Byron Bay is the stereotypical beach/hippie town where all backpackers flock to for extended periods of time. we had the oppurtunity to stay with a local church and minister to the community through 2 sport tournaments as well as serving alongside the Byron Bay YWAM team at the annual Nimbin festival and their weekend bar-b-ques.
Byron proved to have many interseting experiences. We arrived very tired and were sent straight away to helping with a community bar-b-que in the park downtown. Every friday, the byron ywam team sets up free burgers and music as a chance to get to know people and share their testimonies. our job was to go meet people-and i began to see that I have allowed myself to become comfortable with indivdualized living-i don't like when random people come and start talking to me, so I had trouble trying to do it myself. But it was cool to see the Holy Spirit work in the conversations I did have. I was just making small talk and without even knowing it, I was sharing with them about finidng my identity in Christ over things in this world and learning how to forgive others-and it flowed naturally, which to me was somewhat of a new concept. So that first night went pretty well-but the next day was an even more "different" experience.
We spent the day at the annual Nimbin Festival, which is a weekend set aside to celebrate marijuna, handing out free pancakes and chai. I'm to young to have gone to woodstock-but if i could imagine what it was like-Nimbin was it! I was quite out of my element to say the least-upon arriving, the parade was starting and a giant blown-up blunt was paraded down the street as everyone around us lit up and enjoyed oblivion. I really did not know how to start any conversations with people, but as I stepped out and tried, God once more blew me away with His movement, not mine. Twice during the day, I was able to share with people parts of my testimony-and thankfully I didn't feel like I was forcing it upon them, they just happened to ask the right questions...
and the coolest converstaion happened later at night-these 2 european girls were getting chai and really wanted to know why we were handing out free food, so my friend marcelo told them to come talk to me becasue he had to work on the chai station..and it this point in the night, i was tired and not really feeling bold in approaching anyone to talk- so it was totally God ordained for these girls to be close by and honestly seeking to hear about God. For the next hour my friend johnathan and I were able to share with them a lot about the gospel and again it was cool to see how God put us 2 together at that exact moment because Johnathan is more blunt and up front and was sharing a lot of facts and points from the bible and I was sharing a lot of personal testimony....julia, one of the girls was really really searching, not quite there yet, but she was asking the right questions and i encouraged her to keep asking and searching because God was the one giving her those questions-He too is searching her out, so I pray someone she meets in her travels will help shed some more light on that.
Lastly, in Byron we also held 2 sport tournaments on the beach. We had a great turnout from people and were able to break down a lot of walls against christianity. So many people kept saying, "you guys are christians?" and really surpsied that Christians can have fun and want to give out free food and want to love on people and would set up sports tournmanets on the beach...so many people just have a misconception of what we are all about. Christ came to give freedom and life-as a Christian I'm learning more and more just how much I have a responsiblity in showing that to people. and it is cool to see their face light up with that fact that being a christian DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BORING!