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Passion for walking globally

Global Walking Team leader and youth worker at Centenary Uniting Church, Jason Bray.

When Laura Moore of Deception Bay Uniting Church signed up for a Global Walking program she knew she wasn’t going on a Christian Contiki tour.

Ms Moore participated in a Short Term Exposure Trip to Manilla for three weeks just after Christmas last year.

Global Walking is a program designed to be a transforming experience for the traveller.

It makes no attempt at pretending to be a holiday tour. It aims “to provoke and empower” travellers to commit to long-term missional activity.

As the brochure states, “Our desire is to open the minds and hearts of the traveller, by exposing them to the joys and struggles of the Uniting Church’s partner churches in the Asia Pacific region.”
And it certainly did that for Ms Moore.

“I saw the words of God in a whole new light while in the Philippines. When the Bible tells us that we must lose our life to save it, in the Philippines, that passage is literal,” she said.

“People fight for justice and get falsely imprisoned, tortured or murdered for their trouble. We visited a small church in the island of Palawan – small, because most of the congregation fled when their Pastor was assassinated a year earlier. He was murdered in a drive-by shooting because he was active in the fight for land and human rights, which are constantly abused by the government.

“At this church, we met his widow and his five children. They were the most amazing, alive, faithful, active people I’d ever met. They weathered the tragedy of losing their father, clung firm to the promises of Jesus and bravely trod paths of advocacy that their father had walked.”

Team leader and youth worker at Centenary Uniting Church, Jason Bray told The Transit Lounge (www.thetransitlounge.com.au) that overseas travel allowed him to gain an appreciation of how the majority of the world’s population lives.

He said as a team leader he had hoped the trip would open the eyes and hearts of the group to the struggles of Christians abroad.

“We hoped that by going, we’d see some sort of reaction from those who went, to get them to engage in some sort of mission in response to what they had seen, whether that be overseas or in their own backyard.

“So many young Aussies are hot-footing it over to London for a year, but that represents how the minority of the world’s population lives – we really need to see how the majority of people live to get a real worldview.

“We in the west live in a bubble of ignorance; when we choose only to explore those [western] places we perpetuate that bubble.”

The trip certainly adjusted Ms Moore’s worldview. She began to understand the Bible differently as a result. “As poor as they are (because abject poverty is rife), they are rich in hope – they have Jesus. I realised when the Bible says ‘Blessed are the poor . . . woe to the wealthy’, that we are the wealthy.”

Photo : Global Walking Team leader and youth worker at Centenary Uniting Church, Jason Bray.