I want to start out by thanking everyone that made this trip a possibility. Matt and Kyle (and everyone with TWCD) did such a great job getting things organized and set up. To everyone that gave, not only would we have not been able to go help out without your generosity, but also lives would have never been changed (mine included).
Personally, I could not have asked for a better first international excursion. I left the U.S. with the idea of having no expectations. I desired God to work through our group and through me in any way that He would. Looking back I am blown away by the things that happened and the people that I became connected to.
There is one particular moment that I pray will be cemented into my memory and my heart for the rest of my life. A special family that my team and I were able to serve and, honestly, just enjoy life with for three days has struck me in a way I cannot get over. We met John Marshal on his beautiful farm the first day and I liked him at once. Instead of giving us random jobs, he would work with us all day and act like he wanted our opinion on things he obviously knew so much more about. I think that he has one of the kindest hearts I have ever seen. Each night we would sit on his porch with his precious family for hours just talking, eating, and enjoying life together. One night Mrs. Marshal cooked us a delicious lamb dinner and we just talked, played guitar, and got to know one another as the sun set. The only word I have to describe the night is beautiful. It was a beautiful moment.
The Aussie people as a whole were so genuine and gracious. I enjoyed them and their beautiful country so much. I love the phrases like, “that’s a good drop,” let’s get this done and then “hit the frog and toad” (meaning let’s get on the road), and of course referring to the men as “blokes” and the women as “Sallys/Suzies.” Australia is a fabulous place. I have to say, however, as blessed as I felt by the Aussies, I came away changed by the team I was privileged to be a part of. From every walk of life we came together with the same goal: to stretch out our hand and serve those who were hurting. It was so neat for me to see how the trip touched us all in different ways and exactly when we needed it. People that I had never even met or hardly knew have become dear friends to me.
Experiences like this one are almost overwhelming. I think that is obvious by the posts thus far. You feel so much, you feel changed, you feel inspired. In my attempt to sum something up in my mind I keep landing on one word: hope. It’s something we all desire and it’s the one thing that inspires us when we are at the bottom. We long for hope for tomorrow. I believe that is what we gave a few Aussies and in return, that is what they gave us. I would do this trip a thousand times over to bring hope to those who have lost it. Praise Him.