The Hot & Cold of it All
The last time we wrote a blog update we were in Mildura on the boarder of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Since then, 8 days have past with 2500 km and 5 concerts (since writing this we have also driven up to Ayr!). We are currently driving through the outback on our way to Emerald Queensland for a concert tonight that will be our most outback concert we've done. We are excited about this AND it's T-shirt and shorts weather!!! Yes! Super excited to cross into Queensland and be experiencing their warm winters. We've put the air-con on, even though it's only 23 degrees Celsius as we're so used to the cold winter from down south. Our view currently is dry, brown bush and trees, a quarter of which are dead. The cows are getting thinner, the rivers drier and the drought is becoming more obvious.
This is in stark contrast to just two nights ago when were finishing off the after-concert pack up in 1 degree weather with the chill of snow in the air in Armidale. Waking up the next morning we were greeted with a wood-fire smoke filled valley with greenery and deciduous trees. This is Australia. We love our home! A country filled with diversity.
Our stops in the last week have included a church service in Bathurst and concerts in Griffith, Dubbo, Coonabarabran, Tamworth and Armidale. There have been both fantastic experiences and difficult moments that have continued in a cycle so typical of ministry ministry tour life.
After finishing set up and sound check for one concert, 7pm came and there was not one person. Zilch, nada, none. Talk about deflation. We felt a variety of emotions: surprise, depression, annoyance, self-pity, embarrassment, and thoughts of "lets just pack up". 7:10 rolled around and one person had arrived. We found out around this time that this church has a high population of Pacific Islanders and it's in their church culture to turn up later than on time. So with two people there, we decided at 7:20 that we would do the concert anyway. By the time we started 5 minutes later, there was a nice group who had trickled in and by the time we were finished the group had tripled. This concert ended up being one of the best concerts so far on the tour with the most financially supportive and responsive people. It's amazing how easy it is to begin to doubt when at face value the situation looks hopeless.
A lady at another church told us that she felt like all the words we spoke and the song lyrics were written exactly just for her. She expressed that our concert touched on exactly what she had been feeling discouraged about recently and gave immense encouragement. She said it felt like God brought us to her town at just the right time just for her; to encourage her. She thanked us for being so open with our struggles in our songs, such as in Temporary, as it helped her to not feel alone in her personal struggle.
Another exciting testimony that happened is that a woman, who previously hadn't been coming to church was invited to our concert, she loved it so much that when invited to a Bible study small group later that week she said "yes". Praise God!
After our concert at Coonabarabran Presbyterian Church on Sunday arvo, we had the opportunity to go look at the stars! Coona is the Astronomy capital of Australia and some people from the church got us in contact with Milroy observatory; the largest public telescope in Australia. We spent 2 hours looking at the stars and it was amazing! What an experience. The pics below are of just a few of the stars/planets we saw last night. The pics are taken through the telescope at Milroy. The pink nebula though was shades of dark blue and black as our eyes can't see the colours, but a camera can. We also were able to see a comet, alpha centauri & a few other stars. The whole experience made me more amazed at our Creator God and excited for His soon return! Now, when we sing our new songs, Orion & There We Rise, we're always going to have the sights from last nights experience in our minds. So brilliant, amazing and filled with wonder!!!
As we leave Emerald after a wonderful concert last night, we're looking forward to our time in the tropical far north. But first a six hour drive, 4 1/2 hours of which with no town in between. If you would like to support our music ministry trip from where you're at, you can buy our NEW album!
Until next time! Blessings & love,
Eric & Monique