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Sunday evening June 17 2012 – Sydney Australia by Ian Shepherd

As we gathered tonight it struck me that this group of students is very special to me. I appreciated the 100% attendance at our worship service after such a fun weekend for all. As we gathered and had a cup of coffee or tea, each of the students were loudly telling of their wonderful experiences this weekend. Today was probably the sunniest day we have had this whole week. There were three basic groups traveling around Sydney. One group, along with Dr. Jinkerson, spent the weekend walking and sightseeing in Sydney (The Rocks, George Street, Darling Harbor, Paddies Markets). Another group went to Bondi Beach and spent the day walking the cliffs of the beaches along the coast. Another group went to Manly beach on the ferry and spent the day surfing and swimming. There were so many great stories and such exuberance from a group of excited students. A few of the students now want to extend their trip and maybe learn to surf here in Sydney. We will be looking into that tomorrow for them.

I was lucky enough to go to see my mother with my son Ethan and his wife Leah. What a joy it is to go home to the old home place. We had a great weekend just visiting and listening to stories and just catching up on what was happening with everyone.

Tonight as we gathered for worship we were glad to have Peter and Claire Tickner and family from the McQuarie congregation here in Sydney drop by to bring the lesson and share the Lord’s supper with us. We sang, prayed, read and worshiped together bringing a great weekend to a perfect end. Peter and Claire are longtime friends and missionaries here in Australia. We have appreciated the faithful nature in which they have served the Lord for many years. Strangely enough, Ethan my son told his workmates in the Adams Center at ACU that he was traveling to Sydney and one of them said “I know someone in Sydney, Peter Tickner”. Nuria, from the Adams Center, used to baby sit Peter when he was young. Ethan responded quickly that he had known Peter since 2002 when Peter baby sat him in Murfreesboro Tennessee. It truly is a small world when you are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Tomorrow we will spend the day cranking out assignments at Sydney University here in town. We have arranged to have a classroom for both our classes for the day. We will be able to use the internet and catch up on all our work that requires the internet.

Take care!

Monday 6/18/2012 – Our walk to University of Sydney by Ian Shepherd

Having had so many problems with internet access I called University of Sydney (who have a large campus here in Sydney) to see if we could get a room with internet access for all 24 of our travelers. The university was able to allocate a room for 2 days with internet access for $130. Doing the math for internet access for 24 people for 2 days…..that is pretty reasonable. After booking the room I received and email with directions. The email said it was a short walk from Central Station. I jumped on the web and mapped our walking directions to the school. It was 2.8 kilometers….how bad could that be? It is not much more than walking around the walking track at ACU!

Setting off on the walk a little late I set off with 23 people in tow. I can tell you that the 2.8 kilometers at a brisk walk up and down hills and through heavy traffic was no fun! It took about 40 minutes to get there…and…it is NOT within walking distance of Central.

We found our room, set up, and then held class for most of the day. During breaks and at the end of the day the students were able to upload most of their pictures and also skype with parents at home. It was enjoyable to quietly listen to all their excited discussions with parents about the new experiences they have had these last few days. At the end of the day we shared a cab back to our apartment and collapsed onto the couch.

Tomorrow….we do it all over again!