A fluke encounter led to an unlikely friendship last week.
Shepparton retiree Alan Harris, 87, was working hard in the front yard of his Marungi St property when four passersby said hello.
‘‘These Mormon churchgoers were walking past and we struck up a conversation,’’ Mr Harris said.
‘‘They wondered what I was doing and apart from spreading gospel they like to help people, like me, out. They insisted they’d come along the next morning.’’
So on Friday morning, two Samoans, one Fijian and one American came to give Mr Harris a helping hand.
‘‘They arrived early and dug a huge trench for me. They spent at least an hour. I then offered them tea and coffee, but they elected water.’’
After the four left Mr Harris quickly jumped on ‘‘professor Google’’ and learned it was against their religion to drink tea, coffee and alcohol.
‘‘I invited them into my backyard for afternoon tea and we spent three quarters of an hour nattering away. They left a telephone number for me if I want help in the future,’’ he said.
Elder Reid said when they showed up on Friday morning, Mr Harris told them ‘‘to start digging’’.
‘‘We worked up a bit of a sweat, but Alan was kind enough to give us some water and some scones,’’ he said.
‘‘We are here for our church and to represent Jesus Christ. Spreading the message that there are nice people out there in the world, who care.’’
Mr Harris said he could not be more grateful and the proof of the work they had done was in the picture.
‘‘Hard work keeps me out of mischief. I’d like to die with my boots on in the garden,’’ he said.