Missions in Australia

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by franklinmonroe, May 27, 2008.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    Our church is sponsoring a trip to Australia (Sydney area) to assist a Baptist missionary work there for about 10 days in July. About 20 of us are going and we will assist in: a children's Bible club (like VBS, puppet shows, etc.), preaching, teaching, singing and giving testimonies at Sunday church services, community outreach (assist local Police station with graffiti clean-up, etc.), and generally encouraging the church members and the missionary couple.

    Is there any one on the BB that is from there, or currently residing in Australia? Does any one know an Australian missionary? Is any one familiar with the spiritual conditions there? Travel tips? Any info along these lines might be helpful, thanks.
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    1. Learn all you can about Australian culture.
    2. Do not take American answer for problems they probably do not have.
    3. Roll with the punches. There are cultural differences.
    4. Have a great time.
    5. Do not expect it to be like home, it isn't ... though Australia will not be nearly as different as some places you may go in the future.
    6. Read all you can about Australian history.

    I was in Moscow last summer and a Russian pastor said, "My church has just about recovered from the last missionary group from America."

    I ask, "What caused the problem."

    He replied, "Americans insisting on providing answers to problems we do not have. They could not believe we did not have their problems."

    Have a great time.
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    One of bb members named Pete is in Australia.
     
  4. Gold Dragon

    Gold Dragon
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    I'm currently residing in the North Shore of Sydney but have only been here for a year and a half. Feel free to shoot me a PM.
     
  5. Gold Dragon

    Gold Dragon
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    Hi franklinmonroe, your PM box was full so I thought I'd just respond here. It is good to hear you are coming to support a missionary here. What part of Sydney are you going to?

    Sydney is fairly typical of most major Western cities in that most Caucasians are or were at some time Christian, at least nominally if not more so. There is also a large segment of more recent immigration from Asia, India and the middle east of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians. Those who grew up nominally religious are now likely atheist or agnostic. 2006 Census - Religious Affiliation - Sydney

    After the Catholics, the largest Christian and religious group in Sydney are Anglicans who are theologically very conservative and evangelical. This is in stark contrast to Anglicans in the rest of Australia and most of the rest of the world where they tend to be more theologically liberal and of the "High Anglican" variety.

    The next largest Christian groups are the Eastern Orthodox, Uniting Church, Prebyterian, Baptist then Pentecostals. Even though they are small compared to the other groups, the Pentecostals get a lot of attention because the largest church in Sydney is Hillsong Church which is world renown for its worship music. Pentecostal and charismatic churches here are known more for their music and megachurch model with a hint of the prosperity gospel rather than tongues or gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    I would describe the Australian government as being more religion and Christian friendly than Canada and the US. Religion classes are a regular part of the public education system where students break up according to their own religions and denominations and are taught by a local minister/priest/cleric of their denomination on a weekly basis. Most non-Christians have likely heard a basic gospel presentation in their childhood, through evanglistic ministries or on television. They are likely to be cynical of Christians, particularly those trying to evangelize to them. The challenge is getting them to see Christ as someone who is real, compassionate and seeking relationship with them personally.


    Sydney is geographically a beautiful city with plenty of hills, trees, fantastic coastline and a world-class harbour. Unfortunately, the city was never a planned city so transportation is a nightmare. Train is the preferred means of travel but only goes to limited places and does this very slowly. I would recommend getting a CityRail TravelPass that allows unlimited travel on all trains, buses and ferries. While public transport is bad, driving in Sydney is worse, particularly for people new to the city. Don't expect to get anywhere fast. Be prepared to pay a lot more than you are used to for food, accomodation, gas and just about everything else you can think of. Sydney has one of the highest standards of living in the world and with the weak US Dollar, things will seem particularly bad.

    If you have time to do the touristy stuff, I would be sure to check out:
    1. Sydney Opera House at Circular Quay: an architectual wonder. I recommend the tour and booking online is cheaper.
    2. Sydney Harbour Bridge: start at Milson's Point station and take this great 20 min walk across the bridge and then check out The Rocks and Circular Quay at the other end.
    3. Darling Harbour and Chinatown: great food places
    4. The Royal Botanical Gardens, Domain and the Art Gallery of NSW: sculpted gardens and a magnificent free art gallery
    5. Taronga Zoo: great views from the North Shore and animals you don't see anywhere else
    6. Bondi beach: a Sydney icon with some great walks in the area


    Travel tips
    1. Bring a travel adaptor and converter. Electricity is 240V and 50Hz, and the outlets are different
    2. Be sure to declare all food and wood products at customs. They are very picky about this.
    3. You can get your visa online the day before you leave at Australia ETA
    4. Look the other way when crossing the street.


    Useful links
    City Rail: the train system
    Sydney Buses: the bus system
    Trip Planner: this site brings some order to the chaos of Sydney's transportation system
    Whereis: I prefer google maps but sometimes they get it wrong. Whereis is less user friendly map site made by Australians.
    Wotif: great for finding hotels at prices sometimes cheaper than list but you can only book 1 month in advance. I use it to find the hotel I want and then call them directly to book.
    Eatability: Great restaurant reviews for anywhere in the city.
    Aussiespeak,G'day and all that: Even though Australians speak english, they don't really. :)

    Phone numbers in australia are fairly confusing.
    The country code is 61
    The area codes are 02 for NSW and 04 for all mobile telephones in the country
    The actual phone number has 8 digits (xxxx xxxx)
    When you dial a number from overseas, you omit the 0 from the state area code. So you would dial 612 xxxx xxxx
    When you dial locally, you don't need the area code for land lines (xxxx xxxx) but you do need it for mobiles (04xx xxx xxx)

    Wow, I wrote quite a lot here but if there is anything I missed, feel free to ask.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    My wife and I traveled to Australia some years ago on a martial arts ministry trip. (I practice the Chinese martial arts.) We had a fabulous time! You're really going to enjoy your trip.

    Crabtownboy and Gold Dragon have both given excellent advice, but I would just like to add one item. Watch your tongue! By that I mean, there are a few American idioms and words that mean something entirely different in Australian English, and you can get in trouble. So I would suggest asking your host (maybe even ahead of time with an e-mail) what words and phrases to avoid.

    Have a great trip! :wavey:
     
  7. SaggyWoman

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    Drink lots of water.

    Keep your passport on you.
     
  8. franklinmonroe

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    Thanks for the advise, everyone. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back here (my daughter graduated from high school Saturday, out-of-town company, etc.).
     

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