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Newtownbreda Baptist

Tracy on the Doulos. - update

Dear friends,

It was dusk and we were sitting quietly, waiting for the Fairy penguins to come out of the sea and walk up the beach to their nets. First one, then a group of four...then the big black clouds opened and it poured with rain. It had only been five hours since I had left the ship to go on a break with my parents. So just in case you were thinking that I have been basking in the sun on the other side of the world, think again. At the end of January we moved into the Southern Hemisphere which means that it is autumn, soon to be winter - my first winter since leaving home.

We have spent the last few months in Australia. Before arriving we had orientation just like all the other countries….So that we could understand the language! The Australian culture is very friendly and laid back, but sometimes this can be apathy. As soon as we arrived we noticed just how evident 'New Age' is in Australia. It is everywhere, from posters in shop windows, to windows, to magazine, to many shops specifically for 'New Age' things. There is also a large Irish population which can be easily called 'The Shamrock' where all the Irish went out for breakfast one morning. It was the first time in 17 months that I had eaten potato bread! In each port I met someone who had emigrated from Ireland - one man had come with his parents, brothers and sisters twenty years ago, the three week voyage from Ireland costing twenty pounds!

Over a period of three months we visited the ports of Fremantle, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart(Tasmania). There was a great interest in the ship with thousands of visitors coming to the book exhibition. For example, in Albany, which has recently become a city, 11,049 people visited within 10 days, and in Adelaide 44.526 people visited within two weeks. Over half the books sold in each port were Christian titles. One of the attractions we had was the "Doulos Down Under Experience". A department was created especially for this job and each day they would take groups on a tour around the ship to such places as the "bridge", the engine room, a cabin, the bakery and a book hold. During this time the tour guide would be able to not only share about ship life but also about his or her own personal relationship with Christ. Each person would receive a Doulos 'Passport' with a history of the ship ( she was built in 1912 making her two years younger than the Titanic and the oldest active ocean going passenger ship in the world!). Some testimonies and an ice cream voucher. The tours were proving to be so popular at times that they were booked up a day in adavnce and more people had to be trained to give tours. 

We were also blessed with many gifts of food. Especially in Albany. On arrival there we were given a cow, 20 sheep and 1100 jars of home-made jam. Latter we were given two more cows, a strwaberry farmer's seconds and plums. Then in Adelaide we were given three tonnes of apples ( we are still eating them in many different forms!)

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