Three weeks ago my team began our formal outreach in Canberra, which is the capitol city of Australia. We spent time downtown in youth centers, soup kitchens, the mall, and even Parliament. I have two highlights from my time in Canberra. One was meeting Stasia at the soup kitchen, and spending two different Friday afternoons with her, serving the homeless and needy, and of course, hearing her remarkable stories. Those are two of my teammates on the right, Timmy (from California) and Alfredo (from Connecticut).
My other favorite story was meeting Grant & Guy, a homosexual couple that sold everything they owned to go on a trip around Australia. They are both HIV positive, and adamantly atheistic. We had a very honest and respectable two-hour discussion one morning at the park. Both admitted to being abused as children, and hurt by the church. I apologized for the way the church had failed them, but I also reminded them that just because people have failed them doesn’t mean God has too. When I get home, I’d love to tell you more about this story!
Since then, our team has made it to Geelong, which I now know is the “surfing capital” of Australia. Rip Curl and Quiksilver were supposedly started in this city! It seems to me that everyone surfs here. It’s just a matter of whether your in the “2-3” times a week club, or the “4-5” times a week club. Tough gig eh? On Tuesday, our contact is taking our whole team out surfing to his favorite place. Woo hoo!
Our team has been speaking at different churches and schools all over the city. Each day, we usually hit up two or three schools, and yesterday we split into teams and spoke at three different churches. When our team is given a chance to speak, we usually divide into groups of three. One person will talk about what YWAM is and what DTS is. The next person talks about our experience in Papua New Guinea and the medical needs there. The final person talks all about the details of the Ship Tour. This takes about 15 minutes and is perfect for school assemblies. Sometimes we even speak in classrooms for up to 45 minutes, and we usually play a game, get to know the students, and then speak for a little while. I really enjoy public speaking when I believe in what I’m talking about, so it’s been a lot of fun encouraging students to go out and do something epic with their life!
My favorite speaking engagement by far has been the Geelong Grammar School, which is a private boarding school out here. We’re talking big money! Rumor has it that one donor gave $12 million dollars to the school recently, and the school DIDN”T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT! So they built a brand new gym and now call it a “Wellness Center”! It is seriously nicer than my college gym, and this is only for middle and high school students.
Anyways, the school has a beautiful chapel, and Jess, Alfredo and I have spoken three different times: one time for the 10th, one time for the 11th, and one time for the 12th grade assembly. Each assembly has about 200 students. It’s been so much fun, the people here treat us like royalty! Hope you enjoy some pictures from GGS. That's me on the right speaking in front of the 11th grade group from GGS. Oh by the way, I was asked to come on as the youth pastor for the Salvation Army church out here in Geelong...