Beginnings: New friends are bewildered how long we seem to have been around, and how we survive? Here’s a thumbnail sketch.
1940’s. When teenagers, cabinetmaker/accordionist Les Nixon joined Sydney’s OAC (Open Air Campaigners) in street evangelism, and American Secretary Martha Chastain became a traveling Gospel soloist with evangelists Neil and Pat Macaulay. They each became, by osmosis,‘by-faith’ missionaries.
1951. Martha met Les during the Neil Macaulay’s Crusades in Sydney, sponsored by the old OAC. Les then attended Bob Jones University in the USA, and married Martha at her home Church in Salem, Indiana in 1955.
They arrived back in Sydney (with musician Jo Ann Rysdyk in tow) from San Francisco on the P&O liner, Orcades. Till 1958, they held church musical missions and tent crusades in 23 east-coast Australian cities.
In 1959, they became associate music team with Cliff Barrows and the Billy Graham Crusades in Auckland, Christchurch, Adelaide, Melbourne, regional cities, and Sydney.
1961, Les answered a ‘Macedonian’ call from Tibooburra, deep in the Australian outback to come over and help. That began Outback Patrol trying to meet some of the urgent need to evangelise remote and isolated townships.
Martha joined Clifford Warner on Anglican TV for a 25-year of Christian programs.
Les began flying the De Havilland DH84a Dragon twin bi-plane. Mailed monthly Flynhi newsletter to donors.
1963, Jo Ann married Dr. Graham Barnett.
1970’s instigated Patrol training courses for eager young evangelists. Started printing the Explorers Magazine for outback families.
Eager Christians invested stewardship to keep the patrols going.
1980’s introduced the volunteer evangelist’s ministry, sending independent teams to inland townships, which continues to this day. New donors joined in.
1990’s published The Words of Jesus book, and created a 2-hour video of 1780’s Christian settlement‘How We Began in Sydney,’—and since.
2000’s expanded the volunteer outback patrols into a regular ministry, which grew naturally from the occasional teams from the 80’s.
2014 and on, the Nixons withdrew from active on-field ministry, arrange itineraries and manage the teams of volunteers, mail newsletters, and to continue the quest to win each generation inland for Christ. The 'by-faith' of the 50's has become a ‘faith-based’ mission now.
Their trust in Christ was never blind,
It rests upon a solid base.
It does not set aside the mind,
But deals with facts of time and space.