Well-Being Australia's 2015 Tasmanian Country Town Tour experienced much and has a lot of excitement to reveal with wonders to behold for the future.
Our Country Town Tour program takes in many guises, some with sport coaches, some with athletes, some with corporate executives and the like. On Country Town Tours we visit schools, youth groups, dinners, men's breakfasts and the like.
For 38 years I have been part of this Country Town Tour ministry. The phrase Country Town Tour came from Vic Matthews one of our Well-Being Australia board members and it encapsulates the essence of this ministry.
Over the years we have taken athletes, coaches, corporate identities, artists and other such luminaries on these Country Town Tours. Where ever and whenever we have taken on these one week tours, the team has been warmly welcome.
One very highly successful Country Town Tour was to Goondiwindi a few years ago when jockey Darren Beadman and Rugby League star Ian Barkely visited for the weekend. Some years later I caught up the President of the local AJA on an aircraft (we sat together) and recounted the remarkable outcome and difference it made to the town.
It has been my joy to have numerous athletes from Rodeo champions, International IronMan champions, to track athletes, football celebrities and a whole host more. These athletes have taken to the stage as it were, and wooed their audiences including schools and sport dinners with their stories and the challenge of the Gospel.
The 2015 Tasmanian Country Town Tour
The 2015 Tasmanian Country Town Tour took a slightly different guise as it incorporated a number of different phases of our broader ministries:
Tasmanian Young Writer encouragement
Footplate Padre ministry to a hobbies group
The broader ministry
Earlier this week in my daily Christian Today column I have already detailed the youth ministry, the footplate padre ministry, the young writers and on Monday an inspirational story of a young couple who did not really see any sort of meaningful future so they took a giant leap into the dark and bought a milkbar cafe.
There is another part to that story that might be included here in this column, that of Rebekah's sister Katie Beeston, wife of Scott and a mother to toddler Joshua. These two girls are the daughters of Steve and Debbie Suba our Well-Being Australia Tasmanian co-ordinators.
Katie works part time for Foundrywho partner with some of the nations best industry recognised schools and make them accessible in Tasmania. Foundry fosters creativity and entrepreneurship. It's a business that saw a gap and forged ahead. Eventually they hope to bring people from the main land to enter into these creative courses.
Some of the courses on offer are screen and media, graphic design, business (to help young people put it into practise) and a host of other options. Katie Beeston's role is to engage enquiries and build student relationships.
Another part of this Country Town Tour was art as one of the Well-Being Australia ministry's associates itself with art and community. These included visits to art galleries north of Launceston on the way to Beaconsfield (mine disaster), numerous art display centres in Launceston to Oaklands half way from Launceston to Hobart.
Kees and Sheelagh Wegman
In Hobart we visited the Wegmans. Kees and my elder brother were connected in university years ago and that connected was reunited with me at the 2012 ARPA conference in Hobart. ARPA – Australasian Religious Press Association.
Sheelagh is the long time editor of the Tasmanian Anglican and as the annual ARPA conference was held in Hobart, Sheelagh as the Tasmanian ARPA delegate spiritedly involved in that 2012 conference.
Since then whenever we have visited Hobart we have made a point of visiting Kees and Sheelagh and this time was no different. We have a lot of things in common being in Christian Media and Sheelagh is also a member of the Australian Professional Editors Guild and spoke of that conference with much interest.
Gladys Dobson – 30 years a praying lady
Thirty years ago I was speaking in Hobart at a combined churches function as the Australian cricket team chaplain and this was when I fist met Gladys Dobson, now 96.
Gladys had been a missionary for many years in Eritrea and having returned home became involved in the Hobart Cathedral ministry in a wide variety of practical ways and Gladys was known for her commitment to prayer.
Two minds came together and Gladys Dobson became one of our 5 praying ladies who have committed to praying for our family and ministry, some for one hour each and every day. We try and make a bee-hive to visit Gladys each time we visit Hobart on mission and this time was no different.
This Country Town Tour to Tasmania was very diverse and it gave rise many very positive outcomes.
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 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html