This afternoon I “got back” from Study Weekend 2007. I say got back in inverted commas because, although the designated venue for the weekend was Rathmines Bible School, at Lake Macquarie, we in fact spent little more than 12 hours in that venue.

To understand why, you need to realise that the region surrounding Lake Macquarie has just experienced the worst storm in living memory. Massive amounts of flooding and destruction, with at least 10 deaths. Bible school was not unaffected. In a single fell swoop, both power and water were lost, and before we even got there. A tree, uprooted by the violent storm, brought down the power lines and severely damaged the water main.

The drive up was probably the worst driving experience I’ve had in several years, if not ever. Torrential rain, strong wind, and darkness, combined forces to keep me on the edge of my seat as I drove the two hour journey to Rathmines.

Of course, I was blissfully unaware of the circumstances at Rathmines, and arriving up there produced a conundrum. I couldn’t spot the lights of Bible School, that I relied on to figure out which of the sidestreets I needed to go down. I ended up driving through a flooded section of the street, which turned out to be just after the required turnoff.

When I say flooded I really mean flooded. Although I could see the water on the road, I didn’t realise how deep it was, until I was well and truly committed. The water level was at least as high as the tops of my wheels. It partially obstructed my headlights for a few moments. And then I had to go back through this same flooded section, to get to Bible School. Only I didn’t know it yet.

Confused and worried, I rang Nick for guidance. After trying to describe where to go to my uncomprehending ears, he decided to send someone to lead me back. You see, I’m not the best when it comes to navigation. There’s a very good reason I have a gps navigation system. In fact, it’s one of my most utilised tech toys. Paul came out in his ute, and led me back through the flooded street to Bible School. And that wasn’t the end of it.

In complete darkness, apart from the occasional torch, we had to figure out what was going on, and find our allocated room. It turns out there were no allocations – there had been no chance to print out the labels for the doors. Instead, we had to pick a room and fetch our belongings from the car, while the rain continued to pour down copiously. Having little else to do, we went to bed.

To be continued…