Vol.XI No.I Pg.4
March 1974

The Australian Trip (Part 4)

Robert F. Turner

The Feb. 74 issue of PLAIN TALK (available upon request) contained a partial report of a series of missions which bro. Harry Pickup, Jr. and I conducted in Australia the last three months of 73. This issue will conclude that report. It should be understood that I do not speak for bro. Pickup, but include his work as part of my view of the journey.

Following our break week, Harry went to Sydney for a mission with the Pt. Hacking church, and reports from there indicate good interest, with 18 first-time non-members in attendance. Bro. Jim Beech (U.S. preacher in Wagga Wagga, NSW) took me to the twin-cities of Albury, NEW and Wodonga, Vic., where I was joined by bro. Max Burgin. We batched in a trailer.

Bro. and sis. Simon Valk came to Australia from Holland, determined to establish a church wherever they settled. They met in a hall in Albury for many months before a single non-member could be interested. There were good days, when a dozen or more saints met with them, and they have witnessed some baptisms. But backslidings and moves have repeatedly discouraged them. Our one-week stay was woefully inadequate. I taught a home class, Max and I talked to weak saints far and near, and we rejoiced when the janitor of the hall and his wife visited with us. But we left Albury with heavy hearts. A full-time worker is needed in this growing community of 40,000 people.

On Saturday (travel day) Max took me to Melbourne, Vic., where I joined bro. Rolly McDowell for a transcontinental flight to Perth, W.A. I had an invitation from Dr. Harry Blackmore to visit his home, and I anticipated Bible studies there. I also hoped to break down some prejudices which U.S. liberal preachers had imported to Australia. (It was from Perth that Marvin Phillips (1967) had sent out his mimeographed attack on Antis in an effort to block conservative men.)

Bro. Blackmore and his family were very hospitable, but told us letters had been received warning brethren against us. However, a group of men had agreed to meet with me in a home, and ask questions. On Monday I rode to the place of meeting with an Australian preacher who admitted he had never heard or read anything I taught but declared he would not believe any thing I might say. I suggested he should at least get something first-hand so he would know what he was anti. Seventeen men gave me a going over that night — and the men were separated from the boys; the rabid anti-antis from fair-minded but by no means soft-hearted brethren.

The week was filled with Bible and more Bible study. Not all agreed, but I preached to a house filled with good people on Friday, and we parted friends — including the anti-anti preacher. This was one of the most profitable weeks of the trip; due largely to bro. Blackmores great heart, and the wonderful assistance of Rolly McDowell from Bundy.

Isnt it sad that U.S. brethren, are so unwilling (or unable?) to get together for a calm Bible study of differences? (Continued next page)