Barnabas column - Stories of Encouragement
Revving at the Longley International
The Longley International Pub is a special place.
It is down on the river flats amongst a small bush community in southern Tasmania. It is the centre of activity and community in the area.
Sunday nights are the most popular as the publicans host a free band between 3-30 and 7pm. Many locals gather here and catch up on the week that has been.
Wallaby-proof fencing, sick animals, lame animals, goats that keep escaping and eating the neighbours’ struggling garden, boring work in an office, bad backs, painful knees, more wallaby fencing, good rides, planting vegie gardens, bogged 4x4s and new second hand tractors and rain and rain and rain!!!
All these conversations whilst buying drinks, commenting on the music, all mixed in with fears and dreams, dashed hopes and joys and perhaps a dance or a shared bag of chips. Or there is the quieter spot out with the smokers around the giant fire pots under the glorious star-studded sky.
The Longley is a great place to hang out.
It has been over a year now that I have frequented the Sunday arvo sessions making friends, learning local knowledge and stories. It was the natural thing to do to ask the publicans if Greg Jones could come a play. Ever since I had heard Greg play at our clergy conference I knew he would fit in really well.
We chose a Saturday night which sometimes only has about three people. It can be very quiet. I said Greg would play for free and I would try and rustle up a crowd. I told them he was a Reverend too.
A few weeks before Greg was to play I gave the publican some posters to put up. I never did see any up and I wondered why. Perhaps she was nervous about what was going to happen?
Anyway, I was able to rustle up a crowd and many Christians brought their partners who do not attend church. There were about 15 locals and 20 that came through our influence. We gave out free sausages and cupcakes.
One bloke who was a bit bleary-eyed took a cup cake and saw the little silver ball decoration on the top and said, ‘look, the cakes are even pierced!’
Greg had two friends who played with him. We danced and we played pool, talked and had fun. Some expected there was a catch, some fund raiser or something. ‘No,’ I said, ‘it is just a blessing for the pub and all involved. A free gift.’
The next evening on arrival I was told I was famous as it was such a good night before. Great music and a great crowd. The publican was pleased and seemed to like the idea of Greg coming back in February.
This is all good friendship, building connections between God’s people and the world. We are now negotiating a free meal on Christmas Day at the Longley Pub.
Praise God for opening up these special opportunities.
Meredith Campbell Heartz Ministries (Huon Project)