Well, today our seven week outreach phase came to an end. The last seven weeks definitely blew all of my expectations! Seven weeks ago, I thought I would have been in a completely different position. I thought I would be with the Youth Adventures team working in Papua New Guinea. But four weeks ago, I don’t even know how it happened so seamlessly, I ended up flying to Darwin, Australia to join the Reef to Outback team.
With Reef to Outback, over the last four weeks I was able to work with different aboriginal communities. We went to one community a handful of times during the week and we were involved in the Sunday evening service there. Then on Thursdays we were able to go to a different community and continue building relationships between them and YWAM Darwin. There we would listen to their worship music, share stories, and pray for them and they would pray for us as well.
During this outreach, I was tested and stretched more than I thought I would be! The team was staying at the YWAM base in Darwin and honestly we had it pretty good even though the rooms were small. We had WIFI, a variety of meals every day for lunch and dinner, air conditioning, a pool, and the lagoon swimming area wasn’t far from us. We had it good. But I still found it extremely challenging at times. I got distracted easily because of the things we were lucky enough to have. So I really had to be intentional about spending time in the word and having my quiet time.
Also, during this outreach, some things we were planning on doing fell through and couldn’t happen. So the things we were able to do, both the big things and small things were a complete blessing. And I had to really learn to see even the small things as a blessing, if it wasn’t for me, it could have been for a teammate or the community.
We also got to do street evangilelisim. Which my time in Cairns with Youth Adventures totally got me ready for. Two others on my team and I, decided to use the time to bless the homeless community as well. On two different occasions, we bought some sandwiches and water bottles and handed them out to people. It an amazing thing being able to see someone’s eyes light up not because they are getting food or water, but also because they were being acknowledged by someone. There is still ALOT of tension between white people and the aboriginal communities in Australia, and there is a stigma around them and anyone who is homeless that they aren’t worthy of even being acknowledged or even making eye contact. So it was amazing to bless people with both some lunch and just friendly conversation and some prayer as well.
We also had an opportunity to go out to the outback, camp for two nights, and help with a family day at a boarding school before the students left for their holiday. That had its ups and downs for sure. On the first day, I hurt my foot. And before realizing how bad it was, I continued to hike on it and now I’m still paying for it a week later.
But today, our outreach is over and we are back in Townsville. But our outreach ended on a bang! Every Thursday we got to go to a community to meet with Auntie Helen and her husband, Uncle Albert (for elders, in the aboriginal community, they address then as aunties and uncles). And it was usually a short visit, short and sweet. But yesterday, the very last thing we were doing for outreach, Auntie Helen’s family was all there. We got to meet he son, Bill, his wife, and other family. It was such an amazing time! Worship went longer and was so much fun. A few of us got really into the dancing during worship and that broke the ice for the entire time. There was laughter and so much smiling. And after worship, everyone from the community that was there wanted prayer.
Here are our team leaders, Grace and Jason (on the ends), and in the middle is Auntie Helen and Uncle Albert.
Selfies were a huge hit with everyone there!
Outreach has absolutely blown my mind and has exceeded any expectations that I had. Now, we only have two weeks left of this adventure! Crazy! The next two weeks, we’ll be with our entire school of 60 people! Many of which we haven’t seen for two and a half months because they were on the medical ship! We’ll be debriefing outreach and telling stories for a week, and then the final week will be “re entry” week. The week will focus on equipping us to go home. To go back to our old environment that probably hasn’t changed much while we have all changed a TON. It’s absolutely crazy to think that I have been out of Minnesota since January! Absolutely crazy.
After my two weeks in Townsville are over, I’ll be flying up to Cairns to see a family friend and stay with them. I’m also going to try to reconnect with a church we worked with will there during our very first bit of outreach. Then, on July 6th, I’ll be leaving in the morning and getting back to America a few hours before I even left Cairns. Crazy, I’ll gain the day I lost when I came to Australia!
Thank you for your support! Please continue to pray for me while I’m here! Also pray for an easy transition when I come home!