Viewing peoples' blogs, I see some like to list places they have lived. It can be interesting, so just in case anyone is curious I'll do the same. It makes an unusual selection, now that I think about it.
1) Malta, small island in the Mediterranean Sea. I was born there because my Australian father and English mother were based there with the Air Force.
2) Marshchapel Village, near Grimsby in Lincolnshire, England. Dad was based near there.
3) Ascot, in England. The same place they have the horse races.
4) Rickmansworth, County Hertfordshire, England. By now my father was a civil airlines pilot and it was a handy commuter address.
5) Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia. The family moved there when Dad decided we were best to move back (in his case) to Australia. We had a farm there. We lived in the town for a few months before moving out onto the farm.
6) Nobby's Creek, outside Murwillumbah, where the farm was.
7) Armidale, N.S.W. where I went to the University of New England.
8) Walgett, N.S.W. where I had my first teaching job. Any one who has taught in N.S.W. will have heard of Walgett. It has quite a reputation!
9) Inverell, N.S.W. where we still live.
In that time I've lived at seventeen different postal addresses that I can remember. And until we moved to the house we now live in, I was never under the same roof for more than five years. In Walgett I lived in some deadly dumps, too. Accommodation was hard to get there.
One more slightly unusual feature of my life: the family spent five weeks at sea on an ocean liner when we moved from England to Australia. I can see why not everyone wants to join the navy or the merchant marine. You can become seriously hemmed in and frustrated confined to a ship, even a large one. I like having space to move around in, which is one reason I loved living out in the country on a farm. My life experience has been quite unlike many people I've known, though. They lived in the same house from birth to leaving home at 18 years of age, or whenever.
Sometimes I envy people who've lived in the same area, where their extended family also lives. On my mother's side, there are innumerable relatives, first and second cousins, aunts and uncles I hardly ever saw or do see. On Dad's side, the family are scattered and I have at least one first cousin I've never met. It's odd. I wonder what it would have been like to be surrounded by blood-kin all through childhood. So I suppose that this was God's chosen way for me. This I do know. I became a Christian while living in walgett. There are several factors involved in that. Overall is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in calling me to believe. Humanly speaking, there was a long succession of small witnessing incidents. I recall one American girl I knew at University, quietly counselling me about the claims of Christ. She may never know in this life that her effort led to some results. So take courage, anyone out there who is witnessing to those around them. As they say, one plants the seed, another waters it and God brings the increase. But one factor too is this. In Walgett, a really socially isolating place, I had to come face to face with myself because there was not some great social life and peer group to lose myself in. So I was faced with just what life was, and the need for God.
We all have a spiriual pilgrimage to make in life. God knows what will work best for us. That is easy to say when you're feeling okay, harder when you're miserable or in pain. But that is the way, it seems.