About Murray Smith
As a child, I was always getting into strife by being inquisitive. I was often under the feet of my parents to see what they were doing, or being put out of harm’s way when my little hands just wanted to be involved. Curiosity got me stuck in trees and on top of ruin walls just from wanting to see if I could climb up there without considering the idea of how to get down. Fortunately, there was always someone nearby to get me out of the spot I was in. This inquisitive nature was fostered largely by the example of my parents who, in the early years of married life, left the familiar setting of farming in the Mallee of South Australia to join a small group of pioneers in onion growing in the Bowhill area.
As I grew up, that curiosity developed into a desire to be a childhood detective. Then, like most kids in their early teens, confirmation (with Pastor Cyril Bartel) presented a mystery that, although very uncertain, fascinated me. Such was Pastor Bartel’s initial influence (along with many other good teaching pastors since) that the following years seemed to contain a feeling that there was more I needed to learn about Scripture, faith and church. Needless to say, the journey was not always clear sailing on smooth waters.
Marriage (to Tracy) and starting a family brought a deeper focus on church life, including lay-reading and serving as an elder. The urge to learn was not quenched by congregational office positions or even an extension into working with the Gideons. Somewhere came a realisation that there is always more to learn, at around the same time as the call toward ordained ministry. Further realisation came with the knowledge that God leads all that we undertake in His name, as He grows our trust in Him.
Having now served two parishes, the mystery that struck me at confirmation has intensified. I am beginning to understand how little I really know and that there is still much more to learn, more than I could have imagined. Although a daunting prospect, accepting the Call to Senior Flierl Seminary is one the greatest opportunities I have ever been blessed with. To share what I have learnt is simply passing on that which I have heard, or been taught. But to do so within the richness of Lutheran heartland in Papua New Guinea, will be far more about receiving than giving. The sharing of knowledge and understanding will happen within a deep well of cultural exchange, as the perspective of Western individualism and affluence is tested against a culture of kinship and deep mutual respect.
The Lord has blessed His church in so many ways through His servant St. Paul. Taking up the Call to Senior Flierl Seminary is not something new for the LCA, rather a continuation or a building on a well-set foundation. Romans 1: 11-12, ‘For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine’, leads me forward. With your support, together we will continue to build on the Cornerstone of Christ our Lord, all growing as and with brothers and sisters of God’s Kingdom of grace.
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Stories to inspire you
LCA pastor commissioned for service in PNG