, “Two Little Girls in Blue Land” and “Lili Marlene”.  Walking home from school, us kids loved nothing more than walking bare feet in the gutters after rain.  The roads were not kerbed.  The gutters were deep and held a lot of water.  One afternoon we had a bad hail storm, and I remember getting into trouble for walking home barefoot through the deep build-up of ice.

In 1945 the War ended and dad was posted to Amberley - although he wasn’t discharged until 1947.  We were a family again as dad was able to live at home.

When I was eight years old, mum and dad bought a second-hand piano, and I started having piano lessons with my aunt Myfanwy Sullivan.  She lived in Coolibah Street, Newtown, and I went to her house for lessons.  I did exams for Preparatory, Grades 1, 2 & 3, with marks between 82 and 89.  I started Fourth Grade, but as I was in Scholarship year, I decided I needed to stop taking lessons.  When I was about 10, I remember playing Fur Elise and Sleigh Bells in the dark during a blackout.  I was also playing by ear.  Auntie Myfanwy, instead of discouraging me, showed me how to put the base chords to the tune.  “But,” she said, “you must do all your other practice first.”  It made me quite lazy as far as theory was concerned, but I will be forever grateful to her for encouraging me that way.

In 1951 grandfather Hart asked dad if he would move our house in Booval Street onto the allotment next to his on Brisbane Road.  Grandfather had always kept this plot of land under vegetables and flowers, but now because of age it was too much for him and he wanted dad closer, even though auntie Vera had lived with grandfather and grandma all her life.  The house was moved by truck in one piece from 31 Booval Street to 107 Brisbane Road.

So from the age of 11, I lived next door to my grandparents and auntie Vera.  On the other side of the house was McDonald’s Bakery.  (Later Dance’s Bakery and later Rotary Retirement Village.)  There was a lot of activity at the bakery both day (deliveries) and night (baking).  In those days bread was delivered house to house, and often by horse and cart.  Mr Murphy and his horse and cart is the most prominent in my mind.  He would have been in his 50s, and had a shiny red face.  There was a little shop in front of the bakery facing the road where you could buy fresh bread (and other necessary items such as milk, fruit and veges, cake, cheese etc).  This shop was owned by Mr & Mrs Merrell.  When the bakery changed hands to Dance’s Bakery, Merrells sold their business to Mrs Dutton who was a niece to Fergus Dance.

When horses were still being used for bread deliveries, the horses (about six of them) were kept in stables at the back of the bakery.  Mum had a lovely flower garden all along the fence beside the bakery.  For a short period of time, we owned a dog called Nigger.  Unfortunately for Nigger, every time the horse and cart came back to the bakery, he would run up and down along the fence chasing it, flattening the garden.  This was too much for mum, so we advertised to give away to a good home for free.  Someone from a property took the dog.  We also often had stray cats that we kept and fed.  They had a good supply of kittens too.  

It was usually my job to do the shopping.  I would go to Merrell’s and then Dance’s every day.  Across the road was Mrs Alfred’s milk bar and a grocery store owned by Mr Creedy.  All our groceries were bought there.  There was a butcher in that block of shops also.  For a period of time, mum was letting me go to Mrs Alfred’s milk bar each afternoon after school and have a chocolate milkshake (malted) at the cost of six pence (five cents).

Brisbane Road wasn’t nearly as busy as it is now and it was very easy to cross the road.  One of our favourite pastimes was to sit on the front steps and name the cars as they went past.  There were names that you never hear of now.  Names like Humber, Riley, Austin, Morris come to mind.  Brisbane Road was the main road between Ipswich and Brisbane, so it was a good sealed road.  The side streets were mostly sealed, but no cement gutters.  Just hollowed-out troughs to catch the water.  These were great places to paddle after rain when walking home from school.

In December 1953 I finished school.  I passed Scholarship and didn’t go to high school.  This wasn’t unusual in those days - but for me, there was a reason.  My mother needed to have an operation for a rupture.  She waited until I finished school so I could look after things at home, cook, shop and care for my brother John who was two-and-a-half years old.

By April 1954 mum was well again and able to lift things, so mum and I went to Cribb & Foote - a large department store on the corner of Brisbane and Bell Streets, Ipswich.  We saw a Mr Lewis who gave me a job in the lingerie and women’s sportswear section.  I started my first job one month before turning 14.  I loved selling and shop work.  I would never be able to sit in an office all day.

When I was 16, I decided to go nursing, and did so in 1957 at Ipswich Hospital.  Matron Wilcox wanted me to wait until I was 17, but I pressed her to let me start and so I did.  I liked nursing, but I was too young (Matron was right).  It was my first time ever away from home, to which I didn’t take too kindly, and the shift work was difficult for me at 16.  My accommodation in the nurses’ quarters was sleeping out on an open verandah all through an Ipswich winter.  This would be unheard of and dangerous today.

In November 1957, my parents decided to take a months’ holiday by car to Melbourne.  A month seemed like the rest of my life, and I decided I needed to go with them.  So after just under nine months nursing, I left and went on the great holiday with my family.  It really was a great time.  Stopping at Grafton with uncle Lewis and auntie Ethel Thomas for a few days; two weeks in Sydney with Jim and Marj Stevenson; and quite a while in Melbourne with George Bolas and family.  We went to many interesting places in Sydney and Melbourne.  On the way we stayed overnight at Cooma.  Even though it was November, it was freezing with ice and snow.  We three kids slept in the car and mum and dad were in a lean-to.  To this day we laugh about dad going to bed with his socks, shoes, tie and glasses all on.  Anything to keep him warm.

So the holiday was over, after a safe and eventful trip there and back.  Now, I had to find another job.  For a while I worked in a clothing factory in Brisbane.  Betty Springall and I started this job at the same time.  Betty soon found another job at Bertram’s cake shop at the top end of Brisbane Street.  I couldn’t really cope with a sitting-down job, so as an interim, Mrs Alfred let me work in her milk bar which was across the road from our house, for a very low wage.  I was happy working there until I got back on at Cribb & Foote’s.  I think my father got me put on there again, because one of the travellers who he dealt with at Red Comb was a brother to the general manager of Cribb & Foote’s (Mr Goldsborough).

So I was back at Cribb’s, and became buyer for my department which was costume, jewellery and accessories, until I left to enter Bible college in 1962.

Those years working back in Ipswich were times of forming friendships which I still have today.  A group of us would meet and have lunch together, sitting in the grounds of St Paul’s Church of England.  One of my lasting friendships was with Dorothy Beduhn (later Stieler) who also worked at Cribb’s.  Sometimes we stayed at each others' house.  Going to her house was a real experience for me.  They lived out of town on a farm, and the cows (quite a lot of them) all had to be milked by hand.  About 4:30 a.m., the radio was playing country music - time to get up and start the milking!  After all that work, she would come to town and do a day’s work, then home to milk again.  At that time, they had no electricity, and bare-board floors.  They all worked very hard.

Ipswich itself was quite different then.  There were no shopping centres, so most people went to town (in hat and gloves) to do all their shopping and business.  Nolan’s corner on the corner of Brisbane Street and Nolan Street was so busy with people walking, waiting to cross the road, or just simply talking to people they knew.  In Nicholas Street, halfway down on the left walking toward the station, was Whitehouse’s cafe.  This was large and very popular especially for country folk who spent the day in town.  I can especially remember the pie, mashed potato, peas and gravy - and the smoky atmosphere in the dining area.  Londy's Café, and Regal Café were popular too.  Both of these were in Brisbane Street, opposite St Paul’s church.  The department stores were Cribb & Foote, Bayards and Bernies.  The Queensland Times newspaper building was on the corner of Brisbane Street and Ellenborough Street, on the Denmark Hill side.  So many shops and where they were keep flooding into my mind.  Yes, Ipswich was a prosperous and good place to live.  Employment was plentiful too in the 50s and 60s.  Ipswich had coal mines, woollen mills, railway workshops, even Johnson’s lolly factory and McMahon’s soft drink factory.  Most of these have all gone now.

Life in Ipswich, and growing up there, was a fortunate experience.  In a way, I felt part of Ipswich, because all my roots began there.  My mother’s side settled there in 1855 and my dad’s parents from 1883.  My father went to Silkstone State School, as I and my children did also.

So I worked at Cribb and Foote’s until 1962 when I went to study at Queensland Bible Institute.  Because Bible college was a live-in situation, you could say that this was the time I moved out of home, except for weekends and a short time before my wedding.

Chapter 2

This second chapter concerns some time before and after married life.  At the time of writing, Bruce and I have been married for 45 years.

We were married on 18th January 1964 at Silkstone Baptist Tabernacle.  To begin to write how we got to that point in time, I need to go back a long way - even before we were born.  

In the 30s and 40s, Ipswich was the kind of town where most people knew each other, especially those living in the same suburbs.  So it was that our parents knew each other and their respective families.  My mother told me that Llew & Marion Edwards had visited my parents before Bruce was born (and I was a baby).

When I was about 12 years old, I went to a Congregational church camp at Tallebudgera.  At that camp there were a number of boys from the Marsden home for boys, which was run by the church in the Brisbane suburb of Kallangur.  In all of my 12 years I was quite attracted to one of those boys whose name was Douglas Ashe.  We even had a picture taken sitting on the beach.  After that camp, of course, there was no contact with him.  In fact, I’ve never seen or heard of him since.

On returning to Silkstone State School, to my surprise, I actually found there was a boy two classes below me who looked exactly like Dougie Ashe.  In my mind, I made a mental note of this person.  I found out he was good at sport and his name was Bruce Edwards.

In 1951, the Edwards family moved from Station Road, Silkstone to 207 Blackstone Road.  This meant a change of church from Silkstone Methodist to Silkstone Baptist because it was closer.

Around 1956 (January or February), after I had spent a few years trying to have a good time, something was stirring in my heart.  Going to the pictures (cinema) every Saturday night got a bit boring, so my girlfriends and I decided to try the Saturday night dance which was held every week in the Town Hall (next to the Post Office) in Brisbane Street.  When this began to fail to satisfy me, I began to think “What next?”  By this time I had a boyfriend, but nothing serious.  Also I was having more to do with the Springall girls, especially Dorothy and Margaret who lived down the road.  I was definitely dissatisfied with life, and they were telling me about Jesus.  Meanwhile, I was very conscious of the fact that I wasn’t ready for heaven.  My mother had taught me well, and no doubt had prayed much too, and what was happening to me was the answering of her prayer.

One day Margaret and I were sitting at the kitchen table talking about Jesus dying on the cross for us.  I was so moved - and Margaret, who was barely 14, didn’t quite know what to do next.  So she said, “Let’s pray.”  I closed my eyes and waited for her to start, but there was only silence.  So I took a little peep at Margaret.  She was sitting there with her eyes shut and tears were rolling down her face.

Coming up that Easter, which was the end of March/early April 1956, there was to be a Christian Endeavour convention held at Beaudesert showgrounds.  I thought that if I could attend, I might just find the answer to my peace with God.  So desperate was I to get this question settled in my heart, that I stopped going out with my boyfriend because I preferred to attend church on Sundays.

At the convention, I met many young people from various churches in Ipswich, all of which had C.E. (Church of England) in their church.  The first meeting of the convention was held on the Thursday night.  The message I found quite boring - but when we were singing the last hymn, I was under such conviction that I couldn’t sing, only weep.  The hymn was, “I am coming Lord, coming now to Thee.  Wash me, cleanse me in the blood that flowed from Calvary” (chorus).  First line - “I hear Thy welcome voice that calls me Lord to Thee. Rene Williams from Blackstone Congregational Church talked with me at the end of the meeting, and prayed with me.

Now, everything was changed.  Old things had passed away - all was now new.  I gave my testimony at the Monday afternoon meeting, and didn’t go to bed that night before telling my mother what had happened to me.  I said to her, “I found Jesus,” to which she replied, “Lynette, I’m very pleased.”

I came back from that convention ready to start my new life.  These were wonderful days of fun and fellowship, growing spiritually under the wonderful ministry of Rev. Reg Jarrot and others like Mrs Irene Ross who was like a spiritual mother to me.  She had actually been a missionary in Japan for seven years before the War.  Others who came to mind would be Mr & Mrs Alsop and Bert McEwan.  Mr McEwan led an open-air meeting in Bell Street on a Saturday night to which most of the young people attended.  I bought my piano accordion at this time so I could play at the open air meeting.  I taught myself to play.  There was a picture theatre at the railway end of Bell Street, and crowds walked past the open air meeting on their way to the pictures.  Now, the theatre has gone, and open air meetings as such are illegal.

The youth from other churches interacted a lot too.  Especially Methodist, Congregational and Salvation Army.  I can think of four of our Baptist girls marrying and joining the Salvation Army.  Every so often there would be after-church rallies in the Town Hall on a Sunday night where people from many churches would gather.  It was at one of these meetings that Bruce made a decision for Christ.  Youth for Christ held a monthly Saturday night meeting in Ipswich, to which youth from all churches would attend.  Often two or three of us girls would walk from Booval into town for the meeting and then walk home afterwards.  To walk from Booval to Ipswich over Limestone Hill would be far too dangerous today, but back then it was quite safe.

Once a month, BYF (Baptist Youth Fellowship) held a youth meeting at City Tabernacle.  Sometimes a group of us would go to that.  I can recall one such time.  Ron Edwards drove his ute to Brisbane with four in the front and 16 of us in the back.  What a wonderful time we had.  Such a happy time - lots of fun and singing.

Back at Silkstone we had Friday night social for the youth.  Many of these games needed music stopping and starting.  I nearly always ended-up playing the piano for that instead of playing the games.  Once a month we had a fellowship tea followed by the evening service.  Christian Endeavour (CE) was held on Sunday afternoons.  CE was a great training ground for young Christians.  Everyone took part on a roster system to pray, lead, read the Scriptures or even give a short message.  So on Sundays there was church and Sunday school in the morning (I taught a pre-school age class and played piano for that section), CE in the afternoon and later the evening service.  For all these three times on a Sunday, the Springall girls and myself would walk from Brisbane Road to the church on Blackstone Road - winter and summer, in whatever weather - and loved it!  We also did these walking exercises through the week too.  Each week there was Wednesday night prayer meeting, Thursday night choir practice, often Friday nights and once a month girls' Missionary Society.  As we did all this walking, we had such good wholesome talks about the wonders of our God.  We often saw falling stars.

Another fond memory of those years 1957-1959 was being able to go to two Baptist youth camps which were held at Christmas time.  These were wonderful times of fun and fellowship and where I met many long-lasting friends from Brisbane, Margate & Warwick.  Graham & Valrae Sinn were close friends in those days, and twice my family visited their fabulous farm at Yangan near Warwick, taking my friends Bub Parry and Shirley Williams along too.  Yes - seven in the car.  Impossible nowadays.  To think that Mrs Sinn had to house all of us for the weekend too.  The first camp I went to, I remember waking up every morning to the same anthem played over the speakers, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee.  Be not dismayed for I am thy God.  I will strengthen thee, I will uphold thee.  With my right hand will I uphold thee.  Fear thou not, fear thou not," etc. This anthem was recorded by the Baptist youth choir conducted by Harold Curruthers.  This left a lasting impression on me.  The speaker at that particular camp was Rev. Harry West who had been a missionary with his family in Pakistan.  The camp-site was up on Currumbin hill and had the most fantastic view of the ocean.  Later the property was sold, and a new camp-site was developed at Mapleton in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

So now here we were, Bruce and I, both young people in the same church (Silkstone Baptist Church).  In fact, we were both baptized the same night along with Betty Springall and Shirley Williams (October 1956).  In those early years Bruce had a few different girlfriends which all came to nothing.  I had a couple too, but knew neither of them was right for me.  I decided to step out into the deep - finish with both of them, and trust the Lord for the right life partner for me.  So I began to pray with thanks - for my life was completely in God’s hands.  Three time a day I thanked the Lord for what He was going to do in His good time whether it be days, weeks, months or even years.  After two months, one day I “suddenly” noticed Bruce in a new light.  It was such a shock to me that I even said, “Oh no Lord, this isn’t right.”  But the conviction stayed with me, and eventually we were keeping company in a serious way.  Then we began to feel that the Lord wanted us to go to Bible school with a view to doing missionary work.

Up until well into the 1960s, relationships were discouraged in a Bible school setting, so the Principal Rev. C. H. Nicholls suggested we get engaged before entering Queensland Bible Institute (QBI).  This way we would be a recognized couple.  We had been keeping company for 16 months, and were officially engaged in December 1961, and entered QBI at the beginning of February 1962.

Bible college - a place where all is peace, with soft music playing in the background all the time.  How wonderful that would be - but it wasn’t quite like that.  It was in every sense a learning and training experience.  As well as learning God’s Word, you were required to learn to live with other people, often total opposites in personalities and background.  You were required to be disciplined in all areas of life - being on time, not sleeping in, doing work and kitchen duties willingly, etc.  You could either be very unhappy and begrudge what you needed to do, or do what was asked of you and be happy.  I chose to enjoy everything - and while not a brilliant student, enjoyed my time of two years there.  In my second year, I was appointed women’s senior student which meant organizing the work rosters, among other things.  The second year seemed to drag on a bit, but in May Bruce and I went to Innisfail with Rev. Munday to conduct a vacation Bible school at the newly started Baptist church.  On the way up we stayed with some people in Townsville.  The lady’s niece had recently been married and she showed us the photo.  I remarked that the dress was just the kind of style I’d like.  After our time in Innisfail, we started our journey home, stopping in at Townsville again.  To my surprise, the lady gave me the wedding dress and veil to borrow for my wedding.  And that is how the Lord provided my wedding dress and veil - months in advance.  When I went to Bible college, I had 192 pounds in the bank.  When I finished, I had 192 pounds - yet all fees and living expenses had been met.  I did a little work during the two years.  I worked at Redbank Woollen Mills for a number of weeks over the Christmas holidays; and one year, my friend and I did a two-week stint at the Brisbane Ekka.  In the second year, I did a few hours work of anything that needed doing for an elderly lady.  Bruce did carpentry one day per week most of the time.

During the last term at Bible college, we were both led to believe that Japan was the country we were called to.  Every Friday morning, visiting missionaries representing many countries and mission societies came and spoke to the students.  Exposure to world missions was strong, yet here we were believing God was leading us to Japan.  God spoke to Bruce through an Australian WEC missionary, Mr Turnbull - and we also had contact with Ron Heywood of JEB (Japan Evangelistic Band), and Mrs Irene Ross, a member of Silkstone Baptist Church who had been in the Japan Rescue Mission for seven years before the War.  She knew JEB well and especially Violet McGrath who pre-war was with the Rescue Mission, and after the War went back to Japan with JEB.

We applied to JEB who agreed to accept us and were happy for us to marry before going to Japan.  The two weeks wait for the “yes” answer about getting married after being engaged for two years was very hard.  We graduated from QBI in December 1963 and our wedding was on 18th January 1964 on a very hot summer’s day.  One of our fellow QBI students, Keith Cameron-Smith played the organ, and Auntie Myfanwy Sullivan sang one of her own compositions.  Our bridesmaids were my sister Narelle and my friend Betty Cane.  I met Betty during a city-country church exchange.  Young people from Silkstone were billeted with families at Gordon Park, then two weeks later it was reversed.  Betty and I became instant friends and often spent weekends at each others' homes.  All through our years in Japan, Betty faithfully wrote, prayed for and supported us, and after 50 years is still what I would call a faithful friend.

The best man was Bruce’s cousin Ron Edwards, and the groomsman was Ken Clarke.  The bridesmaids’ dresses were made by Mrs Barker whose daughter Rosa was in Narelle’s class at school.  At the ceremony, three of our most respected ministers took part.  The then current pastor at Silkstone, Rev. Colin Jones, married us.  The other two were Rev. Reg. Jarrot, our loved pastor of five years who was like a spiritual father to me; and Rev. Charles Nichols, the principal of Queensland Bible Institute.  The reception was held in the Methodist church hall corner Glebe and Station Rd.  The caterer was Mrs Hensler who was the mother of one of my best school friends Desma.  Our honeymoon was spent at Rainbow Bay in a flat which is not there anymore.  Bruce was swept away by a current one day and ended-up at Greenmount beach.  He thought he was done for, but all was well in the end.  I didn’t know about the incident for years.

We came home to a duplex (then called a flat) at One Mile which seemed like the end of the earth to me.  Bruce was working for a builder and away all day.  I didn’t drive and often felt quite bored.  Because I was bored, and didn’t feel too good, I thought maybe I should get a job.  When I told my mother how things were, she thought maybe I was pregnant.  This turned out to be true, and not long after that, I really didn’t feel good!  I could hardly keep anything down.

About April 1964, our friends Cec and Jean Wall were moving to Townsville for six months or so because of work.  They offered for us to live in their house during that time rent free, if Bruce painted the outside of the house.  We were very happy living at 8 McEwan Street, Riverview.  Bruce was the leader of the young people at church, and every Saturday we organised activities of some sort for them.  On one particular Saturday night, they all came to our house.  Most of the day I had been baking and put on a great spread for them.  We had a great night with the group.  Finally they all left, and Bruce and I had gone to bed.  By midnight I was awake again, and needing to go to hospital.  By 3 a.m. Peter Bruce was born.  We were both surprised and delighted at his sudden appearance.  That was October 11th, 1964.

Meanwhile, we had been accepted by JEB and planned to leave Brisbane on the Dutch line the Tjiluwah on February 20th  1965.  My mother’s reaction to us going to Japan was, “What a place!”  Just 20 years after the War, people of that age were still very wary of Japan, some even hostile and unforgiving.

Cec and Jean Wall returned home from Townsville six weeks before our departure date, so we moved next door and stayed with Ken and Helen Clarke until we were ready to leave for Japan.  Ken & Helen later sold out and bought a house in Dwyer Street, Silkstone.  The Sunday night before we left, our church had an after-the-evening-service farewell for us in the church hall.  A number of people from other churches came, including Rev. R. T. Edwards from Raceview Congregational church.  The day we left, there was a big turn-out of church friends and family to see us off and watch the ship sail out of sight.  Some of the church people held up a banner which they had made.  On it was written, “ALMIGHTY: THEREFORE TRUST THOU IN HIM.”  So we set off, staying on deck and waving amidst the streamers until all were out of sight.

Chapter 3

The next phase of our lives was about to begin.  Once again, I was sick - sea sick!  For two days I was ill and couldn’t keep anything down.  Then my tummy settled down to just a squirmish-feeling for the rest of the journey.  We went up through the Whitsundays which was spectacular - beautiful scenery and perfect weather.  Then we were on open sea until we reached Yokkaichi, arriving there on the 3rd March, and Tokyo on the 5th.  In Tokyo, we visited “sensei” Irene Webster-Smith.  She was well-known and respected even by the Royal family.  Before the War she worked with the Japan Rescue Mission, and after the War, came back with JEB.  After the War, she would visit the prisons - and a number of war criminals were won to the Lord before being executed.  It is a true story that once she was denied access to the prison to visit one who was due to be executed.  She went straight to General MacArthur’s office, got his permission, and was taken by car at MacArthur’s request back to the prison.  Sensei took us to see some landmarks around Tokyo, including inside the Parliament building (the Diet building); Tokyo tower; the Imperial Palace and her “palace” which was one room.  She told us that on the left side was the kitchen, the other side - the dining room, another corner - the office, and another - the bedroom.  She lived beside the Ochanomizu Student Centre which she had founded and built since the War.  In that centre was a CLC bookshop, and it was there that we first tasted green tea.

We stopped at Nagoya, and while there, went through the Noritake china factory and Nagoya castle.  7th March - to Yokohama; 9th - Osaka; and arrived at our destination, Kobe, on 10th March.  We were met by Mr & Mrs Bee, Ron Heywood and Mr Kogo.  We were taken to JEB headquarters (HQ) in Suma and given one bedroom with a bed, cot, desk and wash basin in it.  I would say, apart from the cold, the most difficult thing I found at first was the lack of running hot water.  Having a five-month old baby meant this was a bit inconvenient.  The other “strange” customs we quickly got used to - e.g., taking off our shoes in the genkan; the Japanese bath - and how to go about it; bowing; using chop sticks, etc.  We loved the food - that was no problem at all.

Before the first month was out, Kobe had the heaviest snow fall in 19 years.  Of course, it was colder than we had ever experienced as Queenslanders.  Then early to mid April, it was cherry blossom time.  The blossoms were a much paler colour than we had imagined, but absolutely beautiful.  Just a few minutes walk from HQ where we lived was Sumaura Koen - a park full of cherry blossoms.

Language study began on 19th April at the Kobe School of Japanese Language.  Bruce and another new missionary - Kathleen Cotton, from England - had three-hour classes five days per week, and I had two-hour classes three days per week.  Our focus was language study for two years, but I noted in the diary that we were attending many outreach meetings, often singing together, or me playing piano at the Kobe mission hall, Suzurandai or Shioya Bible school.

Our first trip away from Kobe was in April when we went to a small fishing village called Yabetsu while visiting Maureen Smith and Eileen Warner in Minoshima, Wakayama-ken.  Our first experience of a typhoon was in May.  It was quite severe and HQ lost a number of tiles off the roof as well as the heavy slab of concrete which sat on top of the chimney.

Summer had well and truly arrived right after the June rainy season.  We were informed that JEB had two summer houses in the mountain area of Nagano-ken called Karuizawa.  This place had been discovered by a missionary in the late 1800s, and was used as a resort to get away from the oppressive heat of the cities.  JEB owned two houses there since the early 1900s, when Paget Wilkes (one of the founders of our mission) wrote that the population of Karuizawa at that time was 600.  Today up to 3 million visitors visit there during the summer holidays.  The present emperor met his wife at Karuizawa, giving the place a higher status, and Japanese think that only the rich go there - but in fact missionaries have been going there since there was nothing except cool air and mist.  Karuizawa developed into a place where missionaries from all mission societies and nationalities spent their summer holidays.  There were two conventions held in English at the large wooden church built to hold about 500 people.  One was a Keswick Deeper Life convention and the other was the JEMA conference.  Overseas speakers were invited, and the conventions were a great blessing to all.  To me, Karuizawa was the nearest place to fairyland that I’d ever experienced.  It gets a lot of rain, and if not rain, an afternoon mist which comes down on the mountains and keeps everything damp - very damp!  The lawns were all moss - absolutely beautiful, and a green that could never be captured by camera.  The trees were pine, maple, walnut and birch, and plenty of ferns and lilies growing wild, with squirrels and woodpeckers.  Even in the summer it was often cold enough to put on a wood fire in the house.  Karuizawa must be an absolute picture in autumn when the maple and birch trees change colour.  Our first trip to Karuizawa was by train with Mr & Mrs Bee and Kitamura-san - the girl who helped in the house.  She adored Peter.  Her mother made and gave Peter his first yukata.  Peter was popular with the Japanese people wherever he went because of his blond hair.

For the last eight months of our language study we moved to a two bedroom house which Mr & Mrs Gosden had occupied until they left for furlough.  This house was close to the language school in Mikage, Rokkomichi.

When our two years' language study was finished, we were sent to Sasayama (Tamba, Sasayama) where we were the only foreigners in a town of 41,000.  Personally, I found it very difficult.  The house was like a match box; and the winters - eight months long - were cooler than anything we had ever experienced.  Bruce would be out shovelling snow off the narrow road just before our church meeting, otherwise it would turn to a glassy, slippery sheet of ice.  All the windows had to be taped-up on the inside to stop any whisper of air getting in.  Washing froze as quickly as it was hung on the line.  Our only heating was a small oil heater.  We would put a kettle on top which would give us hot water and some steam to counteract the dry air from the heater.  As hard as it was for me, Peter at three years loved it.  He was always playing with his little friend across the lane.  They were good mates.  One day Shin-chan was in our house and he sat under the table and said in a low monotone voice, “Oyatsu ga hoshii na” - he wanted something to eat.  Another day, Peter was outside playing, and he came to the genkan calling out to me, “Mummy - I’ve got a flower for you mummy.”  When I went to the door, he not only had a flower but he had removed a whole plant from someone’s garden.  I never did find out where it came from.  John William was born on 9th July 1967 at the Kaisei hospital in Kobe.  His second name William was given in honour of Mr William Bee who was JEB field director up until his sudden death in April 1967.  The evening of the day John was born there was a bad typhoon called Billie which did a lot of damage in Kobe.  There were landslides in many areas (for Kobe is a long, narrow city with the sea on one side and mountains on the other) - and over 100 people lost their lives.  When Bruce drove home from the hospital, the road leading up to HQ was closed, but because the footpath in that particular part is wide, and the car small, he drove home on the footpath.  

As the winter settled in, I found it so difficult with such a small baby and no heating to speak of.  The house being so small, every time we had a meeting the table and chairs had to be moved so we could use the room.  There was no lounge.  The kitchen had a cement floor down one step.  The toilet was the “old kind” emptied by the “honey truck” every week.  It was also at Sasayama that I lost my wedding ring.  It was nearly new year and we had been to the supermarket.  When we got home, I realised my ring was gone.  We searched the house, the car, in the snow, etc and rang the shop.  Nothing was found.  One of our missionary friends said, “If God could find my car keys in a Bristol blizzard, He can find your ring.”  One week later the shop people rang to say they found it in a box of tickets.  Someone had obviously found it and dropped it in the box.

At Sasayama we had a group of young people who were a great encouragement to us.  Being a country town, with no university, nearly all the young people moved away.  Bruce and Mr Sakurai held children’s meetings in an outlying village, and had good attendance at these.  After about 18 months, we were sent back to Kobe to live in Pat & Ron Heywood’s house in Himuro-cho while they were on furlough.  While there Bruce worked at the Kobe mission hall in Shinkaichi until we left for furlough in December 1969.

The house at Himuro-cho was an old Japanese house, large and made of wood.  It was built right up against a mountain at the back.  In time of bad weather or typhoon, this was a concern because of landslides so common in Kobe.  By Japanese standards it was large.  Two bedrooms upstairs, lounge, dining room and kitchen with built-in cupboards downstairs.  Outside there was a small vegetable patch.  Peter started going to kindergarten at St Michael’s school from here.

As well as working at the Kobe Mission Hall, Bruce often went to other JEB centres on the Japan Sea coast, Wakayama-ken and Shikoku, for film evangelism or special meetings.  Either as a family or separately we visited many towns in the areas mentioned.  On reading through some old diaries, I was surprised how many times I read “earthquake.”  We experienced many tremors, the worst one being in Sasayama when everything shook and rattled and the lights were swinging.  It lasted long enough for me to pick up John and head for the garden.

Our time in Himuro-cho was a happy time for us.  Before we knew it our first term had come to an end.  All packed up and ready for home, we boarded the Tjiluwah again - the same ship we had arrived on nearly five years before.  On the way home, we stopped at Keelung and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Hong Kong (four days) and Manila (Philippines) before arriving in Brisbane on a very hot December day.

Home again!  The grandparents were so happy to see Peter and John.  The boys got down and patted dad’s lovely green lawn, and then wanted to take off their shoes to go inside the house.  We stayed with my parents for a few weeks before moving into a house provided by Bruce’s uncle Idris at 30 Alice Street, Silkstone.  Peter attended Silkstone School that year (1970).  Bruce was away most of the year doing deputation in every State and also New Zealand.  He managed to be home for the birth of Jill Lynette.  She made a quick and grand entry into this world, earlier than expected and just one-and-a-half hours after me getting to hospital, on 23rd July 1970.  Soon after her birth, Bruce was off again continuing deputation for JEB, and I was at home with the three children.

During most of 1970, Bruce’s father was not well, and in December 1970 he passed away.  This must have been very hard on his mother, who lost her husband and about eight weeks later said goodbye to her only son and grandchildren for the next five years.

It was always our intention to return to Japan for another term of five years.  This we did, leaving Brisbane on 13th February on the P&O Line “Cathay”.  A group of family and friends came to see us off.  Jill was seven-and-a-half months old.  Having three small children on board kept us on our toes.  On our way back, we stopped at Port Moresby, Manila, Hong Kong, and Keelung, Taiwan.  In Port Moresby, we visited Malcolm and Yuleili McLaughlin.  She was the daughter of a previous minister of Ellenborough Street Methodist church (Rev. Jacob).  They were both teaching at the university.  Interestingly enough, when they retired, they lived in Boonah and became good friends with my friend Dorothy Schulz (nee Springall).  The Cathay was a very nice boat and we had an enjoyable voyage.  The crew were mostly from Goa whereas on the Dutch Line, they were Chinese.  Being a British ship, Sunday worship service was always held, beginning with “God Save the Queen.”  On board, there was an excellent entertainment band from the Philippines.  As it happened, those wonderful musicians (and they were!) couldn’t play hymns or God Save the Queen.  I got the job - and afterwards was given a box of six handkerchiefs by the captain of the ship.

We arrived in Kobe on 7th March 1971.  Our second term of service kept us in the one place for the next five years and four months.  We lived at the JEB (Japan Evangelistic Band) mission HQ (headquarters), which was the same house we were brought to in March 1965.  The HQ was built in the 1950s and was a European style house - two storey, with very strong wood and timber fittings and furniture.  The first field director to occupy it was a Mr Williams and his family.  They probably had an input into its design I would think.

Up until this time of 1971, the field director, wife and family lived at HQ, but soon after we came back, the mission built a two-storey building beside HQ.  Downstairs was a laundry and rooms.  Upstairs was a two bedroom unit where the field director Mr & Mrs Gosden lived.  The main office was still in the big house, and the mission secretary, Marjorie Waller lived with us.  The house had 17 rooms and was built to accommodate many people.  We had two bedrooms and a sitting room which we called our own.  I was responsible for catering to the needs of all who came.  I used to wonder what was “normal” then realised that “abnormal” was normal.  There was always someone coming, going, or staying.  For the first two years, I had some help in the house.  Ayako was engaged to one of the Bible school students and was doing part-time study herself, so lived, part time worked, and studied at HQ.  We attended her wedding in March 1974 which was held in Iwakumi, Yamaguchi Prefecture.  On the way, we visited Hiroshima Peace Park and ruins of the atomic bomb.  Ayako was so good with the children.  She also taught me to crochet.  She actually crocheted her own full-length wedding dress, with the idea of pulling it out to street length after the wedding, saving the thread and using the dress.  She soon had a lovely baby boy, and was expecting another when we returned home in 1976.  After corresponding regularly, all of a sudden we heard nothing.  A few years later we heard that soon after the second baby was born, she was diagnosed with cancer and died soon after.  Very sad.  Our children loved Ayako as she was very much a part of their lives.  She especially loved Jill because she was small, cute and blond.  She had a real affection for John too.

Being HQ, every so often the JEB board would meet - comprising of missionary and Japanese workers.  My responsibility was to provide morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch.  In May every year, a convention was held at the Shioya Bible school, when all the missionaries would come in from their centres of work and stay at HQ.  Every room would be full.  This took a lot of organizing, getting beds ready, etc., and seeing to whatever meals were needed.  Usually lunch was to be had at the school, but all the others were my responsibility.  Probably the biggest and most stressful time was when the yearly missionary meetings were held.  Once again, all missionaries came to HQ.  All the meetings were held in the house and all meals served.  Not just three - but morning and afternoon tea, and supper before bed.  The way I managed to cope with this, as well as sitting in on as much of the meetings as possible, was to plan the three day menu in advance, have all baking (cookies and cakes) made, and all food shopping done.  Every Friday afternoon the missionaries in the Kobe area would come to HQ for a weekly prayer meeting.  For this, I would always bake for the afternoon tea and then provide a main meal afterwards.  During these times of getting together, and especially after the missionary meetings or Christmas, Mr Gosden and I would enjoy playing piano duets together.

There were many notable people who passed through our doors.  A YWAM group on outreach stayed with us.  Also, when the O.M. ship the “Logos” came to Kobe, the man organizing the visit - Peter Condon - stayed with us.  Then later when the ship came into port, Bruce did the interpreting for them.  Godfrey Buxton - the son of one of the founders of JEB - came in November 1974.  He was already in his 80s, a War hero and one of the most gracious men you could ever meet.  In 1973, Stanley Banks stayed while lecturing and preaching.  He was a Bible college principal in England.  John took a real liking to him, and when he left, John cried.

In October 1974, Dr Sarian and his wife visited from USA.  When he was one or two years old, his parents had to flee Armenia to escape from the Turks.  It was a long and bitter journey over snowy mountains before arriving in then peaceful Beirut.  Many died on that journey from the bitter cold, but his father had a promise from the Lord, “I shall not die but live” - which is the title of his book.  The family lived in Beirut then later one son migrated to America and eventually Dr Sarian went too.  He became a brilliant radiographer.  They were friends of Mr & Mrs Gosden and JEB after Gosdens spend time in America during the War.  Dr & Mrs Sarian were in our house when Peter had his 10th birthday.  Because he had reached double figures, Dr Sarian gave him a cheque for 10 dollars.

We had a lady from New Zealand stay overnight.  It was February and very cold.  It was “bath night” - so the tub was full and hot, and our guest got to go first.  When she came out she said, “That was lovely, thank you.”  When the next person went to have a bath, we discovered she had pulled out the plug and all our lovely hot water was gone.  We were all so looking forward to our nice hot Japanese bath that we started the whole process again - filling and heating.  We finally got our bath close to midnight.

John Brockman was another interesting visitor.  He was a 17 year old from Laguna Beach, California.  He was with us for many weeks and did some tripping about on a motor bike.  I remember scrubbing his white socks and thinking that’s what I would be doing more of as my boys grew up.

Bruce’s cousin Ron Edwards visited briefly and Tom Edwards took us out for a meal when he was over on a business trip.  My uncle Lewis Griffiths visited us twice.  The second time was with auntie Eunice.  That particular time was difficult, because we were trying to take them out to see as much as possible and at the same time, two of the children were home with chicken-pox.  There were many other visitors from all over who passed through our doors.  These came from England, Scotland, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia.  One day, a policeman from the police box across the road came over with a backpacker from Grenoble, France.  She intended sleeping in the park, but that is not done in Japan.  I suppose the police thought that a foreigner should go to a foreigner’s house.  We obliged, and she stayed the night.  There was very little communication because she spoke French and had next to no English.

My role, as stated, was running and organizing the house.  Bruce helped when needed too - but he was mostly busy with ministry.  He was involved full time at the Kobe Mission Hall, Shinkaichi, Minatagawa.  This involved four nights a week when evangelistic meetings were held.

With the help of some of the Bible school students and the resident pastor, Mr Doi, a group would gather outside the hall for a short open air meeting with singing, testimony and short message.  Then they would go into the hall and continue with a proper meeting.  Hopefully, a number of people would come in straight off the street.  They would hear the Gospel, and some would put their trust in Jesus.  This is the way that particular church grew.  In our first term of service, there was a good size group which moved out to another suburb, establishing a church there.  The Mission Hall started from scratch again and built up another group.  Bruce usually had to prepare and speak at either the outside or inside meeting.  We attended church at the Mission Hall on Sunday mornings as a family and usually stayed-on for a curry rice lunch.  Later in the afternoon and night, John was complaining of tummy pains.  We though he must have eaten too much for lunch.  As the night wore on the pains became worse and unbearable.  John said to me, “Pray to God mummy - pray real hard!”  We put him in the car and Bruce drove him to the Adventist hospital at Arima.  The highway near our house was closed because of a building on fire, but Bruce persuaded them to let him on and fortunately they allowed him on.  The outcome was he had an appendectomy.  We were told that his appendix was the size of an adult’s.

As well as the Mission Hall responsibilities, where he worked alongside Pastor Doi, he was often sent to other centres - either to speak, or show films as a means of evangelism.  In looking through the old diaries, I listed some names of places where he has been, and some of them several times - Minoshima Takaike, Osaka, Takoka, Aioi, Wajiki, Shirakawadai, Miyazu, Kamigori, Akashi, Bando, Niihama.  There would be others too.  Those listed are mostly in Wakayama-ken, Shikoku, Hyogo-ken and Japan Sea coast.

I believe the children were very happy living at Suma.  Eventually all three children were attending St Michael’s school in Tor Road, Motomachi.  They went to school by bus.  Fortunately, the bus stop was right in front of our house.  They returned home by train.  The children managed all this with ease, until one particular Friday afternoon.  Being Friday prayer meeting, Ian & Melda Walker came to HQ and the six children were to come home together on the train.  Somehow, Jill jumped on the train without the others seeing her.  When they realised that Jill was not there, they didn’t get on the train, but tried to find her.  They walked back up to the school, rang home, went back to the station and back to the school.  None of us were sure of our next move when, cool, calm and collected, Jill walked up the garden path.  She thought we would be so proud of her doing the trip on her own and never dreamed that we would be worried.  Eventually the other five caught a train home.  It was a happy ending to a very traumatic and stressful afternoon.

The children often went to the beach to play.  To get there, they had to go down a flight of steps which led to a huge open drain (for the want of a better word).  They walked through it, which took them under the highway, a few rows of houses, under the national railway line and more houses to the beach.  Incidentally, the view from the second floor of the house was spectacular, overlooking Osaka bay.  Mrs Gosden used to call it a “million dollar view.”  The downside of the position of the house was the noise factor.  Behind the house was a private train line.  In the front was the main highway, a couple of rows of houses, then the national railway line.  It was continual high level noise day and night, and even though we had double windows, to sleep at night was impossible unless the windows were shut.

I mentioned before the names of Ian and Melda Walker.  Up until now, we were the only Australians in the mission - but in 1973 we were joined by another family from down under.  Ian & Melda had three children: Ruth, Mark and Philip who were approximately six months older than each of our three.  Because of the ages, they got on very well together and were really good mates.  They lived in the house in Himuro-cho where we had lived in 1968-69.  The children all went to St Michael’s school.  It was great having an Aussie family -and what fun times we had together, especially during the summer holiday in Karuizawa where we shared one of the two houses owned by our mission.  No. 640 became a favourite place for us all to this day.  We had picnics, long walks, drives etc. together.  The older children used to skip out very early in the morning.  They always used the back bathroom door instead of the front door to keep it all the more secret.  The funny thing was, we could always tell how many of them had gone out, because as each one stepped onto the wooden slated board which was on uneven cement, the metal dish leaning on it would bang.  So, three bangs meant three had gone.  It was usually Peter, Mark and John.

Behind the mission house was a narrow dirt lane with a row of houses on the other side.  In one house there were two small children who Jill often spent time with, along with Elizabeth and Jennifer Gosden whose parents - Raymond and Sharon - were living in the annex at that time.  Then in another house lived Kazuyuki who was probably a year older than Jill.  One day the boys - probably at Peter’s instigation - decided to play a trick on Jill.  They made a hole in the middle of the road, covered it over with grass and then told Jill to ride over it.  She did exactly what they asked her to do.  When she hit the covered hole, she went straight over the handle bars.

The three children shared one bedroom.  Peter was on a top bunk, John underneath and Jill in a single bed.  This was where we read stories, practise time tables, say prayers, finishing off with the song, “Thank you for the world so sweet, Thank you for the food we eat.  Thank you for the birds that sing, Thank you God for everything.  Amen. Many a night after we had said our good nights, the boys would call out to me, “Mummy, Jill’s out of bed!”  Twice poor Peter fell out of his bunk through the night.  On one occasion, Peter said to John, “I fell out of bed last night.”  John’s reply was, “I know - I saw you go past my bed.”

The house had a large garden, by Japanese standards.  There was no lawn, just garden.  Lots of azaleas and bulbs, jonquils, snow drops etc, daisies, camellia, iris, daphne, geranium, loquat and conifer trees.  I always planted some annuals too.  The trellis over the front porch was covered with wisteria and around two sides was a wire trellis.  In the summer I had morning glory on it and in the winter, sweet peas.  One year, I had a fantastic display of stocks which I raised from seed kept from the year before.  They nearly all turned out double flowers, but all the same pale pink colour.  We grew the old English flower called “wall flowers” too.  I enjoyed the garden and it always looked good.  Mr Gosden loved it too, for he was interested in it.

There was an elderly man, Mr Ito, who attended the Mission Hall.  He kept and bred birds.  He gave us a grey, black and white, red-beak finch.  We were told they were Java sparrows, so we called him Java-chan.  He was a great pet.  If we moved our hand up and down, he would dance up and down and give his own particular song.  Then we were given Snowy, the same kind of bird, but all white with a red beak.  We used to let Java-chan out of his cage sometimes and fly around the room.  One day, Jill decided to take him for a walk up the garden path perched on her finger.  Of course, he flew off into a tree in the garden.  Bruce got out a ladder, and because he was so tame, Bruce was able to grab him.

We had a pussy for a short space of time.  Just a stray, but a lovely cat.  After a month or two, we found it one morning with its back leg bitten off and its tail broken.  While we were still inspecting it, a dalmatian dog appeared, probably to have another go at the cat.  The dog was chased away with such vigor that it never appeared again.  The poor puss had to be taken to a vet and put down, and because of the cost, was buried in the garden.  There was a Miss Beaton from Scotland staying with us at the time and she kindly paid half the vet fees.  The only other animal stories were two snakes.  One was near the front door.  Marjorie caught it.  “I’ve got it, I’ve got it,” she said.  Mr Gosden looked and said, “You’ve only got the tail.  It’s the head you need!”  Nevertheless, we were able to destroy it.  The second time was one upstairs near our bedroom.  We have no idea how it could have got where it was.  Mr & Mrs Luke were field directors at the time and living next door.  We called him.  He came over, but made us promise we would never mention it to Amy for she was terrified of snakes.

I mentioned earlier of the arrival in 1973 of Ian & Melda Walker, Ruth, Mark and Philip as new missionaries from Australia to JEB.  They stayed at HQ at first and eventually moved to Ron & Pat Heywood’s house in Himuro-cho.  Unfortunately, even while doing language study, Ian wasn’t at all well and was diagnosed with polycythemia (too many red blood cells).  At one stage he was hospitalized and needed blood transfusions.  We lined up with other missionaries to give blood.  Melda was occupied with Ian being in hospital, so for a number of weeks, she and the children moved to HQ.   They were busy days, especially getting six children ready in time to catch the bus.  This included six cut lunches.  Ian finally came out of hospital and they all moved back to Himuro-cho.  Ian was never well though, and at the end of 1976, the family had to return to Australia - Ian in a wheelchair.  Two months later he passed away.

Not long after we arrived back for our second term, the JEB bought a car for the mission (a Nissan station wagon).  We were fortunate enough to be able to use the car to travel to Karuizawa for summer holidays - also taking a few bulky items for others.  The journey took about nine hours.  We left Suma about 3 a.m. and would arrive after lunch.  The journey took us through some old and unchanged parts of Japan.  Two places in particular come to mind - the Kiso Valley and Suwa, situated on lake Suwa and home to a very old (hundreds of years old) Shinto temple.  One year - probably 1975 - the mission had some work done in one of the houses in Karuizawa.  Mr Gosden asked Bruce to go and look over the work.  We all went for the trip, but this time, instead of it being summer, it was early spring - the beginning of April.  Actually, the second months of spring.  It was freezing.  Snow everywhere and it snowed again while we were there.  We put a fire on in the fire place in the sitting room and there we slept, ate and did everything in that one room.  In the kitchen everything was frozen.  Even our toothbrushes were iced up.  Outside branches which had fallen were iced into the ground.  It was a fantastic experience visiting Karuizawa in another season.  I would imagine spring must be beautiful, and especially autumn.

Jill was four years old.  It was Friday prayer meeting as usual and we had finished our meal together.  The children were all playing together when suddenly, Jill slipped and hit her teeth on the back of a wooden chair.  One of her front teeth came completely out, root and all.  The other one was loose, but recovered.  This meant that from the age of four, she was missing a front tooth until the second one came through.

Japan is known for getting typhoons, and some have been mentioned.  When typhoons come, the sea, usually still water, whips up like a raging surf.  After the typhoon passes, when the sea settles down to normal, it is amazing what can be found washed up on the beach.  One time we counted over 100 balls washed up.  Another time, a prayer was answered.  Peter needed a new tyre on his old bike.  We found a whole wheel the right size just waiting for us on the beach.

During the last couple of years of our term, Bruce loved to do mountain walks and hikes.  He and Peter and John did a number of trips around Mt Rokko, which is the mountain and range which runs behind Kobe.  Bruce, Ray Gosden and Peter did one hike from Karuizawa which was longer than they were prepared for and Bruce became very dehydrated.  One summer Bruce and Ray Gosden did a three-day hike in the southern alps, leaving from Karuizawa.  Then in the summer of 1975, Bruce, Peter, Ray and John Brady climbed Mt Fuji.  John was so disappointed at not being allowed to go, that he went inside the house when we were seeing them off.  To this day, John believes he could have managed the climb.

I have mentioned before about Marjorie Waller who lived at HQ and worked in the JEB office.  For a number of years, every Sunday afternoon, she would have the three children (or six, if the Walkers were there) come to her room where she held a Sunday school class for them.  Peter tells me that he often behaved badly, but Marjorie never gave up.  She used to reward them with a “good thing” which was a lolly, for good behaviour.  She put a lot of time and effort into this little Sunday school class held weekly in auntie Marjorie’s room.

Our term of five years was coming to a close.  Mr & Mrs Gosden - our field directors - were retiring also and were to be replaced by Bobbie & Tillie Toner.  We decided to stay on until the end of the school year, which meant our term was five years and four months.  Peter, at eleven-and-three-quarter years, was in the graduating class, and John and Jill finished the years they were in.  Times had changed.  Travelling by sea wasn’t the way to go anymore.  Our baggage was sent ahead by sea and we returned home by air.  We flew KLM (Dutch) to Hong Kong, had a nine-hour wait, then came Cathay Pacific to Sydney, then domestic to Brisbane.  We arrived home 3rd July 1976.

Chapter 4

On arriving back in Australia, we stayed with my parents until we found a house to rent.  So began the next period of our life, post Japan.

After a couple of weeks we found a house on Blackstone Road and moved in by the end of July.  It was an old house and very unlevel.  You felt like you were on a ship rolling from side to side.  From the back there was a lovely view of Mt Flinders.  Bruce quickly decided to trust the Lord for something better.  Meanwhile, Peter and I went to New Zealand to visit Narelle for two weeks.  While we were away, Bruce had already found another house and had already moved in by the time we returned home on 29th August.  This house was at 2 Grange Road, Newtown and belonged to Lex Cowell.  It was a pre-war weatherboard house in a good area close to everything, and we were happy living there.  The three children were attending Silkstone State School which was easy walking distance.

Once again, Bruce was off doing deputation.  He went to every State, but not Western Australia or New Zealand this time.  After spending nearly one year, we felt it was right for us to stay in Australia instead of returning to Japan.  Peter had started at Bremer State High School at the beginning of 1977, and Bruce started work with Gary McBryde, a cabinet maker in June 1977.  Then on 10th September 1977, we had bought and moved into our house at 41 Prunda Parade, Raceview.  Meanwhile, from June 1977, I had become choir pianist and organist at Silkstone Baptist church and continued with that until December 1978, when we changed over to Christian Life Centre (CLC).  In June 1978, Bruce left McBryde's and started work at Brian Grant’s cabinet maker and shop fitters.  He worked there for ten years, and left to do administration work at CLC.  In the late 70s, I started working part time at Crusty Hot Bread at Booval.  When the owners opened a new shop in the new Brassall Village shopping centre, I moved to that shop and worked full-time for two-and-half years and then part-time, all over a period of seven years.  Then when my brother John opened a hot bread shop in Raceview in December 1987, I worked for him for one year.  Eventually, he sold the shop.  Unfortunately, the new owner went broke and the shop was doing nothing, until my old boss from Brassall Bill McConicke took it over.  I offered to help him get it started, and so worked there for another year.  My total time working was a nine year period.

As I mentioned earlier, we attended Christian Life Centre (CLC) from December 1978.  The church had started with a home meeting at Percy Mole’s home and had just begun a Sunday morning service in a room above the UFS dispensary in East Street.  The first meeting we attended had a total of 17 people present.  From that very day, I played piano for all the meetings, weddings and funerals, and for anything else that needed music.  This continued for about 13 years with a few short gaps.  We also had a home meeting in our house from that time on for years.  The home meeting got to be about 27 strong after a time, so half went to start another one at Amberley.  The church continued to grow and eventually bought an old Congregational church at Brassall (Haig Street).  The church building was a long army hut.  This also was outgrown and so it was raised to make two levels.  The church met on the ground floor, and the top was used for Sunday school, smaller meetings, meals etc.  It was when we were in this building that our family gave a family musical concert two years running.

Even before the building in Haig Street was bought, Brisbane CLC had appointed Vince Esterman to be the full-time pastor.  Vince was a real evangelist and the church was growing fast.  By the time the congregation had reached 200, Vince was on the lookout for another building.  He found one - the old Suttons Foundry, Pine Mountain Road, Brassall, and on about four acres, with a number of buildings, and in a very big mess!  Vince thought the elders wouldn’t be happy with what he had found, but on the contrary, all were elated.  And so it was that Haig Street was sold, and the old Suttons Foundry became the new CLC church.  After many, many working bees, the place became presentable and over the years has had more and more done, and so today it is a magnificent complex.  The CLC name became Heritage City Community Church, and recently has been changed again to Catalyst Church.  The church continued to grow and when we left in 1996 the adherents were about 400.  The largest meeting we held in the church was during John Pasterkamp’s time, when Derek Prince came.  The attendance was bout 700.

Before we got to use the new church, Vince, who was French by birth, felt called to return to France.  He did go and raised up many churches there.  John Pasterkamp became our new pastor.  When he first saw the Suttons property and all that needed to be done, he said, “Vince what have you done!”  He realised the enormous job ahead to get it ready to use.

All the time we were at CLC, Bruce was an elder of the church, and had other ministry from time to time - home meeting, Bible studies and preaching.  As I said earlier, I was playing for every service and then was given the title of Music Director.  Our band was good because we were all musical and easily able to adapt.  Scott Beattie played organ, Peter on trumpet and John on trombone.  Later, we had guitars and drums.  I had a ladies group of six who I trained to sing in either two or three parts.  Then for a period of time I played for, and trained, a whole choir - men and women, four parts.  I stood down from the position of Music Director in 1989 and Scott Beattie took over - but after a few weeks I was still back playing the piano.

It was during 1989 that John Pasterkamp was booked to speak at various places in Japan.  Then he realised he had double-booked and was supposed to be in Holland at the same time.  In desperation, he asked Bruce to take his place in Japan to cover the overlap and then they would meet up together there.  Bruce visited and spoke at meetings in Okinawa, Okayama and Christ for the Nations Bible school in Sapporo.  One time when he was to speak at the Bible school, his interpreter was late, so he decided to speak in Japanese, and found after 14 years away from Japan and the language, he managed quite well.  From then on, he did all his messages in Japanese.  The outcome of this, was him being asked to go back to Sapporo and go on staff at the Bible school for one or two terms.  Together we went back and spent most of 1990 living in Sapporo and fully involved at the Bible school.

When we moved into our house at Prunda Parade, it was just a shell - no floor coverings, curtains, light shades and no cement driveway etc.  Bruce’s wage covered our loan and living expenses with nothing left over to furnish the house.  Once I started work, everything I earned went into the house, bit by bit and one room at a time.  Then in 1983, we were left a large amount of money when Bruce’s uncle Les Cochrane died.  He had no children of his own and was very wealthy since he had owned, and sold Rhonda Collieries (coal mine).  He left everything to be divided between 12, one of whom was Bruce.  In the end, we would have received approximately $125,000.  This really put us on our feet.  We were able to pay off our house, put in a pool, buy a unit at Currumbin and take a month’s holiday to New Zealand.  We did a bus tour around the South island, then hired a car and drove to Narelle’s at Hunua.  Then the four of us drove up to the Bay of Islands on a three-day trip.  We also owned Bruce’s parents’ home at 207 Blackstone Road, Silkstone.  His mother, who had lived alone since his father died in 1970, was advised by her doctor to move into Colthup Home.  It was easy to do in those days.  You just had to pack what you wanted and move in with no forms or payments.  At that time then, the house was signed over to Bruce and was rented out to Thelma Atwell.  Because we still had enough for a deposit on another property, we bought 8 Butler Street, Raceview, and my grandma’s house at 105 Brisbane Road and rented both of them while paying them off.  Jill lived in both of these for a period of time.

Prunda Parade house was “open house” most of the time.  There was always somebody calling in or staying.  Supper after church on Sunday night was a favourite with 10 to 15 youth coming home.  

With so many coming and going, when it came to meal time, I would simply count heads and come up with something.  Here is an example of my diary 20th February 1988: "I worked a.m.  People here all weekend: 10 for tea, plus those who didn’t stay."  21st: "Another people day: 9 for tea plus others."  We also started having people live with us.  I think the first person was Dean Biddle who would have been with us for a year or more, and up until he married Julie Atwell.  Then there were others who stayed for shorter times.  Lance, who had been on drugs; David Daniels who was difficult; John’s friend Bruno.  Jill’s friend Michelle Kreis turned-up out of the blue one day with her little bag, and stayed two months.  We managed to get her to return home, thankfully.  Rebecca Spencer stayed a few weeks and John’s friend Paul Murphy came and stayed nearly every weekend for years.  In March 1989, Steve Grace, now a well-known singer and evangelist and his three-year old son stayed with us for three days.  He was John’s guest and they had meetings in schools etc.  This was back when Steve Grace was just beginning this type of ministry.  He brought his son with him because he wanted him to feel and to know what his daddy was doing and not have the concept of just waving goodbye and daddy not being home.  His theory paid off too, because I read in a recent AOG magazine (2010) that Steve is still travelling, along with his three sons, all in ministry together.

During 1988, Pastor John Pasterkamp had a young lad from Japan living with his family and attending school.  He was the son of people in Japan when Pasterkamps were living there over a three-year period.  The parents then asked if their daughter could also come to Australia and attend school.  John Pasterkamp didn’t feel they could take her as they had three boys of their own, plus Ryusuke.  We were asked if we would take her.  In January 1989 Shinobu came to live with us, attended Bremer State High School doing grades 11 & 12, took out the school prize for Maths and Art and got a TE Score of 875, and accepted into Queensland University to study Veterinary Science and graduated four years later.  She lived with us all of 1989 and to March 1990.  We went to Japan and she moved in with Scott and Kay Beattie and later boarded in Brisbane closer to the university.

In 1986 a traumatic incident happened in our family.  Jill had her friend Sue stay overnight.  On the Sunday morning, we couldn’t wake them and eventually realised they had climbed out the window and had gone during the night.  We had no idea where they had gone, and after two terrible weeks, Sue’s father found them at the Sunshine Coast.  Jill was home, but angry and rebellious.  Ron and Sylvia came to the rescue and suggested she go and stay with them for a time.  She was with them for about four months, during which time she was going to church with them, met new friends and got a job at a newsagent.  In January 1988, she started a YWAM course at Carbrook and went on outreach to India in the April for three months.  This six months was a life-changing experience for her.  Before going to YWAM, she worked at Berkley’s muffler shop; and after, at my brother John’s hot bread shop; Target; and Bundamba Newsagency; and again at Berkley’s at Milton.

John was the first to give his heart to the Lord.  Right from the beginning to this day, he has been single-minded in following the Lord.  Peter followed very soon after and together they started a weekly meeting in the lunch hour at Bremer High School.  John taught himself guitar so he could play for the singing.  This was a very profitable meeting and out of it came the two Scotts who both came to CLC.  One went to Japan and the other to China as missionaries.

Peter, John and Jill all played brass and were in the school bands.  Peter played trumpet and was in the Adonis Show Band as well.  This band, conducted by Arthur Gilbert, did a trip to America - visiting Toronto, Niagara Falls, Los Angeles, Disneyland (where the band played) and Peter even ventured over the border into Mexico.  When he came home, he began his baker’s apprenticeship and was top apprentice of his year.  Peter did a mission trip to China and later to the Philippines where he met and later married Gigie.  John played trombone in the school band, and Jill, the trumpet.  John’s first missions trip was to Thailand and later to Vanuatu, the Philippines, and Malaysia - Sarawak.  John worked in Brisbane at an import/export office and did a TAFE course on the same subject.  He won the Queensland prize for his thesis.  At the time, Queensland was in “the recession we had to have.”  Now that he had graduated, his wages would have to rise, so he was not able to be kept on.  He was working at a factory in Brisbane when he felt the Lord wanted him to give it all up and do ministry.  This he did, and has continued to this day.

As mentioned earlier, Bruce and I were in Sapporo for most of 1990.  Jill was married in October 1989, John was at home, and Peter was in the Philippines and intending to marry Gigie on 2nd April.  We left Australia at the end of March for Manila and attended their wedding which was held in the garden of a friend’s home.  For the next week or so we did some sightseeing around Manila and Baguio.  John came to the Philippines for the wedding and travelled with us.  We left for Tokyo and John returned to Australia a few days later.  What a striking difference Tokyo was to Manila.  Manila was hot, dusty, disorderly and under the threat of a military coup.  Japan was everything the opposite.  Cold, clean, orderly and peaceful.  We had to change from international to domestic and stay overnight in a hotel.  We left early the next morning, arriving at Chitose (the airport for Sapporo) on Monday 9th April 1990.  We were met by Charles and Dianne Gyurko and taken to the Bible school dormitory which was a large house with 10 of us living there.  After coffee and a talk about the work, it was decided that my role would be the responsibility of running the household.  This meant shopping, planning and cooking for everyone.  I did have help in that Tomisho-san (Chizuko) was already living there helping Dianne until we came.  Every Saturday morning Bruce and I went to Cowboy markets to buy supplies.

The school term began 16th April, so from then on Bruce was lecturing at the Bible school a few times a week.  Meanwhile, as usual, the same pattern seemed to follow me.  There seemed to be visitors all the time, plus the 12 in the house, plus I had the task of playing for church at Hokuto Chapel pastored by John Yasuda.  This church had become a CLC church sometime earlier.  So I have a lot of names in my diary of who came and went.  A sensei from Himeji came for one week; then Tesuka-sensei; Donald and Carol Thomson (nee Goodall); Joy Goodall; Rowland Seow (a Chinese pastor from Kuala Lumpur) for a week; Pastor and Mrs Mizuno for a week.  Pastor Mizuno’s church was in Nagoya.  His wife Marjorie was Canadian.  There were many others which may or may not get mentioned.  In June, a group came from USA.  There were 32, so too many to stay at the dorm, but on their arrival we provided supper - an obento box of ham and salad roll, small cake and half banana.  Then the next day - I will write straight from my diary - and I must say it makes me tired just thinking about how much I fitted into a day:  “Had an early snack at the school - croissant, ham and cheese, then they all came here (the dorm) for morning tea.  I served mock chicken sandwiches, kerrogurt dip and crackers, boiled fruit cake, buttery slice, tuna squares.  Then we all left for the historical village.  Then on to a restaurant where we had lamb and sprouts etc cooked on the table (we sat on the floor).  I got home and had time to make obento [a meal in a lunch box] sandwiches for 32 before leaving at 6 p.m. for the International concert.  I played piano background music for the skit of the prodigal son.  Bruce did interpreting that night.  My two English conversation girls (who I teach every week) came to the concert.  One of the Americans was a dermatologist and afterwards she removed a white spot off Bruce’s face."

After that big influx, the day they left, I noted that Pastor & Mrs Mizuno (mentioned earlier) who had been staying at the dorm also left.  The same day Darren & Jill Ockerman arrived and two days later Pastor Anders Strombold from Sweden arrived for three weeks.

In early May, Japan has what is called “Golden Week,” when three or four days' holiday are enjoyed by all.  Pastor Yasuda filled his van with about a dozen people and took us on a great trip around Hokkaido.  We visited Obikiru, Kofuku, Kitama where we stayed overnight (grapes growing, and lettuce for breakfast).  Next day, Lake Masshu (Mashuko) - which is quite famous, for in the middle of the lake is a tiny island not much bigger than a large room.  It is hardly ever seen because of mist (the lake is surrounded by mountains).  Even though it was misty and snowing, it cleared enough for us to see it.  Lake Kashara was another interesting lake, for it had hot water and steam bubbling up on the shore line.  This whole area is very volcanic.  All of Japan is, for that matter.  Also at this place was a large Ainu population (native Japanese).  There were lots of artefacts, stuffed bears, deer, fox and their traditional dress.  A most interesting place but very cold, even though it was the second month of spring.  We also visited a 50-acre farm owned and run by a Christian family who were willing to take in troubled youth.  At home was the daughter in her late 20s who had studied piano in Paris for three years and had excellent English.  She played “Amazing Grace” on her grand piano.  It was fantastic.  The farm which is in the middle of Hokkaido, is the coldest on the island, getting down to -30 degrees (30 below zero) in winter.  The farm was totally self-sufficient, producing and selling dairy products and veges.  We also visited the Free Baptist church at Bihoro where Pastor Yasuda first started in the ministry.  We were back after our day trip and on Sunday I recorded: “Went to Hokuto chapel, Bruce preached and I played piano.”

On May 14th, after being in Hokkaido for about six weeks, we had a phone call from home to inform us that Jill had given birth to twins by caesarean section in Brisbane.  David Llewelyn 840g and Christopher Jeffery 700g, born at 26 weeks.  I could not get too excited about their birth because I wondered how they could live being so small.  Christopher didn’t make it and died after four days, but David survived and was in hospital four months before being allowed home.  The church - Robertson Road AOG - and Pastor Barry Muller were a great support and really took over in our absence.  Our own friends and family also were a wonderful support.  So now 2010, David is 20 years old and doing just fine.

One day in June, Pastor Yasuda and family took us to Otaru which is an old town on the north coast.  It was a very interesting town with very old buildings and houses.  We also went through a glass factory.  Then to top off the day, we had sushi for tea.  It had to be the best ever and the freshest, since Otaru is more a fishing village than anything else.

Another weekend in June, we visited Muroran which is on the south coast.  The Goodall family from New Zealand have been missionaries there for years.  (They are still here, however Mrs Goodall passed away this year 2010).  Their children all went through the Japanese school system and so are as much Japanese as New Zealanders because they have been so immersed in the culture.  At least two of their five children married Japanese, and another married an MK (missionary kid - child of missionaries) and still lives in Japan.  We stayed with the Goodalls for the weekend and Bruce spoke at the Sunday morning service.

On the 15th July, Bruce and Jerry Jantzen held the first meeting to start a new church which was international in its character and able to reach out to all nationalities as well as to Japanese wanting to learn English.  The church met at Lilabel chapel which was especially built for western style weddings, and so was unused on Sunday nights.  From then on, every Sunday night, we attended.  Bruce often spoke and I played the organ.  This church did very well, and is still pastored by Jerry and his wife Makiko to this day.  In 1993 they moved to different premises and Bruce took a two-week trip back to be with them for the occasion.

While in Sapporo, one thing I noticed about the Japanese living there, was how well they are able to enjoy themselves.  If they have time off work, they are right out there doing something relaxing and enjoyable.  It may be just a day at the park or zoo, theme park, family shopping etc.  One great place we were taken was Terume which is the Japanese way of saying therm.  Mr & Mrs Kajikawa (who were on the Bible school staff) took us.  It was a type of fun-park with many types of swimming pools.  Some were hot, some cold, some flowing, some not, others were slide tunnels and saunas.  Afterwards, you finished off with a hot bath Japanese style.  This really was a fabulous place.  We were there in July (summer), but just imagine going in the winter time with snow falling around you.  Another lovely place we visited was Yurigahara (Lily park).  Acres and acres of all kinds of lilies, and also included a Chinese garden and arch.

Dianne Gyurko was from Texas, USA.  She was a lovely and gracious person.  She always loved to find an excuse to have a lunch or morning tea at one of the hotels in Sapporo.  If there was a guest speaker visiting, she would organise a lunch and invite other pastors, their wives, Bible college staff and other friends so they could meet the visitor.  Japanese people in Sapporo were always eating out.  I don’t know if it was the American influence or whether it was simply because their houses were small and unsuitable to entertain anyone.  Meetings like Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship meetings and Women’s Aglow were all centred around a meal.  One Sunday, Pastor Yasuda was launching a new CD, so church was held at a hotel.  Over 100 people attended that day compared to the usual 30 or so.  We were seated around probably 10 or more round tables while the leaders were on a stage.  It was quite a successful meeting.  We were always being taken out for meals or snacks.  One of our favourite restaurants was Royal Host.  It served good food at a reasonable price.  All Royal Host restaurants were laid out the same way.  Always along the front there was a hedge of “kirin” azaleas - beautiful.

In July, Pastor Garza and his wife Adrianne came from Mexico for a week’s lectures at the school.  A year or so later, he actually came back with his wife and family and became principal of the school.  After a couple of years, he moved to Tokyo and then home again.  The principal of the school at the time of writing (2010) is Gerald Goodall, son of Mrs Goodall from Muroran mentioned earlier.  Charles & Dianne, both in their 80s, now spend their time going backwards and forwards between Sapporo and Texas, keeping their finger well on the pulse.  A couple of years ago, the school moved into their own complex and are expanding all the time.  When we were there, they used the complete 9th floor of a bank building.

Beginning of August, the school was on summer holidays.  We were also about to have a change.  Another family, Max & Judy Middleton and family were returning from furlough and needed to live at the dormitory, which meant we needed to find somewhere else to live so as to stay for another term.  We were wonderfully provided for by a graduating couple from the school.  They were going to Hawaii to do a six months YWAM course, but didn’t want to give up their unit.  We were able to use everything including the car.  One of the amazing things was, that her snow boots also fitted me perfectly.  However, before moving in, we had a wonderful trip planned.  After being away from Kobe and Karuizawa for more than 14 years, we were able to visit these places again.  After transferring our belongings to be stored at Jerry Jantzen’s house, we took a train from Nakajima Koen (Nakajima Park station, which was near the school) to Sapporo station, then a train from there to Minami (south) Otaru, then a taxi to the ferry terminal.

We left Otaru at 10:30 a.m.  The ferry was 19,000 tons which was larger than the ship we went to Japan on in 1965.  We were out at sea barely a half-hour when everyone was ordered inside because of expected heavy seas from a typhoon (which didn’t eventuate).  There was a good shop on board which sold everything.  Also a lot of vending machines.  We thought we would have two bunks by ourselves, but it was two in a block of twelve.  There was another open area which was the cheapest - it was just one huge area able to accommodate dozens of people.  Each one was given a pillow and blanket.  From a western point of view, this was an interesting concept.  We arrived at Niigata at 5:30 the next morning, caught a train from Niigata to Takasaki, then another to Karuizawa where Bobbie Toner met us.  That overnight trip on the ferry was a great experience.  The entertainment on board was karaoke, and everyone enjoyed themselves.  I remember one boy, about 10 years old, coming over and offering me a piece of gum.  I was really touched by that.  It was as if he wanted to show kindness to the only foreigners on board.

Being in Karuizawa after so long was like a dream come true.  Karuizawa is one of my most favourite places in the world!  I had to pinch myself to make me realise that it was actually happening.  Many things were still the same but the JEB property had changed.  Our favourite house No 640 which we shared with the Walker family was gone.  The road end of the property had been sold and a company summer house and tennis court had been built there.  This time, it had a modern gas bath heater, which was a great time saver.  The old house really did need to come down.  It was made of wood in approximately the 1880s and used as an inn until the mission bought it in the early 1900s.  I’m sure it was rotten and pretty well eaten away with termites.

The next day, Sunday, we went off to church.  The building hadn’t changed and we saw families and faces that we recognized from 1975 summer, mostly German, Swiss and American missionaries.  The next week, we did all the nostalgic things we loved to do before e.g., walked to Sunset Point (where there is a really good view of Asama-yama (Mt Asama); walked to the machi (the town) and spent one-and-a-half hours there.  Next day, went for a pre-breakfast walk, walked to the machi twice, went by car to Shiraito falls; laver beds - Asama was smoking a lot.  Next day, pre-breakfast walk, another walk to machi and to Karuizawa station and back, looking at all the omiage shops there, and back.  Later, drove to Sunset Point.  On the Friday 17th we did a decent car trip to Lake Nojiri via Komoro, Ueda and Nagano.  Before we left Nojuri, the mist was so low, it was like rain.  The rest of our days there were filled with a lot of walking - even three times a day.  In the machi there was a small street stall that sold yaki-dango on a stick.  Years before when John was probably six or seven, he went missing one day.  Eventually we found him, helping in the yaki-dango stall.  And so after all those years passed, the dango stall was still there.  Yum!  I can smell it now!  So our dream holiday finished after 10 wonderful days.

Our trip back to Kobe was a 10-hour drive by car with Bobbie & Tillie Toner.  What an exciting moment it was, to come off the kosokudoro (the highway) and there in front of us was Suma and Ichinotani.  We drove past the Suizokan (aquarium) at Suma and past where Headquarters of JEB used to be, and on to the new HQ at Shioya.  The new HQ was previously the Greek embassy and adjoined the Bible school.  Even though it wasn’t the old HQ, there were many things inside that brought back memories e.g, the dining room chairs, plates, kitchenware, clock and the piano.

While there, we visited some of our old haunts.  We went to Motomachi by train, Daimaru and Sogo department stores.  I bought my single pearl and gold chain necklace at Sogo that day.  Went to Daiei (my favourite supermarket), Sentagai (an arcade) and Sun Plaza.  One day Tillie and I went to Kobe grocers where all foreign food can be bought.  It hadn’t changed much and the staff were the same as before.  On the Sunday, we went to the Mission Hall - and as if nothing had changed, Bruce preached, I played piano and Bruce spoke in the open air meeting at night.

One day we went to check out our old neighbours who lived behind us in Suma HQ.  By the way, where HQ used to be, there is now a block of eight apartments.  We went by train from Shioya to Ichinotani on the Sanyo line, and walked through Suma park to Maido household.  When we left in 1976, there were four generations living in the house.  By now though, great grandfather Maido had passed away.  Obasan & Kazuyuki’s sister were at home.  This sister was a baby when we saw her last.  Ojiisan came home just before we left.  We showed each other photos of our families as they are now.  Kazuyuki was 20 by that time and living in Osaka.  The old people who lived next door (Masuda) had passed away.  Writing this after the Kobe earthquake, I feel fairly certain that those old wooden houses we visited that day would have been flattened.

Being in Kobe, we were able to meet up with a number of JEB workers and pastors.  We made a special point of visiting Mr Kogo who was at that time 88.  Also met up with Miss McGrath, Miss Oya, Mr Kagayama and Kudo, Komurasaki & Tominaga.  One day, we made a point of visiting the children’s old school - St Michael’s International School - on Tor Road.  Miss Brown the Principal wasn’t there, but we were able to talk to her on the phone.  Miss Young, Mrs Kawano and Miss Hirose were there and they were all delighted to see us.  We also met up with Shinobu’s parents who lived close to Shioya Bible school and HQ.  They took us for a day trip to Nara, Todaiji, Yakushiji, Horyuji (oldest wooden structure) to a restaurant in Tarumi for tea, and home by 8:30.  Big day.

On 30th August our holiday came to an end and we flew from Osaka back to Sapporo for the 2nd term of school.  Now we moved into our very small apartment.  It was cosy but unbelievably small.  We had to find out where everything was in our neighbourhood.  It turned out to be in a very good position in relation to shops, post office and walking distance to Asabu station which was on the underground into Sapporo city.

Just as a digression - on the 18th September 1990, I have written in my diary:  “Bought a pair of sandshoes at Daiei department store which hopefully will suit my feet.  Then I had written under hopefully - "...they do!"  Yes, even though I have trouble getting comfortable shoes, this pair were fine and now 20 years later I’m still wearing them!

We became good friends with Ken & Rie Kamada who attended the International service on a Sunday night.  They were a young married couple around 30 and at that time had no children.  (They have since had at least two).  They were very kind to us, and took us out for sushi a number of times.  The sushi was amazing - so fresh and as much raw fish as you would like.  It must have cost them a fortune.  One weekend, they took us to his employer company’s besso (holiday house).  It was an hour out of Sapporo and all the huts were built with wood inside and out, in a Swedish style.  The tiny houses were very spread out amongst green rolling hills and the complex was complete with a tennis court.  It was a beautiful weekend - very European.  Even though it was September - the first month of autumn - it was quite cold and I have written in my diary: “First snow on the highest mountain (Mt Asahi in the central Alps)."

When we were in the apartment by ourselves, we found that many people were so kind to us.  We ourselves were busy all the time with meetings, Bruce preaching, me playing, song practice, school activities, other meetings in between, Women’s Aglow,  Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, and the many special lunches.  We gave most of our time to Hokuto Chapel which was Pastor Yasuda’s church, but also had strong links to Bethel Church pastored by Baba-sensei.  It was our connection to Bethel Church that caused us to meet two girls from Hawaii - Rona and Wendy.  Rona was Chinese and Wendy was Niisei (Japanese parents but born in Hawaii).  The two girls were in Japan for some months, attended Bethel, and took English classes.  The interesting thing about knowing Wendy was that one of her English students was interested in coming to Australia to study English and then travel around Australia over the course of a year.  She wrote to us.  By that time we were back in Australia.  The outcome was that Shinichi Sugawara came to stay with us for three months, and later introduced us to the pastors of the Japanese church on the Gold Coast.  Eventually after those pastors returned to Japan, we ourselves sold out in Ipswich, moved to the Gold Coast and have been pastoring that church for the past 17 years (as of 2010).  Shin himself returned to Japan, married a girl who had become a Christian while at the church on the Coast, and then went to the Philippines, working amongst Japanese and Filipinos.  I have run ahead of myself with this story of which I probably will write more later.  But now, I need to get back to Sapporo, end of September-early October: a group of Koreans came to Sapporo to speak at the school, take meetings and prayer meetings as a fore-runner to Yonggi Cho holding three meetings in Sapporo.  The three larger churches in Sapporo were responsible for one night each to lead and provide the music.  Bethel Church took one, Hokuto Chapel one, and the Church of the Twelve Apostles took the other.  I played piano and Pastor Yasuda led on the second night.  This was probably the biggest meeting I’ve played for with an approximate attendance of 900.  Bruce interpreted the meetings for people with earphones.

Through meeting two of the ladies who had come ahead of the meetings, Bruce was invited to go to Korea for 12 days in November, during which time he spoke more than 30 times.  They had him driving or flying all over the country.  I didn’t go to Korea, but stayed home in our apartment.  During that time, people were so kind, visiting me or taking me out.  Every day was a full day.  The day Bruce returned from Korea, I opened the door, and the first thing I said was: “You smell like garlic!”  The whole country must be permeated with it.

One night we were asked to go and meet a man who wanted some fellowship with Christians.  Nobody else was able to go, so we went.  He was at the Green Hotel, and that is where we met Adid Ashraf, a Pakistani who had become a Christian one month earlier in Tokyo.  His parents and he were in the clothing industry.  He was staying with relatives in Tokyo and hadn’t told them or his parents of his conversion.  He was actually afraid of being killed in Pakistan, and his hope was to go to America where he could freely worship God.  I was very touched by his sincerity.  At that stage, he was still smoking, but the Lord was doing something wonderful in him.  I’ll never forget his words: “I’m not lonely anymore.  It is as if someone is living inside me!”  I often wonder what happened to him and where he ended up.

Hokkaido in autumn was beautiful.  We went driving to see the “colour front” a number of times.  Once was to Otaru and back.  Another time, we did a trip around Sapporo, going right around lake Shikotsu and back.  We were told at the time that it is impossible to drive around that lake in winter, as the roads are completely blocked off.  Following autumn, the snow started.  I can vividly remember the first snow in Sapporo.  It was 11th November.  Bruce was in Korea and I was in the apartment by myself.  When snow falls, it is completely silent, so unless you see it falling, you don’t realise what is happening.  So on the night before, this is what happened.  When I got up in the morning and looked out the window, everything was white.  It was an unexpected and beautiful scene and its beauty brought tears to my eyes.  It was absolutely magical.  Once the snow starts, it continually builds up and there is thick snow on the ground until the end of the season.  (Even when we first arrived in early April, there were still some patches in shady places that hadn’t melted).  People are hired to work each night to clear the roads for the following day.  In the city, there is heating under the foot path to keep it clear from a build-up of snow.

Once Bruce returned from Korea on 13th November, we had just one month left before returning to Australia.  By my diary, this was a busy and full month at the school, the churches, friends coming and going, Bruce teaching and speaking many times and myself playing for meetings, a funeral and giving some piano lessons.  Every day was full.
During that time, we had an overnight stay at the parents of a young family who attended Hokuto Chapel.  Their house was in a city called Utashinai.  This town - which was more than an hour by car from Sapporo - used to be a coal mining area with a population of 40,000.  Now, the mining has stopped and the population has dropped to 6,000 - but it has been able to keep its “city” status.  Two things I especially remember about this house.  One was the samurai sword above the door arch of the room we slept in.  (A lot of samurai-class Japanese found themselves out of work in the mid to late 1800s, and as Hokkaido was the new frontier, many migrated there.  Most people are able to tell you where they or their forebears migrated from.)  The second thing that left an impression on me was the toilet.  The lady was all apologies for the old earth-style toilet, but in fact, while it was that type, it was a western style, complete with heated seat and everything that was push button.  It was probably one of the warmest places in the house, because everything was padded - seemed to be buttons and bows everywhere, with a colour scheme of pink and white.

And so after nine months in Sapporo, we left on the 14th December from Chitose airport, stayed overnight in Tokyo, flew to Manila where we had hours of waiting for our connecting flight to Australia, arriving in Brisbane 16th December 1990.  Our time in Sapporo was most enjoyable and an experience we were privileged to have.

Chapter 5

Brisbane - arriving at 5:15 a.m. on December 16th 1990.  We were met at the airport by John, Russell Dewar, Peter and Gigie.  Just as we arrived home, Jeff, Jill and baby David arrived.  By 8 a.m., Thelma, Dean and Julie came with fruit and picelets for breakfast, as well as sandwiches, cheesecake, bunloaf and fruit for lunch.  At least on this day, I didn’t have to cook or prepare.  We visited dad and mum in the afternoon and then went to church at night.  This was a very big day for our first day back, especially considering we had travelled all night.

Russell Dewar, mentioned earlier, had been invited to live at our place by John while we were away, and we were quite happy for him to stay on.  Also, that first day, we had our first introduction to first grandchild David Llewelyn, who by then was seven months old and still very tiny.  We hadn’t seen Peter and Gigie since their wedding in Manila, and now they were both in Australia - Gigie for the first time.

Between coming back from Japan in December 1990 to 1994 when we moved to the Gold Coast, we had a number of homestay guests.  The first was Russell who must have been with us close to two years.  Narelle’s daughter Sarah came over from New Zealand for two months and attended Bremer High School during her stay with us.  Tomoe Tani came for four weeks.  She came through the AIIV exchange program; as did Yumi Ueda who came the following year for three weeks.  For most of the time Yumi was with us, John’s friend Bruno turned up.  He had nowhere to go so stayed two weeks, sleeping on the lounge (practically night and day).  There were no spare beds.  Russell was still with us at the time (1992).  I can’t remember where Paul Murphy would have slept, for he was still coming at weekends.  Two Japanese girls Hiromi and Midori came for four and six weeks, during which time John and I took them to St George to visit Jeff and Jill who were living there at the time.  In 1993 Luke Chang stayed for six to eight months.  He was from Papua New Guinea (PNG).  His mother was Tasmanian and his father was half Chinese/half PNG.  The family lived in PNG.  He was the eldest of three boys.  The second brother was a boarder at Ipswich Boys' Grammar School, and Luke was studying at TAFE and suddenly found himself with nowhere to stay - so we took him in.  Near Christmas, the family came down from PNG and bought a house in St Lucia and a car, for the two boys to live in while attending university.  They were a lovely family, but Luke was the only boarder we had who refused to go to church with us even once.  Last we heard of him, he was a maritime engineer and living in New Zealand.  Shinichi Sugawara was our homestay for three months.  I will write in more detail of his stay later.  Then in December 1993, Kiyomi Yokokawa came for three months.  With all of these homestay people except for Russell and Luke, we did many trips (day trips) to show them as much as we could of our part of Australia.  John and Paul Murphy (who was still coming at weekends) were my main taxi drivers.  As well as these long stayers, there were so many who came for a few days or overnight.  All I can say is, our home at Prunda Parade was most of the time like Central Station!  I must say though that I  loved it, and only now in 2010 do I feel it would be a bit daunting.

In June 1991, my mother had a very big operation.  She had a large growth on her stomach.  They removed her whole stomach and after that, could only manage fluids.  She came out of hospital but never gained weight, and over the course of a year continually lost weight and eventually was very ill and weak.  It was obvious that the cancer was still there.  So after a terrible year, she passed away 20th August 1992.  Two weeks after, I went to hospital for a hysterectomy.  When opened up, they found everything was in good order.  The problem was a cyst on the appendix.  These two traumatic events may have been the cause for the first signs in January 2003 of psoriasis, which I have had ever since.

On coming back from Japan, Bruce had to decide what direction he would take.  He did some tutoring and interpreting of Japanese, and for a period of time taught Japanese at TAFE.  He started doing some carpentry as well, and ended up working most of the time with Robert Clarke.  They built a house (or more like a mansion) for Bevan Schultz, and afterwards continued to work together doing improvements to the CLC church at Brassall.  While working with Robert, they had one quite serious accident.  Robert fell from a height on top of Bruce, and the force busted Bruce’s leg open.  He ended-up with nine internal stitches and 29 outside, and had to use crutches.  Robert had a few minor injuries as well as a broken nose.  That happened in June 1991.  Another time, he got a huge splinter, and after getting it out needed two or three stitches.

Meanwhile, he was often asked to preach at Gatton and Kingaroy.  Before 1990, there was talk of us going to India or Mt Hagen in Papua New Guinea, but we were definitely led to go to Japan at that time.  Now home, we were faced with two options.  Bruce was officially asked to pastor the CLC church with school attached, in Kingaroy.  We did not feel it was right for us, so we declined.  That was May 1993.

As I mentioned earlier, Shinichi Sugawara had a three-month homestay with us, and then went on his travels in February 1992.  He didn’t go far at first, but later covered a lot of ground from Western Australia, Ayers Rock and North Queensland.  When he left us, he first went to the Gold Coast and started attending Japanese church.  He was anxious for us to meet the pastors and young people, but it wasn’t until after he had done his other travelling and returned to the Coast did this come about.  In October 1992 we had Shin and Pastor and Mrs Hayashida come and stay for a weekend.  We had had some of the young people come before that, so we were getting to know them all.  Then a few times, Bruce was asked to preach at Japanese church.  As mentioned earlier, two of the girls came for homestay and so there was a lot of interaction going on between us and Japanese church.  In November 1993 we had been to the church twice in the month, and also met Tony and Kamin Mills who were working with Hayashidas at the church.  In December 1993, our new homestay Kiyomi arrived for a three-month stay, and we were anxious to take her to Japanese church too.  By now we were backwards and forwards from Ipswich to the Coast, sometimes staying with Tony and Kamin at their apartment in Southport.  Eventually it was put to us about pastoring the church.  Mr and Mrs Hayashida were leaving in April 1994, and Tony & Kamin were also leaving as missionaries to Japan.  As you can imagine, it’s not an easy thing to find a replacement able to speak Japanese, unless someone was brought out from Japan.  Financially this was not possible.

And so it was that Bruce made the decision to pastor Japanese church from February 1994.  On 6th March 1994 at Surfers AOG, the pastor and leaders prayed for us in the morning service, and then the same at Japanese church in the afternoon.  In Ipswich we had a farewell evening on the 19th March.  It was an informal night with supper.  We were given engraved Pierre Cardin watches each.  Then the next day was our farewell service at CLC Ipswich on 20th March 1994.

With this change of direction in our lives, we faced another challenge of selling up and moving permanently to the Gold Coast.  It is now sixteen and a half years since Bruce began pastoring Japanese church.  In reading through my diary, I was surprised to note that I had written down a prophetic word given to us.  Bruce was in Japan for the opening of the new building for the International church in Sapporo, and I went by myself to Phillip & Mandy Mutzelburg’s home for a get-together with the church elders and respected interstate church leaders Fred & Betty Anderson.  Fred’s word to us was that we would be led in a new direction, a new thing and fulfilment.  Doug Hanning had a similar word that the second would be like the first but the fulfilment of it.  Now reading that more than 17 years later (March 1993) I believe our moving to the Coast and our involvement with Japanese church is truly a fulfilment of those words.

Ever since our forebears came to Australia in 1855, 1883 and 1912, the succeeding generations were born and bred in Ipswich and continued to live there.  It was the same with us.  We were both born at St Andrews Hospital, attended Silkstone State School, and later employed in Ipswich.  Now we had made a decision that meant the most sensible thing to do was to move to the Gold Coast permanently.  At first, we travelled each weekend and sometimes were able to stay at Tony & Kamin’s unit in Southport.  Kiyomi and I house sat a home in Sorrento for two weeks while the owners were away.  Then in June 1994 we made a more definite move.

There was a house right on the river in Sunset Blvd, Surfers Paradise which was owned by two Japanese businessmen.  They hardly ever used it because they both lived in Adelaide.  It was used sometimes by their friends and only occasionally they would come for a short holiday.  Rather than leave the house empty, they had a Japanese girl come and live in the house, whose job it was to maintain it inside and out (the garden).  The first girl we knew there was Fujiko.  She became a Christian and therefore was well known to all at church.  After her visa ran out, she returned home and another girl took her place.  She wasn’t a Christian but had connections with the church.  Megumi was happy house sitting, but at the same time, wished to do some travelling.  She couldn’t leave the house to do this so she asked the owners if we could come and live there so she could do some trips.  The owners agreed, so in June 1994 we based ourselves in Surfers, and began the task of selling out in Ipswich.

We lived at Sunset Boulevade for nine months, during which time a number of the owners’ guests passed through.  In February 1995 a YWAM group from Okinawa came for one month's outreach, working within Japanese church, and during their stay (they lived at the church) we had a baptismal service at the house using the pool.

By the end of June 1995, Mr & Mrs Hayashida and Tony & Ka-min had all left for Japan and we were now the only workers in the church.

Our time at Sunset Boulevade was coming to an end.  An opportunity opened up for us to house sit another huge house owned by Japanese.  This one was at 21 Binda Place, Sorrento.  We moved there in March 1995 and stayed there four months.

Meanwhile we were trying to sell our Ipswich houses, and finally had everything settled by May.  We had to store our furniture from Prunda Parade until we could buy our own house.

All of this time from 1994-1995 we were on the hunt for a suitable house to buy.  We were drawn to Sorrento and kept looking there.  One particular house in Campbell Street, we even signed a contract on - but the owner wanted more, so we let it go.  Very early in the piece, a family from the English church (AOG) were selling and we went to look at their house in Benowa.  I loved this house - but we were not cashed up at the time, and had to let it go.  Then one day, months later, we looked at yet another house in Sorrento but it was $100,000 more than we wanted to pay.  The agent suggested another house in Robina which was the right price.  We told him we had been all around that area and had seen everything that had a for sale sign, and had even looked through at least three.  He told us that this particular house had no sign, and it was empty.  A previous contract had fallen through.  That afternoon we had a look through, and liked it enough to come back the following week and spent an hour just walking around - then we went to the office and signed a contract on it.

The house at 4 Hayman Court became ours on 21st July 1995.  Our furniture arrived out of storage on 26th and we moved in on the 31st July 1995.  This house had been just kept for us.  When we were in a position to buy, it just fell into our lap.  Also, the house I had loved so much before and couldn’t buy had features that were exactly the same in the one we bought.  The light shades, gold taps and shower fittings, and high ceilings were the same, and the kitchen and benchtops were the same style and colour as we had at Prunda Parade.  Now we had completed our move to the Coast, and were in our own home again.  John was in the Philippines when we did all our moving and selling.  When he came home in 1996, he came to our new home for the first time.  Our new home at 4 Hayman Court Robina (now called Mermaid Waters) became ours on the 21st July 1995.

We very quickly got back into our old pattern of people staying long term, short term and lots of coming and going.  Our longest stay was Mark Walker who intended to stay three weeks, but ended up staying three years.  During that time he found a good stable job, saved up a deposit and bought a three-bedroom unit.  David Sercombe was coming for three months, but stayed until he got married 18 months later.  Our own grandson David was with us for a year.  Jill was transferred to Melbourne with her work.  She took Michael and PJ but David wanted to finish grade 12 at Merrimac High School.  Then we had David’s friend Lauren Davis who needed a place to live.  She was with us for 18 months.  Our own family spent periods of time with us too.  Peter & Gigie’s family had about three extended stays with us, the longest being nine months.  When Jill returned from Melbourne, the boys came first when school finished, and Jill followed.  This covered a period of four months before she was able to move into Hixson Court.

Our shorter-term visitors were Mark Lee (Beaver) who stayed two weeks while recuperating from knee surgery.  There was Manoj & Sheila and family from Sydney.  They were Peter & Gigie’s friends - Indian (from Mauritius), and came for a week.  John’s friend Antoinette, also from Sydney, came a few times.  She is Egyptian, and she and the family, who have also been here, had property in the Sudan.  Tim Everett came for two weeks while doing a course on the Coast.  The Covenant Players stayed four times.  These were a group of about four people who went into schools and did drama and music.  They stayed in one place less than a week and then moved on, using hospitality along the way as it was offered to them.

We have also had a number of overseas visitors.  Mari and Michi Yasuda, daughters of Pastor Yasuda in Sapporo, came for two weeks.  Miriam Heywood and Steve Ollis from England were here for a week.  They were engaged and later married.  Genevieve and Jing-Jing from the Philippines, John’s friends, were here when I had a birthday.  Very early in the morning, Peter & Gigie and her nephew Lloyd Saniel, Jing-Jing Macalaguing, John and the two girls woke me up singing happy birthday!  Pat Heywood, one of our JEB missionaries, paid us a visit as did Bobby and Tillie Toner who came for two weeks.  We had a great time taking them all over the place.  Tina Tan - a Chinese girl from Singapore - came for three weeks.  Pastor and Mrs Yasuda visited us, and also Pastor and Mrs Doi and their daughter Naoko whom we hadn’t seen for 33 years visited us for two weeks. It was also exciting to have Bruce’s second cousin and his wife John & Joy Bergin from England visit us.  His grandmother and Bruce’s grandfather Edwards were brother and sister.

Since being in this house, I have done a few trips mostly by myself.  The first one in 1996 was to New Zealand with John, Filomena and Lavina and my dad.  Our purpose was to attend Narelle’s son Tim’s wedding at New Plymouth - which we did, but we made the most of it and took two weeks to sight-see between Wellington and Auckland.  Dad was 88 at the time, and he managed to keep up with us whatever we did.

In 1997 I went to the Philippines for a month.  Peter & Gigie were living over there for a year, and most of the time I spent with them.  I flew to Manila and was met by Gigie’s niece.  Then we went to her sister’s place in Manila overnight.  Then I flew to Davao and was met by Peter and Gigie.  They were staying with her sister Tata, and I stayed there too.  After about a week, we all flew to Cagayan de Oro and stayed with more family and later took a hydrofoil to Cebu and stayed with yet another sister.  After quite a bit of sight-seeing in all these places, I flew to Manila again and then home.  My other trips were within Australia.  Twice to Melbourne.  The first time, David came with me.  It was his first time to fly.  The second time, Bruce came with me but came home before me so as not to be away on Sunday.  Peter and Gigie lived in Sydney for a couple of years, and while they were there I visited them twice.  I managed to get rides down and back by people who were going in empty cars.  I enjoyed Sydney, the harbour and Parramatta.  I have been to Canberra three times.  The first time was with Betty Cane and we stayed with her cousin.  The other two times, I flew down and stayed with my friend Thelma Atwell who had moved to Canberra.  The first time, we saw snow at Thredbo, the second time was Floriade, and the third was autumn leaves.  Beautiful.

When Bruce began pastoring Japanese church, it was obvious that we would not be supported - so he needed to look for other work.  He had odd bits of carpentry, but decided to apply to a tour company.  He started working with Waku Waku tours in December 1994, working four nights per week.  This tour was to Fleay’s Wild Life Park.  He stayed with that company, outlasting three owners, until the license to use the park was lost to another company.  While with Waku Waku, in 1998 he was nominated for a tourism award and was one of 25 finalists.  The awards night was a big affair held at Sheraton Mirage.  One night in January 1997, he had an accident during the tour when he fell off a ledge in the dark.  He was taken to hospital, spent hours there, and then was sent home without even an x-ray.  He had two weeks off work and a course of physio.  Even to this day, he occasionally gets a sharp pain on that side of his head.

Waku Waku tours finished in 2003, and Bruce started working with National Tour Company which did glow-worm tours to Natural Bridge (Arch).  This company has also had three different owners and three different names, but Bruce is still working there at night, on call, usually about five nights per week.  It can be more or less.  Recently he worked 21 nights straight.

Since being on the Coast, Bruce’s work over those years was doing the tours in Japanese and driving the buses.  Since 1994 to this day, he has worked at Emmanuel College two days per week in the manual arts department as a teachers' assistant - as well as doing as much carpentry as came to him.  At the same time, the two of us did a number of Japanese weddings.  Some were for real, but most were sham weddings - the couples were already married, but had the ceremony, wedding gowns etc and photos in Australia.  Most times the immediate families came to Australia for the weddings.  In all these weddings, Bruce conducted the service and I played the organ.  Every organ was different, and I always hoped I could get a decent sound out of the one I was playing on the day.  The worst one was a small pedal organ that had to be furiously pumped to get any kind of sound at all.  The weddings were done at many different places and chapels and too numerous to work out how many we have done.  Quite a good number were held at St Margaret’s Chapel which is in the Gold Coasty City Council grounds; quite a good number at the Royal Pines chapel; then others, some more than once, at Tamborine, a winery; three other chapels; Crown Plaza chapel; Oskar’s restaurant at Burleigh; the gardens at Sheraton Mirage hotel; one on the beach at Tallebudgera; one at Lady Elliot Island; Robina Golf Course chapel - and even one at Surf City AOG.  All these weddings were conducted in Japanese.  In writing about Lady Elliot Island, I must mention that Bruce also did a number of daytime tours to Lady Elliot Island - hence the connection for the wedding.  The tour group went by light aircraft from Coolangatta to Hervey Bay, then boat to the island, and did snorkelling etc.  He also did some whale watching tours.  For three or four years, we were asked to conduct a Christmas day and Easter Friday service at the chapel at Royal Pines at the request of some of the residents.

Our lives, as always, are full of things to do, people to have here, and doing what our hands find to do with the best of our ability.

There are a few things come to mind that I have not mentioned in my writings.  I would just make a note of them now.  Over time I have taught a number of people to play piano.  Not that I felt adequate for it, but I do know of two who have gone on and done quite well.  This gives me confidence that the basics were taught correctly, and nothing had to be unlearned.  I only wish I had a record of just how many weddings I have played for.  I would estimate about 100, and a good number of funerals too.

In 2004, I started attending Central Gold Coast Baptist Church.  We are a small fellowship of around 30 people.  When I first went there, I noticed a piano pushed over in the corner unused.  After my second Sunday there, and realising I may be able to help in that area, I offered to play.  I played the following Sunday and six years later (as of 2010) I’m still playing each week having missed only four Sundays (when I was in Melbourne and Canberra) during the six years.  Bruce has a similar record with regards Japanese church.  In nearly 17 years, he has been absent three Sundays.  Only occasionally did we have visiting speakers and if English-speaking, Bruce would interpret.  I mentioned to Bruce once that in nearly 17 years of Sundays, that is a lot of cakes (for I baked every week for afternoon tea after the service).  Bruce’s reply was: “Yes, and it is a lot of sermons too!”

I just want to mention three things that were great surprises to me.  Our 30th wedding anniversary was January 1994.  We had no plans to do anything special except we were going to Peter and Gigie’s for tea.  They lived in Nolan Street, Raceview at the time.  Bruce and I walked to their house from Prunda Parade, because it was very close.  Everything was quiet, and Gigie was pulling a few weeds from the front lawn.  Then we all went inside, only to be met by a houseful of people.  It was a huge surprise!  All our family and my dad were there, plus Betty Cane, friends from CLC and Mr and Mrs Hayashida and a group of young people from Japanese church were there too.  Gigie went to a lot of trouble to put on that night.  She had a tiered cake made and iced too.  The next was our 40th anniversary in 2004.  All we knew was that Jill was taking us out for dinner.  We didn’t even know where.  We ended up at The Rocks restaurant at Currumbin.  When we walked in, once again a surprise.  Our immediate family and our full wedding party were all present.  Filomena had made and iced a lovely cake which she does so well.  This was indeed a wonderful night.  After the meal, we came back home to cut the cake and have tea or coffee.

My next surprise is very different.  For my 60th birthday, Jill gave me a card with a letter in it.  In the letter she promised me two things that I had a desire to do.  The first one was to visit Jo & Flo Bjelke-Petersen on their farm at Kingaroy and have pumpkin scones which she was famous for.  The second was to play the pipe organ at City Hall in Brisbane.  Somehow she managed to arrange both of these.  Bruce and I drove to Kingaroy to their farm, and afterwards ran into about six people from CLC Kingaroy.  It actually turned-out to be a timely meeting and I truly am thankful for all of the experiences of that day.  On an arranged day, Jill and I went to Brisbane and I had the pleasure of playing the pipe organ for more than half an hour.  Robert Boughen the official organist was with me.  He seemed amused when he asked me where my music was and I pulled out my little bit of paper with a list of songs I wanted to play.  Also on that birthday, John took me to Sea World.  I had never been before and that also was an enjoyable day.

One of my great loves is pipe organ music.  I just love the thunderous, majestic sounds that can be got out of it.  I never had the opportunity to master that instrument, but have had the pleasure of playing for one-off occasions.  The first time was a wedding at the Presbyterian church in Warwick for Lorraine & Graham Burn who were QBI graduates.  Second, was Brisbane City Baptist Tabernacle for our QBI graduation ceremony.  Then there was, as mentioned, playing at City Hall Brisbane.  Next was in Melbourne.  I was visiting Jill, and she took me to see the Welsh church.  It had a pipe organ and I was able to play it.  Then recently I played for a funeral in Southport C of E.  I know I didn’t do the instrument justice on any of these occasions, but I certainly enjoyed the opportunity.

So now I’ve come to the end of writing a brief story of my life.  There could be so much more detail and more names mentioned and no doubt I will recall other things that I wished I had written, however in my diary there is a lot more detail.

I am amazed how the Lord’s hand has been guiding me all my life.  Firstly, who my parents were and where I lived.  I am thankful too for our country’s deliverance in WWII.  How different all our lives would have been if the victory hadn’t been ours.  I’m thankful for all my friends from those early years.  I’m thankful too for the conviction that came upon me, showing me my need of a Saviour and for the excitement and joy of having found a “new and living way” of life in Jesus.  I dare not think which way my life would have gone had I not trusted in Jesus.  Then later, our going to Japan and involvement with Japanese people.  In those days in the ‘50s & ‘60s, Japanese were still regarded as the enemy to many people.  Then later, relocating to the Gold Coast, still being involved with Japanese people.  I am amazed at the fluency and natural gift Bruce has in the Japanese language.

Just before my father passed away, he said one day: “I’ve had a fortunate life.”  I can say the same.  I have been blessed with a good husband and provider, good children and grandchildren, all of whom I love dearly and I am content resting in the faithfulness of God my Saviour.


Early Ipswich History & Some Significant Dates

1823   Oxley discovered the Brisbane River
1824   First convict settlement in Brisbane
1825  First batch of convicts (40 - plus guards and families).  This settlement continued up to 1840
1826   Captain Logan sailed up to the Bremer River
1827   An overseer and five convicts were sent from Brisbane to investigate the limestone hills.  Coal was also sighted.  Thus Limestone Station came into being
1828   Cunningham passed through on his way to discovering a way through the range, now called Cunningham’s Gap.  In Ipswich he reportedly slept by the tree on Limestone hill.  Around that tree area is called Cunningham’s knoll.
1842   Land for selection was open to free settlers in Moreton Bay and Ipswich area
1843  The name Limestone was changed to Ipswich.  The first land sale was held.   The area offered was bounded by East, Bell, Bremer and Brisbane Streets
1846   Population of Ipswich was 103
1847   Tallow manufacture introduced
1851  First coal mine opened.  Flat bottom boats were used to transfer limestone to the Coast.  Steam boats followed.  Businesses began to spring up - general store, bakery and blacksmith shop
1854   Cribb & Foote opened.  Bank of NSW opened, and others followed.  By the late 1850s, first phase of expansion
1857   Whybird Removalists began operations.  This business was handed down in the family.  They were always Salvation Army people.  We knew the last two.  The last one, Royston married one of our Silkstone Baptist girls.  They recently sold the business, but the name was kept
1859 - Separation of NSW and Qld.  At the time of separation, the whole population of Qld was between 25,000 - 30,000
         - In Ipswich, the first hospital building was completed.  Note that the maternity wing was not opened until 1945.  Babies were always born at home or later when we were born, mothers went to St Andrews Private Hospital.
           - the Court House was already erected
           - The “Ipswich Herald” had appeared
           - Gold was discovered 70 miles from Ipswich
           - The wider population was 3,732.  The Ipswich figure was over 800.  My great, great grandparents would have been counted in this figure.  They arrived in 1855 and married in 1858
1860     Ipswich Municipality was proclaimed
1862 - A move was made for some kerosene lights to be installed in a few streets
1863 - Ipswich Grammar School was functioning
       - The first railway line in Qld, between Ipswich and Grandchester
       - Pioneers were moving into the outlying country to engage in agriculture and dairying.  There were cotton crops in the Redbank area
1865 - Bridge across the Bremer river for rail and vehicular.  In the late 1860s, a fire brigade service began
1876 - Rail link to Brisbane opened
1877 - Woollen Mills started production.  A public clock appeared.  Adequate machinery at Kholo to bring water supplies to Ipswich from the Brisbane River.
1893 - the big flood.  Burnies department store opened.
1901 - Queensland became a federated State within the Commonwealth of Australia
       - Booval Butter factory (now Jacaranda) processed its first milk in April 1901
1904 - Ipswich became a city.  Population 8637.  Ipswich “the principal coalfield in the State, producing 80% of Queensland’s total output and employed 1002 of Queensland’s 1336 miners.”  From then, steady decline.
1911 - By 1911 there were three woollen mills factories operating.  All were closed by the 1970s.  In the 20th century, the railway workshops were the largest employers in Ipswich.  Sure to be followed by the other two big ones - the mines and woollen mills.  I remember that every year there was always the miners' picnic which was a huge exodus to the bayside by train.  The majority of kids in my class at school had fathers who worked in the railway or the mines.  These families usually had their evening meal at five because their fathers got home from work early after a very early start (my dad worked in Brisbane and didn’t get home much before six).
1921 - Ipswich swimming pool “baths” opened.  The only other pool was at Silkstone State school which was put in by voluntary labour in ‘26-’27.  It was extended again in the ‘50s by voluntary labour, and I remember my dad did his share with the pick and shovel.  The only other pool in Ipswich was Duce’s pool built in 1953.  It just so happened that Norm and Norma Duce built a beautiful home (and it still stands out) on the corner of Brisbane Road and Fox Street Booval.  They had made a lot of money owning and racing horses.  Sad to say, their faith and trust was not on the true source of wealth and eventually, the marriage ended and so did their wealth, and the house was sold.  Because Norma was my full cousin, I’ve had a few swims in that pool.  I always used to visit Norma when I was collecting for the Marsden Home for Boys back in the ‘50s.  She always gave a £5 donation which was huge money back then
1966 - Decimal currency introduced
1969 - Big W Booval opened.  Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
1973 - Traffic lights operating Brisbane and Station Road
1974 - The big flood
1982 - Silkstone State School centenary
       - Commonwealth Games in Brisbane
1983 - Australia won the Americas Cup (sailing).  USA had held the cup for 132 years.
1985 - Reids (Cribb & Foote) burnt down.  This store had been in operation since 1849
       - Wivenhoe dam wall open to traffic
1987 - Opening of the Nicholas Street mall
1988 - Start of wheelie bins
       - World Expo in Brisbane
1989 - Berlin Wall knocked down
1994 - Edwards family reunion at Cameron Park.  89 present.
1995 - January.  Earthquake in Kobe Japan.  5000 dead
1998 - Winter Olympics in Nagano Japan
       - Tim & Di Everett arrived from NZ permanently
1999 - January.  Graham Staines who was in QBI with us, with his two sons aged seven and 10 were burnt to death in a car in India (Orissa).  He was 58 and had been a missionary in India for 34 years
       - Euro currency was introduced to EU countries, except Britain which kept the pound.  I’m not sure also about Greece, Sweden and Denmark.
       - NOVEMBER.  Australia said “NO” to a republic.  
          Australia won the World Cup against France (Rugby Union)

2000 - June, the Olympic torch run through the Gold Coast.  We watched it go past at Pacific Fair corner of the highway on its way to Sydney
       - SEPT.  Opening of Olympic Games in Sydney
2001 - 9/11  The 11th September 2001 was the day two planes flew into the two World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York and one into the Pentagon.  Another one was forced to crash before reaching Capitol Hill.  This was the day the world changed forever.  Since then there has been on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lots more bombings in various places.

2002 - Opening of Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
       - MARCH.  Death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (101yrs)
       - OCTOBER.  Three bomb blasts at Bali.  200 died, over 80 of these Australian
       - OCTOBER.  Worst drought in memory, all down the eastern side of Australia.  Worst dust storm on record.  Blowing up to 10 million tonnes of top soil into the sea, stretching from Mt Isa to Sydney
2003 - DECEMBER. Population of Australia reaches 20 million
2004 - MARCH.  Planted the laburnum tree which I struck from seed myself
       - NOV.  Planted the Poinciana tree which was a baby seedling from next door’s tree
       - DEC.  Earthquake and tidal wave affecting Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives and Africa.  Millions displaced and 300,000 dead
2005 - APRIL.  Death of Joh Bjelke-Peterson (94 years)
2006 - MAY.  Two miners buried in a mine in Tasmania.  Rescued after two weeks.
       -  JULY.  3,000l water tank installed
       - Steve Irwin the daring crocodile man died after being stabbed in the heart by the barb of a stingray
2007 - JAN.  Australia won the Ashes 5-0 (test cricket).  Then three of the best players retired from the game: Glen McGrath & Shane Warne (bowlers) and Justin Langer (opening batsman)
2008 - Olympic Games in China
2009 - FEB.  Fire and floods.  Fires in Victoria the worst natural disaster.  Bush fires destroyed whole small towns - Maryville and Kinglake being the worst.  More than 200 dead.  In Qld, floods over 62% of the State and north and west.  The long, long drought broken
2010 - Winter games in Vancouver
       - MARCH.  Qld floods again, especially out West.  The area under water was as large as the State of Victoria.  All rivers and dams are full
       - MAY.  Jessica Watson at 16yrs of age arrived home after sailing solo around the world.  It took seven months
       - OCT.  In Chile, 33 miners trapped underground.  They were discovered 17 days later and after a huge operation, they were rescued on the 69th day; bringing them up one-by-one safely to the surface.  This was a rescue of unheard proportions.   

A Brief History of the Baptist Church
Brisbane, Ipswich & Silkstone

In 1823, the Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang came from Scotland to minister in the Scots church in Sydney.  Both in Sydney, but especially Moreton Bay, he had two concerns.  Firstly, he felt that no attempt was being made to evangelise aborigines, and secondly, the colony needed good types of migrants who would set life and industry on a prosperous way.

In 1837, he went to Germany to enlist Christian missionaries for the Moreton Bay field.  He gathered twelve, plus their families, sailed to Sydney, then to Moreton Bay.  In 1838 they landed at Humpy Bong, but later transferred to Zion Hill at Nundah.  By 1850, the mission had closed, but their influence continued in several churches.  The earliest Baptist work in the colony was greatly blest through several of these missionary families.  These missionaries became the twelve apostles of faith to this part of the new land.

The German missionaries on Zion Hill (now Walkers Way, Nundah, built dwellings and a chapel on the banks of Kedron brook.  The chapel was later moved to Hendra to be a Baptist meeting place.  It was a symbol of corporate worship, and other denominations sprang out of this first work.  Some of the members, including some of the twelve, joined the work of Baptist churches in Wharf Street, Hendra and other centres.

Those twelve missionaries later influenced German migrants to seek settlement in the Ipswich area.  Out of this came the German Baptist conference which was formed from churches in country areas surrounding Ipswich.

In 1948, Rev. Lang went overseas (probably Scotland) to gather more immigrants.  And so it was in 1849, 600 migrants of sound character and Christian principle came to Moreton Bay in three vessels.

Rev. Lang had a two-fold aim for persuading people to come to the colony.  Firstly national, and secondly religious.  He stated three reasons for his concern:

1.  R.C. influence was growing and he was anxious to prevent its dominance
2.  Anglican influence would sow seeds of a State church
3.  Protestant faith would best serve the future interests of the colony, preserve balance and competent leadership.

And so it was that the 600 came to Moreton Bay on three ships - the “Fortitude” in Jan. 1849; “Chasely” in May; and “Lima” in Nov.’49.  A government ship the “Artemisia” had already arrived in 1848 bringing the first free settlers to Moreton Bay.

The chaplain on the “Fortitude” (I wonder if it was the name of this ship that gave Fortitude Valley its name?) was Rev. Charles Stewart, a Baptist minister.  Immediately after arriving, he advertised worship open to all at the Supreme Court building in Queen Street.  This initiative led to the formation of a united Evangelical church.  It consisted of Baptists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians.  This group lasted five years.  It was a greed that when the groups were strong enough to become independent, the property (a brick building beside the Supreme Court which had been purchased) would be sold, and the proceeds equally divided.

The first Baptist church in the northern part of the colony of NSW was formed as the Wharf Street Baptist church, now the City Tabernacle in August 1855.

Ipswich attracted some fine people from the “Fortitude”.  One, Henry Challinor, a doctor, and Samuel Welsby, a teacher.  Both played a significant role in the formation of the Congregational church.  Samuel Welsby conducted what was possibly the first religious services in Limestone, as Ipswich was then called.

He combined this ministry until 1851 when Rev. Thomas Deacon arrived to be with his dying son.  As a Baptist minister, he wished to have services and took over Mr Welsby’s meetings which had started two years earlier.

The first meeting was held at the Court house which then stood on the site of the present Post Office.  Then, they moved to a cottage in Nicholas Street where Deacon Chambers now stand.  From this united meeting, the decision was made on 17th March 1853 to form a united Congregational church to include two denominations - Baptist and Congregational.  Rev. Deacon served as pastor until 1854 when the church became a Congregational church with its own minister.

In 1859, after a visit from some influential Baptists of the Wharf Street church, a gathering of Baptists began.  Rev. Deacon’s home was opened for the meeting, and it was decided to form a Baptist church in Ipswich.  Rev. Deacon became the first pastor of the church which was formed in Jan. 1860.

Queen Victoria signed a document granting separation of Qld from NSW on 6th June 1859.  The Baptist work began on 25th June 1859.  The official formation of the church was Jan. 1860.  Both these events fall within the category of Qld events.

Shortly after, a new place of meeting was necessary.  Rev. Deacon offered part of his garden in West Street to erect a chapel.  This opened on 20th August 1860.  Only a few hours after opening, Rev. Thomas Deacon fell ill.  After 10 days of illness, he passed away on Aug.29th, and was buried 30th August, 1860, aged 72.

After using the chapel in West Street for a time, the meetings moved to a bowling alley, then a temperance hall before building their own church in Brisbane Street.  This was opened in 1877.  The Sunday school hall was added in 1900.  In 1937, the Ipswich church was renovated inside and out.  The ultimate cost was 429 pounds.  The contractor was Mr H. E. Wildey (who was my great-uncle Henry).

In the early days, baptisms were held at the Woollen Mills grounds on the river and on one other site on the Bremer river between Hooper and Keogh Street.

The old Baptist college opened in March 1904, the first principal being Rev. T. Malyon.  Today the campus has moved to another site and is now called Malyon college after the founding principal.

Ipswich Baptist church bought a big house which belonged to the Colthup family who were members of the church.  In Aug. 1958, it was opened as Colthup Home for the aged.  It has been extended, and along with additional buildings into units, low care rooms and high care facilities.

As I have written about many German settlers coming to Ipswich and beyond, I began to recall the names of so many families, descendents of those first settlers, and who, like their forebears, are still well entrenched in the Baptist church in outlying areas (for most of them were farmers) and then, often in retirement would move into the Ipswich area and attend either Ipswich or Silkstone Baptist.

Here are a few of the names I can recall.  Heinrich, Muller, Jackwitz, Lehman, Neuendorf, Neumann, Huth, Litzow, Mutzelburg, Mollenhauer, Schultz, Stieler, Lamprecht, Koch, Moller.  Of these family names, we have personally known at least three generations of most of these long-standing Baptists.  Take a minute to think how fortunate they were to make the decision back then in the 1800s to migrate to Australia, saving themselves and their offspring from two devastating world wars and contributing so much to the “New Settlement” and beyond.

In 1911, as a branch of Ipswich, a worship service was held in Silkstone in a rented hall.  On 30th Nov. 1912, the new church building (now the old Sunday school hall) was opened on the property where the present church stands.  In its time it became numerically stronger than the central church.  The Silkstone fellowship was granted autonomy in March 1921, when 32 members were transferred to form the new church.  An evangelical emphasis was upheld from the beginning with Rev. Farquhar introducing Sankey’s hymnal for the evening service, and using psalms and hymns for the morning service.  This tradition was maintained at least until the 1960s.  Names such as Loy, Hastings and Cochrane were associated with the early work.  We can still remember these people in their old age and of course, Cochrane more so, being a relative.

There was always a strong Pentecostal element amongst some of the people, which I feel came through the Welsh members who had been touched by the Welsh revival.  To this day, I am ever grateful for that strong spiritual life that was found in so many of the members.  They really were like the cream on top of the milk.  And even though these people were retirement age, they reached out to us younger ones with encouragement and talked to us as one-on-one.  In fact, it was from these people that I considered my spiritual fathers and mothers, and I was always open to heed what wisdom and ways of God they would share with us.  To this day, I remember Mrs Irene Ross (who was Welsh, had been a missionary to Japan, and then married a Scottish widower) saying to me, “Others may (do, or say, or go) but you may not”.  This was so if you are truly growing in grace and being led by the Spirit.  How thankful I am for all these fathers of the faith who have gone before.

Faith of our fathers - living still...

And through the truth that comes from God,
Mankind shall then be truly free
Faith of our fathers, holy faith,
We will be true to Thee til death.


The God of Abraham praise
Who reigns enthroned above
Ancient of everlasting days
And God of love
Jehovah! Great I AM!
By earth and heaven confest
I bow and bless the sacred Name
For ever blest.

The God of Abraham praise
At whose supreme command
From earth I rise, and seek the joys
At His right hand
I all on earth forsake
Its wisdom, fame and power
And Him my only portion make
My shield and tower

He by Himself hath sworn
I on His oath depend
I shall on eagles’ wings upborne
To heaven ascend
I shall behold His face
I shall His power adore
And sing the wonders of His grace
Forever more

The whole triumphant host
Give thanks to God on high
“Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost!”
I join the heavenly lays,
All might and majesty are Thine,
And endless praise.  

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