Farewell and safe sailing

Tuesday July 7 9:35 PM

Transition – packing to return home to Australia for some, and unpacking stores and equipment on the boat for orientation and inventory for those continuing on. The tour north to Banks and Torres promises to be a challenging one, covering a lot of ground to run clinics on ten different islands. It’s the first time indigenous team members will be returning to their home villages to provide a service to their own people.

Coming in to pick up the baton is a daunting prospect for each new team, with the sense of the preceding teams having done a great job. The truth is, of course, that we are united by a common purpose, and each team rises to the demands of the moment with the best it has to offer.

The Sunday our team was leaving to go to Port Vila, Ian Hickingbotham’s message in church was to the effect that where our strength finishes, God can work. Out here where the needs are great and a few people move mountains to make a huge difference, that principle holds again and again. A vision, focussed energy and a lot of prayer brings about more constructive change than can possibly be reasonable given the available resources.

I leave this tour strongly impressed by the grace, energy, faith and compassion I’ve encountered in those I’ve met here, both indigenous people and foreign workers. Thanks to all of you who are supporting this venture through your prayers, and through practical and financial support. Special thanks to our legendary skipper, Bob Brenac, for transporting us and the medical team safely to all the appointed destinations, and to my fantastic sailing crew mates Tony, Jim, Martin and Jenny.

Farewell from me to all of you who have been following our travels for the past five weeks. Thanks for following the story. Safe sailing to the crew and medical team going north from here. Rob Latimer takes back the blog reins from here on, and he and Mike are bugling the “Last Post” as I type. I wouldn’t take anything they write too seriously…

Ann Shoebridge

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