The lead up to the June/July school holidays every year for me is one of great excitement and anticipation. I was 10 when my family moved to Brisbane and we started attending the Holland Park Church of Christ. It was the first time I had ever heard the word Lipscomb and I had no idea then, what the arrival of the Lipscomb team would mean to me over the following 5 years. The arrival of the team is always a highlight of my year. Not only do I get to meet an awesome group of people year after year but it is also the time of the year that I find my faith grows and matures the most. The opportunity to build relationships over the past 5 years with older teenagers and young adults from another country who have willingly given up their summer break to fly half way around the world to disciple us is truly so amazing and encouraging. I know 100% that God has put every single one of them into my life for a specific reason.
For me, the time when my faith grows the most is whilst the team is in Australia is at Camp Talmid. This is a time every year I feel myself being drawn closer to God. I eagerly look forward to camp as I can see God working through everyone I come into contact with and it is a chance to really get to know and form bonds with Americans which is really exciting and always fun. Each year the Australian teenagers are paired up with an American buddy and I have been fortunate enough to have been matched with Taylor Smith for the past 2 years. Emma Thean, who is also part of the Holland Park youth group completed our buddy group this year. Every night the three of us would go back to our room during small group time and even though we found our conversations were often “off topic” I found them so valuable and they have helped me as a young Christian to really think about what I believe, why I believe it and gave me the opportunity to share some of the things I was going through with others that I trusted and have grown to love.
Another reason I highly anticipate the team’s arrival each year is that I gain some sisters for an incredible five weeks. Being the only girl in a family with two brothers definitely presents its’ challenges and with the arrival of the girls we host, I get to experience what it would be like to have older sisters. This year we hosted Leah Owens, Toria Davis and Jamey Webb. All three of them have previously stayed with us and as soon as they stepped through the door we kicked off right where we had left off last year. This is definitely my favourite part of the June/July holidays; getting to continue relationships right where they left off, even though we have been 9,000 miles apart for an entire year. The experience of being able to pray together, share our deepest thoughts, laugh until our stomachs hurt, cry until there are no more tears and just hang out with some older girls who have already been through what I am going through and have a Christian perspective on it all is so encouraging. I feel blessed that I am able to share in my “sister’s” lives even when they return to the US by staying in contact with each other through messages and social media. I have watched them graduate, get jobs, find boyfriends, get married and sadly one pass away last year. I know 100% that the relationships I have made with all the girls we have hosted over the past four years, will continue and I’m already making plans for a trip to America to see them.
I continue to be deeply blessed by Lipscomb’s Brisbane mission team year after year and I am constantly amazed by the team’s commitment to the trip and how each team member intently invests into each teenager’s life that they come into contact with here in Brisbane. I am so thankful that I get to build relationships with others older than me, I get to be buddied up with and do high ropes activities with American students who are strong in their faith, to partake in fun weekends and day trips and uplifting devotions. I am so grateful to my church, Holland Park Church of Christ for continuing each year to host these students and for giving us the opportunity to ‘hang out’ and grow with some pretty cool Americans for a month. As I continue to grow in age and as a Christian I pray that God continues to work through the Lipscomb team here in Brisbane and specifically in my life.
Laura Johnson, 15