During the Easter holidays, 27 staff and students returned home from our fifth trip to the Outback to serve on remote properties in South Western Queensland.
The students did an outstanding job connecting with 7 different properties where they willingly got their hands’ dirty fencing, handling stock and yard work, carrying out machinery work as well as general yard duties. Many of these properties have been in the grip of a long and unforgiving drought. It was awesome to be there to see some fresh growth following desperately needed rain in the region. Our students worked tirelessly, with a positive attitude and a great sense of humour. So many memories were made and deep respect was gained for those that live in the Australian Outback. Here is a recount from one of our student’s of their experience in the Outback.
Recently, 20 students and staff travelled 3,200 kilometres out to six farming properties 150km from Charleville on our annual Outback-Link Mission Trip. Going on this trip was not only a physical journey for us all but an emotional one as well. Once you see the brutally harsh differences from our lifestyle on a bustling coastline to an isolated property spanning a hundred thousand acres, it is easy to see how much we as students take for granted. When I decided I wanted to go on the Outback-Link Mission Trip, I felt called by God for a purpose I now realise is so far beyond myself and my own personal growth. This trip was about partnering with Care Outreach to help the farmers who have been struggling for so many years with drought and isolation. It was an incredible experience when we looked beyond ourselves to help the properties complete jobs that have been on their wish lists for up to a decade.
The groups I worked with were on a property that was building a mustering fence that had been sitting unbuilt for over 2 years. We could not truly prepare for the work that was ahead of us; as the work day started when the sun came up and finished when it went down. However, watching the farmers work and live happily in their circumstances was so inspiring, seeing their work ethic and constant positive mentality. We did not realise how hard it is to live isolated until you experience it yourself. It made me realise how good it is to be surrounded by a loving community like Suncoast all the time, and how these farmers miss out on this vital part of living. The second property I had the privilege of being on, had the task to take down 8 kilometres of fencing in three days; which we later found would have taken the farmers 2 to 3 months to do alone. It was incredible to see what we can do for people while we were out there, and through it, we learned the importance of selflessness and giving. The smiles on the farmer’s faces made all the work worth it; knowing that we had done something that would affect their lives as well as our own for the better.
Sure, the physical journey was hard; but seeing how big an impact a few hands and smiles created made it all worth it. I feel as if we accomplished what it says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I thank God for the opportunity to give, and for the blessing to build my own character by helping others. It is an experience that I will never forget.
Danniella Halvorsen, Year 11C