Queensland, Australia

In January 2011, the area around Toowoomba, a middle-sized town in Queensland, Australia, began to flood.  img_2216The flood quickly tore through the unprepared community and local farmlands before spreading to the city of Brisbane and other areas throughout Queensland.  Thirty-five people lost their lives in the flooding and an estimated 30 billion dollars in damage was done to the area.  Trinity West travelled to Queensland on January 24th.

Due to the time change and length of travel, we arrived in Australia on January 26th, Australia Day.  After being interviewed by local media and experiencing some of the local festivities, we quickly made our way north to Toowoomba where we worked helping farmers clean up flood damage and rebuild fences.  After several days of work there, we travelled to another area which had taken a great deal of damage from the flooding, the small town of Texas. 

img_2817Texas was so named because shortly after Texas in America succeded in winning its war of independence from Mexico, the first settlers to the area in Australia successfully won their own territorial dispute and named the area in reference to the famous conflict in America.  In Texas, we continued clean up and fence building duties, but had other work, such as fixing irrigation systems and laying pipes for wells.  We spent a week working in Texas which concluded with a benefit concert for Blazeaid, in which our own TWCD volunteer Donnie Mortimer actually performed, accompanied on harmonica by another volunteer, Drew Crowson 

The TWCD trip took 13 volunteers to Australia, by far the largest group we've had to date.  We again worked with Blazeaid on this trip, the same group who was such a big help in setting TWCD volunteers up during the trip to Victoria when dealing with the bush fires in 2009.  During the 2 week trip, we saw a great deal of Australia and met a bunch of great people.  More importantly, we got a lot of work done and helped a good number of farmers get back on their feet after this unexpected and devestating flood.



        "It is hard for me to accurately express all that this trip to Australia meant to me and the many things that I learned from it. In general, it was an experience that I will remember forever as extremely difficult, fun, and enlightening. We arrived in Toowoomba after days of hard traveling and began working with various farmers that the organization connected us to. The farmer and his family that my group was assigned to made the biggest impression of the trip for me. We worked with him clearing debris from his fences, tore down the fences that were destroyed, and rebuilt the fence. It was very hard work, but every night we would sit on their porch, have refreshment, and enjoy one another. The family was so grateful for our help. One night we stayed and the farmer’s wife cooked us a typical Australian dinner of roasted lamb. Our group and this family bonded in a very special way and we are still keeping up with on another online. After three days we moved to the small town of Texas to continue with the farmers there. My team did everything from clean debris out under houses, work on irrigation systems, and clear more fences, all in weather reaching the 100s in degrees F. I think possibly, I came away from this trip feeling more refined, touched, and changed than the farmers. It was a huge blessing for me to be able to go and serve."

        "Our time in Australia was a hurricane of hard work and love in motion.  While on the farms, we learned very quickly that the help rendered had many dimensions.... It felt overwhelming to be there.  Our efforts were often met with immense gratitude and amazement that a group would come so far to do such hard, hot work.  It was amazing to think that a team of four often doubled or tripled a farmer's work staff, that we really did expedite their recovery.  It is also overwhelming to imagine how much work remains for these families.  That's why the other dimensions of our being there were so meaningful.  Many of these families needed hope, momentum forward as they sifted through the enormous losses and the daunting process of recovery.  Many needed to tell their story out loud, to grieve aloud and to hear their own thoughts and reflections as they shared them with us."

        "The trip to Australia feels like a dream.  It's hard to grasp the fact that it was both real and not that long ago as life has a way of making those moments feel strangely distant and dream like already.  It was a whirlwind of a trip...travel, work hard, hard, hard...travel back.  My particular team tore down and rebuilt fences for the first half of our trip and spent the second half of the trip getting an irrigation system up and running as well as clearing debris.  While it was exhausting and, at times, back breaking, I'm not sure I've ever before felt so relevant.  Before I left for the trip I was asking God to show me how I could be relevant for His Kingdom, asking Him specifically for an opportunity to "get my hands dirty".  How quickly and clearly He answered that prayer will forever leave a mark upon my heart."

        "The trip was amazing.  We all pulled together and managed to do a lot of good work in Australia.  Nearly every day was spent working on multiple farms cleaning, fixing, and building things that really needed it, and all for kind and grateful people.  It was a great experience to get to be there and help out, and there really is no better way to see another country than to go there and help people." 


Blazeaid - www.Blazeaid.com