Being a carer can be a very demanding roll and looking after yourself is essential so when I was asked to help as a barista on a Scripture Union Beach Mission I prayerfully considered the opportunity. Things seemed to be falling into place so I took the challenge and accepted. Kat, my youngest sister, was able to come and stay with Mum while I was away plus I had quite a few offers for tents of all sizes.
It didn’t take much persuading to upgrade from a one man tent to a four man tent where I could stand up inside as well as have a bit of room to spread my things out. I acquired the four man tent from a generous church member who also give me some tips on what to take to be comfortable. I then made a list of all the things I thought I might need, making a pile to things beside the front door. As the weeks past this pile became bigger and bigger! I was a bit concerned it might not fit in Alison’s car!
I attended the orientation and another discussion group getting to know many of the team who were from several different churches around Perth and Rockingham. Scott was second in command and in charge of the coffee. He asked me to compile a list of things we might need. Then the week before we left Khim the team leader asked me to buy some disposable cups, lids and trays. I asked church where they bought there’s and borrowed their member’s card for the purchase. The smallest amount was boxes of 1000 cups and lids and 100 trays. This seemed a large amount especially of the trays which I knew we would only need a few of. I was a bit concerned about getting the boxes down as although Alison had offered to give me a lift I wasn’t happy about all my stuff let alone three extra bulky boxes. I rang Frank to ask if he and Marlene had room on their trailer. They were our cooks so I knew they would have a lot of gear to take. Praise the Lord they were able to help me out!
There were two families, Alison and I from North Beach Baptist Church going on beach mission. Marlene and Frank our caterers; Marlene is an amazing cook and always cooks healthy food, their daughter, Lucinda and her son join to help with food preparations. The Lampard’s and their teenage children helped in the children’s and teens teams, Alison was with the preschool group and me helping with coffees. There were about 30 of in all not including the kids. Unfortunately some were unable to come due to sickness and some came later due to other commitments.
It was going to be a five hours drive and we wanted to leave early the morning of the 27th. Alison arrived at seven, rearranged her things squeezing mine in before we headed south. She took the freeway turning off on Armadale Road before heading east along Albany Highway. It was a lovely Wednesday not to hot or cold as we drove through the wheat belt then headed south through Kojonup towards Albany. We stopped half way at Williams where I bought a coffee. It was terrible! It tasted burnt! At Mount Barker we turned south west towards Denmark where we stopped to do a bit of shopping before heading for the Ocean Beach Campsite. I needed to stock up on bananas and fresh fruit for my breakfast.
Alison had been to the campsite before and was watching out for it as we headed out of town. I was taking in the scenery and distracted her just as we were passing the entrance. As we hit the gravel road heading along the coast she knew we had gone too far. Her phone was out of range but mine wasn’t. Using the GPS we headed a bit further along the gravel road in the wrong direction before we were instructed to turn around (I’m not quite sure why they do that!). We eventually found our destination and the office where we were given instructions on how to find our reserved site. After unloading the car Alison drove it back to the entrance where it was parked with others to help keep excess vehicles out of the camping areas.
We were amongst the first to arrive so had the first choice for our tents. I chose a lovely shady spot under the trees making sure there were no branches directly above me just in case of strong winds.
As one who doesn’t enjoy camping I had prayed for good weather. Nothing like camping in a tent with strong winds and wet muddy ground! My camping companion’s kept reminding me that Denmark was notorious for rain. I reassured them there would be no rain as I had prayed and I had faith for good weather. We’ll see they would reply. I felt like responding “Oh ye of little faith” but decided I’d better keep quiet and just wait and see.
It didn’t take long before the other team members arrived and tents began to spring up around us like mushrooms. The smallest was a couple who had a swag! Some of the largest tents came with rooms! Things certainly have come a long way since I last went camping!
The mission team was made up of people of all ages including children some of whom helped with simple chores, the youngest child turning one years old while we were there. We had a team for every age group – Kid’s Club, Primary Team, Teen’s Team and Adult Team with the theme printed on the front of our T shirts “Rock Star”. Taking the example of one who seems to have everything in life but loses his own soul. (Mark 8:36). On the back of the T shirts was John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”.
The day stared at 7am with morning prayer and quiet time in the Mess Tent or individually then at 7:30 we gathered together for breakfast before the team activities began. I was usually up by 5am enjoying a quiet jogging along the riverside towards the sea. It’s my favourite time of the day. After my shower I’d turn on the coffee machine to warm up before our first coffees at 8:30/9 o’clock.
Scott, who had done a barista course before coming to camp had organised all the coffee and chocolate and took charge of grinding and tamping the coffee while I did the milk frothing and serving. Once we had settled into our roles, with me keeping my mouth shut to keep the peace, we worked quite well together. I wanted to clean the machine before our first operation but was unable to remove the filters. I was able to take out the screw that held the filters but not the filters. Oh well at least I tried. After a morning of serving coffee I had another go. This time as soon as I removed the screw the filters dropped out! I could not believe my eyes! No wonder the coffee was slow at coming through, it was so clogged up I’m surprised they even worked! It took me quite some time to clean them with a toothbrush.
We had so many regular customers in the end we knew many of their orders before they asked. Coffee, teas and hot chocolates were by donation as were the biscuits and slices. By the second last day we had to buy more hot chocolate powder and limit the orders as the kids were going through it much quicker than we thought.
Several people arrived every morning just before we had opened, queueing with their own cups. They said we had better coffee than places in town. That was quite a complement. Even the camp’s groundsmen made sure they called in for a cuppa. One of our regulars, had at least four to five mocha’s a day! Scott, unlike me who has a cut off time, could drink coffee till bedtime.
It was lots of fun meeting and chatting to customers. A couple of young mothers were discussing their baby’s night waking problems. I mentioned that before I retired I use to help with such challenges. They said, no point in telling them that if I had retired! We laughed. I gave them the new website and a few tips to try out when they got home. I wasn’t surprised when I saw them the next morning pushing the pram when I went out jogging.
By midday the coffee tent was closed, cleaned and packed up. Lunch and time off was from 12 till 5:30 pm when we had a team debrief and prayer before dinner, the evening programme started from 7:30 till 10pm. After the first two enormous lunches I decided to do my usual thing and skip lunch, taking time out instead, before sometimes coming back around 3:30 pm to open the coffee tent for a brief time in the afternoons. There were two evenings were we had a big open cook up of paella which was open for the campers. The coffee tent was then open late although I left around 8pm to get my beauty sleep.
Monday, New Year’s Day, was our day off. Alison asked if I would like to join her to take a look at some of the nearby sights. I told people we were going to the Blue Lagoon. Where? Opps that was a movie I meant Green Pool. Oh well it was a stretch of water of some colour and shape, no need to get pedantic! LOL
It was a glorious warm sunny day. We swam at Green Pool before climbing the rocks to Elephant Rock then a short drive to the Lake House Restaurant for a coffee (not as nice as ours at camp) and lunch for Alison. On another afternoon I wanted to walk to the coast which was just a bit further than where I jogged in the mornings. Unfortunately it was a very hot day that I chose to go and by the time I arrived at the look-out I was hot and exhausted. My prayers were answered though when I asked some people who had pulled up if they were able to give me a lift. They very kindly agreed and eventually dropped me back closer to the camp where I went swimming to cool down. During my ride they mentioned they were from Albany. After finding out I was with the Scripture Union Beach Mission, one of the couples said their sons had also been on a Scripture Union Mission Camp. What a small world!
Packing up camp was a huge job. After lunch the day before leaving we started dismantling the activity marque and smaller pavilions. It was planned to keep the coffee machine operating so we could treat ourselves to a last coffee before leaving the next day. Somehow this message did not get relayed to those packing up until after the machine was disconnected and dismantled. Many of us were disappointed but then there was a change of heart as it was unpacked and reconnected with a spare extension cord. Smiles back on all the coffee addicts faces. I had cleaned it out and packed everything away but it didn’t take me long to find everything. The next morning was the final pack up, trailers loaded then our individual tents dismantled by willing helpers, cars packed and a team photo before heading home.
It had been an amazing time with beautiful weather. As we drove off there were strong wind warnings and predicted rain as well as black skies for nearby bushfires. We certainly had been blessed to avoid all three.
Photos: 1. My lunchtime resting tree on camp 2. My luxury tent 3. Coffee tent 4. Coffee filters 5. Setting up 6. Serving coffee 7. Barista team 8. Catering team 9. Afternoon Bible study 10. Green Pool panorama 11. Green Pool 12. Elephant Rock 13. Lake House lunch/coffee 14. Helping on the Slip ‘n slide afternoon
Praise Him for Kat being able to stay with Mum during my time away.
Thank you Lord for the great team all working together making it such a successful Beach Mission.
Please pray for the tribunal hearing regarding the Guardianship which is on the 21st of February.
I appreciate your ongoing prayers for the business, Senior’s Benefits and Rewards. We are still looking for someone to assist us with marketing ideas.
Thank you once again to all my supportive friends and prayer partners, knowing you stand with me in prayer is a real encouragement and strength.