This past weekend I was able to take a break from campus and schoolwork (not like I'm really into schoolwork right now) and make a trip to the Gold Coast. Most of you may remember Bec - the girl that brought me to Australia, the penpal of 10+ years - her family lives in the Gold Coast. Bec currently lives in Melbourne, but it was her birthday today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEC) so she was up here visiting and celebrating and she invited me down to join her.
So I conquered another first: First time on the Australian train!!
The Gold Coast is about an hour's train ride from the City. What was needed for this trip was a bus ride from campus to South Bank (not quite into Downtown Brisbane) and then a train from South Bank to Robina (the end of the line). I was super nervous, but it actually turned out perfectly fine. Everything was very clearly marked, and I just followed people around that looked like they were going to the beach! Once I neared my stop (an hour later) I gave Bec a ring so that she would meet me at the station.
The weekend was great. So nice to be in a family setting.
Saturday night we did some shopping and then went out with some of Bec's friends to celebrate. The night started off with an attempt at a bonfire on a very dark beach. After a walk through the bush for maybe 10mins - without a flashlight - we stumbled upon a secluded beach that looked beautiful, but was extremely wind engulfed. After some scare tactics by one of the guys and a 'Scream' mask, we decided it wouldn't be worth it to build a fire and turned around and went back to the cars. The next idea was to hang out at a cute little cafe down the road. However, upon arrival we discovered they were closed. *bummer* Finally, we decided upon a more open beach with easier access. So we set up camp, so to speak, put down a few blankets, listened to music, ate some chips, chocolate and lollies and hung out for a few hours. It was very soothing, in fact most of us fell asleep eventually. :) We did end up going back to the house and sleeping in beds however.
Sunday was equally as nice. It started out with church a Metro (went there last time I was in the Gold Coast for my very first weekend in Australia). It was a great sermon about the Worldy (or flesh) and the Godly. There were points that the pastor brought up and put together that I had never really connected and it was just so refreshing.
For instance: Many non-believers (and even some believers) find it hard to reason why God doesn't just intervene when bad stuff happens. Why does he allow bad things to happen? Why does he just let bad people stay here and continue to do bad things? The answer given was that God HAS intervened with the sending of Jesus Christ. He sent His Son to save us. Because if God DID intervene now, "the God of perfection would see us all as guilty" for 'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23) and His justice would send us where we deserve. He sent Jesus Christ so that we have a choice. We have ALL fallen, there is sin in the world and we are bound to fail and fall, but we now have a choice of freedom through Jesus Christ, who does not condemn. "Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11).
I knew it all, but the way he connected everything together was like I was hearing it for the first time all over again.
Sunday continued with lunch at a little cafe on the beach followed by a nice walk and conversation with Bec. And then I was off on the train again back to campus.
A very nice weekend.
God's pretty awesome. And I still can't get over how He concocted Bec and my relationship. :)