Since my last blog entry, I said goodbye to a few of my fellow staff members who completed their time staffing at YWAM Toowoomba and are moving on to getting married, finding jobs, going to school etc.
Then on June 20th, I started my journey to Townsville which is North up the Eastern coast of Australia. I left the base at 5am and hopped on a Greyhound bus to Brisbane and then a 2 hour plane ride to get to Townsville. It was a great week to relax and take in the sighs of Townsville. It was also a lot warmer than Toowoomba is right now. It felt like the warm days of summer in Winnipeg, so I felt right at home. Only the ocean, palm trees, and other surroundings and people gave it away that I wasn't in Winnipeg anymore.
I spent a lot of time walking around and exploring. The first couple of days I just wanted to see where everything was to make sure I didn't get lost. I didn't really plan what I wanted to do before I left, so I asked around at the YWAM base I was staying at to see what I should do for the week. On Wednesday morning I climbed up Castle Hill and saw a tremendous 360 degree view of the area.
|view from the top of Castle Hill|
On Thursday I went to Billabong Sanctuary which was so cool. I pet and fed many Australian animals as well as held a python and took a selfie with a koala. I was in my element. When I was there, I met this nice man whose daughter referred the place to him as he wasn't from Townsville. We basically adopted each other for the day. I loved exploring this city alone but it was a good change having someone to talk to that day.
|just me and a python|
|Turtle only found in Australia (I fed them fish skins)|
|cassowary (I fed him grapes)|
On Thursday at supper time, somehow our dinner conversation switched to who can talk in tongues. A few women said they could and I said I did as well. One lady said she was going to the prayer room after supper and pray in tongues if I wanted to join. I was tired from the full day at the Billabong Sanctuary and didn't want to go at first, but then God said I should so I did. I'm really glad I did go because it was one of the best times of my trip. We started with worship and then started praying. At one point I just started laughing and couldn't stop. It was so freeing and took so much off of me. Thank you Jesus! Then the 3 of us that were left decided to pray for each other. They both encouraged me to be open with what God was telling me to pray for them about and so I did. I got a few words and pictures for them and they got some for me as well. One of the ladies, who is a staff at the YWAM Townsville base and is Tongan, told me her testimony about why when she prays she says "Dad" as well as God and all of His other names. Her Dad passed away a few years ago and as she was grieving for him, God said that she could call Him Dad. It's so precious hearing her said, thank you Dad, you're so great Dad. God said that we need to enter His kingdom as a little child and I think that's exactly what she's doing. Isn't our Heavenly Father the best?!
On Friday I went on a ferry to Magnetic island, went on the Forts walk and snorkelled the Great Barrier reef. I just had to pay $10 to rent the snorkelling gear and then take the self guided trails. Planning this trip, I really wanted to snorkel along the Great Barrier reef but everywhere I looked online said I had to pay hundreds of dollars so I didn't think I would be able to do it. But I felt like I should go to Townsville anyway. It turns out God knew all along and my dream became a reality.
|one of the bays I snorkelled|
|my first koala sighting in the wild|
On Saturday I spent the day with some people living at YWAM Townsville, had brunch, went swimming by the ocean, and just hung out. It was great getting to meet new people from different walks of life that all somehow made it to be at a YWAM base in Australia.
On Sunday I flew back to Toowoomba and on Monday June 27th in the morning I went to Pittsworth to help out at a kids camp called Kids Games. I was with the youngest kids, who they call "preppies". They were 5 and 6 year olds and they were really energetic, loved to colour and play games, and were so fun to be around. We had crafts, games, a Bible story, small group time, and songs that we sung like Pharaoh, Pharaoh every morning until 12:30pm. The lady who was in charge of the camp graciously took me in to her home for the week. She has two daughters who are around my age and it was really lovely being in their home for the week and learning about each others cultures. They asked me a lot about how it's like in Canada compared to Australia and I in turn asked them about Australian culture. They have many different names for things. For example sprinkles, you know the ones you put on cup cakes, are called "hundreds and thousands". It was so fun cooking dinners with them, playing piano and singing worship songs with them, and just getting to know them better. It was also a great time to get in the Word and have some time to rest and seek God more.
I'm really excited for this next season at YWAM Toowoomba. This next week we are starting staff orientation and getting ready for the next DTS. I will be speaking about Administration stuff as well as fire safety this week to the staff.
Some things you can be praying for me are:
-for continued unity in our staff team during staff orientation
-to continue to rely on God's strength and guidance into what this next season will look like
-for students who are coming in a few weeks to get everything they need to do done and for them to feel God's peace and rest as they prepare to come to YWAM Toowoomba
Here's a passage that I read this morning that really encouraged me and I hope encourages you as well.
"Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord is the greatness, The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty: For all that is in Heaven and in earth is Yours:
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honour come from You, and You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might: in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name."
1 Chronicles 29:10-13