Well I've made it through the first week in Newcastle! I am feeling settled in my new home and forming a lot of really great friendships! Last Monday my roomies and I took a little tour of our area. I was successful in finding a guitar, which I had really been missing! Then some of us took the train down to the beach in Newcastle. It was absolutely beautiful! There were tons of rocks and the waves were huge. I will try and get some pictures uploaded at some point. There are these things called ocean baths where the waves crashes up over the rocks and forms a pool that people can swim in. They are really neat! Unfortunately it is way too cold to go swim! It is much colder here than I expected and very windy! I have been wearing layers of clothes each day and still am chilly! I’ve actually been sleeping in two long sleeve shirts and a sweatshirt, two pairs of pj pants, two pairs of socks and cover up with my sleeping bag! Since it is not cold that often in Australia, most houses don’t have heaters! Anyways, Tuesday we had our first day of class, which was mainly orientation. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other that day and introduced to what the next few months will look like. Then that night the girls all got together and had a girls night, which was of course a fun time! Wednesday we had what is called base day where the entire base gets together for worship and intercession, and a short message. Then that afternoon we had a barby at the beach-I tried kangaroo!! I may have liked it if I wouldn’t have known it was kangaroo, but needless to say I wouldn’t eat it again! The beach was beautiful, but the intense wind ended our fun a little early. That night we had a meeting about YouthStreet. YouthStreet is the organization we work with each week that works with 11-17 year olds. They come and we all break into teams that include music, sports, skate, dance, skoot, and surf. Then we all have dinner together and then have what is called YouthStreet LIVE where we have an a really great time of worship. YouthStreet is meant to be a safe place for these kids to come and have a great time with some godly influence. It is church for the unchurched. During this meeting we looked at some popular secular song lyrics-it was disturbing to think that people, much less kids sing along to this stuff and think its cool. We were showed a quote from an MTV director about how” they don’t shoot to gain the attention of 14 year olds, they own the 14 year olds”. It honestly is sickening. So at YouthStreet, we get the chance to positively influence the kids and show them they don’t need all of that junk to have a good time. So that is what we do on Saturdays. I am on the dance team, so I spent Saturday afternoon making up dances-it was fun! YouthStreet Live was absolutely incredible! After all the kids left our house, we had a late night Mackas (McDonalds) trip and fun night of youtube videos. Then we got to my favorite day of the week: Sunday! I found a church I really love, it reminded me of True North. It is called Mayfield Baptist Church. I don’t think it is like the Baptist church from home though as this was more of a contemporary service. Everyone there was super welcoming and inviting.
Living here has been the strongest sense of community I have ever seen-it is really really amazing. Nobody ever feels left out. It has been so interesting to get to know people from other countries and here about their normals compared to our normals. For instance they think deer and squirrels are the coolest thing, but kangaroos are no big deal! The aussies think I have a very strong accent (I tell them they are the ones with the accent!). They think it is so “cute” and funny when I say “Holy cow!” about something. They can’t believe us Americans actually say that! The days have been flying by! I am really liking it here, but I already am excited to come home. I miss my comfort and my normal. But being so far out of my comfort zone has definitely helped me to keep my focus on why I am here. Please continue all of the prayers-they are greatly appreciated!