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Southland Christian Ministry Training

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What do you do with a long weekend? Last year I took my wife camping and bush-walking at Bungonia, in the southern highlands near Goulburn. OK, it might not have been the best weather, yes it was cold and wet at times but the experience was challenging and the views spectacular. The descent into the gorge was very steep and the track was poorly marked so the inevitable happened… we were geographically embarrassed for a time, but after some bush bashing we re-found the track. The section along the creek involved climbing over, under and around huge boulders, some the size of houses! There were a few awkward moments when we thought we were stuck, but we managed to help each other through. The ascent was a bit hairy as well, being very steep with lots of loose shale under foot and both sides dropping off hundreds of feet! In all the map said the round trip was a mere 3.8 Km but it took us 7 hours!

That is just like life. The best things all require effort, maybe even some blood sweat and tears, but it will be worth it. There will be times when you feel lost, but don’t give up, take a break, get out the map and reassess your position. You may need to retrace your steps, and even make your own track, but what is needed is leadership, so don’t wait for somebody else to do it, take the initiative. The boulders in your path may seem impenetrable, but there is usually a way through (especially if it is on the map), you just need to be confident! Remind yourself that others have done it so can you! It might not be obvious but with a little imagination and working together it is possible! There will be times in life when it all seems up-hill, with risks on either side and nowhere to rest, but you need to keep putting one foot after the other and you will get to the top of the mountain. Then you can rest, recuperate, admire the view and take a picture before embarking on the next challenge.

Great weekend, but life is also about balance and to keep my wife happy the next weekend we replaced our half star tent with five star accommodation in Melbourne where we went to see a live production. We did not get the same level of exercise, but the cultural and emotional experience can be just as challenging, at least for me, because it took me outside my comfort zone.

Chaplain Ian S Whitley

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