Two years of studying the Bible’s words, themes, and characters, along with the historical and archeological evidences from Jesus’ time on earth, gave me a great foundation, for my newly discovered Christian Faith. On our graduation day, at the year’s end, I felt deeply blessed to have had my life turned around from its previous darkness, to light, so radically.
Selling up our Wainuiomata house, I returned to the Wairarapa with my two youngest children and settled down in a house in the countryside, on the edge of Carterton.
We began hosting some Christian friends for a weekly fellowship meeting, shared tea, worship and bible study. After a few months our group outgrew the house and needed to expand.
Moving house closer to town, I hired a local hall for our meetings. A Sunday afternoon church service, a drop in center, and as our group grew, an outreach to anyone needing practical odd jobs help in the community, all of which were very popular. Through my bible school contacts, we were able to enjoy the excellent teaching of many guest speakers that came to visit and encourage us in our faith.
For the next four years, I had the rewarding role of being the Pastor to our group of older and new believers. Always, at just the right time, it seemed, God looked out for us, and sent us the support of the right people to help us in what we were doing.
We were very blessed when some expert musicians, (recent converts on fire for Jesus), joined our group to lead us in vibrant worship. I shall never forget how, when our trumpeter and saxophonist added their extra flourishes to our singing, it was close to being in heaven already.
My youngest girl now ten years old, became infatuated with horses and decided she wanted to learn horse riding. Never having had anything to do with horses, I felt a bit wary taking on the responsibility for such a big animal.
However, when she found one for sale at a reasonable price, I agreed to go and have a look. Bad idea, it was a pretty, grey girl pony, and she loved it at first sight.
I really wondered what we had signed up for, when we returned with a horse float to pick it up, and not wanting to get on board, it put on a show, kicking up its heels and running around in circles. Eventually, we got it home and settled in the paddock we had hired, nearby to our house.
Each day after finishing the home schooling we had begun, my daughter rushed to the paddock to ride and care for her horse she had named, Damaris. In a stroke of good fortune, God, lol, a very horse literate lady happened to be living nearby and helped us with riding lessons, and getting our very naughty pony behaving properly.
On her first visit to Pony club Damaris had embarrassed her rider when she was made to wear a red ribbon tied on her tail to warn other riders after kicking out at another horse.
Wanting to hold retreats and group camps for adults and children, I sold all our household up, bought a caravan to live in, and we moved, pony and all, to some leased land in a lovely mountainous valley on the edge of town. Waking up each morning, to a view looking across, beautiful misty blue coloured mountain valleys, was breathtaking, adding to my awe of the God, who created it.
Each weekend, our group spent Saturdays, following the orders of our handy, (jack of all trades) man, having working bees to prepare our land. First we built an essential, discreetly hidden, long drop dunny.
Sitting outside, in the silence of the bush on that dunny, with its fantastic view, directly into a mountainside cave, where flocks of noisy birds were flying in and out creating their nests, was a different, but great way of enjoying God’s creation.
Next we built a carpark area at the bottom of the long winding track leading up to the higher, flatter areas of the land, at the top. This was where we intended to put a building.
I had taken on caring for my little granddaughter whose mother was having problems, so we kept a wheelbarrow at the carpark end and rode her up and down the track, until she was able to walk. Bush that needed it, was cut back, and the creek overgrown with weed was cleared and as it cut across the track we developed a crossing.
A very large and wild black horse was in residence on the land, and the two girls decided if they could get him tame enough, they would have a horse each to ride. After creating a makeshift corral and getting him inside, they attempted to give him a grooming.
From inside the caravan, I heard a blood curdling scream. Rushing outside, I was just in time to see the wild black horse, they had named Manasseh, racing off down the track at full gallop. He had kicked his way out. The older daughter was clutching her breast where he had bitten her.