Della Brown is a much loved and well-travelled local lady who celebrated her 50th birthday with an ‘open house’ on Saturday, December 7 and a barbecue after their ‘Beringa’ home church the following day.
When she was in Year 10, her careers teacher asked her what she wanted to be. She said, “A Grandmother!” Della says, “He was not amused.”
She spent her gap year at ‘Beringa’, Maules Creek, driving tractors/trucks and sheep work but it was not fulfilling.
She studied Architectural Drafting in Sydney in 1989-90 but did not like city-living.
Della’s family are active Christians who take seriously their love of God.
While in Sydney, she went to Irian Jaya on a mission’s trip, which confirmed to her the desire to be a missionary.
“My careers teacher did not offer this option to me!” she chuckles.
For Easter 1991, she visited her sister Ali, a nanny in Emerald, Queensland.
Della found her first boyfriend and landed a job as a teacher’s aide/administrative assistant at a bush school.
This position gave her skills for the rest of her life.
In September 1993 she met Gary Steen and married him in January 1994, in Emerald.
They did not have children, but for the next 13 years they did “apostolic” ministry, living briefly in about 23 towns and cities from Far North Queensland down to Hobart, Tasmania.
This included running a drop-in centre at Wee Waa in 1999-2001.
Sadly in March 2007, their marriage ended.
The following year, she met the Covenant Players – a travelling Christian drama company.
Subsequently, she joined them and became a missionary actress/administrative assistant with them. She loved the itinerate lifestyle.
For three years she travelled all over Australia and New Zealand as a Covenant Player.
In April 2015, she met Omri Jaakobovich, an evangelist from Israel.
Though based in New Zealand, Omri travelled Australia expanding his network called HIT (Hosting Israeli Travelers). He needed an on-road secretary.
Since then, they have driven hundreds of thousands of kilometres throughout 23 countries on every continent, except the Americas.
“Finally, I feel like a square peg in a square hole,” she says, knowing that people see her as ‘a square’.
In late-November, she ceased travelling with Omri and came home once again to ‘Beringa’, though she continues to do HIT administration.
“The beauty of my job,” she says, “is that I can do it from anywhere around the world, including my farm.”
For her half-century milestone, Della received hundreds of messages/emails/cards from friends worldwide, plus a bouquet delivered from friends in the Netherlands and a package from her boss in Israel.
But the gift that brought a smile to everyone’s face was a DIY ‘Botox’ kit from Sydney friend Graham.
The kit contained a tube of spackle and a tiny trowel, however, Graham decided to include a full-size tradies trowel too, just in case.
Della immediately put the trowel to good use and used it to cut her cake.