From the Field

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A Day in the Life of Doug & Faye

How does one write about a day? Which day should we choose? Most days seem to follow a regular pattern, but then the Scripture says “we don’t know what a day may bring forth”.

Many a day has started with planned activities only to be completely changed and turned upside down by unexpected events such as sudden sickness, someone going missing and a search being organized, and at other times there may be tragic circumstances such as accidents and drownings.

So I guess we will have to choose an ordinary day of planned events with no unexpected surprises. This day will be a Thursday, during which we will go to Doomadgee for R.E. at the school.

We crawl out of bed at about 5.30 a.m. It’s still dark here and we try to leave Burketown at 7 a.m. We have packed clothes the night before, to change into during the late afternoon. We also pack some oldies in case we need to change a tyre or something.

We pack some food for lunch and tea — usually a salad and maybe a tin or two to heat up for tea; fruit, scones, biscuits and poppas and an esky of water (there is a kitchen at Doomadgee Chapel). You never know if the store will be open or closed as they now close for a death, a funeral, or a stocktake — so one needs to be prepared.

These days it takes about 80 minutes to reach Doomadgee as it is bitumen all the way. It has been all sealed now for about three years. We are all getting very soft and spoilt, but people still complain about the few pot holes here and there. It is a big change from only a few years ago when the road was bull dust in the dry and boggy in the wet. We still have several river crossings to keep an eye on when rain is about.

We usually arrive at Doomadgee by 8.30 a.m. and spend a few minutes at the Chapel before going to the school. We go to Kindy first. Usually about 20 children are there, and we sing songs for 10 minutes before telling a Bible story. After this, we walk to the main school where, after seeing the principal or deputy, we have two classes in the library — first grades 1-5, then grades 6-10. Each group can have up to 50 students. The kids in the younger group are a bit noisy at times. We also sing for about 10 minutes during which we also teach memory verses. We use visual aids whenever possible, flannelgraphs (old technology), draw on the white board or show items of interest, such as fossils when the lesson is on creation or the flood. I always give advice and instruction drawn from the lesson for our daily life, especially for young people.

There is a big problem growing in places like Doomadgee, as education is very low on most people’s agenda. There would be at least 300 school-age children at Doomadgee, yet less than half would be at school on any day. As a result, many are growing up and can’t read or write or don’t know anything to do with numbers, which means they can’t read God’s Word or do Bible study. We have seen this now for a number of years. We tried to do written Bible studies with the teenagers, only to realise 80% could not read or write, so we had to scrap the written study and continue with an oral study only.

After we finish RE at the school, we drive to the Child Care to spend 15 minutes with the babies, where we sing a few songs and tell a simple Bible story. The teachers and carers are very keen we do this and they join in enthusiastically.

As I mentioned earlier regarding unexpected events, we had one a few months ago. As we were leaving the school for the Child Care, our Toyota gave a terrible crunch and grind noise in the gear box. I knew exactly what it was. This particular model has a weakness in the spline joint between the gear box and the transfer case. The spline strips, then you go nowhere. I immediately put the vehicle into low range to halve the pressure on the spline so we could still move. On that particular day, we cancelled all other activities and headed home. We drove the 100 km in top gear and low range at 40 km per hour. We were grounded for five weeks while we got a new gear box and transfer case fitted. So, hopefully, it will now last till the Lord comes.

After Child Care RE, we perhaps visit the store, as the shop at Doomadgee is much bigger than what we have in Burketown. Doomadgee would be at least 10 times bigger than Burketown.

In the afternoon, after lunch at the Chapel, I often walk along some streets with literature and talk with a lot of people regarding their relationship with the Lord, and invite men to the men’s meeting that night.

Some Thursdays, we help with a teenage outreach if it has been organised by some of the church people, involving games, singing and a Bible talk. After tea, there is usually a men’s meeting. I have been going through the Book of Daniel with the visual aid of a DVD by David Jeremiah. There are usually about 15 to 30 men who attend this meeting. After this, we head home, arriving in Burketown around 9.45 – 10 p.m.

Doug & Faye Jones


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