I am typing from my host home in Thornlands, Queensland, a city just outside of Brisbane where I will be spending some of my time in Australia. Before I arrived on Wednesday, I spent three days at orientation with 16 other International Mission Board (IMB) students who are also doing missions in Australia.
Orientation took place at a beautiful Baptist encampment, Mapleton, two hours from my host home, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I had with the other missionaries. It was nice settling into a new country with other Americans before being sent off to our destinations across the continent.
Even though the group was pretty jet lagged after the 14 hour flight, we were all incredibly excited to be in Australia and learn about this beautiful country.
We quickly learned of the many cultural differences like,
- On top of the three main meals of the day, Aussies also have morning and afternoon tea (serving coffee and tea and a snack) AND supper, which is a snack after dinner. Six eating times.
- Though there’s more scheduled eating, portions are smaller and the food is MUCH healthier–fruit and veggies and lots of grains. All their cereal is brown (gasp).
- An obvious yet still startling one is driving on the left side of the road. My heart still stops when we hug the curb making left turns. Also, the yield signs say “give way”.
- Here’s a happy one. THERE ARE NO SQUIRRELS HERE!
Just as exciting was learning how to be effective missionaries in Australia and why it’s important we’re here.
According to the church in Australia, there is a growing sense Australia has lost their way and is in need of revival and renewal. Christian culture is becoming less and less important, and the Bible is rarely seen as relevant anymore. People just don’t feel like they need God.
None of this was unfamiliar to me. I couldn’t help but think these very facts could be said of the U.S. Ask any Christ follower who has grown up in the public school system, and this is painfully obvious. Thankfully, the Lord has given me a passion and desire to talk about Jesus with those who think God is irrelevant and Jesus is just another man. For some reason, many people who claim Christianity are making a life with Jesus seem unattractive, and I, alongside many Aussies I have had the privilege of meeting this week, are on a mission to erase that perception.
The church I have the opportunity to work with here dearly loves Jesus and loves people. It has been a breath of fresh air learning from the staff and members this past week, and I am really looking forward to joining the Lord’s activity at Cleveland Baptist in various ministries.
Outside of the church, my two teammates and I have been given the opportunity to teach Religious Education (RE) classes in primary public schools a couple of times a week. We are given Bible stories and lesson plans to teach to children in PUBLIC schools. This blew our American minds and made us so happy that God has yet to be pushed out of the public school system here. Talking to some of the older youth at the church, they still remember the stories they learned in their RE classes when they were younger. Is that not awesome? We have the opportunity to teach the Bible to students who may never hear these stories outside of school. God is good.
I will end with showing you a few pictures of me, my team, and my host parents. This is us in the Brisbane airport dropping off the other 16 IMB members to travel to their final destinations.
Leigha and Alicia are my beautiful teammates who love Jesus dearly. Leigha (left) is gifted in music and drama. She is a musical theatre major from St. Louis and wants nothing more than to glorify the Lord through her outrageously awesome gifts. Alicia is a teacher from Alabama. She has been an answer to prayers for the RE classes, and I can’t wait to learn more from her.
Mr. Doug and Mrs. Mandy are my host parents for the next couple of weeks! They are an amazing couple. Mr. Doug leads worship and is an elder at the church. He leaks Jesus, my friends. Mrs. Mandy is the event coordinator for the church and is one of the most welcoming and loving people here.
I am so happy to be here. Thank you to everyone for your continual support. I will update this blog weekly about what our God is doing in Brisbane!