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A Minister’s First Impressions of Life in Toowoomba

Hi, my name is Dirk Willner. Six months ago, I embarked on a tree-change away from the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast and relocated up here to Toowoomba.

It was a God-directed move that had God’s finger prints all over it right from the start. We literally found our ideal house on the first day up here and are now making it our home. My kids have come up to visit us as we now find that this move has meant that we have joined the empty nesters. Over Christmas, we all squeezed into our 1920’s cottage. Remarkable to believe that the place we now call our home has a 100-year history.

That kind of connection to the past inspires me to put down roots and become emmeshed in the lifestyle of Toowoomba. That began very early on when we worshipped at Living Grace and made new friendships. My circles of connections grew ever wider, including a few of the ministers of the surrounding churches who invited me to join in with the prayer in the park for rain in our region.

Praying for Rain - Queens Park
Praying for Rain - Queens Park

Who knew that you could get to know the Major at one of these events, but that is the kind of town that suits me to the ground. On one occasion, we checked out Grand Central, only to have lost direction and couldn’t find our car. I hear it happens quite often as we bumped into a few others who were also looking for where they had parked their car. It became a funny ice-breaker that made for friendly chats. That’s what I have come to love about our new location: people are really friendly, they have got time to chat, and the pace of life is far more relaxed. I feel that I can breathe again.

It surely says a great deal about a place when you can do so with a smile on your face. I find that this has become a healing and reviving experience for our weary souls. I have now finished 30 years of full time pastoral ministry and topped it off by concluding this year with a post-graduate degree in psychotherapy. So all of this converges for us with the opening of a new counselling practice located at Living Grace Toowoomba. Penne, my wife, also a qualified counsellor, and a few others who are joining a team of skilled and specialized professional counsellors, feel called to invest into the health of Toowoombarites and experience that kind of a smile when you make a new start. 2020 is that for me, a new start in a new place, with a renewed outlook on life and all that makes it worth living.

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