It's now later!
I forgot to mention that I asked Lauren about praying in tongues on this night. Previously, I'd read that linguists had done study on a recording of it, and it seemed human made, because it's simply not diverse enough to be a real language. It's full of repetitiveness and it's basically not random enough. I didn't tell this to Lauren when I talked to her, though
So anyway, she explained that speaking in tongues is just something that... happens, essentially. While she's doing it, she has no idea what she's saying, and it requires no brain work to keep it going (because it's coming from the soul, not the mind). This means that while you're praying in tongues, you can think your own prayers, or read a book (as Anna said she did once), or whatever – it's completely disjoint from thinking (though I'd imagine it can still get distracting).
Also, I believe that the reason these linguists found it repetitive was because the main 'topic' of praying in tongues is praise to God. That's my own opinion though. Oh, the other thing about praying in tongues was because it comes from the soul/spirit, it is completely in line with God's Will. And we all know what that means (or for those who don't; if we pray for something, and it's in line with God's will, we can be certain it will be answered).
Some more spiritual stuff that's been happening over the past few days was, like, the team was 'seeing', or noticing things that I simply wasn't. Hard to explain this one... Had to be there I guess. I don't know why I mentioned it. But it made me wonder if I needed to add more spiritualism to my faith. I'd always accepted spiritual things to be real, but never on a very personal level...
Tuesday, 28th November
The sun up, we went to bed (tee hee), woke up late as always. Today was a pretty good resting day for us – well earned too, methinks. We decided not to take any pancake orders or anything today to avoid being run into the ground, so essentially we stayed at home and rested for a while. We had a BBQ to go to after dinner, but nothing before that.
Before we went to dinner, we went and did something (wish I could remember what), and Lauren wanted to go shopping. In typical Red Frog nature, with the whole 'staying together' thing, it was a good idea to have someone with her, and so I got that ... hate to say it ... task. Little did I know Lauren was so big on shopping, we spent quite a bit of time in a shop. I did get a dress shirt for $10 out of it though, so it wasn't completely in vain.
We went to dinner, then got our meat and headed to join the BBQ down below. There was a lot more people at this one, but it wasn't all that interesting =P. At one stage Lauren was talking to a girl at one of the tables on their own, while everyone else was on their own. I'm not sure exactly what they were talking about, but Lauren got a good vibe from it, so it can't have been all bad ;-)
We headed to the hotel, it was a fairly crazy night. Room 16B was playing this drinking game 100 shots in 100 mins. They were shots of mixed drinks, so it wasn't as bad as it sounds, but there were tonnes and tonnes of drunk people there. The guy whose name the room was out under didn't want us there (presumably because of drugs and stuff that were in there), though everyone else did. We didn't go in, and everyone in the team felt a big 'spiritual attack' (mostly Lauren), that I did not.
So we went back to the apartment. I'm sitting there, fully fine and ok, wondering why on earth we're back here. I have no idea what Lauren was feeling, but she felt attacked. We stayed there for like an hour. I was still getting annoyed and frustrated at our reason for still being back there. I was of the opinion that even if Satan was attacking us, he can't do squat anyway, while we've got Jesus and the Holy Spirit on our side. But... y'know, I'm not pentecostal so I don't understand these things. We prayed for Lauren, sat around for a little while longer, before heading out again. There was a lot of “going back to the apartment to recharge” that night.
We went up to room 15B after that, had a little talk to them...was pretty cool but my notes have not much to say about it, and I can't remember much. doh!
We cooked some pancakes for our guards and brought it out to them, they appreciated it. It's amazing to think that all the stuff that we get into is just a very small part – there's tonnes of workers out on the beach, Cavill ave, security for each hotel, ambulance, police... We were small fry in all the turmoil, so we thought we'd better look out for our guards and keep them refreshed as much as possible. We gave red frogs to any police or anything we ran into, if they wanted it, as well.
Anyway, we went up to 31A, whom we were beginning to come quite close to by now. I brought my camera up to get some night shots of surfers, hopefully I'll get them uploaded soon. We were mainly building relationships for this one, and we did that quite well. 31D were the kind of people that would stay at home and 'chill', rather than going out and partying like mad.
We went back to our apartment after that (we'd done several other times but I didn't mention that), for a bit of a recoup before leaving just after 3 to catch the people coming back from the clubs and stuff. It was fairly dead then though, we spent a lot of the time talking to the guards of the hotel across the road, handed out the red frog cards to them and a few people that were coming back. We slept at about 4 that night.
Oh, we were planning on having a 'pancake party' at 1 o'clock at the BBQ on Wednesday, so we let people know about that tonight too. Most people were fairly interested. There was a few musicians about the place, so we'd organised 2 guitars and my harmonica to be down there too. w00t!
Wednesday, 29th November
Well, we slept until about midday today, and we had our pancake party at 1, giving us time to spend some time with God. We headed down with a few bowls full of pancake mix and whatever else was needed to make pancakes. A lot of the people form the hotel said they'd be coming, so I was looking forward to a good turnout.
Ahh, expectations, we were the only ones at the BBQ when we arrived... And we were 15mins late! So it didn't look like we were going to get a very big turnout after all. Started cooking the pancakes anyway (in case the smell attracted people I guess), and started eating the pancakes too. The girls from our floor (2A and 2D) eventually made their way down, which was good. They didn't know each other or anything before our little pancake party, but after the party, they were more 'united', which was good.
The musical inclined people came along later on as well – and there was a bit of jamming going on with a guitar and Brendon on my harmonica. I wasn't brave enough to jam with them, as my harmonica skills were dodgy at best. They had fun though!
After the pancake party subsided, we went back to our room for the little time we had before the daily red frog meeting and dinner. Went back to our apartment, prayed and all that jazz before heading out for another rocketing night.
Our first stop was up to the top floor. We liked going up there, because the guys in that room were 'chill out' sort of people instead of crazy drunks like the 6th floor boys. That, and the view was awesome. We were there for a few hours actually – and there was some AFL player guy who was going around with the red frogs for the night as well...but more on that later.
The Holy Spirit was at work quite awesome for this night (particularly this room). Anna had gotten into a conversation with one guy, near the TV, about scripture and Jesus (I wasn't part of the conversation so I can't be more specific than that). Brendo and I talked to a guy (who, might I add, is an AWESOME guitar player) about Jesus and some religion stuff as well, fairly spiritual if I recall correctly (that's a big if). Lauren was also talking to another guy, though I have no idea what specifically about. We had these 'surfer bibles' which was basically a new testament, with a bunch of testimonies from Christian Pro Surfers. So we pulled one of those out, and it was really awesome to see a stack of people crowding around a bible wanting to read it (they were mainly reading the testimonies). We handed the 2nd one out so more could read it.
These guys were big AFL nutters, too, and we requested that the AFL guy make an appearance here for these guys. So in not long, Anna and Brendo went down to fetch them and came back. When they walked in the room, there was basically an amazing air of power among them all. First there was Andy, the founder and organiser of the Red Frog organisation. Following him was the retired pro AFL player and (I think) his father (or someone's father). Then there was Mark, the organiser of the 2nd week, who was there to take photos basically. Then there was a guy who had been leading a lot o the prayers and doing organising and stuff too (not sure on his name). The air around them when they walked in was one of command, almost as if they were claiming the apartment in Jesus' name.
Essentially, everyone broke up into groups and talked. I was kinda nowhere in all of this, so I talked to some of the red frogs that were also nowhere, and also prayed. I can't really say what the effectiveness of the guys that came in were or weren't, because I simply wasn't part of the conversation. But there was good vibes, lotsa pictures taken, so I suppose it was a good thing.
We headed off from there and went across the road to the next hotel. We only ended up going to one room, and the room could probably described in 3 words: Sex, Drugs, Alcohol. The room was fairly dark (as in, no lights were on, and there was a lot of confusion as to who we actually were at first, but we sorted that out, gave our cards with the red frog support number on it, and got to talking. Some of the had heard of us, and that we were Christian, so we talked about that for a little while, what they'd done at school and everything. It wasn't too bad, but the other people in the team got a bad vibe of the place, and the conversations weren't going anywhere, so we left. I thought it went well, the fact that Jesus was brought up and talked about was very positive for me, but the general feel of the place wasn't.
I'm not sure where this bit slots in, but tonight I decided to make a midnight dinner for the team (we'd often go back to eat something at around midnight, but never actually have dinner). Lauren was leaving tonight, so it was a good time for a last complete-team get together. I made oyakudon, it turned out pretty bad, but meh. We headed to 6th floor.
Yeah, we went to 6th floor. Whoa, they were quite drunk indeed =P. We were hanging around in 6C for a while, one of the guys (the drunkest one) looked like he was gonna pass out sometime soon, so we thought we'd escort him up to his room (7th floor) to make sure he got there ok. That was an adventure, because we had to end up taking him up on a mattress... it was weird. Anyway, we got him there, he was lying down so we went back to the room and talked. Anna was talking to one of the guys there, I'm not totally sure what about, but it was something good hehe. Not long after, the guy we escorted upstairs had decided to come back down and got tonnes of yays and wahoos. It was fairly funny :p
Another guy (who had been drunk since like Monday) went to the other apartment for a reason which I can't remember now. It came back to us that he suffered a fairly severe nose bleed. From what we've been able to gather, one of two things happen. One: His nose just started bleeding randomly. Two: His friends said he does this thing fairly frequently where he pulls a door towards himself, makes it hit his foot or knee really hard, and pretend it hit his face. So it could have been this, but missing his foot or knee in his drunken state and smashing it into his face. We went up to check him out, and got him to do things properly (as in, don't run water over it, pinch the top bit, etc.). He was ok, but man the bathroom looked like a werewolf had been set loose in it. One of the guys had cut his hair in there the day before, and hadn't cleaned up the hair. The blood had gone everywhere too, so there was hair and blood and everything everywhere, it was insane. The boys said they'd clean it up so we left it at that. (Yes, this story continues in 2 days time)
We went to sleep after probably our most intense night thus far, nice farewell for Lauren.
Thursday, 29th November
We woke up and had a call to help clean up a room at a hotel about a block to the south. Note I said help clean a room, not clean it for em =P we're careful about that sort of thing. We got it cleaned up fairly quickly in the end, considering... They had made 'vodka jelly', which had gone everywhere over the floor. There was also some meatball sauce or something like that on the window (which we didn't do). The funny thing about this place is it was right next to the Q1. So from the balcony you could look into the enormous pool, and see the size of the most prestige hotel there. It's a bit of a slap in the face really. There was a bit of Jesus talk happening here, which was good. They also had a huge beer wall there... Hopefully I'll get pictures up for you to see.
We'd been told during the Red Frog meeting that there was going to be a Youth service at the local church on Friday Night, and that we should let it be known to our friends in the hotel. Out first stop that night was the girls next door, and we basically went there for pancakes and played cards with them. It was a pretty good time. We invited them to the youth service, they said they were going to dreamworld the next day, but they'd come to the Youth service if they got back in time. Played some more cards, and we moved on.
Up to 14B, another few girls (we only went to see guys yesterday, so it was about time we visited some of the female variety. I didn't mention Josie earlier (whoops). Anna's been talking to Josie for a little while now, about some fairly deep stuff, and this was where she was staying. She said she'd definitely be there, which was awesome =D. Some guys showed up in the room too, wanted their cd player (lol), we invited them too, and they were enthusiastic. It looked as though we were making an impression among these kids, which is awesome.
We ran into 14A on the way down to ground, they booked us in for some pancakes tomorrow night
Went down to the ground and talked to Andre and Bill (hotel security guards). Andre's a champ, I'll get a picture of him up. His hair is awesome. We gave him the gospel of Mark the day before, and he's been reading it – up to book 4 (where Jesus gets tempted for quite some time). We talked for a while about that. His impression of God was that yes, He created this world, but He doesn't influence it anymore – prefers to leave us to our own matters, sort of thing. We talked to him for a little while about that. Nothing much more eventful came out of that night, so we went to bed. Tomorrow would be our last day.
Friday, 1st December
Woke up, realised it was the first of December, so I gave Brendo a pinch and a punch. I don't think he was expecting it. Said it was a good punch too. Woo. By now, Brendon, Anna and I were the only ones left.
During the day, we went up to our 31st floor boys to say g'day. We just chilled with them for a little while, but not a whole lot interesting happened. We left after an hour or so, before going back to 14th for their pancakes.
We started with the pancakes, Anna cooking while Brendo and I talked to them. Talked and ate for a while, I think we went through 2 or 3 thingies of pancakes. I was quite full, as was everyone else there. So much for dinner later. Brendo left to go to the leader's meeting (he was acting leader since Lauren left), Anna and I stuck around to talk to them. Anna talked about her experiences with drugs, and how they leave you with the constant search for the 'high', but always have a down afterwards. She basically shared her testimony with them, which was awesome. She said God gave her a constant high without the need for the drugs or anything. They seemed to be taking in every word, but weren't really interested in the Youth service tonight.
We went to church, as it turns out, only Josie wanted to come, but that was ok. The band was rocking, thought hey only played 3 songs (and repeated 'One Way' twice). It was awesome worship though, I was buzzing afterwards. The sermon was fairly straight forward, and kinda expected really. The pastor talked about his past, which included Sex, drugs, and all that stuff too, and related to what the schoolies would be going through at the time (a week of drinking, the low at the end of it and not feeling that great). He told them the Gospel, and got everyone to close their eyes and raise their hand if they wanted to respond. I don't know how many people raised their hands :p
Anna and I walked Josie back, and talked to her and see what she thought of it all. Anna and Josie had gotten really close, and were definitely going to keep in touch. I think Josie was going to look more into going to church, which was an awesome thing. Her mother was Christian, but I don't think her mother's church really suited her. So that was really awesome !
Going back to the hotel, we ran into a girl (who was 20) who had her ID confiscated because they thought it was a fake. It was damaged, bot not a fake. We went to the club with her, and sorted the misunderstanding out with the bouncer. He was a bit of a jerk really, but I'd imagine these were stressful times for him so it's understandable I guess.
Back at the hotel, we ran into Eva in the elevator. She was a resident of this Hotel (not just on holiday), and about 30 years old I'd imagine. She had a child, and was currently going through divorce settlements with her ex-husband. The child's father had not paid any child support for a long time, which is what the court proceedings was about. Also, she had been done for drink driving earlier in the week, and was in danger of losing custody of her child. We comforted for a while on this, she was obviously distraught (and a little drunk...). I think we made her feel a lot better just by being there and talking to her.
She asked us a lot about why we were doing what we do, and obviously Jesus' name was dropped :p. She was raised up Catholic, and still sort-of believed it. She also believed that God reveals Himself in different ways to different religions. We had the longest discussion about that sort of thing, and each of us shared our testimonies with her. I'd been carrying a tract in my wallet for almost a year now (called “Knowing God Personally”), which I felt strangely compel to give to her, so I did. We encouraged her to pray along with all the organising she had to do with the court cases, and to do it with a clearer mind (ie. Don't drink while going through court settlements...which is sensible). We prayed with her there, and she prayed too. She was polish, and Brendon said to her “You're polish, you have your own language, I'd like to pray for you in mine.” And so, started praying in tongues for her. It sounded slightly different to usual, but like always, he had no idea what he was praying about. Eva felt compelled to give each of us something. Brendo got a picture of the Virgin Mary... I can't remember what Anna got, and I got an old Bracelet of Eva's that has her name on it. I've got it on my doorknob now, and pray for her whenever I see it, which is fairly frequently. I'll keep it up for a year.
Our adventures didn't stop there (we were there for more than an hour, i'd imagine), we went back to our apartment to recharge for a little while, as we were quite drained. Andre called us after a little while, said some people called him for needing help with a guy who had drunk way too much. We went to the ground, got details, and headed up to the 6th floor.
So we get there and see Rhys sitting in the bath, deathly white. With a tinge of green. He actually looked dead, but he was conscious. After some debate (with his friends), we called the ambulance, as he quite seriously looked like he needed a stomach pump due to alcohol poisoning. Anna pretty much took charge here, she'd seem to have dealt with this sort of stuff before, and was putting the cold shower on him and all that. We kept talking to him to keep him from passing out, he wasn't looking much better, but still talking. Drunk people aren't that interesting to talk to, but he had a very loving heart. Kept talking about how he had the best brother in the world, and how his best friend couldn't stay at schoolies for long because he had epilepsy.
Andre came up to check it out after a little while, and said the last time he'd seen someone who looked like Rhys did (except Rhys looked worse), he died that night, which redoubled our prayer for him. This was also the werewolf bathroom, with the blood and hair... It was crazy. Lucky we bought some cleaning stuff with us, and did that while we kept Rhys conscious talking. Anna did an awesome job cleaning the bathroom while I talked to Rhys.
After time passed, much prayer had been done, and there was still no sign of the ambulance. But Rhys finally started to look a bit better, and managed to move himself over to the other side of the bath, where there was a ledge to sit on. We gave him a towel and he started to warm up some, colour returning to him. He was still drunk as anything, but looked a little better, not quite so white/green.
It was fairly sudden... he seemed to just 'get better' really quickly. We cancelled the ambulance, as Rhys was now standing up, still drunk as hell, but ok. He just noticed the bathroom was clean and thanked us heaps. He stood up, even, which was surprising. We kept him in there for a while, till we were sure he wouldn't just fall over after starting to walk. Basically, he was drunk as all buggery, but he was ok.
Anna and Brendo went to the loungeroom, Brendo jamming on the guitar, and I stayed in the bathroom with Rhys. After not long, he decided he wanted to go out there, and he seemed ok, so I let him go (but stayed close just in case). Then he wanted to go to the beach. One thing about drunk people (well, nice drunk people, not violent drunk people), you can basically make them do what you want, despite their objections. He went out to the elevator, and pushed the down button, but we're like “no, you're not going there”. Eventually we pretty much just pushed him back into his room (not violently, more guiding type pushes) and he obliged. Things were ok then, so we let them go.
I honestly believe we saved this guy's life – I won't ever know for sure if we did or not, but it's a fairly big possibility. His sudden sobering up, I attributed to God answering our prayers, and things turned out fairly well. I hope the ambulance that didn't come was able to help others, with that long of a wait, there must have been a lot going on everywhere else as well.
And that was the end of schoolies. We went to bed, woke up the next day, had breakfast (I had 2 breakfasts, which was 4 eggs, 4 bits of toast, and tonnes of bacon. Man I was full. Caught the bus our own seperate ways, as Brendo and Anna were meeting a friend down south. I caught up with them on Monday for some Belgium Beer (quite ironic, a week around lots of alcohol, then when we meet up we have a beer). It was great.
I'll post more later, more introspective group stuff, self growth, what I learnt, etc. Should be more interesting than the recollection of events. Thankyou, Lord (if You are reading, which I'm sure You are) for such an opportunity to not only help others and witness for You, but also for the great spiritual growth that was evident in me during this time. I pray that this is a testimony to You, and the people reading can be affirmed in their faith more after seeing the work You've done in a place that is portrayed as the Devil's playground, pretty much.