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Flying High with the Patrol Teams Outback Patrol's
Appreciation Rally

Barbara Prout wrote these words after the June 7th event. 'What a wonderful privilege to be an invited guest at the Outback Patrol's Appreciation Rally, at the Orion Function Centre, suburban Campsie in Sydney on June 7th .'It was held to thank the volunteers who do the work of the Gospel with families who live in remote places outback. What a wonderful day it was!'

Guests at the Outback Patrol Appreciation Rally
Guests at the Outback Patrol Appreciation Rally

About a hundred folks gathered to celebrate the 47th year of this unique ministry ... sharing the Gospel in tiny communities that are 'too small for a church, but too big to overlook'.

It is a small mission with a big mission field. Stories and reports told of untold isolated families won to Christ and followed up by the flying visits.

But the focus for the day was to show gratitude for the work and skills of the volunteers who undertake this vital work.

The guests were treated to a delightful 3-course meal. Four times during the afternoon Cliff Bingham displayed his expertise at the keyboard the famous 90-year-old Wurlitzer Organ. He played quietly as people found their places, with a selection of Gospel songs including, 'It Is Well With My Soul,' and 'When the Roll Is Called up Yonder,' and rose to the thundering tones of 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.'

Cliff Bingham at the Wurlitzer organ
Cliff Bingham at the Wurlitzer organ   

At the end of the day all the stops were pulled out as we listened to 'God is our Strength and Refuge,' (the Dambusters tune). DP's song 'Don't back out on the Outback' was sung with great gusto by Clive Way, to the tune of 'Take me out to the Ballgame.' The Wurlitzer rythym drove the song along with great enthusiasm.'

Well-known Christian journalist, Donald Prout, wrote words for 'Don't Back Out on the Outback' that takes Les Nixon's Patrol motto as it's theme. Click HERE for the lyrics.

Graham Wade
                   Graham Wade

Well known Sydney identity, Mr. Graham Wade, compered the afternoon events with his natural wit and charm, and his recall of grand Christian events in our lifetimes.' His fine artist work with the Jungle Doctor books, and the OAC of the 1900's, and with Outback Patrol is well known.'

One of his brilliant TV Gospel children's programs (Scribbley Yarns) was shown to introduce him to newcomers.

Two' video screens provided dramatic images of the Patrol teams and plane at work. Daniel Nixon' had compiled film clips and pictures over the years on a DVD, shown during the program.' Graham Wade ran a contest with a prize for those who could name the many remote townships the teams visit.

Mr. Magic (Gary Jackel) and Natalie Miller (ventriloquist), with her puppet Sally, each had a segment.' They frequently fly on patrols inland.' Quizworx puppets and Chrysalis Drama team were there, and their pictures filled some of the reports.

A running commentary from GoodNews the Christian clown (Garry Reynolds) provided the comic relief for the afternoon. He was ubiquitous.

He announced that he found himself among a cluster of 'stars' of Outback Patrol.'

The art deco of the hall was adorned with massive twinkling starry lights and ribbons reaching up like a circus tent to the high colorful ceiling. It made him feel quite at home.

Natalie Miller
   Natalie Miller                

Gary Reynolds
                                        Gary Reynolds

He also talked of the numerous people outback who'd let their barriers down when he approached, GoodNews said, 'I floated around greeting the arrivals, bending balloon animals, adding fun by the ton, interacting here, there and everywhere, adding lots of surprises making it an alley rally.'

They heard the Gospel of Christ gladly, declared they'd always believed Christian faith was a practical thing, and considered the claims of Christ on it's merit for a change.' He follows them up by phone often.

Adrian Ross treated us to an amazing musical treat with his Gospel Didgeri-doo.' This unusual musical instrument opened doors for the Gospel everywhere, and brought many into trusting in the Christ of the Bible.

The down to earth practcal nature of the Gospel shone through, and explained why the workers are so well received in difficult places. He told of his ministry

Adrian Ross
Adrian Ross and his didgeridoo         

entertaining the Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during Christmas week; as he shared the Gospel there, as well as going into outback towns with the patrols.

The highlight for city friends was to finally meet some of those faithful pilots whom they have prayed for over many years ... Phil Lamb, Steve Ward, Jenny Avery, Lawrence Gillett, John Cross, Bill Smart and the patrol director, Les Nixon. David Maddock and Garry Thompson were called away, but they were mentioned with affection.

Some of the faithful Outback Patrol pilots
      Some of the faithful Outback Patrol pilots
Bill Smart spoke briefly for them all—about their seventeen patrol flights in the last 18-months, cover-ing around 70,000 kms to get to scores of remote and isolated towns, and of aviation fuel, around $2 to $3 per litre, a cost always difficult to bear. They cover an area equivilant

to most of western Europe. Bill quoted Psalm 8 as he described the pilots charting their way through the paths of the air or sea.

Martha and Les Nixon
                  Martha and Les Nixon

Rev. Les Nixon concluded the afternoon with a summary of history's eras of Christian mission, from Jesus' day till today. And how it changed the world for the good.

Outback Patrol was his vision in 1961, and his continued enthusiastic dedication, that has enabled the Gospel to reach such remote areas. There are many dedicated pilots and teams ready to carry on, an even expand this ministry.

Nixon spoke of the first pilots who evangelized the outback; The Revd. Len Daniels in 1929 (the world's first flying padre), Keith Langford in 1932, with John Flynn of the Flying Doctor fame, Vic Pederson of the Flying Salvationists, Shepherdson from Elcho Island,' and Es Morse with the Brethren Assemblies from Longreach (where Qantas Airlines began).

Flying With Early Sky Pilots in Australia, 1929. Click HERE.

Mr. Nixon challenged all with his closing words.' 'When Jesus winds up all the loose ends of time and calls the invisible church into eternity; that is to be the greatest flight of all.' God began it all by flinging the planets and stars into space, and keeping them in their orbits without a change,' but the greatest flight of all is the one when Jesus comes through the air for His Own.' Meanwhile, we are to 'occupy, till He come ....'

"It was a wonderful day", said Mrs. DP. 'And,'what a mighty day that will be, too!'

For further information contact:
Outback Patrol
Georges Hall, 2198 N.S.W.
Phone: 02 9727 2759

Click HERE to see Barbie Prout's photo at Don Prout's Memorial story.

Photos by Ramon Willliams, Worldwide Photos.

Click HERE for Voices and Choices

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