'When you get to know the people of Alice Springs, everything is different'
Corrine’s story | Making the move and the joy of discovery
“I was living in Sydney, working as a nurse/midwife at a big Sydney hospital, and feeling led to do something mission-orientated. I heard about possibilities in Morocco and I talked to our Missions pastor, but she said that if I were to go overseas, I should be married, or go with another single friend. But that didn’t happen.”
“At the same time, a friend of mine told me about working in Alice Springs, as a student nurse. She said, ‘You’d love it there!’
“I couldn’t think of anything worse. But in Sydney at the time, I was driving 40 minutes one direction to get to work, and 40 minutes in the other direction to get to church. If I tried to catch up with a friend, we’d often wait three months to find a time. So I thought, maybe I will go to Alice Springs.
“One holiday I went to have a look and started to pray about it. Six months later, I drove out to Alice, thinking I would stay for a year.
“I’ve been here for fifteen years. It’s an extraordinarily easy town to make friends. There’s so much camaraderie. At first, I stayed in the Nurses hostel and for the first time worked with a large group of other midwives who were Christians. It was brilliant. I’d never had that in Sydney.
“I started going to the Baptist church because my friend said that’s where the men are. And after about a year, Leith came along and he sat in front of me and we talked. He came back 18 months later and we fell in love and we got married in 2008.
“I’ve been working in the hospital, remote and community health for all this time. There’s a lot of need and it is very complex. A significant proportion of the children are born from seriously unhealthy mothers and with possible Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
“From the outside, it’s easy to see families that are broken, people drinking, lots of violence and big groups of young children roaming the street. It’s easy to think about ‘them over there’. But when you get to know them as individuals, everything is different. You realise that you are like them and you see the insurmountable odds they live with.
“Sometimes it feels like the longer I’m here, the less I know. But the thing that keeps me going is the individuals … the lady who has renal dialysis all day on Saturdays, for four or five hours, and then she comes to church on Sundays, in her wheelchair and she asks us all how we are… or the grandmother raising her granddaughter.
“In October, the indigenous elders called a National Solemn Assembly and they prayed for the community. One lady spoke a prophetic prayer saying how God loves them so much. They are not forgotten by God. They are dearly loved. It really impacted me. They are not forgotten! And in the last two weeks we’ve had seven baptisms at church – all young people from indigenous communities.
“I’m often reminded of a story about King David. He was greatly distressed after the Amalekites destroyed the town. He wept aloud until he had no strength left to weep. Then it says, ‘But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.’ (1 Samuel 30:6).
To strengthen ourselves in the Lord our God, we have to reflect on what God has done previously – how faithful he’s been in Christ. That’s how it is for us and that’s what we try and do. We reflect on God’s faithfulness in the past, and we do our small bits, and we trust God for his bigger plan.”