So far this week, the schedule has remained nearly the same. Monday was spent laying sod and doing various other jobs throughout the day. Tuesday morning began with work, but after lunch we went to a local elementary private school to give a presentation. We sang a few children’s songs and used a narrated drama to share the story of Noah. Afterwards the kids were given the opportunity to ask us any question. Most of them were concerned with how we liked Australia, how America is, and if all Americans speak like cowboys. For our first presentation, we did quite well. The transition with the microphone was a little awkward, but with practice we will just get better. The kids enjoyed dancing the motions to the last song with our teens and they did a great job.
After sharing at the school, the team travelled back to the base and continued working until dinner at 5:30. After dinner, the Bible School students here gave us a special treat and brought us Tim Tams. Tim Tams are an Australian cookie that is only sold in America for one month out of the year. When you eat Tim Tams, you bite of opposite corners and then use the cookie as a straw to drink hot cocoa or some other warm beverage. Watching the teens do it was hilarious for the Aussie students and myself. Most of them thought they were incredibly delicious and enjoyed themselves greatly.
Today the team went back to working all day. They filled in potholes in the morning, laid sod when it wasn’t raining, sorted tents when it was, and various other jobs. After lunch, the eight of us who are going to evangelize tomorrow met with the head leader (Matt Hearn) for evangelism training. The teens have mixed feelings. They are both excited and nervous.
So now to update on the second half of the count-off order. Emily Howe is an incredibly hard worker. She is sweet and caring. I have enjoyed getting to know her better and also enjoyed spending time with her when she was on KP. Our team recently had the pleasure of celebrating Matt Avalon’s 15th birthday with him! I am very glad he is on the team as he is easy going and is not one to complain (at least that I hear). I am looking forward to getting to know him better as time continues. Hannah Jenkins is a fireball. She has a sometimes bossy personality (which she admits to), but it is a blessing. She helps keep other kids motivated to keep working in an enjoyable way. She is funny, friendly with all, and truly interested in growing closer to God. It has been a pleasure to have Jolene DeBoer on this trip. The first week or so she seemed very reserved and not very excited to be here. Now, however, she is talkative and open, and we have been able to see how funny she truly is. Lizzy Anderson, as I have said many times, is a blessing. I think maybe because she is very much like me that I enjoy spending time with her and talking to her. She works hard no matter what she does, be it weeding, laying sod, cooking, etc. She doesn’t complain and is friendly to everyone on the team. Caleb Jenkins is another hard worker not matter what he is doing. Over the past few days, Caleb has been making an effort to not complain as much since reading Philippians 2:14-16, and he has been doing a good job with it thus far. Ronan Van Buskirk is a very hard worker while on KP. He did a great job with whatever task I gave him—cutting onions, cleaning dishes, or making dessert. He likes to pretend like he isn’t having fun, but I know he is enjoying himself and the rest of the team enjoys his humor. Cameron Johnson is a teen with a great heart. He gives me a hug every day to say hello, goodnight, or just cause. He never complains and is friendly towards everyone he meets. I am glad that Cameron is on this team. Tristan Will is a funny kid. He always sneaks into the kitchen with some excuse, but it is always to get warm. We have a hard time telling him to get out because he makes us smile whenever he shows up. Tristan is one of those kids that you can never really be mad at. Mihretae Will is another one of those girls who always looks great despite digging in the dirt or having worked for the past eight hours. She is also spunky, kind, and caring. Mia Sivilla is a funny girl. She has this witch cackle she does that makes everyone laugh. She does a great job announcing our team during presentations, and has a beautiful voice that she has been using to praise the Lord.
Caleb Jenkins – Hello Mother and Father. Things started out quite rough from the minute I began my journey to Florida, but now that I am in Australia, I’m not all the way satisfied, but it gets better each day. The work we do is not at all what most of us expected but that’s all right… But today is the day where I begin to have an alright day, because I am in the kitchen with my main dawg Ashley (the destroyer) Evans, the bestest leader known to Teen Missions International! And the day has consisted of baking food for the next couple days! It is said to be the best day as KP so far. I would also like to say I love you mama bear and dad!
Selina Mardavich – I can’t believe we have already been in Australia for over a week! Tomorrow we go to the zoo and I am really excited about going! I want to hold a koala really bad! Today we found out that we can go scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef! Only if you pay extra for it. I really want to do that because I have never gone before. We have been doing a lot of road work in the mornings. I really enjoyed going to church on Sunday and doing our presentation for the kids! I loved meeting them. They are so cool to be around and they really like our cowboy accents from the movies! Also, going to the school was really exciting. There were so many kids there and they were really energetic! Reaching out to them is so much fun! I am excited about going out so we can see more of the people and the country. Also we got to climb the mountain, and that was such an amazing experience. I miss everyone back home so much! Especially my mom Kelly, my dad Douglas, and Victoria and Dougie. Love you guys so much!