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Saturday 6/23/2012 Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast) – A Lazy Saturday by Ian Shepherd

Not much happening as a group today. We did catch a few of our students for breakfast and got to share in the lovely hot buffet breakfast downstairs. Many of the students planned on hitting the beaches today and walking down town to the main part of town that has lots of ritzy stores…and lots of restaurants and activities for tourists.

Tomorrow some of our students are flying up to the Great Barrier Reef for a day of exploration. Pray for their safety.

Sunday – June 24, 2012 Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast) by Ian Shepherd

A great lazy day as we were able to sleep in because our worship was scheduled for 7:00 pm tonight. We had our wonderful breakfast and then opened up our apartment for students to work during the day on whatever internet assignments they needed to complete. The internet has been incredibly expensive here. We will plan on budgeting more for this access in future trips.

As we gathered for worship many of the students were beaming and excited about their experiences. Many had gone to the national park and bush walked. Several had gone to a beach and had gone scuba diving for the first time. Another group took a charter flight up to the Great Barrier Reef to visit Lady Elliot Island. Here is a snippet of what they experienced!

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At Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef, you can step off the beach and snorkel, swim or dive in an underwater holiday world of brilliantly colored species of marine life, or just simply relax and soak in the natural island atmosphere. The lagoon protects and nurtures the curiosity of the beginners while a little further out experienced snorkelers and divers descend to see the coral gardens.

Lady Elliot Island is one of only three island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and the only resort with direct flight access to the island airstrip. The island is located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in the highest possible classification of Marine National Park Zone by GBRMPA. Lady Elliot is an island teeming with life and live corals, famous for a resident population of 40 Manta Rays which form the iconic logo of the island.

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At about 6 pm, Matt and Tish Harris (ACU and COBA graduates) who are vocational missionaries in Ipswich, Queensland dropped by to lead our worship. It is amazing to be able to travel around the world and run into people you have known for many years. Matt is the son of Dr. Scott and Leonie Stovall. Matt spoke to us about his passion for lay ministry where you work in the country and spread the kingdom through your life experience and house church. We also had a time of prayer as a request for Puneet who has friends back home in the USA who are being evacuated due to large fires. We also prayed for Rachel Jinkerson Goodman who will be undergoing surgery on Tuesday for cancer. Keep Darryl in your prayers as well as he will be with our students rather than his daughter during her 12 hour surgery.

With only three days before we leave we spent a little time getting logistics worked out for the next few days. Monday is exam day. Tuesday is a 4 wheel drive tour with Southern Cross 4wd Driver/guide for a full day Window to the Wilderness (Tamborine & Lamington National Parks).

Wednesday is a kayak trip to South Stradbroke Island and then Thursday we leave.