One phrase caught my eye from a devotional booklet, and which I pondered.
The heading "Where you are Matters" and the phrase "God's plan for your life is always connected to a place" – these seemed to jump out of the page.
This devotional teaching cites how Ruth had to relocate to Bethlehem where she met Boaz and married him. It speaks about Jesus and his visit to Samaria in John 4 and how that meeting with the woman at the well led to the whole city being reached with the Word.
It cites how Elijah was told to turn eastward and to hide in the Kerith ravine where he was later to be the brook in a time of famine and be fed by the ravens (1 Kings 17). It speaks of leaving your comfort zone and not being swayed by the opinions of others.
I’ve been pondering this devotional teaching for weeks and considered how the Lord has led me and my family to 'places' for ministry.
First, when I graduated from Morling College, (NSW Baptist Seminary) there was the 12 years in Sydney where I developed Sports Chaplaincy to Australia's professional sports. Many said it could not work; that you could not develop this type of mission on 'faith financed ministry', raise a family and be constantly travelling across the nation, negotiating with the nation's leading sports administrators and coaches.
I was led to the right place at the right time by the Lord.
Next was the 14 years with my family in Moruya near the beach where I developed Basil Sellers House - Athlete Respite for Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) athletes and coaches. It was a wonderful place to raise a family through their schooling years. This involved the Olympic Ministry and my involvement with the IOC developing the Religious Services Protocol for host Olympic cities.
Many also said this could not work. Who could construct a two storey lodge on 'faith giving' and be debt free before it was opened, and the house keys philosophically handed to the AIS? Guided there by the Lord.
The third move to a new place came in December 2005, when my wife Delma and I, with the one child who was still at home (the other three away studying), relocated to Tweed Heads to replicate the Respite facility for AIS athletes and coaches based in south-east Queensland. At this location, I also developed a new generation of young Christian writers in Sport and Comment for the online publication, Christian Today Australia.
We have been in the right place to see so many remarkable endeavours. We are so close to the Gold Coast airport with discount air flights.
The Australian Missionary News IPTV has been developed in Tweed Heads and the Country Town Tour ministry has expanded dramatically as has the ongoing relationship with various Olympic ministries around the world.
Then in 2011, a new development. At Laguna Quays on the Whitsundays (north Queensland), a different kind of respite facility. Now as empty-nesters, a place for mission personell requiring respite and recuperation – now eight years on …. again a place, the Lord’s leading.
Throughout our ministry, the association with 'a place' has been a critical component of the development of ministry. The Scriptures are replete with ministry associated with a place, so too you and me.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html