The second half of this past week was pretty chaotic down here in Australia. We worked through the week until Saturday doing any job needed. We moved brush, filled potholes, put up support beams and cross beams, moved scaffolding here and there, and various other jobs. The team enjoyed performing multiple tasks as it kept them interested and moving. The team worked hard and managed to complete multiple lists of jobs.
Sunday morning the team had a moving church service conducted by our own head leader and pastor, Matt Hearn. The team learned that through everything we can always come back to God. The story of the prodigal son was used as a representative of this truth. After church we then loaded up and began our six hour drive to the Great Barrier Reef. The drive went well with no problems, and Mike Reilly allowed the team a stop at McDonald’s along the way. The food was pricey (some kids spent nearly $30!), but tasted fresher and, in my opinion, better than it does in America. At about 3:30pm or so we arrived at the camp ground and set up our tents and began to get settled. After taking care of the sleeping places, the team headed to the beach that was right next to the camp ground. The sunset was just beginning and the scene was picture perfect. Unfortunately, Lori Hearn and I had to go back to cook before the sun had set all the way, but I heard it was amazing! After dinner, the team went back out to the beach to have team devos under the stars. Hannah Jenkins shared some personal struggles she is going through currently and this gave the team the comfort they needed to open up to one another. We agreed to do everything to encourage one another and lift each other up. That night was simply picturesque. It is hard for me to not see God in things as beautiful as the sunset form earlier and the awe inspiring night sky.
The next day the team rose at 6 AM, ate, did devos, and boarded the bus to head out for snorkelling and scuba diving. We were excited, but the weather was quite dreary. It was cold and rainy, and only got worse as time continued on. The boat ride there lasted an hour and a half and more than half of our team was sick at least once. One of the Bible school students beat us all and was sadly sick 10 times on the way there and three on the way back. Despite being seasick and cold, we were all excited to begin the day’s adventures when we arrived at our destination. We tied onto a floating platform about 10 minutes away from Lady Musgrave Island. Half of the group headed to the island to walk around while the other half began snorkelling or scuba diving. The water was chilly, but the view underneath was spectacular. There were so many different species of fish, coral, and algae. My scuba group was able to see two sea turtles and a starfish. We stayed docked to the platform until about 3:30 pm. On the way back to the coast fewer of us were sick, but mostly because we all fell asleep. When we arrived back on land the rain had picked up and Mike and Matt decided to have us pack up and head back for the base rather than stay another night. The team did a great job packing up quickly and we were on our way shortly thereafter. At about 11:30pm we arrived back at the base and headed to bed not to soon after. Today we will continue working and cleaning up from our trip.
Apart from the big trip to the Great Barrier Reef, life at the base has been pretty normal with not too much exciting happening. However ,we are all happy to have time to relax and just stick to a schedule. This past Thursday though another group of teens was able to head to a different skate park to evangelize. This group was met with more success than the previous group as there were more teens or single people to talk to. No one was led to Jesus, but some good conversations were struck up.
As we prepare for our last few days here, we are gearing up to finish some of the projects. We have been pushing hard and it is paying off. We are sad to leave this beautiful country and one another’s company, but excited to be reunited with our families in a little over a week.