92 and still driving…

This blog is written by Matthew Wiebe. Matt, is a Fall 2018 student from Cedarville University. Editor’s note: This post has been edited.

Seniors, are just like anyone else! They can be awesome and also not so awesome.

Luckily, the seniors at Citipointe Seniors are fantastic. These seniors, while they may be old, are young at heart. These are not the grumpy old seniors who sit around and do nothing. One lady is 92 and still drives.

Seniors at a picnic

They are very active and engaging and genuinely want you to be there. They love talking to students and asking students questions about home life in the States.

The seniors really love when you ask them questions and engage with their lives. They want to tell you their experiences. My time at Citipointe Seniors has been nothing but fun and brilliant. I’ve really enjoyed the fellowship I had with the seniors through chats, drinking coffee, day trips to Bribie island or playing bowls! All of it was lots of fun.

Regular morning tea at Citipointe Seniors

Our weekly morning tea at Citipointe Seniors

I’ve have been fortunate of having my grandparents live with me for three years. This definitely made engaging with the seniors much simpler because I’ve been doing it for years. It also helps that the seniors at Citipointe see you as one of their grandchildren, so it’ll be no different for you to interact with these seniors then your grandparents.

Three people in a group

Jessica Gurrola from Biola University with Citipointe Seniors coordinators Anne & Stuart at the Toowoomba Flower Festival

If you haven’t been around your grandparents much, then this volunteer service might seem a bit scary. Never fear because you don’t need to try. You simply need to be there, and engagement will happen. It’ll probably take a couple days to feel fully comfortable. Once that mark is hit, then the rest of the time there will be amazing.

Service Placements are part of
The View of Australia Class (AS 200).
Find out more about the unit!

“… wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them”

This blog is written by Susan Leonard a local CHC student. Susan and other Australian students participated in the Australian Indigenous Worldviews (CS254) class, along with ASC students in semester two, 2018. Editor’s note: This post has been edited.

Traditional Welcome to Country ceremony

In August this year, my Australian Indigenous Worldviews class took a trip away to  Minjerribah (Aboriginal name for North Stradbroke Island). The knowledge and the experience profoundly changed my perspective and my attitude towards Australian Indigenous people and their way of life.

CHC students (left to right): Sophie, Georgia , Susan (me), Billie & Alison after getting our faces painted

Georgia having her face painted by an Aboriginal elder

I have asked myself, at which point did the empathy come. Upon reflection, there was a profound moment when we worshiped together on the shores of Brown Lake.  In Matthew 18:20 (The Passion Translation) tells us that “… wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them”.  I could not stop the tears from coming when I heard Lea (our Indigenous lecturer) share how her ancestors had sat in that same place.  There, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, it all became real for me.

Local elder Matty with ASC Indigenous lecturer Lea

However, it was not just that moment that changed my understanding.  It was a culmination of lessons and readings, throwing boomerangs and spears, learning about bush tucker (food), having my face decorated, participating in ceremonial dances, creating sand art on the beach, being ‘in country’, hearing the hearts of the amazing brothers and sisters we met, and the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

CHC student Ben learning to throw a spear

Having fun with sand art on the beach

Having fun with ASC students (left to right): Julia from Dordt College and Katie from John Brown University, Susan (me) making sand art

Despite the horrors Aboriginal people and their ancestors have endured and with racism still prevalent in Australian society, the elders were still open in sharing from their heart about their culture. The Aboriginal elders clearly demonstrated reconciliation and the healing we ALL so desperately need. This experience gave me, not only understanding, but a sense of belonging.

Being part of community

My joy in all of this comes from the knowledge that out of great pain and suffering God, our Jehovah-Rapha, will bring great healing –

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.  Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

Sand art design with the kangaroo totem

My prayer is that our Heavenly Father will show us how to honour our Aboriginal brothers and sisters so that together we can rejoice in the healing and the coming together of the Body of Christ.
Interested in finding out more
about the Australian Indigenous Class, click here

Alternatively, watch the video below of Sarah (Gordon College) and Alex (Wheaton College), ASC students from Spring 2018 share about their experience about the Australian Indigenous Worldview class (CS254).

Life as a business intern

Meet Fall 2018 student Kaitlyn Milano from Eastern University. Kaitlyn, completed a Business Internship at Surf Life Saving Queensland – SLSQ is Queensland’s peak aquatic rescue authority and is one of the largest volunteer-based community service organisations in Australia.  Hear Kait reflect on her experiences and the connections she acquired between knowledge at SLSQ and her internship role.

“The business internship has helped me towards my future career in building skills that I can apply to any job…” Kaitlyn Milano, Eastern University, Fall 2018

There are currently business internships  in the following fields: Accounting, Business Administration, Marketing and Management. Internship applications open 1 October for Spring 2019 and 1 April for Fall 2019.

Find out more here!

Fill out the Information Request Form below so we can contact you about internships.

Kangaroos, red dirt, and scorching sun…I knew I wanted to be a part of this adventure!

This blog is written by Ariel Norris. Ariel, is a Fall 2018 student from North Greenville College. Editor’s note: This post has been lightly edited.

Last semester, when I was deciding where I wanted to study abroad, the fact that ASC offered a trip to the Australian outback was a major draw card for me. Instantly images of kangaroos, red dirt, and scorching sun came to mind and I knew I wanted to be a part of this adventure.

Girl with whip

Having a whip crackin of a time!

Fast forward a few months, I find myself waking at 4am, jumping onto a bus (not entirely sure what direction we were heading) and onto the dusty roads towards the Outback! Though the ASC staff did inform us of what we should basically expect from the trip, I don’t think any of us truly knew what we were getting into.

Girl on dusty road

On the dusty red dirt roads

We were told, sleeping arrangements may include sleeping under the stars or in an old barn! To which a mixture of responses came from my fellow classmates! I, for one was thrilled at the prospect of falling asleep beneath a million stars. Others weren’t too sure.

Understandably, the nerves were not about sleeping in the Outback but more who or what they may be sleeping with? I will admit, the idea of waking up to see a king brown (snake) curled up next to me, or a kangaroo looking down at me did cross my mind once or twice. Thankfully, never once did I wake to find anything except the ranch’s dogs, Marley and Devil, snuggled up next to our group!

Outback sleeping arrangements

Outback sleeping arrangements

In addition to nerves about the sleeping arrangements, we are invited by the ASC staff partake in a “no shower challenge” to understand what drought stricken farmers constantly battle. I decided I would “Go Hard or Go Home!” with this challenge.

You see, it would be easy to come on the Outback trip with the mindset of “we have to do this.” But the experience becomes so much more enriching when we change our mindset from “have to” to “get to”.

Jessica Gurrola (Biola University) and Abby Haas (Montreat  College) making a new friend

Having a good feed

We heard from the ranch owners on how they didn’t choose this lifestyle because of  financial gain but chose it because the Outback is part of who they are.

Me and Lyle the ranch owner

Me and Lyle the ranch owner

Upon reflection, I left behind familiarity of the modern life and jumped into a new reality that I would never have been able to experience outside of the ASC program. We weren’t just in the Outback to have a good time. We were there to learn how challenging life can be in this arid sometimes “unforgiving” land.

Lyle the ranch owner talking about a particular tree local to the area

Lyle, talking about the landscape

The Outback is harsh, yet it is also full of life and richness if you allow yourself to see it. As I returned home to Brisbane, and gazed across the backyard (bursting with green grass and trees) I realized that even though it wasn’t easy experience, I did it! We did it! Our time spent there, I will never forget!

Desert flower

 

PS. Showering never felt better!

Stradbroke Memories

This blog is written by Sarah Reed. It comes from her personal blog “Sarah Reed Down Under“. Sarah is a Fall 2018 student from Messiah College. Editor’s note: This post was first published on the 13th of August, 2018 and has been lightly edited.

A few weekends ago my classmates and I traveled across Moreton Bay to Stradbroke Island for a weekend with our Indigenous worldviews class. The ferry ride was short yet relaxing and upon arrival we were welcomed with a smoking ceremony to cleanse ourselves.

Stradbroke Ferry

Having fun on the ferry on the way to Stradbroke

The morning continued with our ears being filled with stories about local customs of the Indigenous people of the area.  This was followed by dancing, boomerang and spear throwing! Which was really fun!

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Boomerang throwing

See videos of my boomerang throwing and spear throwing activities.

The day finished with a brisk Gorge walk. The scenic trail snaked around cliffs and we were fortunate enough to see whales jumping out of the ocean, sea turtles and other wildlife.

A view from the Gorge walk

The next day, we worked with artist Craig to create sand art on the beach. Each design unique in their expression!

People on beach creating sand art

Working on sand art designs

This was followed by a time of worship at Brown Lake (a historical site where local Indigenous women would bring with their children).

Musicians playing guitars and ukulele at Brown Lake

Worship time at Brown Lake

Now I know this sounds like a nice weekend getaway, but it was much more than that.  Before coming to Australia, I thought Indigenous people were just an ancient group of people that used to live in Australia, little did I know that I was very wrong.  The weekend showed me, this ancient culture is still every much alive! The elders of the community, shared with us the importance of country and showed us ways to utilize plants and the things on the island. We were invited onto sacred grounds which were had been frequented by their ancestors. They also shared with us stories of hardships faced by Aboriginal people today.

Over the weekend, not only did I experience Aboriginal culture and history. I also learnt how an Aboriginal person can be both Christian and still hold on to their cultural values. I have never experienced anything like this and I will forever hold onto the memories I made this weekend.

Using found materials to create sand art

 

 

 

the place that calls my heart

This blog is written by Marissa Showalter. It comes from her personal blog “Riss Lynn Takes Brisbane“. Marissa was a Spring 2017 student from Messiah College. Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been lightly edited. 

This past week has been a tough one. Every day that passes makes me wish more and more that I was on a plane headed back to the place that calls my heart. There are just too many in completes that I left behind in my sweet Brissy, and I want nothing more than to return to finish what I started under the sweet summer sunshine of Queensland. What do you do when your heart physically aches for somewhere else?

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A Gold Coast Beach

You would think that the more time passes, the more I would settle back into life here. WRONG. Yep. If anything, I feel even more listless than before. People here are talking about taking their GREs and applying to jobs, and I can’t help but feel like a frozen over creek, stagnant and unmoving.

I have been encountering so many well-meaning folks who, upon discovering that it’s my senior year, inquire as most do about what my plans are after college. I fake a smile and start going on about how I plan to go to grad school for counseling. HA. Who am I fooling?? Not that I don’t still feel like counseling is my calling or anything, but now I have bigger dreams and weirdly they look a lot like palm trees swaying on a spotless beaches and kangaroos bouncing across a stretch of barren desert.

RoosatLonePine

A mob of Kangaroos

People are usually rather incredulous when I tell them that I want to move to Australia. They think I’m joking or being dramatic or just exaggerating the impact that my time there had on me. “You would really want to live over there?” they ask me. “But it’s so far! Wouldn’t you miss your family?”

Then they ask me what I would plan to do when I got there and that’s just the kicker, because once again, I have no idea. Like, not a clue. I could go and work odd jobs for a little while, which no one would understand once I have earned my degree. I could do grad school abroad potentially, but of course I don’t know what that would mean financially as an international student or the implications for becoming a licensed counselor in the US. All I know is that I need to find my way back somehow.

So this has been an especially hard week emotionally as I move yet again into my new apartment. In the move, I packed up all of my Australia mementos and carefully tucked them away to be prominently displayed in my new home. I cling to even the smallest item that claims even a little bit of sentimentality. You know what? I still have the packaging for a necklace that I received over there that should’ve gone in the trash long ago. And yet I continue to cling.

If I come to a conclusion about all of this, I’ll keep you updated.

Until then.

xoxo, Riss

Spring Break in Australia…

Excerpt from Fall 2013 student Anna Moga’s blog “The Land of Aus”. Reproduced with permission.

For the past two weeks, us Americans have had the experience of an Australian Spring break. They were amazing! The first week consisted of going with a group of 9 of us to a camp in the Blue Mountains where we were able to hike down into them and see Australia’s natural beauty. Some of us also rode the steepest railway in the world according to the Guinness book of world records. It was 52 degrees steep!

After that all of the Americans took a trip to the outback. This was by far my most cherished experience yet. In a comfortable bus we took a ten hour drive to the town of Condobolin where we stayed on a sheep shearing farm. While there we ate SO much delicious food and experienced things that to me seemed typically Australian. The cabins we had were filled with spiders, so sleeping in there wasn’t much of an option for me. Though it got chilly at night, some of us slept in sleeping bags under the stars. Seeing all those beautiful stars reminded me of being at home. Some exciting things we did were watch a sheep get sheared, hold a very large shingle-back lizard, drive on the back of a ute (truck) with a large spotlight to find Kangaroos, chased Emus in the ute (we almost ran them over), and chased a tiny wild pig.

Lizzard 2

The memories I hold dearest to my heart from this trip were the nights spent around the campfire. I had the opportunity to lead some worship, making me excited to do more of that in the future, and each American had the chance to share some of their story. Many of us stayed up late, if not all night, and were able to laugh with one another, pray over each other, and connect with people on a deeper level. I feel so blessed by the people I came here with, and it has been amazing to see God working in each of their lives. It brings me to tears at the thought of leaving them in six short weeks, but the bonds we created are so worth the pain we’ll endure when we’re separated.

One major thing this semester has taught me is the importance of community. God gives us people to share our experiences with and to help one another walk through both the dark and light together. Living life in community creates a whole other level in which it can push your faith to grow. I had a strong realization when I saw how much diving into community could have helped me in the past, and I hoped to apply this lesson upon my arrival home. After the outback a friend from America and an Australian friend invited me on a road trip through New South Wales. God really provided us with places to go during this trip and we were able to see so much more of the state. The towns were quaint and the beaches absolutely breathtaking. And now, we all return to school, to take on a challenging load of work. I pray that this will not hinder my enjoyment of Sydney the last few weeks I am here. Through this Spring break, I have seen how God is always present. He is in everything I see. In all of the gorgeous places He has created, and has brought amazing people into my life for me to love on them as Christ would. I look forward to the last adventures to come before starting a new chapter in my life back home!