an ecxerpt from the book Maverick’s Roundup by

Bruce and Gwenneth Leane

It was Dad’s practice on Sunday mornings when the milking was finished to take the milk 2 kilometres out to the collection point on the main road by horse and cart. Then he would come home, wash himself, change his clothes, and prepare himself spiritually for church.  When the milking was finished, Mum would organise us four kids to pack up lunches, feed calves, dogs and cats and get dressed along with the thousand and one jobs to be done before a family goes out for the day.  


Church services began at 11 am and 3 pm. The dairy farmers would attend the morning service have a picnic lunch and then stay for the afternoon service getting home in time for evening milking.  It was quite a big trip in our old Studebaker buckboard (ex hearse).  On the morning in question, the bull escaped from its yard and rather upset Dad’s sanctification and spoilt his holy hour. Dad, Peter and I tried to herd the bull back into its yard. I ran myself to the point exhaustion and retired to what we called a cow-yard.  ‘Lord,’ I said between gasps, ‘show me a way to catch this bull.’


An idea formed in my mind. I found a 10-metre steel cable, made one end into a noose and tied the other end to a big gum tree down by the creek.  Dad, on foot, puffing and cussing; Peter on horse back with stockwhip and me standing at the other side of the yard with a pickaxe handle raised and an open gate. When Dad saw the open gate, he saw red and yelled,  ‘Shut the gate, Bruce,’ he yelled angrily, but I stood and waited for the bull to charge through, praying like mad the noose would catch. The bull took one look at the open gate and freedom and made a headlong dash. One horn and its nose caught in the noose.  The momentum of the animal took it down over the bank until it hit the end of the cable with a bang! Arm over tip went the bull. Peter jumped the fence and sat on the bull’s head, ‘Get a rope.’

‘That was a good idea,’ Dad was begrudging in his praise. At that moment all I could think, ‘Thank you, Lord, for the idea and that it worked.’  Away we went to worship as usual. 


Every one of these experiences with my father, of life on the dairy, struggling with asthma, all served as a foundation for the Call. Dad might not have been a perfect father but he taught me to appreciate fatherhood and to understand the Fatherhood of God. Those who never know a father and his position in the family find it hard to establish a relationship with God. A good father portrays the fatherhood of God but an abusive father sadly depicts God as an ogre. It is no wonder many people turn away from entering the Family of God.

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