Bill Towns, a plant operator from Cargo, a village near Orange in NSW, from the Kamilaroi people, discovered the hard way that without God’s spirit, he can do nothing.
My name is Bill Towns and I come from a little village in the central west [of NSW] called Cargo. I didn’t originate from there. I’m from the Kamilaroi tribe; I was born in Pilliga.
It started at about 21 trying to figure out how to be a father, what to do, how to get my family in order, how to love and care for them, how to father – I guess I didn’t have a clue.
I thought I did. I had a job, had a house and everything went well. And then, all of a sudden, I found myself lost, completely bushed with no help, no guidance. But I was completely lost in soul, spirit, mind, and body and I didn’t know what to do. So I found myself at AA at the advice of my wife. And I walked into the room and I felt like I’d come home.
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The peace and the presence that was in the room took my breath away. When an older lady stood up, the words that she said set me free and I haven’t had a drink since. And that was in 1998, which is quite extraordinary. I felt this presence come in and completely take everything away.
And then I said, “Wow, this is unbelievable.” And I was so excited. I was just absolutely blown away by what had happened to me. I went home a different man that day but had many, many issues I had to deal with. Where I am today is quite extraordinary, really. As I went through my life, I built my relationship with the Lord. He was so patient, gracious and kind to me, as he was with my wife and my children. They shaped me into what I’ve become.
My Indigenous connections I’m really searching [for]. Dad denied that he was Aboriginal, but my cousins have all done their research and they placed the history back and we come out of the Kamilaroi tribe around Wee Waa and Piliga and Narrabri. Grandmother’s mother wasn’t able to be buried in a normal cemetery because of her Aboriginal descent; she was buried somewhere else and they haven’t been able to find her grave.
[God] restored my family; he restored my children and he’s still restoring me and I’m getting better, bigger and stronger.
A spiritual ride
The next part of the journey was to do a spiritual [horse] ride across Australia. God gives you a vision and then things change; everything just changed. It was the Malachi Scripture of returning children to their fathers and fathers to the children.
I thought it was about returning fathers to the children and children to the fathers, but in that old journey, he was returning me to him.
It was tough. It was hard. But he said to me, “Bill, I want you to do it quietly.” And he said, “If you do it in the flesh, I’ll do it in the spirit.” And he said, “It’s not by might, it’s by my spirit and truth.” And I’ve got to admit, I was scared, I was absolutely petrified. For a young man who was too scared to drive a motor car out of the speed limits of Orange when he was 18 without his mates in the car, to be the age that I was to ride from one side of Australia, from Geraldton to Moruya, with four horses was just beyond my imagination. I did it, I did it! And God led me all the way.
He’s just got so many good things. If we listen up, he’s got so many signs and wonders; he just wants to bless us, he really does. I thought it was about returning fathers to the children and children to the fathers, but in that old journey, he was returning me to him. That’s it in a nutshell.
I had doubt about my own worth, my own value, my own self, the fathership that I didn’t receive from my father – with total respect to my father because he didn’t get it either. But somewhere something’s got to change. [God] was fathering me and I was growing and growing … I ended up fathering a lot of people on the way through, but he was removing all my shame, all my grief and all my guilt from all my fathering and all my sins.
“Until you really love you, and understand that I love you, you can’t give it away.”
Now I knew that the blood of Jesus cleans all sins. You think you do, but you don’t. And I believe that he was healing me from the inside out and he’d waited so long to do it so that I would understand that he did love me. He really did love me. And he’s very real. He said “Bill, you got to get this because when you get this, you can give it. And when you get this, the other people will get it, the nation will get it and then we will walk in forgiveness and we will walk in love, but until you really love you, and understand that I love you, you can’t give it away.”
His beloved son
I think I’m just starting to find my feet now. He was getting me real with myself. Even with that Christian walk and all the things that I did, it was still about Bill, really. And I think there was still control there that I wasn’t aware of. I was still chasing the rainbow – that sort of addiction thing that goes on was still there.
But I didn’t really go back to being religious in a born-again way. [God] really wanted me to be real. That “my yes was yes, my no was no”. And he said, we’re supposed to have love joy, peace. He said to me, “You’re my beloved son and I’m well pleased.” And I thought, “With all my history, how could you even think that?” And I know he’s died for me, I understand all that, but you don’t really mean that you’re well pleased with me. And I couldn’t get it.
Now, this is the truth. I sat at the kitchen bench – and it was before I went on the ride – and I opened up my Bible and I was reading that Scripture – “You’re my beloved son with whom I’m well pleased.” Oh yeah, that’s nice – it’s about Jesus. I had a bit of a think about it. Wouldn’t that be nice to be like that, if God thought that about me, that Scripture? And I shut the Bible. That’s good. What a wonderful Jesus, right? I opened up the Bible again. “You’re my beloved son, I’m well pleased.” Okay. Fair enough. Well, good. That’s wonderful and I said, “Wouldn’t it be good to be like that?” I’m talking about myself and I shut the Bible.
I started dancing around the kitchen table. Like, I actually for a moment thought I’d lost it.
The third time I opened the Bible up, I went straight back to that page, that Scripture, and the words started to move on the page. “You are my beloved son, with who I am well pleased”, and I just jumped up and started to dance on the spot. I started dancing around the kitchen table. Like, I actually for a moment thought I’d lost it. But this real nice feeling filled me right through my whole body and just picked me up. I just started laughing. I was dancing – it’s for real! And I’m bouncing around and I’m spinning in circles and I’m doing high-fives and I’m spinning and I shut the book. It went into me.
What I would say to people who don’t know Jesus – he knows you, all your ups and downs, everything you don’t like about yourself, everything you like about yourself. He knows. He will set you free from what your own mind does to you and how you feel about yourself. He will show you who you really are. He will show you how remarkable you are. He will show you how exquisite you are. He’ll show you things about yourself that you wouldn’t believe it’s you. He will set you free that much that you will feel like you can fly. You will start seeing things about animals, the world, people, places, and things. You will be gobsmacked by him.
He will set you free from what your own mind does to you and how you feel about yourself … He will show you how remarkable you are.
But he is so liberating and so free, you will feel like you’re walking on air …
Take not your spirit from me
One day at the front of my house, I was having some issues. I hadn’t had a drink for 13 to 14 years. All these things were going on and my life got hairy. I think I was a little bit off. This is the truth and this is what happened to me. It was like my wife was going to leave me because of issues that I had no control over. I looked like I was going to lose my job. And so here’s Bill sitting in a mess out in the front of his house, bawling my eyes out. And I said, “How can it be? I’ve tried to do everything right. I don’t drink, I don’t do this. I don’t do that. I’m going to church, paying my bills and doing everything nice. I’m doing nothing wrong. I’m just about to lose everything. It’s gone!” I said, “It’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.”
I was fearful and I was scared and I was sitting there and the presence of God fell and it just covered me. And this voice said “Bill, you’re in a mess.” And I said “Course I am. I don’t know how Job felt, this is terrible.” He said, “You’ve got me!” And I said, “Well, that’s good, but look, can’t you see I’m in a mess?” He said, “You reckon that feels terrible?” I said, “It’s horrible! I’ve never felt like this in my life.” He said, “Come with me.” So I went with him, and we went down into a dark place and I was all right, the Lord was with me and we’re standing there. He said, “Look, Bill, I just want you to sit there in this dark spot and I’m just going to remove my spark from you for a time so small, it’s immeasurable, nothing can measure it. I’m just going to take my spirit from you for a moment.”
I’ve never felt so much pain, anguish, grief fear, scared and fright in all my life.
Well, he removed that thing from me for a time that was so small and I’ve never felt so much pain, anguish, grief, fear, scared and fright in all my life. I didn’t know that even with all my wrongs and everything that was wrong, with the spirit of God, that spark was in me, that he breathed into me when he first breathed into man and he removed that from me and I became nothing.
So he put it back almost immediately. And I said, “Don’t ever, ever do that again. I never, ever want to experience that again.” He said, “Well, come with me.” And we came back up to where I was sitting on a pile of rocks. I said, “It’s good to be back to battle to save my marriage, it’s good to be back to battle to save my job. We’ll have to go in front of the church to sort that stuff out. It’s just good to be back here amongst that but don’t take your spirit from me, not even for a moment, I don’t ever want to experience that again – whatever condition I’m in I can’t handle that.”
So he said, “Come with me” and he took me up into the heavens. Now it was just like a room, like a waiting room – nothing special about it. And he said, “Bill, I’m just going to give you more of my presence.” And he gave me more of his presence and more of his spirit. And I felt myself just grow and I said, “I do not want to ever leave this place”.
I could look down and I could see everything that was going on, the work, my church, my family, the whole lot. And I wasn’t budging from this spot. He said, “Well, what do you think of that?” I said, “Well, I’m staying right here. I’m going nowhere. This is where I want to be.” He said, “What about your church? What about your wife and family? What about your workplace?” I looked down. I said, “I’ve got to get back, haven’t I? I can’t stay in this place. My job is on the earth to chip away, to keep going, keep building.” He said, “Yeah.” So he sent me back.
Absolutely no fear
This little red horse you see here, he bucks. And he gets carried away and I wear a crash helmet. I rode across Australia with a crash helmet; everywhere I go I wear a crash helmet. Well, I didn’t wear a crash helmet. I went and grabbed my cowboy hat. I pulled it over my head. I went and caught that little fellow and I threw the saddle on. I didn’t even warm him up. I threw my foot in the stirrup and I hit that saddle. And when I hit it I was in a flat gallop from the minute I stepped on him and he didn’t know what to do. I spun him left, I spun him right, I spun him around, and I hit the brakes and I rode like nothing was bothering me.
My wife pulled in the driveway with her mouth dropped open and she looked up to watch her lunatic husband just belting around the arena flat chat, hitting the brakes, spinning and turning and jumping. And she looked out of the car. She said, “You okay?” I said, “Never been better.” I had absolutely no fear of anything. And he said to me, when I left that room with him, “You can come here any time you like.”
He knows that I know that I’m nothing without him.
There’s still things in Bill that have got to be put right. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but there’s something about all of us as Aussies uniting and laying down our weapons, laying down our belief systems, laying down even everything we think we know about the Lord and God because we don’t know anything. And I’ve put both hands up and he wants us to just lay everything down and just stand with one another. He wants us to be a lamp to the world because I’m his beloved son and he’s well pleased.
He sees me as I am and when fear gets in, he sees me as real and he knows that I know that I’m nothing without him. And I think that’s why he sticks with me because the deepest part of my heart knows that and accepts that. So even with all my faults and all my wrongs, I really know my origin. We talk about Aboriginality, which is an original person of the land. We talk about our country of origin. I know where I came from. I came from God before anything was ever thought of. And I know that! I miss a lot of things, but I know that. And I think he thinks I’m okay because of that.