What a week this has been!
For starters, I booked my “spring break” (weird, huh?) trip this week. Me and several friends will be cruising the Great Barrier Reef during our holiday in late September and my flight is now purchased. The sailboat we will stay on is all-inclusive, so we will sleep and eat on the boat as we travel from Airlie Beach over to the Whitsunday Islands, all along the reef. I’ve heard a rumor that the Great Barrier Reef is disappearing; I’m not a scientist or anything but I figure I better get myself over there to check it out while I can! It’s sad to think about these things, but the chances of me coming back to Australia in the near future are pretty slim so I am trying to live it up as much as possible. The boat also includes scuba-diving throughout the trip, so that will be a big first for me. Can’t wait.
I’ve just gotten back from SPIRO camp today. SPIRO means Spiritual Emphasis. They just “abbrev” everything thing here. I totes def fit in. Every year, the Wesley student body takes a retreat a few hours north. It is something that almost all students and faculty members attend, and it lasts for about a day and a half. I was really looking forward to it, not only because spiritual retreats always leave me refreshed and hungrier for the things of God, but also because I really wanted to get to know some Wesley students. We see them on campus but many of my classes are filled with Americans. Since Wesley only has a couple hundred students and our study abroad group is around 30, the ratio of yanks to aussies is a little higher than I’d like it to be. It’s easy to just hang out with Americans and never get to know the students that are from Sydney. So, the last few days helped us to do just that. Our speaker was actually a guy from Texas named Richard Farmer. I guess he’s pretty famous… I hadn’t heard of him before but he did a great job. He is a pianist in addition to being a preacher. Check this out: A few times, he’d be sitting at this grand piano on stage, and he’d ask someone in the audience to call out a favorite phrase from the bible or line from their journal – anything that he could use as the basis for a worship song. Then he’d ask another person to randomly call out 5 notes. Any 5 notes. One kid gave C, C#, D, D#, E – the chromatic scale. Kind of mean for writing a song, a tough set of notes to do something with. And then he’d take those notes and words and write a song right there on the spot. It was beautiful. He did an incredible job. We talked about being an artist as a Christian and what that means. Man, going to an arts school is amazing. We also had heaps of fun sitting around singing to the many guitars the guys would break out around the fire, and had lots of laughs and lots of hot chocolate. This camp food was also a grade A+. Kind of steam-rolled Pen-Del. All in all, it was such a great chance to get to know the spirit of Wesley. Their worship team played a bunch and let me tell you… seeing hundreds of students from my college jump to worship was pretty fantastic. There is a passion for God at Wesley that I wish you could see for yourself… it’s too hard to describe it. But let’s just say, this is such a neat time of encouragement in my faith. These students are excited about God and using their talents for him.
Tonight when my housemates and I got home from camp we watched the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The ceremony was crazy!! I mean, a GOOD crazy!! Um all I can say is my jaw was on the floor from start to finish. Sarah Brightman’s hair extensions were hilarious. So were the Australian announcers during the whole thing. during the part with marrionettes the one guy said in a tired voice, “So for any of you who have seen a real performance of these puppet operas you are probably glad to only see the reader’s digest version tonight…” and things of that sort. Australian announcers are one of the gems of this place. When Ecuador walked out in the country parade, I was so proud! It was neat to identify with another country at the games, and no doubt for the next olympics I will feel the same way about Australia. It feels like home too. We will be watching the olympics closely from here and cheering on both the Americans and the Aussies!