How surprised I always am when Doug comes out with a bit of information from our past that I have not heard before. At this time of the year in Australia almost every show on TV is a repeat. Imagine our surprise when we turned to the ABC and saw the latter half of a show called Back Roads. Heather Ewart whose voice we recognised straight away (generally known for her Canberra journalism) was presenting a report on the small Queensland town of Winton. The show was so refreshing and we were quite charmed. It transpired that Back Roads was a new series and we made a point to look out for it again. And, so it was that we came to be watching episode three on the small town of Yackandandah last Monday Night.
For those who have not read ‘Six chocolate coated icecreams’ Our first appointment with the Salvation Army was to the little town of Beechworth in North Eastern Victoria.(1968-70) Yackandandah was one of the towns in his very large area. Back roads was presenting the story of the amazing residents of this small town (Population 900) and how they refused to let it die. The report switched to the Star Hotel and I remarked to Doug that I presumed he had visited that hotel every Saturday night with the War Cry. “Yeah!” He casually remarked “I used to sing in that Hotel every Saturday night.” “You sang?” I replied incredulously.”How did this come about?” “One night I left the Pub feeling dejected and Peggy, the Licensee, stopped me and said “Why don’t you sing to them? So I went back in and sang; What a friend we have in Jesus.”
There were never more than a dozen men in the Bar and from then on he sang to them every Saturday night until we moved on some months later. It was always the same song, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus.’ I smile to myself as I write this. How precious! I can just see him faithfully singing every week trusting that somehow something about the lyrics would touch their hearts.
You may be feeling low, or lonely this Christmas time but wherever you are in the world as you read this blog, please remember, you have a friend in Jesus.
The Series ‘Back Roads’ appears on ABC Monday Nights at 8.00
‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ was written by Joseph Scriven 1819-86