At 2 years old my Mum and I moved in with my new step-Dad. He lived on a dairy farm 10 minutes outside of a small farming town in rural New Zealand. The farm became my life.
Up to work before dawn and home after dark, I didn’t see my Dad much. Someone had to milk the cows twice a day, everyday and Dad didn’t trust just any relief milker to take over, so he would barely leave the farm. I remember maybe a handful of holidays where my Dad would take us away. The farm was everything.
As I hit school, the farm became a burden as everyone else holidayed to the theme parks in Gold Coast, Australia or biscuiting on local lakes, therefore I grew to dread the farm life. The farm life that stopped me from having a family and enjoying life. I vowed I would never like farmers.
When I was 22 years old, I encountered God in such a strong and majestic way and gave my life over to Him. Coming from a non-Christian family, I loved the community aspect of Church. Coming from an isolated lifestyle like farming, I loved the idea that God cared about me and was with me always.
God quickly took me as a hungry Christian and planted me at DTS in YWAM Marine Reach NZ, and began to work on my heart and restore me to my true identity.
As a staff I recently started a conversation with a student who was from a dairy farm. It interested me that a farmer would have time to travel to the other side of the world to invest in His relationship with God.
It was easy to see that their farm was not like our farm; they had robots, and we milked by hand. They had 80 cows and we had 230, a very different set up. Yet this guy bred his cows for type, and spoke the same language as my Dad. It was all too familiar.
It was funny, but I felt God tugging on my heart and asking me to take this guy to my Dad’s farm. However that was absurd, why would he want to see a farm, they are dirty, you get covered in cow poop and it’s just not worth it. But then he asked. I knew this was confirmation that God wanted to do something.
So we arranged a weekend, and I got a couple other farming friends from DTS to come with us. It was amazing, then they met my Dad they all spoke the same farming language. I haven’t seen my Dad take interest in my friends like this before. I haven’t seen my friends be interested in my Dad and my farm life before.
It was awesome that God had ordained this trip to help mend the relationship between myself and the farm, and the relationship I had with my Dad. For the first time getting dirty, and getting cow pooped on was fun!
It was fun teaching them how to do something that to me was so familiar. It was fun watching them laugh as they got cow poop on themselves. It was fun teaching them the technique in placing the cups on, and knowing when they were finished. Milking is a demanding and sacrificial job, you need to reach right under and your face and full body is exposed to the cows poop covered tail and legs.
Later they shared just how much they loved it. It wasn’t something they were obligated to do, even at home, they all actually loved and missed their farms, and were all so blessed to experience a New Zealand farm, and are asking to go back.
It would only be God that would arrange such a beautiful union of two of my worlds. My farm life which I am starting to appreciate, and my life as a Christian Missionary staffing at YWAM.
I am so proud of my Dad. As I look back I am reminded of a sermon that compares working for the Kingdom of God as a slave versus as a son. As a slave is forced to labour and he works as little as he can get away with it. However a son goes above and beyond to better care for the creation he is responsible for.
Genesis 2.15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
My Dad works so hard to ensure that his cows, his little piece of creation is maintained and cared for but also worked the best it can be.