Last weekend we arrived at the WhiteSunday Base in Airlie Beach (270 km from Townsville) for our second outreach!
What a great week! We went to the nursing home with the team (12 people) for three mornings to connect with the elderly. In addition to joint activities with the whole group (bingo, hoy, dancing and singing), we had the opportunity to visit the residents in their apartment to have one-on-one conversations. The employee who heard that I was from the Netherlands took me to a resident who never leaves his room, but who would really like to talk. Curiously I enter the apartment. In the chair is Arie, a lively, vital 83-year-old Rotterdammer (who says he is only 23 years old in his head), with a photo of the Euromast and the Holland America line on the wall! He even lived in Papendrecht! After sailing all over the world as a chef, he ended up in Australia. He loved chatting in Dutch (and making a lot of jokes).
In addition, there was also a Dutch lady in the closed department. Due to her dementia, she mainly speaks Dutch with some English words in between, so that the staff cannot understand her and her daughter also does not speak Dutch. At the request of the nurses I was able to ask her if she was in pain etc. and I was able to have a long conversation with her! There was also an Italian resident with whom our teammate Elzia could speak Italian! Great to hear the stories of these people and to see what joy they experience as young people from all over the world take the time to pay attention to them.
We also went to Nick, a man who lost his arms and legs 4 years ago. Because he lives alone (with his dog) he can hardly maintain his household. Cockroaches (and other insects I didn't know existed), piles of dishes, dog hair, piles of dirty laundry, paperwork, it really was one big mess! After 2 afternoons of hard work, not only his house, but also his car and dog were spotless! Great to see the positive impact this had on Nick. And what a great figure that man is, his whole attitude is a real testimony! He spent 1.5 years in prison innocently, then came to faith, lost his forearms & lower legs through a meningococcal sepsis, but is so grateful for life, has such a rock-solid faith that God is with him and he regularly takes to the streets to testify of God's love!
In the evenings we evangelized among the many backpackers & party animals at AirlieBeach. By handing out chocolate in exchange for a question, we were able to have many interesting conversations! So sorry how many people are drinking and thinking they are happy with drugs and parties, without any purpose or direction in their lives ... Hopefully the conversations have made people think and discover how great it is to have a personal relationship with God may have!
On New Years Eve we went to the beach, where we first sang worship songs with the group. Great to see how several passersby kept listening curiously and noticed something intangible was present (the Holy Spirit was clearly at work!). After some good conversations, we enjoyed a great fireworks show at midnight! Then we had a nice swim and played some fun games.
I am very curious about 2020; the adventures ahead, the places God wants to use me, new people I will meet, wise lessons to learn, etc.! In any case, I am really looking forward to it!
I hope you had a nice turn of the year and I wish you all a great 2020!