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So, it's tough outback, eh?

Padre Les Nixon is talking to High School students in a western town. It's been known as a good place, but now it's in anarchy.

Due to the presence of easy welfare, cheap liquor, X-rated videos, little parental control, easy town codes, broken homes, wimpy police, graft and corruption, crooked officials, things don't look good

Children are denied nutritious food, good diet, with low hygiene and no standards, killing humans almost regularly with little sign of law.It's a mess and no one has the answer.

Children sleep through classes or brawl with each other and their teachers, just like parents at home, look the other way. With standards in town as they are, what else can be expected?

Girls hate their wayward fathers and boy obsessed with instant sex.School staff replaced regularly. Women teachers regularly molested, and catatonic students are left to recover under the gum tree. Catholic Nun attacked by drunken youths with broken bottles. Life is cheap.

The Lord's Prayer is never quoted, as they can't understand what's meant when it starts, "Our Father...." The only clergyman in town refused to attend the schools as his home and the Church are regularly burglarised.Into this environment, Padre Nixon arrives. He is accompanied to the School by the clergymen, who then leaves. Nixon is handed each class,rotated hourly, and he asks, almost demands the teachers sit in as well.Mostly it's chaos. The year is 1992.

He talks. He's able to show them that 'it's-what's-eating-them-and-not-what-they-eat', that matters. And what sin must come out. They can tell a great deal about themselves by the way they react to the things that happen to them.

Doesn't sound too religious so far, but attention is difficult to command.The last class of the day are the year 12's, the 18-year-olds. The know-it-all. They delay the start of the class; too much fun to have with this fellow. One tall strong lad smirks as he lifts Nixon's accordion to shoulder height, asks what it does, and it splinters as he drops it on to the cement floor!

Girls giggle nervously, to cover up; boys stare coldly; a gang-leader is ruling the class.

Fifteen minutes later they tire of their cheap diversions and Nixon says, "There's this millionaire, you now, who gave his manager the job to build a special home for his best friend!"

A home? They live in squalid places. The settlement has tin sheds. Some sleep outdoors to escape the heat. A home? For his best friend? "Whatever it costs, spend it. No limits. Make it the best you can for the best friend I've ever had!"

Wow, that's the best welfare handout ever? I'd like that. Who is the friend? They chatter incessantly over the dialog.

"Meanwhile, the manager considers that he's been ignored all his working life, put the best years into that millionaires business for a weekly wage,a pittance of what he's worth and someone else is getting the kudo's. He should get his cut of the cake, his bit of the action. He cut corners on the supplies, kick-backs from the warehouse and tradesmen, used unskilled labour to save more money, built below ordinances, cheap and fancy, and he pocketed the difference to make up. It was his big chance...."

The class cheers uproariously when they hear of this cunning manager. That's how they'd do it. He's their hero! "Schmarrrt-old-buggger," they laugh loudly. Teachers watch. Nixon waits.

"The big day arrives and the millionaire comes for the presentation. He hands the Keys and Title to his manager and says quietly . . . . 'You're the best friend a man could ever have, and this house is to repay you for your years of faithfulness to me. You deserve the best a man can give!"

The class is speechless! Surprise is followed by anger! "Bloody tricked himself!" they murmur. It's a dirty trick. Kill the millionaire! Hate and venom fill their faces and fear leaves them stone cold."Time to pray. Now! Every one of us, pray. Eyes closed. Nobody move.We're talking to the God of Creation who made us all, Who owns us, and is handing us the keys of life, the keys of the house we live in now, and for ever."

The silence is deafening. For the first time, bird sounds waft in to the room. Breeze sounds heavenly. Furtive glances between them each to see who's praying, and who's not.

Bow our heads before God. Say after me these words:

"Our Father—Our Father,
Which art in Heaven ... Which art in Heaven,
Hallowed by Thy Name ... Hallowed by Thy Name ...
Thy Kingdom Come ... Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy Will be Done on earth as it is in Heaven ...
Thy Will be Done on earth as it is in Heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread ... Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins ... And forgive us our sins ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ....

Nixon lifted his eyes to behold a tall strong lad kneeling before him,
with hands clasped in urgent prayer, eyes piercing through the ceiling toward heaven, and a class of teens and teachers watching in wonder.

With fifty watching, Nixon quietly said, "Repeat those words again to be sure you mean it and God will hear you say it:

"And forgive us our sins ... And forgive us our sins ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ...
And forgive us our sins ...And forgive us our sins ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ....
Again, please, everybody ... quietly ...

"And forgive us our sins ... And forgive us our sins ...
As we forgive those who sin against us ...
As we forgive those who sin against us...."

Praying Teenagers. Watching teachers. Listening Hosts of Heaven. "Train up a child in manner in which he is capable of going, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

A local clergyman has his hands full attending to a violent township into which a touch of the Gospel came to support his ministry. There's hungry people seeking to hear the truth of it.

   
         
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