Laguna Quays Respite was established four years as a respite cottage for missionaries and those in Christian ministry on the Whitsundays mainland developed by my wife Delma and I in 2011 having been ministering in respite since 1992 with Australian Institute of Sport elite athletes, Olympians and cricketers.
Now, a major step has been hurdled toward a second such missionary respite facility whose focus will largely be upon triage missionary respite (more than simply timeout), with a meeting at Aldinga Beach 1 hour south of Adelaide 11 days ago (14 January).
The remarkable occupancy at Laguna Quays Respite over these past four years demonstrated that missionary and church / mission respite was an area that mat have been under-serviced.
Our ministry sponsor of 30 years Mr Basil Sellers AM visited Laguna Quays Respite on 12 August last year and met with the local support group for afternoon tea. Here Basil Sellers enquired as to whether there was a facility for those missionaries in need of something more.
This question promoted Basil Sellers to have me gather four mission executives to meet with him on 23 September last year at his home in Sydney. They were Malcolm Richards (CMS), Ken Clendinning (Global Interaction), Omar Djoeandy (SIM) and Viv Grice (Pastoral Burnout).
From that successful meeting SIM's Dr Omar Djoeandy took a proposal to the national board of Missions-Interlink who endorsed in principle the project. Omar was put in touch with Ben and Robyn McLean at Aldinga Beach, Ben and Robyn are former missionaries to China with Pioneers who have a vision for missionary respite.
Aldinga Beach meeting
On 14 January Mr Basil Sellers AM, his PA Deb Thompson, my wife Delma and I converged on Aldinga Beach for a meeting with SA Missions-Interlink chairman Geoff Colton, Ben and Robyn McLean and local Baptist Minister of 18 years the Reverend Andrew Downes.
At the luncheon held in a lovely nearby winery, Basil Sellers set out the guaranteed parameters of providing a house for missionary respite and specific protocols. This was followed by a round table discussion on the various aspects of missionary respite.
After the luncheon the party drove to Ben and Robyn McLean's home in the Aldinga Scrub area adjacent to Aldinga National Park which is a heritage area maintaining this natural unique scrub. The Aldinga Scrub can be likened to the view of Repulse Bay at the Laguna Quays Respite facility - both have a view of tranquilly.
Robyn McLean had put on a remarkable spread for afternoon tea out on their fresco where diligent conversation continued and when Andrew Downes joined us. Andrew, as a fellow Baptist minister, knew numbers of people Delma and I knew from a breadth of pastoral / sport ministry, and theological seminary personnel.
Missions-Interlink (a body that connects missionary societies) in effect are keen to have Ben and Bobyn McLean on board and minister on their behalf to missionaries for respite, A reasonable focus being on those wanting more than simply 'timeout'. Ben is a registered psychologist and Robyn similarly, a councillor.
The parameters set out by Mr Sellers were clear and precise. He noted the experience of 4 years of respite was that after having people for 24/7 at their beckon-call, missionaries are pleased to be "left alone" - (this means without visitors) which has been a rich spiritual tonic for those visiting Laguna Quays Respite.
Mr Sellers emphasised this and gave examples of how critical this has been to missionary visits at Laguna Quays. Plus there are the Whitsundays Islands to explore and many local tourist options.
Developments are at this very moment under way to secure a structure.
There are genuine issues with these groups involved at some level – (1) Mission societies who send a missionary couple / family for respite (2) Missions-Interlink Board and their responsibilities (3) South Australian Missions-Interlink executive - on-site responsibilities (as it were) (4) Ben and Robyn McLean and how their legal entity fits into all of this for when their professional services come into play (indemnity).
The Laguna Quays Respite situation is functionable, uncomplicated, unrestrictive - a smooth transition to respite for missionaries – every effort is being made to ensure the Aldinga Beach Respite ministry will likewise be a blessing to all who encounter it's love and joy in the Lord.
Finally, after a structure has been established, then a suitable house in the Aldinga Scrub area might be found that all involved are happy with – then Mr Sellers can enact his part and provide it for respite.
Meanwhile the missionary 'Basil Sellers Laguna Quays Respite' cottage (Whitsundays) is already taking bookings for 2015. firstname.lastname@example.org
These are remarkable good news stories for 2015!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html