On October 16th, Don Preston and I flew from the U.S. to Australia to share messages of fulfilled Bible prophecy. Don graciously invited me as a first time traveler to accompany him on his third trip. We arrived in Sydney on the 18th, spent a couple of days resting and adjusting to jet lag. I had the more difficult time adjusting managing to sleep only 6 hours straight through only 2 nights of the entire trip.
We started our speaking at Tabor college seminary where Don spoke to the class on “In the Glory of the Father” and where I spoke in the devotional on The Church – God’s Eternal Purpose. Both lessons were well-received by the students.
Our hosts were Al Persohn and Annette, his very organized and beloved companion who stretched themselves beyond measure in the most kind and diligent hospitality and service. They even scheduled time for Don to enjoy his passion for muscle cars.
We took a couple of excursion tours of Darling Harbor where Don couldn’t manage to get through the ticket points and where I lost my ticket temporarily in my billfold, providing us both with several humorously entertaining moments during our stay.
Following this, we unpacked a few clothes, leaving them behind for our trip to Brisbane, where we stayed with Wayne and Lea Budge in their adorably comfortable home. There we were entertained by a couple of magpies who shared lunch with us, kookaburras who made sure we didn’t oversleep and kangaroos who came right up in the yard. At Brisbane we preached on two separate days at the Taneh Merah church, a long established congregation of wonderful people. We had great fellowship and food both as guests of the Budge’s and with the congregation.
During our stay, we met Rodney Smith and his wife who suggested a trip to India next year where Rodney who did mission work there before, agreed to accompany us pending successful plans which would begin immediately. The prospects of an India trip excited both Don and me. Prahbu Das is the fine minister there who works with brethren in India spreading the message of covenant eschatology.
We then returned to Sydney, and preached at the Botany Bay church where Al Persohn ministers. We had a full day of recording radio programs for broadcasts to a potential audience of 2.3 billion listeners! (That’s not a misprint or typo!) We were totally unprepared for such exciting news about the spread of the message. How’s that for an effectual door of opportunity opening up to fulfilled Bible prophecy? After presenting additional messages to the church for two days, it was time for another excursion, so off to Canberra, the capital we went.
However, as always trying to capture the humor of our stay, Don, who is (or should I say was) a zealously committed “steak and potatoes” guy underwent a food-conversion. On our first stroll to find food outside of our restaurant, he immediately looked patriotically for a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant! I was thinking, oh no, not more southern preacher food! Thankfully, Al delivered me by exposing us to Indian Cuisine, Middle Eastern Kebabs, Vietnamese food and other fine restaurants in Sidney to ingratiate my palate. We even converted Don. He fell in love with a couple of the Indian dishes, even ordered it again on one of our subsequent excursions.
The most humorous dining moment came at breakfast during our stay at the hotel. Don invited me to try an Australian staple, called Vegemite. It tastes like a peanut butter paste made of salted beef-bouillon. You have to watch the video clip to enjoy this experience. We decided after that that if Jack Scott plans to travel with us internationally, he must be initiated with Australian Vegemite.
In Canberra, we viewed the old and new parliament buildings, various embassy buildings, toured the War Memorial and had a wonderful dinner in a rotating restaurant at the top of “Black Mountain Tower” about 800 feet high from which we enjoyed an awesome view of Canberra.
Al and Boyd (who lives in Canberra) accompanied us via automobile to Wagga Wagga for the last leg of our evangelism tour. There we met with Rob Cunningham and his wonderful congregation. Rob and his family were also great hosts. I thought Don had died and gone to heaven after Rob and his wife served us some of the largest steaks I’d ever seen. He said mine was a small one (I’m not a huge beef-eater). But Don, had his huge “bloody-sacrifice.” (That’s our running joke between the two of us concerning the way we like our steaks). I ask for medium well which he jokingly calls a “burnt offering”!
Just before one of our dinner meetings at the Cunningham’s we got some training in snake handling with about an 8 foot python.
During our stay in Wagga Wagga, we shared the home of the Weeks, a darling elderly couple who treated us like we were their sons. Mrs. Weeks made breakfast fit for kings and just kept putting food on the table. They share their lovely home with Tiffany, a small caramel brown mixed pooch who loves to play with noisy toys.
After speaking for two days, we headed back to Sydney, about a four hour drive from Wagga, Wagga all of us talked, slept, snored and kidded each other, weary from a long series of preaching, exhausted but excited both about the events and success of the trip and the desire to return home to see our wives. And, as if the doors of opportunity already opened were not wide enough, Don received word that his books would immediately be placed in over 150 book stores for purchase online.
He also has another “bombshell” to share but I will not steal his thunder. You’ll have to ask him about that. That ended our trip. We were ready for our final nights rest before flying back to the U.S. where we arrived late on November 2. The flights were wonderful both going and returning, with no delays and only a mild bit of turbulence on the return leg from Sydney.