Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gold Coast to Welsh Coast

Arriving back at Heathrow Airport and onto South Wales amid howling gales seems like so many miles away, in more ways than one, from the Gold Coast of Queensland in Australia, the last stop on the tour. Sweet family reunions and disciplining myself to sleep and stay awake at appropriate times to minimise the effect of an 11 hour time change are all part of a homecoming.

The last 'formal' event of the trip went very well - an evening speaking engagement in Southport at the Church of Christ there. Smithy has spoken there numerous times and Ash Barker (UNOH/Thailand) was there just a few weeks previously and I knew a message reflecting on mission to the margins would not only be anticipated but welcomed - I hope at each of the venues folk will be inspired to find life on the margins. It's been a trip of varied venues and opportunities and I've tried hard not to repeat myself, (with the exception of a few stories). It would be easy to give the same message each time, but no part of the journey is ever the same. (At some stage I hope to put a few of the messages up on podcast or as links from the soapbox part of the webpage).

From start to finish it's been 21 days, a dozen messages, 14 different beds/couches/seats, 2200kms on 1 bike and a lot further on six aircraft in 5 States. It's been about a lot of people. Out of the whole trip all my waking hours were spent in the company of many people, (with the exception of a few hours riding here and there) and it's people that make the journey and it's people that continue to make a difference.

My deepest thanks to all those who showed hospitality and showed support in so many ways, to those who gave me space to do what I do, to Magoo for the wheels, and to the NSW Police dept for the helicopter escort through Sydney (I'm sure the tax payers of the city will be most appreciative of your paranoia).

Here's a few snaps from the mobile - so resolution won't be that great:

Melbourne - I wanted to learn much more about Aboriginal issues on this trip which I did - the moving story of a rescue in Gundagai 150 years ago touched my heart enormously..
Glenn on the flood plain at Gundagai

After speaking at a Baptist Church in Canberra.
The helicopter appeared shortly after!
Lismore crew - NSW
Some of the Gold Coast Crew, QLD

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Lismore & on to the Gold Coast

One week on from the last blog entry I have travelled considerably further north. A ride that had taken me from the city by design of Canberra through the tangled streets of Sydney up over the famous bridge, (with a police helicopter escort!) and up to the sea port and industrial region of Newcastle. Real hot from there up to Lismore - saw a wedged tailed eagle for the first time as I mile munched up the freeway. Onto to Byron Bay and up to the Goldcoast.

At each resting place very generous hospitality from fellow pilgrims in God's Squad has been welcome and is so much appreciated as we have shared stories and food. The speaking in Canberra at a Baptist Church there went very well, (great to see photo's of a family working with UNOH in Bangkok on their notice boards) and a personal whistle stop tour of the Aboriginal section of the NAtional Museum followed; courtesy of one of the congregation who happened to be on duty later that afternoon.

LAst time I was in Sydney I was so jet lagged I fell asleep in the foyer of the Opera House and was 'moved on'. This time was another brief overnight visit but was far more with it discussing with friends there the unjust laws that NSW is aiming towards motorcycle clubs. The following days ride up through the city was very hot and it was a buzz to ride across the famous bridge. Glenn accompanied me on the ride all the way to Newcastle. More reunions with special friends, (including eating in a bar in Swansea of all places), that spans nearly two decades and a midweek gathering at a Uniting Church in Warners Bay went well also - a couple of guys who were at the meeting in Yass the previous week six hours away came back which was good of them. I have tried to vary the talks at each place but with a common theme of misfits and the marginalised in Jesus' life on the road.

Travel by road rather than internal flight has given me wonderful opportunity to absorb both the landscape and the stories - especially of the indigenous population here. My 600 km ride up to Lismore in Northern NSW was long one and well worth while. One of our associates in Squad up there is an Aboriginal and an Elder from his community was very pleased to grant me an official welcome and blessing to the region, followed by a meal of Kangaroo Curry, (Turtle was the original first choice but unavailable on the day). The next day meeting up with the same folks in Byron Bay, we ate the biggest prawns I've seen in my life!

Once again I hit the road on Magoo's 1994 Softail which hasn't missed a beat, leaving the country town of Lismore and making the short hop to the Gold Coast. Signs for 'Surfers Paradise' and the first high rise buildings since Sydney come into view. This is where the Dolphins, Whales ans Sharks play and egos parade the sea front. It's also my final destination on this trip. I now have a day to relax, after clubhouse visits the previous night, before my final speaking engagement in Southport on Sunday night. I've spent time with a huge variety of people - I dare say these last few dares will bring some more surprises.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Launceston, Melbourne, Glenrowan, Wagga, Yass & Canberra . . .

Sat here in Canberra at the home of Glenn and Ros, eventually getting chance to pause for breath and it's all a bit sureal. Just twelve months ago they returned home to Aus after having spent nearly three years with us Zac's Place. Now it seems I have just nipped out the door and called around for coffee. In fact it's seemed like that for much of the last week or so catching up with so many from the community that is God's Squad.

The National Run in Tasmania was a blast as expected, although this year the added responsibility of deputizing for for JS meant that I was flat out from the point I landed in Melbourne. Returning to Melbourne after the weekend is less than an hours flight and since then I have been working my way north by bike after catching up with folks at St. Martin's. Precious times with fellow Squad members and their families and other friends at each resting place ensure that talk late into the night continues way after any formal speaking resposibilities have finished.

It's good to be riding amid the vast spaces of the Aussie coutryside between the country towns. (Road kill is much bigger than home and I'm sure the bugs wear bigger boots!). It was great to be in Yass in Southern NSW his morning to take a Breakfast meeting which was packed - am staggered that some folks had travelled 5 or 6 hours to be there; very humbling indeed. The next few days see more speaking, more miles, more reunions . . . .

Despite the vast open spaces between towns and cities; the world seems so very small.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Australia Dates On The Road - UPDATED

Sean will be speaking at the following venues over in the coming days in Australia. Tuesday night's at Zac's continue as normal in Swansea with an emphasis on personal stories of life and faith from regulars in the gatherings . . .

Weds 4 Nov, 7pm - St. Martin's, Collingwood, Melbourne, Vic. (6pm for BBQ)
215 Wellington St. Collingwood, VIC 3066 - Cnr Otter St, (Melways ref: 44 C4)

Sat 7 Nov, 8am - Yass Breakfast Meeting,Yass, NSW.

Sun 8 Nov, 10am - Tuggeranong Baptist Church, Canberra. ACT
33 Jenke Circuit, Kambah, ACT 2902
Phone: (02) 6296 1587

Weds 11 Nov, 5.30pm - Uniting Church at The Willows

342 Hillsborough Rd, Warners Bay, Newcastle, New South Wales

Sun 15 Nov, 6pm - Southport Church of Christ, Brisbane, Queensland
Queensland Academy Health Sciences (QAHS), Edmund Rice Drive, Southport, Brisbane, Queensland.