Overview of Sydney Experience

Trip Start Mar 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 11, 2009

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Where I stayed
Norman Home

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I cannot begin to explain what a joy it has been to be in Sydney. I am now sitting in the airport about to embark on my next destination. I can only hope it will be slightly as good as the time I have had here. The highlight of this leg of my journey has definitely been the people. Feeling a part of family and friends on the other side of the world is captivating. Realizing I can just be me, and feel loved and cared for is remarkable. It boldly shouts the goodness of my Lord. And of course I need to shout a huge thank you to Ben & Sandy Norman, and their sweet kids Michael and Jessica. Their church family and friends have also been a huge blessing to me, thank you.

Although I only saw a bit of Sydney, what I saw was perfect in every way. The town welcomed me in, claimed me as their own, and gave me the breath of fresh air that I needed. My trip on the ferry was glorious and the beach town of Manly that welcomed me was delightful. The surfer scene fit the picture perfect stereotype I had of Australia. The beaches are gorgeous, the sunshine radiates the comfort that I so needed. I rested there and just soaked up the joy of being in the present.

As I headed back on the ferry I smiled at all God was showing me. The opera house stood tall, dominating the view of the harbor. The Harbor Bridge reminded me of the bridges being built in my life and the connections taking place because of my amazing God. I am humbled by it all.

Although opera season has just ended my trip inside the opera house was overwhelming. Many magnificent minds and hands worked together to create a glorious sight. I kept telling myself I have to come back and experience it all again. The concert hall pulled me in to it's glory, begging me to come back for a real performance. I was blessed with hearing the organ prepping for a performance, aaahhh. I will surely be back.

Wandering out of the opera house I found my way to the botanical gardens. I sat on the banks and took in this great city. Wandering through beautiful trees and greenery I was met with peace. Peace, is a word I am so excited to have finally been a part of. Overwhelming peace seems to hold my hand and envelope my heart. My God, thank you for standing alongside of me.

My journey through the Sydney area was even more rich because of the Norman family. Our escapades to try and find Hillsong, resulted in disappointment and companionship. The church was recording a cd this weekend and there was not a service we could attend. We rushed to try and be a part of the concert, but the tickets were sold out. So, I was at the building, even journeyed downtown for the concert, but could be a part of neither. Very disappointing, but God knows what He is doing.

Instead of a popular trip to Hillsong I was met with a friendly church belonging to the Normans. The sermon, the testimonies, they spoke right to me. They reminded me of God's faithfulness "when being ambushed." Ambushed...I could relate to that. So God wanted me there, that is for sure. I was then able to enjoy an Aussie BBQ with church friends. What fun, they laughed at the American in me, and I laughed at the Aussie in them. Perfect, absolutely perfect.

Whether looking over Sydney in the tower, or being shaken by the OzTrek alongside of sweet Jessica, I am blessed that I was not alone. I am blessed that God knew just who should be standing by my side. As we ventured on the monorail, the Lord knew I needed to laugh at the joy seen in Ben & Michael and the kindness of Jessica and Sandy. As we rushed home God knew the comfort of that family unit was exactly what I needed to welcome me to this new amazing place.

The trip to the coast and the wildlife refuge, were simple and delightful. It felt like a day with old friends, although I had only known some of them for a few hours. The kangaroos hopped nearby and even ate from my hand. Their claws were a bit vicious, but their bold hopping made me laugh out loud. The koalas were snuggled up comfortably sleeping, just like I had always knows them to be. Cute, cuddly, adorable. Many other animals shared a kindred moment and made for a great experience. We made our way to the coast for a beautiful view, and a lovely lunch, although the wind and rain challenged us a bit. We warmed ourselves with afternoon tea and good conversation. Truly amazing.

Each evening I was blessed with the Norman family. Great food, good company, engaging conversation, led me straight to bed with contentment on my heart.

I awoke this morning sad to be leaving my new friends, but excited to be escaping the rain. I am hoping for sunshine and good things to see. I am even praying for some new friends. It should be interesting, and I know it will be good.
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