Though most of its people are concentrated in a few dense pockets around the coast, especially the south-eastern corner, there are hundreds of scattered small towns elsewhere, some of them extremely remote.
Creation Science Foundation has long been burdened with reaching as many of these country folk as possible with the exciting message that the Bible is true. The vision is now being realized with a huge bus, converted at great effort and expense into a specially equipped 11-tonne mobile home and travelling creation ministry.
Staffed by former high school science teacher Peter Sparrow and wife Cathy, CSF’s Creation Bus generates great excitement and interest in the creation/Gospel message when it rolls into small rural communities which virtually never get any outside speakers. Many of these towns are so far away from main population centres that the only way they can be reached by travelling ministry is to have the capacity to stay on the road for months at a time, which is a unique advantage of this completely self-contained travelling home.
The distances are often immense. US readers may find it hard to imagine going from, say, Boston to New Orleans (the distance from Port Augusta to Perth) with only a handful of sparsely populated towns in-between. Hours may pass on some stretches with no sign of humans—just the odd kangaroo or emu. Sometimes Peter and Cathy have had to spend two to three days just travelling to get to the next place!
Peter’s creation ministry is not only reaching church folk, important as it is to strengthen faith and arm God’s people with ammunition for witnessing. In a small town plastered with illustrated announcements that The Creation Bus is Coming! there is, of course, a curiosity factor drawing the unconverted as well. When this dinosaur-decorated. diesel-powered giant rumbles into town, it really turns heads!
Marketplace creation evangelism
In each place, we try to arrange for the bus to spend several hours in a busy ‘marketplace’ setting. The side of this specially designed machine opens up to reveal a colourful creation display. The large awning is unfolded if necessary, book tables erected and a creation video player is set running (the bus has its own power generator) to attract passers-by, to invite discussions, and to advertise that night’s public meeting.
The bus is also equipped with the latest high-tech video projection and low-light screen equipment to show creation science audio-visuals in many different situations. It carries a good range of books, tracts, tapes and videos to complement Peter’s challenging, effective messages and to help spread the information far and wide.
The responses to this faith venture have been far greater than we at CSF had dared to hope.
In one town in Western Australia, there had been abusive phone calls to the local contact person. This person wrote to us afterwards and told us of the fruitful harvest after the bus had left town. About 40 people made a spontaneous inquiry or commitment/dedication regarding Jesus Christ and the way of salvation.
Much of the huge initial conversion and equipping costs has already been met by specific donations (many from city-dwellers sharing our burden), and the rest from money set aside—for example, for printing the next issue of Creation magazine—which we believe will also be repaid in due course.
Despite the obvious need for breaks for rest, repairs and the like, dozens of places have already been reached in a few short months of operation. Before the bus ministry reaches the end of its first year, it will, God willing, have reached many more.
The entire ministry is co-ordinated from CSF headquarters in Brisbane, and requires at least one committed local contact person in each of these many towns to be equipped with all the information and advice needed to make the ministry as effective as possible. The local contacts, often pastors or elders of churches from a wide range of denominations, are universally thrilled that the trouble is being taken to bring this message and evidences to their small and often remote corner of this wide land, with ‘no strings attached’.
Sowing revival seeds
Peter, who was converted to Christ after hearing the message that evolution is not scientific truth, and that biblical creation is scientifically sound, says he has been overwhelmed by the spiritually hungry response. ‘Now, more than ever’, he says, ‘I am convinced that CSF’s creation/Gospel message is the spiritual message for this moment for this country.’
Though it has some elements of adventure, this unique form of outreach is not easy, and requires considerable dedication and sacrifice. Australia’s harsh environment is hard on man and machine. For instance, see the photo that shows just one of the many tyres shredded while crossing the vast, arid Nullarbor Plain (so named from a Latin word meaning ‘treelessness’).
Catching the bug
Towed behind the bus is a trailer concealing a modified Volkswagen ‘beetle’ labelled the ‘Creation Bug’. This helps greatly for mobility around town after the bus is settled in. More importantly, it allows the ministry to continue if there is a major break-down—the trailer can be filled with equipment, materials and a tent, and towed behind the ‘bug’ to the next few towns while the bus is being repaired. Towns further on can be alerted, or ministry changed as necessary.
And of course, school-children love the cute little ‘Creation Bug’. Many will never forget the time when this striking bus/bug combination came to them and they first heard that God’s Word tells them the truth about history, science and the love of God in Jesus Christ. Many lives are being changed for ever as The Creation Bus rolls on to the glory of God the Creator and Redeemer.