Ever since I was young and got into sailing, I have wanted to go to Australia, and New Zealand for that matter. I finally made it to Australia in March of 2011. I had a break between quarters at Seminary and found the perfect excuse to travel to Australia with my friend Gina, Hillsong's Colour Conference. Simultaneously, I still wasn't sure what I was going to do after graduating from seminary, which was only 3 months away, and who doesn't want to consider moving to Australia to become a sailing instructor?! What I thought was going to be a trip of visiting beaches, sailing schools, and various churches that I have followed over the years, in fact became a trip that would perhaps give me more life direction than I would have imagined. The first couple of days were spent on the beaches, let's get real, who goes to Australia and doesn't go to the beach?!
And of course we had to visit the petting zoo so that we could see the kangaroos, pet the koala bear (who is drugged on Eucalyptus leaves if you didn't know it already) and see all the other animals unique to Australia. Oh my gosh, soooo many cute animals that I wanted to pet, I can't even tell you!
And the trip was made especially fun since I got to reconnected with a classmate of mine from our time studying at the University of Dar es Salaam (in Tanzania).
And then there was Hillsong's Colour Conference. If you've heard of Hillsong, you might just think they produce music. What you may not know is that they are a church that was started in Sydney and which has had one of the most significant influences on the Church in this generation. I have been part of, and visited, countless churches in my life time (I know I'm not old, but I've been to a LOT already) because I love God's Church and want the best for it. I truly believe that it is the hope of the world when it lives out its destiny to literally be the Body of Christ on earth for the purpose of continuing to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. If this has not been your experience with church(es), please accept my apology.
As a former Youth Pastor, and having been in full-time ministry for a number of years, I have been to my fair share of Christian Conferences. Many of them are very good. But when Gina and I went to Hillsong's Colour Conference in Sydney, there was just something different about this one. In an arena with 10,000 other women from around the world, we were both encouraged, inspired and empowered in ways that neither of us had been before. I found my vision for what God's Church could be like stretched, and I found my vision for what my life's purpose could be taken to new heights. Needless to say, we ended up at Hillsong Church that weekend, and I got to help back stage the following week when they put on the same Colour Conference at their campus in the Hills. :)
My time in Australia reignited my passion for the Church and what this world could be like if we were all able to fully live out our purposes in this generation. So much for becoming a sailing instructor in Sydney, but I'm pretty sure I discovered something much more meaningful. ;)