“I turned away from the Lord because grog was available. I became an alcoholic. I knew that I was doing wrong things, and I’ve done wrong things in my life, but I couldn’t stop. I tried to give up the drink many times, in my own strength, but I couldn’t do it. I was a slave to alcohol. I had jobs – droving and in the army – but I couldn’t keep them down. It was a big problem.”
In one night of drinking, a home intruder attempted to kill Richard and he almost died. He could not defend himself properly. The Royal Flying Doctors airlifted Richard to Alice Springs Hospital.
“While I was lying there, all those things that I’d heard in Sunday School came flooding back to me. I knew about the Lord, and I knew what would have happened if I’d died. I was that far away from the Lord. But it was there that the Lord began to touch my life. He began to speak to me… ”
“I gave my life to the Lord, and everything changed from then – the grog, the work, everything. ”
“I had no desire to drink anymore, ever again. It was good.”
“But then two years later, in 1986, I went blind…. I can’t preach anymore, so I’m no use to anyone. It’s all over. That’s what I thought.”
“From the beginning, my favourite Bible verse was Proverbs 3:5-6. It says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.’ I first read that Bible verse after I lost my sight. It helped me more than anything. It helped me cope with the blindness. Lean not on your own understanding, it says. ”
“We both smiled as Richard talked, and later that evening, as I said goodbye, I thanked him for the glimpse into his quiet, humble story, lived out in the red dust of central Australia. He wasn’t waving a big flag, saying look at me. He has been just looking to the Lord daily, and memorising Bible verses, and blessing his people, for decades. It made me want to do the same. ”