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Review Of The Book

This fascinating biography not only chronicles the missional pioneer lives of Roy and Mel Nash among Australia’s indigenous people, but also demonstrates what it means to be a people of God living and serving in very difficult environmental living conditions. Every chapter clings to the seminal truth that “the Lord rejoices to see (His) work begin.” Not only does He see it, but He takes pleasure in its completion. It is evident that the author believes that though the “work started by pioneer missionaries” in Australia’s Outback was small, the labourers few, and (the) disappointments and discouragement frequent,” God promised His omniscient care over all that He begins. This was true for Pamela’s parents as it was for those rebuilding a smaller temple in the day of “Zerrubabel’s plumb line” (Zechariah 4:10). “From those… small things a mighty work was affected for God’s glory”.


  • There is much here that piques the reader’s interest.
  • For the mechanically minded, there is the description of “charcoal fuelled vehicles”;
  • For the adventurer: stories are given about being caught at sea and “driven back for hours with   the motor at full throttle ahead”, or feeling helpless while being “swept through a riptide passage at the mercy of the tide.”
  • Cross cultural practices are well describes, such as the “corroboree initiation rites of a man entering into full standing within the tribe”. Linguistic insights are shared, as well as indigenous skills. Such as the tracking skills of Aboriginals.
  • Ecological details are described. These portray the contrasting conditions of a desert environment with drought that was “harsh and unforgiving”, and the monsoon deluges that caused considerable flooding.
  • Sea creatures called manatees are described. This tropical aquatic herbivorous mammal is a creature having “a protruding upper lip with which it sucks the tender sea cabbage from the reef – a delicacy to coastal Aboriginals”.
  • The reader should find the use of words a delight. For example in her father’s journal, Roy wrote these words while tracking four boys lost in the bush: “all I could hear was the ‘bun bun bullullah’ of a bellbird, the buzzing of bush flies and the quarrelling of some galahs’”.
  • We find idiomatic use of special interest: i.e., “the sure harbinger of a cyclonic cock-eyed bob.” This described the “grey rolling cloud front stretching for miles across the sky.”
  • Consider also this delightful description of the ocean on a calm day: “It sparkled like a jewel and the azure skies enhanced the beauty of God’s creation”.
  • Especially meaningful are the recorded words of her mother’s “Higher Calling”, expressed by “letting go of lesser things”. Elsewhere Rev. Ron Smith is quoted, “It is good to enjoy God’s will and not to endure it”.

Biographies are usually written from the inside out, about the familiar stories we want to pass on to our progeny. This helps us to understand the length of the book. But this should not discourage us from reading it. There is enough here to feel the heart pounding, waiting to see what happens next. It is not only a well written adventure but also echoes the passion felt by her parents to defend and make better the welfare of those that have often been disenfranchised. It required sacrifice – not that they would say so, but they were willing to leave family and go wherever God would call them. The reader senses this expectancy and desire to share God’s love and grace. I was not disappointed.

Roger Erickson, B.A., M.A., in Theology and Cross-Cultural Studies,

and retired missionary to Ethiopia from 1967 to 1990.