We spent 9 years of our life in a small country town in North Queensland called Charters Towers. These are my memories of the people and events that were a part of our life during that time.
April and I were among the youngest members of the church. There were two young children, no regular teenagers, 4 people in their 30's. Then a huge gap to people in their 60's. It seemed like an impossible task to bring young people into the church. Where would we start? Even if young people did become Christians what would we do with them?
One Sunday I noticed an attractive young girl enter nervously and sit at the back of the church. It was a wonderful moment to have a young person join us. Over the next few months she continued to attend fairly regularly. Janelle always appeared attentive and gradually opened up more about the reasons for coming.
She was not unknown to the rest of the church. Her mother was a longstanding member and Janelle grew up in the Sunday School. Like many other young people she rejected the impression of Christianity she saw in the established church. Recently a number of crises in her life forced her to search for answers. She said that my sermons were relevant to the problems she was facing at the time. This was a great encouragement to me.
At the end of the year she asked to be baptized. This was the first baptism done in the church for a number of years. Not only was it a symbol of new life for Janelle it was also a sign of new life within the church. Many of the older people who had taught Janelle in Sunday School and then see her leave the church were greatly encouraged by her spiritual growth.
Janelle had an adventurous spirit. Her return to Charters Towers was only a respite between overseas trips. Even though she was local it was only a matter of time before she had the urge to travel again. This time she went to the United States firstly as a nanny and then to work at the summer camps. While there Janelle met a young Christian man name Jim. Shortly after they were engaged and were making plans to settle in the United States.
Today Janelle and Jim live in a lovely cabin in the northern United States. Jim's family owns a sawmill. He made their home, a picturesque cabin with an amazing view and furniture with his own hands. They are very involved in the life of the local church. Jim and Janelle are also the youth group leaders with a ministry to hundreds of young people through the Word of Life programs.