Honors Student Seth Bouchelle Uses Honors Travel Grant To Counsel At Summer Camp In Australia

by   |  06.13.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

We arrived in Brisbane Australia, leaving on a Thursday evening and arriving on a Saturday morning. Needless to say we were a bit jet-lagged and disoriented. Our hosts actually live in Redlands, a suburb of Brisbane: Jamie, his wife Kellee, and three 20-somethings they have taken in Keith, Andrew, and Jim.

The first day we accompanied our hosts to byron bay, one of the top ten scuba-diving locations in the world. Because we are not licensed, we didn’t dive, but we did have the opportunity to look around the town a good bit. Byron Bay is comparable to the reputation that Austin has in Texas. It is a very “Hippie,” “green” sort of place. To and from the bay we had some intimate conversation with our new friends about Australian culture and the church here. Australia is a couple decades ahead of the US in regards to the prevalence of post-modernism. The norm is to be atheist. I have yet to meet anyone in the church who is more than a second generation christian. That being said, many of the biggest churches (~200 member) were founded by 1950’s missionaries, and the theology has not changed much. This seems to have created an even greater rift between the younger generation of non-christians and the leadership of these churches who values a worldview that has long been deemed inadequate and even archaic by the culture.
Jamie, Kellee and a few others have branched out from the traditional church (with the congregation’s blessing) in an attempt to form a more incarnational church. The church we attend here, with the Wares is certainly more than just an assembly. We have seen other members every night this whole week. We went to West End (another suburb) to work with some of Brisbane’s homeless residents. We have had more than a few dinners (most of the cooking has been our end, sharing our favorite foods such as enchiladas, chicken fried steak, and chili) and bible studies.
Camps start in a few weeks, and we will be working with youth grades 8-12. These will be students from the community who are familiar with some of the staff, but essentially have no relationship with God. As counselors, we will each be pared with one student and, in a non-offensive and non-domineering way, attempt to demonstrate what a life of faith looks like, sharing the Good news in word and through our friendship.