Mission Trip : Moree
In the July Holidays each year, students at St Philip’s have the amazing opportunity to carry out a mission tip to the children in the Moree community. The following is a recount of the experience from Madeleine Hughes.
The day arrived, the 8th July, when we all met at St Philip's with our bags, ready for a week away from our families to experience life in Moree. When we arrived in the town, we were shocked to see the quality of the town. Moree looked like a really good town with it’s water slide as tall as a three story house and its main street full of well-known businesses. It wasn’t till Sunday, after a trip to Myall Creek to learn more about the history of where we were on Saturday, that we realised that on the other side of the train line, it was not such a beautiful, little town. There was one road in and one road out. There were many houses that weren’t even there any more because they had burnt down and the council had come and collected the remains, leaving only the foundations. Other houses had doors and windows boarded up with plywood as a window had been smashed or a door kicked in. Everything had been vandalised and there was so much rubbish. Although the state of this town was shocking, I loved to see all the family groups outside talking to each other and the kids running around playing together.
The first day of program was Monday and each day we had about 60 kids turn up. When they arrived we provided breakfast and then they had a good run around in the Salvation Army’s yard (where we were staying). Shortly after this the children were split into two groups, 7 years and younger and 8 years and over for morning games. These included many games, competitive and team building that involved everyone. We then met under the covered area for morning tea. But before the kids ate, one of the coaches would be interviewed in different time slots throughout the day. This gave the kids a chance to learn more about us and connect on another level. It gave us, the coaches, a chance to share some valuable lessons and thoughts to stick in the kid’s head. It was a chance to influence their lives. After the interview the kids were given fruit for morning tea, followed by an interactive life lesson with Mr Hodges to teach the kids about God. These lessons included: God created you with a special purpose; God wants your love but would never just take it, it is your choice to give it to him; and that God will always forgive you.
Later in the day, the kids were able to pick an elective. They could choose between art, sport and another elective that changed each day. On Monday it was dancing, on Tuesday it was music and on Wednesday it was drama. On Thursday, the children could pick art or sport, but leaders would come around and take a couple of students at a time to participate in the pamper elective. This was very popular of course as even the boys wanted to come and get their hair and nails coloured and their face painted. It was a lot of fun. When the electives were complete, the children met under the covered area for another coach interview and then lunch. They had the choice between honey, vegemite and cheese sandwiches so they lined up and ate, then of course, they ran around again because these kids never run out of energy. Then, they met in the Salvo’s hall to participate in the “Little Olympics” on Monday and Tuesday and Indoor games on Wednesday and Thursday. This was an opportunity for us to bond with the children and we really got to know them during this time. At the end of the day, we awarded lots of player of the day prizes and then the children were taken home on our buses till the next day.The week brought so much joy to me, I could say I hardly stopped smiling in the weeks that followed. Not only did I give a week full of lessons to these beautiful children, I also learnt so much during the time I spent with them. I learnt that we take our privileges for granted and that these kids are so excited at the thought of getting to know us and appreciative of what we were doing for them. I loved every moment of the week and am eager to go back next year and to see these kids again and hopefully a few new ones too.