The Day the Earth Stood Still

Describe a moment in your life, where, like Janet or Jock, time has stopped for you and the world takes on a completely new, vivid aspect. (For readers of my blog that aren’t students in my class, Janet or Jock are from a book called Remembering Babylon by David Malouf).

The year was 1990. It was late May. I had just come back from a a short term mission trip to the Phillipines. I was serving in the poorest city on the poorest island in one of the worlds poorest nations. The people I was serving called themselves the Warai Warai people. Translated it means the Nothing Nothing people. They considered themselves worthless. They survived day after day on the rice and bananas they grew, then hens and eggs that wandered around, and the small fish that they could catch. There was one telephone in the city. You needed to book 3 days in advance if you wanted to use it, and then wait in line for 6 hours.

While there we are able to save the life of a baby with a $2 tube of ointment. I made friends with so many. We bought a fishing boat for the church, to better provide for its members. We bought a rickshaw type bicycle for a family so they could operate a taxi style service for any foreigners who might come to the village.

I came back and again started my night shift job, working with the  underage prostitutes and drug addicts of Kings Cross, attempting to find them accommodation, provide counselling, a coffee, a referral to a doctor or other service that they may need. It was raining, a quiet night on the streets.

I was sitting at my desk and started praying. “God, why am I here at this job, when I could be over in the Philippines doing so much good? Anyone can do my job here.” That’s when God decided to teach me a lesson.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. One of the regular boys was there.

“Dave, Come quick, Celia just tried to commit suicide!”

I grabbed some bandages, locked the door to the refuge with 15 sleeping people inside, and ran to help Jason with Celia. Underneath the Coke sign, on a bench seat, sat Celia with both wrists slashed and losing lots of blood. I was able to quickly wrap both her wrists and encourage her to return to the refuge with me so I could call an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, Celia panicked and started to pump her fists to encourage the blood to flow once again. She was determined to die, but we were able to calm her again, and she agreed to go with the ambulance and then later to rehab where she got the long term help she needed.

Later another boy came to the door suffering hallucinations from a drug he had taken. I was able to calm him down until the effects of the drug wore off and I put him to bed in one of our detox beds.

Still later a heroin addict was found in the back alley, having overdosed on a bad batch, I was able to revive him and call an ambulance and so save his life.

At that stage I realised what was happening. God was speaking to me. I prayed again. “Ok God, you know what you are doing. You have me in the right place, at the right time”.

I grew that night in my trust in God, and my realisation that He knows far better than I ever will about whats going on.


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