Jack and Mary Lindquist can’t seem to get enough of Deniliquin.
The couple are here temporarily for their sixth time, regularly visiting Deni since 2003, when they first participated in a ministry exchange program.
‘‘Sixteen years ago, in April, we came on a ministry exchange after we had received an email as part of the United Church of Canada, where Reverend Malcolm Hausler had reached out wanting to do the exchange,’’ Pastor Lindquist said.
‘‘The email piqued our interest and the council here in Deni said ‘yes’, so we came to Australia for the first time.’’
Now invited back to Deniliquin again, the couple are enjoying an Australian summer at the Uniting Church with Mr Lindquist filling in as volunteer Pastor.
‘‘After we were invited back in 2008 we hadn’t thought we’d be back again but now it is like our second home.
‘‘We have been back on three other occasions before this stint,’’ Mrs Lindquist added.
Pastor Lindquist was in University in Canada when he felt a calling to be a minister and to preach the gospel.
‘‘That has always been the main thrust of my calling.’’ he said.
‘‘In the 1960s I became a candidate with the ministry at the United Church of Canada.
‘‘I grew up with them and felt that it was the church I was meant to serve, so I did a Bachelor of Arts at the University of British Columbia and then went on to do my theological training at Pasadena, California.
‘‘I met my wife in between these places. We lived in California for four years for my schooling and Mary worked as a nurse. She paid the bills.’’
‘‘I was putting him through school,’’ Mrs Lindquist said.
The couple moved back to Canada in 1970 where Pastor Lindquist was ordained in the UCC.
‘‘Jack served in three different parishes for 36 years, with 22 years in the last church,’’ Mrs Lindquist said.
‘‘We also started a family in 1971, when we had the first of our four sons.’’
Pastor Lindquist retired in 2006 and said as a result ‘‘I was free to return to Deni’’.
‘‘Back home I still do preaching in several churches when invited and we have a country church that we go to twice a month.
‘‘I’m also the police chaplain and fire chaplain in Cranbrook (Canada).
The husband and wife team said they felt blessed and welcomed by the Deniliquin community.
‘‘Right from the first visit, the Australians set a high bar for hospitality,’’ Mrs Lindquist said.
‘‘It has just been a beautiful fit with the people.
‘‘We are so warmly welcomed by the church family and the community,’’ she said.
‘‘They have greeted us with open arms; they have said they feel blessed we have come here, but we feel blessed at how they have treated us,’’ Pastor Lindquist added.
‘‘It’s a two way street, a mutual blessing.
‘‘As a Canadian I provide a different perspective on the country; my primary role is to preach the message of the bible and to support people in hurting situations.
‘‘We will only be here for three months this time; our family are in Canada.
‘‘We feel so fortunate to be here with such a great community,’’ Pastor Lindquist said.