The road leading to the farm was a narrow gravel road that few bothered with unless they had a reason to travel it.
‘Mount Zion,’ a neighbouring farm lay further up the road. In the Kingdom of God, Mount Zion is both the city of David and the city of God, “the Jerusalem above that is free.” Galatians 4:26
The farm lay in a lovely valley. It was hard hill country, a land of rugged slopes crowned with flat topped hills.
Joanna’s favourite place on her farm was a field named ‘Swamp.’ It lay at the bottom of the hill, over the fence from the wool shed and the farm cottage they called the ‘Whare’. Swamp was bordered by a willow lined creek on one boundary, and a narrow poplar lined gravel road on the other.
Kapok and elm trees grew by the bridge. The Kaukatea creek ran into a silent pool which the sun drew pictures on with its fingers.
She liked it there because it was very green, even in summer, and the voice of the water was easy on her ears. The shadows and rustle of leaves through the Kapok trees made it a quiet, soothing place. Purple Pukeka birds with their bright orange beaks liked it there too, making their homes in the rushes.
The King chose that quiet place by the creek for their first real meeting.
Joanna was at work helping her father move some sheep, positioned to head them off by the gate. It took a long time for the sheep to move her way. Waiting, she stood idle in the sun. Lulled by the birds and the gurgle of the creek, she leaned on her crook and thought about nothing, until He came.
His warm presence added to the peace and felt like sunlight, filling the pleasant and soothing place where she stood. She felt totally safe with him.
Afterwards she recalled the words having a feeling attached to them, although she could not remember exactly what was said. He talked about growing up – she remembered that, and he talked about women. It was almost like having a talk with a really loving mother, except this was a ‘He’. She didn’t know who it was.
By the time she heard the dogs and the sheep coming, she had begged him to stay. She never told her parents – they would have scoffed at her and her ‘big imagination’, but she did tell my younger brother and sisters about it.
They didn’t know who he was either. “Perhaps it was Mother Mary?” one of her sisters said. They weren’t Catholic; it was just that the song “Let It Be” by the Beatles was popular at that time. “No, He just spoke like I imagine a loving mother would” she replied. Who was He? It would be years before she found out.