Rev. Rowena Harris takes care of the High Country Patrol in East Gippsland Victoria. This is snow country where the weather can take unexpected turns as part of the natural beauty of the Alpine Region.
It is rugged countryside with steep, climbing roads. You need a 4WD to get around. In winter Rev. Rowena can be travelling through snow, sleet, knee-deep mud and heavy rains. In summer there is always the threat of bushfires.
The locals are outwardly hardy. They have to be. But the demise of the local timber industry coupled with the isolation and challenges of farm life means many people in this region are vulnerable, lonely and hiding great sadness.
There are very few support services available for these remote communities yet the need is great. A simple cup of coffee and a chat may be all that’s required but it can have a significant impact on an individual or a family.
That’s why the Patrol Ministers are so important. They are often the only available resource for support or counselling. But the work of our Patrol Ministers relies solely on donations. That’s why we are writing to ask you for your assistance.
This winter, we need $120,000. This can keep one Patrol Minister on the road for another year. Your gift will help us achieve this goal.
An everyday event almost ended in tragedy
The High Country Patrol area covers harsh terrain which places Rev. Rowena in great physical danger as she visits remote rural properties and small hamlets. The area is also popular with tourists over summer and winter which sees increased traffic on narrow roads.
Recently, Rev. Rowena was coming home from a church event and pulled over to the side of the road to allow some trucks to pass.
It is something she does all the time but on this particular Sunday, a most traumatic thing happened – the road gave way beneath her 4WD. It flipped onto its side and slid 2-3 metres down a cliff before coming to rest.
The 4WD landed in a precarious spot, so emergency services first had to stabilise the vehicle. Then a volunteer sat with her, holding her hand for the next couple of hours as the roof was removed from the vehicle so she could be freed.
Remarkably, Rev. Rowena was shaken, bruised and dehydrated but she was fine.
Despite the remoteness of her patrol area, word quickly spread about her accident – even to people Rowena doesn’t know. But they all know her because of the work and support she gives this isolated but beautiful region.
Our work is 100% funded by donations from people like you and we hope we can call on you again to assist us now. Your donation, big or small, will help us keep Patrol Ministers like Rev. Rowena Harris on the road.
We hope we can rely on your assistance again as the financial year draws to a close.
For some people, the Patrol Ministers are their only access to support and spiritual guidance. Your gift is urgently needed before 30th June so a Patrol Minister like Rev. Rowena Harris can continue the work that is so crucial to many isolated communities.
We hope we can rely on you again and we thank you for your prayers.