Heroes Unawares

Hello from Chilly Australia!

If you’ve never thought the words “skiing” and “Australia” go together, just go to the internet and check out for images from one of our many ski resorts at Thredbo, down in the Snowy Mountains.  Granted, as a Colorado girl, I still miss the dry powder snow from my childhood, but for Down Under, one can’t complain! This year is particularly cold and they’ve been able to start the season earlier than usual, so much so that we may be able to go down and have a peek tomorrow.

Tony and I are in Canberra this weekend, celebrating the Queen’s Birthday (and my own, while we’re at it), but we came mainly in order to look up an old and very dear friend, Hillas Maclean, retired Head Librarian of the nation’s Parliament Library.  He’s a hero to us; he and his wife were our first Aussie friends. I’ll never forget coming here to settle permanently so many years after that first meeting, and finding beautiful cards written and individually posted to each of our children in our new mailbox, welcoming us and saying, “We will be your Australian family”.  His wife, Rhoda, passed away a few years ago, but Hillas, now 92, is still living independently and is a joy to be with.

I’m still on the “hero” theme, so in addition to the Macleans, let me tell you about some others whom we never met, but rather, met the products of their heroism.

Many years ago in far away Perth, on Australia’s west coast, we were introduced to some friends of our friends. It wasn’t long before this new couple had become our own friends as well. As we got to know them, the question of how they’d come to be Christians came up.

It seems that they, being quintessential Aussies; free thinking, laid back and full of energy, in keeping with their vibrant personalities, decided to quit their jobs and dedicate some extended time using up their youth and their savings to see the world.  This is a very common activity amongst Aussie youth.

And then it happened.

Somewhere in Europe …… in a hostel, they made a casual acquaintance with three backpacker guys.  Sitting around a campfire, these boys said in passing that they were Christians and, when questioned, basically explained what that meant to them. The next day they all parted ways.

End of story.

Or so they thought.

Months later, the couple returned home and in the process of settling back down, looked at each other and said, “We want to be Christians like those guys.” Sunday came around, they walked into a church, and the rest is history.

Recalling the events that led up to such a life-changing decision, this couple realized that they had never even caught the guys’ names, nationality, or anything else about them. The only reference they can give to this experience is taken from 2 Corinthians 2:15-16, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved …”

“That’s what these guys were,” our friends told us. “… a fragrance that stayed with us for the rest of our journey, and brought us at last to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

I’m pretty sure these unsung backpacker heroes would be delighted to know “the rest of the story”, but at least they will know when they get to Heaven and find each other!

Think about who you are and what you do in every day circumstances. Who knows? You might be changing a person’s life and not even know it! Next time you’re talking with someone….. pause for a second and ask yourself, “What do I smell like?” I pray it will be easy on the olfactorys.

We’ll see you back at home next week.  Nicki’s getting closer and closer to her due date, so stay tuned!

God is Good,


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