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Jesus is already there

McKay Patrol Minister Garry Hardingham serving outback Queensland
Mckay Patrol minister Rev Garry Hardingham reflects in a light-hearted way about the move north that happens in the cooler months of the year.

WITH THE wet season finishes the invasion begins.

It’s that time of the year when the grey nomads and geriatric gypsies from places down in the frozen wastes of southern Australia start invading our warmer climes.

Suddenly, we’ve gone from dodging washouts and mud to dodging caravans and campers, all in a few weeks.

But we don’t mind because those who travel to spend their winter tripping around the north are the lifeblood of the local tourist industry.

And along with the grey nomads comes Jesus.

It’s around this time of the year that the cold starts tickling the arthritis of many a wandering preacher who looks to the north as fertile ground for the Great Commission.

Well, one way to supplement your northern holiday is get retiring offerings from outback congregations who, they think, haven’t heard of either Jesus or the Gospel for years. And it all begins with a typical phone call.

“G’day, Cloncurry Uniting Church, Garry speaking.”

“Yes hello, my name is Roger Jones from the Good News Hallelujah Harvest Mission Evangelical ministry based in Melbourne.”

“Yes,” I say hesitantly. “What can I do for you mate?”

“Well, we’re conducting an evangelical mission into the outback and we have an important message from God to bring to the people out there who may not have heard about Jesus.”

“Who? Jesus. Never heard of him,” this usually throws them. “Yeah go on.”

“And we’re wanting to come up your way in (insert any cool month here) to tell the people about Jesus.”

“Gee mate…I’m not sure about the date you wanna come through…How about in December…or February say?”

“Oh no, it’s too hot then!!”

“Why, you worried that Jesus might melt? Doesn’t he like the hot weather or something?”
By this time they have usually cottoned on to my lack of interest. But there are the foolhardy who persist…

“You see, God has told me that the people up there are desperate to hear the Gospel and that…”

Hopefully, at this point my gesturing to Teresa pays off and she calls out “Cuppa’s ready!!”  Now, this might come as a bit of a shock to some people but I think Jesus is already here.

In fact I’m sure I was speaking to him just last week when I was talking to a School of the Air mum who is missing her eldest child who’s in her first year at boarding school. And this morning I thought I heard him talking to me as I slowly watched the outback slip away under MJZ’s fuselage.

I’d like to recommend to anyone who’s never been out here to come and experience the outback.
Who knows you too might even find Jesus up here, throwing a bull or wetting a line or driving a truck.

And if you do see him, tell him I said, “G’day.”

Photo : McKay Patrol Minister Garry Hardingham serving outback Queensland