National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

Abide with me

November 2013

By Cath Pfeiffer-Smith

‘I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11

On 20 September, 2011, Edna Vonow sat at this remote railway line waiting for a train to go through the crossing. The driver waved at her and she waved back. What happened after that is nothing short of a miracle. You see, God was right there with her, waiting for that train too. Crystal Brook is a charming town some 200 kilometres north of Adelaide, just off the main highway. I drive down the main street and see clusters of people chatting, a friendly wave of a hand out the window, a tractor bumping through town. I catch the waft of freshly baked pasties as I snail-pace it past the bakery.

It’s a town that Edna Vonow and her extended family have called home forever. Its unhurried pace and welcoming ambience is engaging. But as much as Edna loves this place, for some time she had been praying that the town would be given a shake to its bones, to make it sit up and take more notice of God. Little did she know how God was going to answer her prayer.

The day started out like any other. Edna carefully arranged chairs in her lounge room for the church ladies to meet, prepared food and looked forward to the afternoon with her friends. The day went well, although she can’t remember any of it any more.
Then she headed out to her son’s place on the farm, some 12 kilometres out of town, the place she called home when she was younger. A road she had travelled many, many times and a crossing where Edna had stopped too many times to remember.