One thousand ways

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The unusual noise from the engine did not worry STORMCo leader and bus driver Dr Paul Wood too much, because it didn’t last for long, but when the temperature gauge slowly started to rise, that was another matter!

The bus was carrying a tired but happy group of young people from the two Adventist churches in Kempsey on the mid-north cost of NSW who were returning from a very successful week in Bourke. 

Service projects in the mornings consisting of putting a new kitchen in the Bourke Seventh-day Adventist church hall plus other repairs and community yard clean-ups, then kids’ club in the afternoons with puppets, face painting, balloons, games and ending with a meal provided for the community had everyone fully involved. The arrival of the Pinnacle of Terror on Friday ended a great week with the local young people and the STORMCo team alike.

And so here they were 75 kilometres from Moree on their way home and all looking forward to having a good shower and sleeping in their own beds that night.

But the temperature gauge was relentless, giving Dr Paul no choice but to stop beside the highway next to a couple of sad, spindly trees.

A few mechanically minded young men soon discovered the reason—after scrabbling under the bus, emerging with a broken, shredded fan belt and announcing that two other belts had been displaced as well.

Phone calls soon revealed the bus was probably not with the NRMA (NSW road assistance service) and if it was, parts are not carried for Mitsubishi Rosa buses. Repco in Moree had nothing, Supercheap was the same. 

What to do? It was hot, there were flies and everyone was getting hungry. And we were 75 kilometres from Moree. 

After consulting together, our young mechanics reckoned that if they could get those two displaced belts back to where they needed to go, then we could probably make it to Moree. 

No-one knew what was going to happen after that, especially as this was the Monday of the October long weekend in NSW. Just about everything was shut!

It was time to pray and so one of the leaders, Andrew Kingston, led out in a prayer, saying that we had absolutely no idea what to do next, but we knew that God would work it out and that He would have something in mind. 

We made it to the outskirts of Moree when Dr Paul again pulled the bus into a side road as the temperature gauge was dangerously high.

As he looked around wondering what to do now, he noticed that he had pulled up right opposite a bus company and that the big roller door was up and this was the Monday of a public holiday!

It didn’t take him long, together with some of our young mechanics, to find somebody and ask if they had a supply of bus fanbelts.

And yes, they did and while it might not be exactly the right one, it would do the job! 

Then the boss turned up and after seeing the STORMCo shirts, told us that he was a former Adventist who had actually been to Avondale and trained for the ministry. He invited everyone into their airconditioned meals area to have lunch there, while the fanbelt was being replaced.

Which we did, all marvelling at the power and goodness of our Heavenly Father. 

With one of their mechanics helping our young men, the job was soon done. There were warm handshakes and heartfelt thanks and we were on our way again praising God and giving Him thanks for His love and watch care.

So even though we arrived three-and-a-half hours later than planned, everyone slept in their own beds that night!

Our Heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing! (Desire of Ages, p330)

Andrew Kingston is a retired pastor, administrator and Youth director who is enjoying being involved in the Kempsey church, NSW.

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