This year I invited Bennett to come with me to Muli Muli, and asked him to also invite Kahl and Stacey. The thought didn't occur to me to invite Belinda, even though she is one of their friends; and when I was about to invite Jocie, the Holy Spirit withstood me. And the evening we got back from Muli Muli, I went to church, and I learned from Belinda that she was at work the day we left, and Jocie was in New Zealand. So the Lord was leading me regarding who to invite. Everyone I invited was able to come.
Anyway, when I first invited Bennett, he didn't give me an answer straightaway. He decided to wait until later in the week to decide. And I also wanted to take Paul Payton with me. I felt like I wanted to go on Saturday and stay until Sunday. Anyway, Bennett contacted me on Friday night, keen to come. He offered to pick me up, in Stacey's car. The Lord always provides me a way of getting there! And Paul also contacted me, saying that he had a rare opportunity to come, because his two oldest kids were away in Victoria, giving Michelle two fewer children to look after. Originally Paul thought he might travel in the car with us. The only problem was, Bennett and the others wanted to be back for church the next morning, rather than stay overnight. Plus, although I wanted the others to come, and although I know it would have been nice for us all to travel up in one car together, I actually had some sort of a feeling like I wanted to be in Paul's meek company alone, during the drive up. Well Paul suddenly decided to drive his own car up, because he wanted to stay overnight. So it all came to pass exactly as I'd desired. Paul and I stayed overnight, whilst the others drove home on Saturday night.
I was hoping the others wouldn't be disappointed that we weren't all in one car, so I prayed that the Lord would pour out His river in their car during the drive up; and that He would cause each of them to be filled with awe and wonder about the whole trip.
God answered my prayer, because when we stopped to look at the Historic Tunnel just before Canungra, when they opened their car doors, we found them soaking in the Holy Spirit. God indeed poured out His river! God also answered my second prayer, because they so enjoyed the scenery on the way up; and then when we arrived in Muli Muli, instead of taking the first left turn I felt led to drive up to the second one; and when we drove slowly through a large group of children standing on the road, they all slapped our cars in joyous welcome, as though we were passing through some guard of honour, which my guests were delighted about! Not to mention the glorious afternoon sunrays beaming down on Mt Lindesay; and the beautiful sounds of the bellbirds as we passed through the rain-forest, which we wound our windows down to hear. It was all very nice. Mt Lindesay has different lighting on it everytime I go there; and this time was no exception.
The Christmas Rally at Muli has been going for more than 101 years, making it one of the oldest Pentecostal works in Australia. What is unique about the Pentecostalism of Muli, is that it was introduced to the Muli Muli community by an aborigine, not by white missionaries. A certain aboriginal brother had been brought-up by white Christians in North Queensland. The time came where this particular brother felt it was time he took the message of Pentecost to his people. So he began a missionary journey of his own, down the Coast of Queensland and into the Northern Rivers region of northern New South Wales, taking the message of Pentecost wherever he went. He walked to Muli Muli from Kyogle, lighting campfires along the way, camping out under the night sky. It would have taken weeks to walk some of the distances he walked.
When he arrived at Muli Muli, there were no houses there - only bark humpies and campfires. Muli Muli means many hills. The original aboriginal name for the community was a word that means bark.
These early aboriginal preachers couldn't read, but they were able to read the Bible.
It was good to see sister Charlotte Paige, the only person remaining who knows how to speak the aboriginal language of the community. She is a godly stalwart of a woman, and generous.
It was such a delight to me when Pastor Francis said from the pulpit, "It's good to see my good friend brother John here again".
I just loved talking with him, after the meeting. There is no-one quite like him, in gentleness, meekness, pureness and love of the Holy Spirit.
I think also that his son Philip has the same spirit.
After the meeting, the Lord said, "Don't go up to Pastor Francis's house", like I usually would. Instead I sensed that Paul and I were to be staying elsewhere that night, down lower, not as high up on the hill.
Whilst Pastor Francis was off arranging a place for us to stay, I still felt led not to go up the hill. And I felt led to approach some other white visitors to Muli just to say hello. Whilst I did so, another gentleman approached us, and together they invited us to spend the night at the house where they had been staying. It felt right in my spirit. It happened to be David's house, Pastor's Francis's son-in-law, in Woodenbong. Pastor Francis was more than happy for us to stay there.
So we went there to find a whole "house" with ten beds in it! It was as good a "hotel" as one could find in Woodenbong. It was already late when we arrived, so we didn't go next door and ask David if it was o.k., so assurred were the guys that it would be fine with David.
I was delighted with how God had led us to such suitable dwellings!
It also gave us the opportunity to get to know some wonderful people, in the morning, including David himself, whom we met for the first time in the morning. When I told us we'd actually stayed at his next-door house the night before, he laughed and said we are welcome. He actually told me that I am welcome to stay there anytime, even when they are not home. If I'm passing through, I may stay there; or I may even make a deliberate detour, just to stay there, he said. He said he has only made this offer to two people, and I'm one of them. "God recommended you," he said, and we embraced in the love of Jesus.
We gave out presents, and Paul gave out CDs of his worship music. After the morning meeting, I felt led to go up to Pastor Francis' house before we left. Paul seemed keen to keep talking over lunch; he even thought about staying for the night meeting - but I sensed that we would best aim to be home around 3pm, for his wife's sake.
Anyway, I didn't push it, so we were a bit later than that getting home. Some days later, Paul told me that his wife actually started to get worried at 3pm, because he wasn't home yet. "You're quite sensitive," he said.
It was lovely to fellowship with all the brethren again; what God has done at Muli Muli is a treasure.
Elder Robert Boota's position was made redundant, and he was offered a transfer, which would have meant moving. But Muli is his place, so he became unemployed, after working for them for 20 years. Instead, he started his own business, and now employs six people. He has won two tenders for cleaning and reforestration, and he charges $15,000 per kilometre. He does all the administrative work, whilst the other guys do all the labour. In a radius of many, many miles, he cleans the rivers of weed, etc. I was very impressed with his initiative and entrepreneurship.