After all the density of preaching and conference speaking at Perth, some dear friends invited us to spend a week in Sydney. More than this, they had paid for Carol to accompany me around the world (supporting me too) and they looked after us royally when we visited them. We were given an apartment in a retirement village where one of our friends lives, with her sister nearby. How much we owe them for all their love and care.
The very best thing of all (and there were many good things) was their insistence that I be completely free of all speaking commitments. Usually when visiting Australia I have a number of commitments, especially on Sundays. But, for the first time ever I sat in the pews at a church service (Gordon Baptist Church, Sydney) with my only responsibility to worship alongside Carol.
I tell you, the experience of resting in a quiet place where the pace of life was delightfully slow all around did us the world of good. The retirement village is on an escarpment overlooking a gorge with spectacular views. Down a steep drop, covered by lush vegetation with cockatoos, cookaburras, colorful parrots flying above you reach the river along which early Aboriginal tribes lived. It is now a national park. A couple of times I ventured down to the river (to the surprise of some of the residents who regarded me as singularly athletic) and revelled in the blue sky, green river, with white gums trees in sharp contrast all around. Again, during these precious days, we caught up with friends we have known for many years (and pottered around at a pace that anticipates retirement years ahead). How grateful we are for generous thoughtful Christian friends. As we were shortly to discover , these slow days proved vital rest before the speeded-up calendar since returning to Chicago.