Family at the beach
This is a story that needs to be told as it reflects Christian homes everywhere. Some years ago now our family celebrated the engagement of our fourth, our third daughter, Salley to Sam. They have now been married four and a half years.
Both Salley and Sam comes from Christian homes. Up to 2 years of age, Salley's home with us was in Wallacia, then from 1992-2006 we relocated to Moruya and then from 2006 - in Tweed Heads. In 2009 Salley went to Sydney for Business College and then to university.
Sam's parents like us have four children and his dad was in the corporate world until nine years ago and this meant they lived all over including in the USA for four years and finally returned to Wollongong - indeed where Sam's parents grew up. In 2008 they took up a business enterprise.
Sam moved to Sydney for university the same year as Salley and both resided at Flo Harris Lodge, Petersham Baptist Church, the residential college for Baptist (and other Christian denominations) young people coming to the city to study.
Flo Harris Lodge has been functioning since before WWII - it's been going a long time, and Baptist officardo refer to it as “Marriage Central” - for decades Central Railway Station was the hub of the universe, hence the name link. Those who have enjoyed the experience of Flo Harris Lodge refer it such relationships as a 'Flomances”.
So too Salley and Sam, but it wasn't for a couple of years before they 'connected' as they say, and their first date wasn't to the movies or some other traditional first date experience, rather it was a walk around the Sydney Botanic Gardens. And it was back to the Botanic Gardens two years later the proposal was made and accepted.
Sam is one of our Press Service International young writers, one of 85 young people from across Australia and New Zealand who write a monthly column for Christian Today.
But funny things happen at engagement parties as people from 'all over' converge for the festivities and sometimes meet people that they recognise from years back and those friendships are renewed.
This was such a situation at this engagement party. Our eldest daughter Anthea recognised one of the young mum's as she herself is. Our eldest and Alicia were were good mates at Kingswood high school in 1991 - Year 7, and at that time, they were both aged 13.
This was then 24 years previous and yet Alicia was very recognisable and they renewed their acquaintance.
Family at the Cricket
Didn't connect the two
Alicia was at the engagement party as Salley baby-sits for them occasionally (they then had two little ones, now three.)
Alicia told us that she was invited to our home by Anthea one Saturday in 1991 as school friends do – nothing uncommon about that, this is an Australian tradition and enjoyed by children and young people across the nation alike.
But, on this occasion, and why it was so memorable, was that for the very first time in her life of 13 years, Alicia heard a family say grace before the meal (lunch).
Alicia couldn't get over the different wherewithal in our family's conversation and attitudes and that as a 13 year old set her off on a search and Alicia became a Christian. Obviously this was not the one and only touch from the Lord into her life as she pondered these deeper things. But it was the start!
She eventually married and went to Bible college where she and her husband took up the role as the Student Advisor Ministry at Flo Harris Lodge and took up a pastorate in 2014.
Watching the cricket
This is a great truth:
One never knows how much young people take in.
Meanwhile, to complete this cyclical story, six months before, Alicia got a call from her dad, a manager in a national plumbing company, who sought her to work in their accounts office but Alicia said she was too busy with the children but knew someone who was graduating in accountancy - this was Salley.
An interview followed and Salley subsequently secured the job, which turned out to be one week after graduation.
Until the engagement party none of those connecting links had been joined between Anthea, Alicia and Salley - that way back in 1991 Alicia had come to our home and the rest is history (as they say).
As Delma my wife of 41 years says, only God could put all those dots together.
Family at the beach
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. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children