Monday, May 31, 2010

And our trip concludes

Today is our last day in Aussie land. I've greatly enjoyed my time here and have made lots of new friends, but I think I am ready to come home. I've been thinking about my time here, and let me just say it has been awesome. The trip didn't shape up to be what I had envisioned it but it was still amazing, and God really did use us, sometimes in unexpected ways. Kevin Dunn, one of my good friends, has gotten himself a job here as the interim youth pastor for the church we've been working with. Several of the girls on the trip have had their calling into missions confirmed, some of us have had the fact that we're *not* called to missions be confirmed. But all of us have made relationships we will never, ever forget.

My Australian Mum and Dad have been amazing, and I think they will become two people that I will never forget. Sometimes people just come into our lives for a very brief period, but that brief period is indelibly marked in our memories. I do hope to come back someday, with Brad and maybe my kids, to continue the relationship I have with them. Geoff and Denise have been excellent hosts, and truly have been surrogate parents for us while we've been here. They drove us around, packed our lunches, did our laundry, and even listened to Mae and I when we were having an emotional evening. Their testimony is awesome too, and I know that they have been a blessing to me while I've been here. And Geoff is stinking funny. We have so many inside jokes now.

It has been awesome to come be part of a Christian community that I would not have ordinarily have been a  part of. God truly is the God of the whole world, and I've been able to see just a tiny slice of what that looks like. God is the God of the indigenous peoples of the Bush, God is the God of the Australian children, God is the God of the Australian people, God is the God of the U.S, and God is the God of everyone. That's a fact i've been aware of for my whole Christian life, but now I've been able to experience it a bit.

Something else I've been reflecting on is the fact that Australia has a strange paradox. On one hand, they are a very secular nation. They can be antagonistic towards all religions, they do not necessairly claim spirituality as important, nor do they go out of their way to be especially intolerant of spiritual matters. But on the other hand, the secular government pays the public school districts (at least that is true in Queensland) to employ Christian chaplains in their schools. Those chaplains are basically free to present the gospel and teach kids in public schools about God. Our mission trip included going into public schools and openly sharing a very Christ centered message, and it was encouraged greatly. That would never, ever fly in the U.S. I've also noticed that the Christian community here, while very similar to in the States, seem to have a big heart for evangelism. They intentionally share Christ with unbelievers and make it a priority to see people be saved. It isn't that the U.S Christian community doesn't do that, but it seems to be a bigger priority here. I'm guessing it's because the Christian community is smaller and there is a bigger percentage of the Australian population that does not claim to be a Christian.

That seems to be enough reflection for now. I need to begin packing up all my stuff so I'm ready to head off bright and early tomorrow morning. I'll be back in the States on Wednesday at about five thirty pm. Of course, that means I live wednesday twice coming back (yay time differences!). Wednesday is going to be the  longest day ever.


Brad said...

Sounds like an awesome trip. Aren't you glad you went?

So glad you had such a memorable and meaningful trip, but I will be very glad to have you back in my arms safe and sound!


Anonymous said...

loads of fun and it truly sounds like a trip of a lifetime! Looking to hear from you love mom