This week was easily the best, most profound and impacting week of my life.
Each year my school gives the option for year 10 and year 11 students to spend a week in Yarrabah Aboriginal Community, 37km south of Cairns.
I really had no idea what to expect,
but that was probably a good thing.
Over the past six years my school has had a special bond with this community and each year around 40 students and teachers get the opportunity to visit, build friendships and share God's love. We come in their to try and make an impact, yet by the end of the week we seem to be the most impacted.
Yarrabah Aboriginal Community was original a 'mission settlement' established in 1893, where Indigenous Australians were segregated from a white Australia and forced to adapt to Western culture and customs. Not only was their history, culture and language wiped, but so was life as they knew it. A horrific, horrific act of prejudice. This type of prejudice continued and intensified up until the late 1960s. While today Indigenous Australians have the same rights as non-Indigenous Australians, there's understandably still a lot of hurt and brokenness.
Yet at the heart of this community, is just that: community.
Everybody looks out for everybody else, every person knows every other person's name.
Love and laughter is never scarce and I experienced more of it here than I have anywhere else.
Sharing is just what you do, no one question about it. People share everything from food, clothes, phones and even houses.
The children made me a bracelets, gave me their toys and beautiful beach shells which they had found. On the last day one of the parents gave me one of their t-shirts and asked if I could be in their family photos.
I have never before seen this amount of love and generosity.
We stayed in Cairns and drove to Yarrabah everyday, which was about an hour's trip of driving past sugar cane farms.
We stopped off here for lunch. It was usually raining at lunchtime, but amazingly it never once rained when we were in Yarrabah doing Kids Games program.
Our first glimpse of Yarrabah.
Playing in the mud.
About 150 metres out on the mudflats was a magnificent shipwreck. Some of the kids went out to climb it.
Writing our names in the sand.
Japheth & Treston
Rodina & Japheth
There is neither Jew nor Green, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Japheth made the bracelet on my wrist.
Our flight was cancelled, which means we got to stay in Cairns for an extra night... I wasn't complaining.
The sunset that night was magnificent.
Seeing Yarrabah for the final time in a while... I'll definitely be back though!
People might say a week can't change much.
It can change everything; God is working miracles here.