Sunday, January 1, 2017

Opal - The Outback

 My first International Assembly! It was a dream for as long as I know. I was accepted as a delegate and I didn't want to let anything get in the way of going. Even though I had enrolled in school in Taiwan, I made the personal decision to take a couple weeks to myself to go to Melbourne and Sydney for the big event. A friend and I had it all planned out. The first week was filled with activities with the host congregations and then our 3 day convention. Our second week, we booked a tour group (for 3 of us sisters together) to see Sydney, go to Bethel and more!
      Once we got off our plane there were friends, our beautiful brothers and sisters, ready to greet us with beautiful posters, warm hugs and smiling faces. My heart was already touched from that moment and that feeling kept on. After the welcoming, with a bit of wandering and asking around at the airport, we somehow figured out how to get to our hotel. Every step we took, from then on we ran into more and more brothers and sisters, a mix of hosts and delegates. 
Before the events even started, we found ourselves exchanging gifts and cards with our information. We, Jehovah's Witnesses took over the city of Melbourne. Such an amazing feeling!
One of the first things we did go out in service with our assigned congregation. I paired up with a lovely sister engaged to be married soon, and we went to a few of her return visits. I loved this close encounter and a taste of the Australian field. 
Next, there was a meal prepared for the delegates together multiple congregations. We had typical Australian food and the congregations, with such a diverse group of friends from all over the place, performed a drama. It was about service in the outback, a comedy. Showing the spiritual history with a twist. Two brothers hopped on inflatable kangaroos knocking on various doors with various characters coming up, and after a charming exchange of the Australian accent with a bit of slang, they preached the good news. There were slideshows, children singing kingdom songs and afterwards we all got goodie bags. 
To follow a delightful evening, we had days of beautiful tours on the Great Ocean Road looking to the twelve apostles and Lake Ard Gorge. I also was able to do the Tree top walk. On the way, we introduced ourselves through the bus mic so we got to know everyone. The tours were also filled with fun facts and history.  It was professional and full of Christian love, better than any tour offered by any company. 
And we knew this to be certain when taking a tour we payed a pretty penny for in Sydney the following week.
But lets talk of our convention! ;)
We sat a bit in the English portion and some parts in the Chinese section. We met friends from Japan, Korea, different states in America, Fiji, Samoa, Greece, and so many more countries. 
Before and after the program and during the breaks, every time we turned around there was a new friend to greet us and hand us a gift. I got so many little koala and kangaroo plush toys and souvenirs. So cute! :D
The goodbye was emotional as you expect it to be. Feeling so strongly when you look around and see so many faithful Witnesses singing our last song of the convention to Jehovah. 
I look forward to being able to go to another International Convention! If not, then paradise awaits, and I wouldn't mind that coming first ;)


Welcoming

some of our first gifts
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Witnesses everywhere!

With our service partners







GREAT OCEAN ROAD




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MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
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TREE TOP WALK





SYDNEY


The Blue mountains

3 sisters mountain



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Assembly Hall Visit


BETHEL VISIT


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