My husband offered to help Mr Sherrin with fencing or any other jobs he could not do on his own. Mr Sherrin appreciated that very much but, when he found out we were Seventh-day Adventists, he told us in no uncertain terms, between puffing on his pipe, that he did not like Seventh-day Adventists, because his son had become one.
My husband decided to give him space, only stopping for little chats when he saw Mr Sherrin in his paddock. At that time, we dropped Signs of the Times magazines into letterboxes all along our valley, including that of Mr and Mrs Sherrin.
On one occasion, Mrs Sherrin asked us for a lift to town. As she got into our car, Mrs Sherrin thanked us for dropping in the Signs magazines each month. She told us her husband read them thoroughly. We were surprised.
Months later, to my husband's surprise, Mr Sherrin told him that he had given up smoking and announced that he has kept his first Sabbath. My husband had told him of an experience on our small crop farm, when wallabies had not eaten our beans or other crops --only the weeds in between. Mr Sherrin told my husband a similar thing had happened to his son.
Just before we sold our farm in 1979, Mr Sherrin expressed his wish to send away for a Bible study offered in Signs. My husband asked if he wanted to do the Bible study with him, as he had the same study guides in his car. Mr Sherrin agreed. My husband studied with him for about six months and they finished just before we moved away. My husband asked our Gatton church elder to give Mr Sherrin a certificate for completing his study and to invite him to any special programs at church. We later heard that Mr Sherrin had been invited many times but had declined to come because of his poor eyesight.
We heard nothing more from them until we visited the South Queensland camp-meeting in Brisbane in 1981. A pastor's wife we knew met us excitedly and told us a story.
As her husband had preached on tithing the previous week, he told his congregation about our farm and crop protected from the wallabies. He told his congregation how the Lord blessed a faithful tithe payer. He did not mention our name or our place but spoke only in general terms.
During his sermon, an elder of the church handed the pastor a note. It said that brother Sherrin wanted to say a few words after the sermon. When the pastor had finished preaching, he asked brother Sherrin to the rostrum to say what he had to say.
Brother Sherrin came forward and said, in short, "I know of the people the pastor told you about with the wallabies. I have never met them but they used to be my father's neighbours. When I joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, my father was so upset that he broke off all contact with me and my family for many years.
"When I got very ill in 1979, I was transferred to Brisbane Hospital. My father was notified and, to my surprise, he came to visit me. He told me he had studied the Bible with his neighbour who is an Adventist. He also told me about the wallabies. He told me that he had an eye operation in the meantime, and only last week my father rang me to say that he wants to be baptised."
When she had finished telling this story, the pastor's wife took us to meet our former neighbour's son. Soon afterward, Mr Sherrin was baptised in the Gatton church and was an active member until his death, two years later.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." Matthew 19:26.
Linda Walter now lives in Warwick, Queensland.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God