Reflection - Victorian Defence Christians Dinner 2022
Our family was very excited to drive to Bridges Barracks, Sergeant’s Mess, Puckapunyal to attend the 2022 Defence Christians Dinner on the 9th of September 2022. It was a beautiful evening as we were welcomed and escorted into the base by WO2 Darren Thomas, driving past the kangaroos as the sun set on the pristine surroundings of Pucka with the soldiers almost camouflaged by their surroundings. We were greeted by very committed Christians in Defence and other ministries associated with them, making a total of 26 attendees. Everyone was glad to get back together face to face after 2 years of Covid restrictions.
It was a delight to meet Principal Chaplain Darren Jaensch AM, Director General Chaplaincy – Army, who was the main speaker for the evening. The other guest speaker was the lovely Rev Julie Blinco-Smith, Vicar, All Saints Anglican Church Greensborough in Melbourne. She spoke to us about the Acronym FROG – Fully Rely on God, encouraging us to simply trust in the Lord in all circumstances, reminding us of Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.’ She shared how the soldiers from the Australian Light Horse acknowledged the power of God in their victory and put their faith in Him.
At the start of Darren’s address he said that it felt solemn as we were seated right under the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II who went to be with the Lord the previous day, she herself being a faithful Christian to the end. He showed us videos of three Chaplains/Padres working in the Army. You can view more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX4ZXLq3ymQ
In the video we saw the chaplains train along with the soldiers, positioned to serve, inspiring them to stay strong on their course physically and spiritually, to remind them that there is a God and that they were never alone. The call of God on their lives and comradery they build with them was sensational. Darren said that the chaplains were in also responsible to make sure the fallen were bought home with respect. It is a great responsibility towards the families and friends of those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of our country. He thanked the Defence Christians who do what they do, loving the Lord and His people where He had planted them.
The meal including the dessert was delicious and abundant, prepared lovingly by the Chef at the Sergeant’s Mess at Puckapunyal. We stayed overnight in Seymour and visited the Vietnam Veteran’s Commemorative Walk and the Australian Light Horse memorial park the next day. Overall we came home thankful for the rich history of the Australian Defence Force and were inspired to continue to do all that the Lord has called us to do as Defence Christians. We were also thankful for the froggy reminders and the Bibles and ‘lil’ booklets we got to take home…
S H, MCF Fisherman’s Bend, Melbourne Vic.