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Les Nixon Story ... Page Two

Martha Nixon, soloist for the Nixon crusades in the 1950s.
Martha Nixon, soloist in the thirty-two church sponsored city-wide tent crusades in the 1950's in  NSW and Queensland .

Where did the OAC fit into all of this?
By Les Nixon

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had”. (To purchase it). Matt. 13:45

The man who wrote that knew that salvation is worth far more than anything else the world has to offer. That’s how we see “How great a Salvation”, in the Gospel.

I remember around 5 on Tuesday March 13, 1951. A hurried phone call at the factory from Piccadilly Arcade Les Werry’s OAC. Struck me as odd why he called me? They needed an accordion by 6pm? This was strange because there were others closer and better.

I had to borrow my Dad’s ‘27 Pontiac ute’ and fit it in between deliveries. In the rush of things, the wretched thing would not start.
This began mini-disasters that added to the confusion? Smoke gushed from under the dash, and Dad urged, -- ’ find-out-why?’
In the mish-mash of being late, and to avoid a fire it was clear the only way to stop the smoldering dash was to remove the wiring, and in doing so, the hot wires burned into my right fist, and I yelled with pain. But I did stop the fire, and I fell back to review the situation. Now, I was in double trouble.

Soon though, with jerry-rigged wiring, and temporary lights, a bandaged fist and a hurried trip, we delivered the urgent accordion to the beaming Pat Macaulay, who knew nothing of how it got there. She played blissfully while I felt that stinging hand and wondered if I’d ever play again?

But the discomfort was eased when I saw who my accordion was playing for; it was her. I was hearing for the first time the warm music of a Martha Chastain song, and I thought that her Gospel was so heavenly, it was worth any fire or singed hand, or being late. It was like a cool hand on my brow, and a warm fire in my soul. “O, Say but I’m glad!” it was, but gladness was farthest from my mind. But I didn’t want it to go or anything to extinguish it. She was 19 and so was I. So, to cut a long story short, she lit my fires then, and they are still smoldering 62-years later ..... and ever since.

I read Colossians 3:4, then heard a song in my head. It said:

“Find me and I will be found,
Seal me and I will be sealed,
Sing to me and I will be sound,
I belong to You,
Do with me what You will.”

Or course, that’s about the Lord—we all know that, but I felt it doing something else.

We know that salvation is worth more than anything else in this world. That’s “How great a salvation” is. It is the pearl without price.
Then, God allowed us to relate on a personal level too, in such a deep way, all of our joys seem to melt together.

A walk in Hyde Park, (the long way back to the hotel)—a Manly Ferry ride, train to Cronulla and back, and always handy with that ever faithful piano-accordion that began it all. In the months that followed, the singed hand was as good as gold but the heart fire has never died. The burning dash has become a life-long symbol....

Then followed an Easter long dusty drive to Albury and back with Jim Duffecy and Dick Hall. Pat and Martha up front, with Les doing the driving! Remember, this is 1951 with nothing but a bouncy Gospel van, a dirt Hume Highway, rabbit and roo plagues, and a dozen others in the back in unbearable heat!

Didn’t matter one bit. Any fire is a good fire after the Pontiac ute’ smoking like that. Then began a two-year hook up by air mail; and a rare and noisy phone call under the roaring ocean.

Those letters took months to find their targets in Iowa and Illinois and Dakota, and the replies seemed to come back pretty quick. We’ve kept some of them from their trips across the Pacific.

One juicy letter remained lost for a whole year, in a bottom drawer at the Campbellsburg farm house. It was the one where I pledged my troth! That long delay seemed to bring doom and failure. But suddenly, things sprung back into action again, and it came clear that this delay was not going to win.

During the 1953 tent meetings in Sydney, Macaulay hinted: ‘Lez ... you better get into Bible College,’ and when Bob Jones appeared later, he opened the door to his University, and good things were set in motion again.

I wrote to ‘the-voice’ and said; ‘I do think that God is doing an unusual work of provision and guidance in our lives that it seems in the goodness of time, we will together find a way to continue the work of the Gospel in some place in this world, perhaps right here in Australia.’ And, that’s exactly how it all turned out....

The cost of the fare across the Pacific on the P&O Oronsay was around Sixty-Five pounds one way. Much more expensive than going to the UK. Immense. I was earning around Ten-Pounds a week, but with a second job, helps from Dad Nixon, gifts from friends, and good photography sales, and a send-off from the OAC volunteers, I set sail out of Sydney for a brand new life of faith on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1954. My hand but not my heart had healed.

That car fire in 1951 began music that has neither stopped or quietened down ever since. Fifty-five years later, in a church service at Tahmoor, a tear ran down Les Werry’s face when Martha dedicated singing ‘Daystar’ to him.

And my burnt right hand did pretty good on the accordion, too.

Click HERE to contact Les

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