So much has happened since my last post, but I have only half written drafts as it has been so busy and emotional. But thought it would be good to share what Ben and I have been up to in the last couple of days.
I knew that I would go back to Indulkana, but did not expect it to be this soon. Our friend, who travelled down with me the first time (Mrs Goodwin) passed away. I think she knew that her time was short when we went down last time. She was so keen to get home. Before she passed away, I had some special moments with her which I will be forever thankful for and got to meet some more of her family.
Ronald, Wapawapa, Nollie and Ben
On Tuesday morning we travelled down with a bus full. We had Ben Zion and me up front, and in the back was Kinyon, Rupert, Annie-Margaret, Yilpi, Maringka, Ronald and Helen. We had a lovely trip down. We sung and chatted and they laughed at Zion who had questions about everything. We saw camels and eagles and dingoes and an emu. Thankfully an uneventful trip. We reached the turn-off for Indulkana and I don’t remember the road being that bumpy last time I went. Gotta love the corrugated feeling on the road :-).
When we arrived we first went to the ‘sorry camp’. There were a group of tents set up where the family had been staying and we were to go there and shake hands and sit with the people as they wept. Zion just asked why they were crying and then sat in the dirt nearby and made a ‘chocolate cake’ out of the dirt. He seemed very much at home. Ben and I weren’t sure how long we would be down at the camp for, but no sooner were Ben and I just getting comfortable than they were all getting back in the bus and telling us it was time to get ready for the memorial service.
Ben had never ran a funeral before, and the language barrier was a bit daunting, but he seemed to take it in his stride.
The memorial service was lovely.
Getting ready for the funeral
They basically sing some songs, share memories of Mrs Goodwin, light candles and then give new blankets to the family (Mrs Martin told me that this was to symbol a fresh start). Then Ben was asked to bring a short word of encouragement from the Lord. All this time, we sat around campfires and the children played and enjoyed touching Zion’s face, I think because of how white he was, though I’m not sure. He fell asleep in my arms close to the finish.
The next morning, possibly the most amusing thing was seeing some wild pigs just walking through the town.
One of them were huge and had knocked over a bin and was looking for food. People were very responsive to us and were shaking our hands and saying that we had made them glad with Ben’s message the night before. The funeral was set to start at 10am, but it wasn’t until 11.30am that the car arrived with the casket, so there was a lot of hymns sung and a few people even took the time to preach, reminded me of the old open air meetings we used to be a part of. When the casket was brought out, it was laid on a table and everyone gathered around and placed a flower on top and touched the casket and wept as Ben prayed and read the Bible to them. Faxes were read out of those that couldn’t make it, and then we all headed down to the graveside where they throw dirt in to the grave and everyone takes turn to shake the families hands.
Although there was obviously a lot of grief at the loss of our friend Mrs Goodwin, there was a beautiful peace that was there as the people seemed very assured that her final resting place was with their loving Father in heaven. The air was full of hope.
We felt so privileged to have been welcomed into this wonderful community, to share with them a very intimate experience. The views are beautiful there, but the people are what captures my attention. I look forward to seeing them again…