Growing up in Alice Springs

Growing up in Alice Springs.

If only you had been there! 1968.
It is not easy for a 10 year old boy to understand what is really going on… behind the scene.
My new pair of school shoes had animal imprints on the bottom of the shoe.
The school I attended was in the small country town of Alice Springs.
The grounds of the school and some of the roads in the town were just dirt or gravel.
My shoes made animal imprints wherever I walked.
I really enjoyed those shoes.
Apparently, I had broken some property while I walked home from school through the railway yards.
All I remember is throwing stones at a wooden box.
Nothing was damaged…or so I thought..!!

But the police were called and they asked one of their Aboriginal trackers to follow those animal imprints all the way to my front door.
When my mother opened the door, she was very surprised.
Not only to find the police standing there, but also by their request to see her son’s school shoes.
At the time I was out playing with my friends without a care in the world.
I didn’t know I had broken something,
I didn’t know my shoes had become police evidence.
I didn’t know that when I finished playing with my friends, and walked home that day, what was waiting for me.
Hey, I was just a young boy without a care in the world.

Today, all around the world, there would be many people who are waking up and getting out of bed without any understanding that God is real.
Secondly, they would not have guessed that someone with authority
[Jesus] will be knocking on the door [of their heart].
Thirdly, they would never have suspected that the Holy Spirit had been tracking them for years.
At 10 years of age I would have been one of those people that God was tracking.
He waited until the right time to introduce himself.
He waited another 13 years!

For many
people…today is their day of salvation!

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,

I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
[Revelation 3:20]

Last year of High School.

In my last year at school, the final year camp was located at a place called Wilpena Pound.
It is a natural amphitheatre of mountains located 429 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia.
The Pound is a very popular area for bush-walking, and therefore a good place to have a school camp.
The Pound traverses some of the most beautiful country in the Flinders Ranges.
The peaks are very rugged, and thick scrub and timber inside the Pound can make navigation difficult.
In 1959, a 12-year-old boy became lost while walking inside the Pound, and despite search efforts, his skeletal remains were not located until 18 months later.
A pass on the upper slopes of St Mary Peak is named after him.
His brother John Bannon, later became the Premier of South Australia.
Just outside the Pound is a motel and camping ground.

At the beginning of the school camp.
We were dropped off by bus and set up our tents for an overnight stay, before setting off in the morning to walk across the Pound, there were about 100 students.

My friend’s parents happened to be staying in the motel and they invited both of us to dinner in the restaurant.
We didn’t tell the teachers, but someone did.
As we were in the middle of our meal… in came the teacher in charge of the camp.
He rudely pulled me out of the restaurant and I was sent back to my tent.
He didn’t want me in the restaurant while the other students were eating basic food at the camp grounds.
My friend could stay in the restaurant because he was with his parents.
This teacher always gave me a hard time.
The next morning the students were separated into groups of six and a leader was put in charge of each group.
We were sent off at different intervals to cross the Pound and then everyone was going to come together at the end of the walk to camp on the other side of the surrounding hills.
There were not any facilities for camping where we were going and also we would be out of contact with the motel and everyone else because the two-way radios would not work as the terrain blocked the signal.
It was about a six-hour hike.

The group I was leading got to our destination in the afternoon, but no-one was there, we had not seen any other students for hours.
Then we understood why we had not seen any other students on our hike.
We were lost!!
The Pound was a dangerous place to get lost in, the weather was hot and we did not have much water.
We climbed to the highest peak and tried to get our bearings, but all we could see were the hills in the distance that marked where we began our journey in the morning.
We knew how to get back to safety so we almost ran for the next few hours and arrived at the motel and camping ground at around 7.00 pm.
A summer storm was brewing and it was getting dark by the time we tiredly walked into the motel and told the staff what had happened to us.
My friend’s parents were still there and they organised for us to stay at the motel, they also made sure we were fed… as we were very hungry.
Now the tables were turned, the night before I had been ingloriously dragged out of the restaurant and one night later, I am sitting in the same restaurant having a lovely meal, surrounded by well-wishers.
Meanwhile the teacher that gave me a hard time was now having his own hard time.
He did not know we were safe.
He spent the night looking for us in the rain.
Boy, did it feel good sleeping in the motel and waking up to a cooked breakfast.

The big problem was.
The teacher and the students who spent the whole night looking for us, never believed our story about getting lost.
They always believed we went back to the motel on purpose.
But the truth is…we really were lost.
Isn’t it tough when you tell the truth and no-one believes you.

My first job.

My first job
after school was as a “laboratory sample
preparer”
and I had to relocate from the city of Adelaide to the very,
very, isolated town of Dampier at the top of Western Australia.
Dampier is a port for most of Australia’s iron ore.
As the iron ore was loaded onto the ships, I had to take samples for the
laboratory.
The town had a population of 2000 people; most of them were young men from
different countries around the world.
They got these jobs because the place was so isolated.
[No-one else wanted to work there] and the money was good, this enabled them to
continue their travels after only working for a few months or a year at the
most.

I was meeting people from England, Ireland and Canada.
They loved to talk about the countries in Asia they had visited.
Guess what?
I picked up the travel bug; I got influenced by their stories.
When I finished my 6-month contract I began to travel.
The first place I went to was Bali in Indonesia, which I loved.
The beach lifestyle suited me in a big way.
Then I travelled up through South-East Asia to Nepal, then down to India and onto Europe.
While I enjoyed Europe, I did not enjoy the weather, it was so cold, I kept thinking of Bali and the beach lifestyle.
Eventually I gave in and bought a plane ticket to Thailand and then made my way back down to Bali, where I stayed for a long time.

May I point out a few observations from this story?

The first is, notice how I picked up the vision to travel.
Before I mixed with all those travellers, I had no thoughts about travel, I had no friends or family who had travelled.
It was the 1970’s…no internet, no computer and I was just out of school.
Yet as soon as I was hanging around people with a vision, I caught their vision.
I did not have one of my own so I picked up theirs.

The second point is, notice how I enjoyed the first part of my trip and then spent the rest of my travels thinking it was going to get better and better, but it didn’t and it took me a long time to realise this.
I wanted to recreate the past and I did… because it was an easy thing for me to do.
Just buy a plane ticket, no problem.
All through Europe I was only a plane flight away from Bali.
I was only one decision away from my favourite place in the world.
The main point of this discussion is…I wasn’t looking for a location.
I was actually looking for an experience.
When I was in Bali, I felt good from the inside out, it felt good to learn to surf, it felt good to live in a hut near the waves, and it felt good to be alive.
In Europe I felt like a tourist and that’s all I was really doing.
Looking at things instead of being involved in what I was seeing.
In Bali you weren’t just looking at the view, you were swimming in it.
You weren’t just looking at the sunset you were throwing frisbees’ at sunset on the beach along with the locals.

The result of my travelling experience was…
What I was looking for in life was still something that I had not found.
The thing that amazed me the most was… how similar people were on the inside even though they were so different on the outside.
Everyone wanted to be happy.
And have a good job or career with purpose.
Everyone wanted to belong to a family.
I also noticed how out of place the older travellers looked.
They were never going to fit in with the younger crowd.
I was now only 3 years away from meeting Jesus.

Written by Tony Egar.

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