Australia: Celebrating Falun Dafa along the North and Central Coast of Queensland (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) Practitioners made two extensive trips along the East Coast of Queensland, Australia during 2002 and gave Queensland's Members of State and Local Parliaments, Town Councillors and their communities a grand opportunity to share with Falun Dafa practitioners. They came to know that practicing Falun Dafa produces many benefits to the individuals that practice it--benefits that also spill over into the community. Many more people are now aware of the unwarranted, brutal persecution against innocent practitioners in China.
Gladstone, Bundaberg and Surrounding Rural Areas
A two-week trip to celebrate Falun Dafa in the Gladstone/Bundaberg areas of Queensland took in the Wild Scotchman Festival at Gin Gin and the weeklong Harbour Festival at Gladstone, including visits to nearby Miriam Vale and Calliope. Also visited were the towns of Bundaberg, Bargara and Childers. We joined street parades at Gin Gin and Gladstone where we shared flyers with hundreds of onlookers lined up along the streets. A display was placed in the City Library at Gladstone for the week. All libraries were presented with Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun books and the Exercise Video.
Our mini photo display "Journey of Falun Dafa" supported us in clarifying the truth and the extent of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China to the local communities, Councillors and overseas visitors in these areas. Thousands of pamphlets, SOS flyers and a newsletter with the latest information on the persecution in China and practitioners' personal experiences of the benefits of Falun Dafa were shared and welcomed.
A small core group of practitioners from Southeast Queensland made the trip with support from other practitioners coming and going as their time permitted. Some practitioners travelled approximately 5-7 hours there and back in one day to give needed support, such as joining the street parades in Gladstone and Gin Gin.
Councillor Patricia Kan of Miriam Vale Shire wrote a report in the local district newspaper and included our photograph. She was personally so taken by the practice that she bought both books, Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun, as well as the exercise instruction video. She has invited us back to Agnes Water to present Falun Dafa once again to the community with her organising support.
Councillor Doug Schofield, representing the Isis Shire Council of Childers, stated in his opening speech at our Falun Dafa Day in Childers that he really appreciated what practitioners are doing. Mr Schofield has since presented us with a 'Certificate of Appreciation'.
Matt Burnet, a youthful Councillor representing the Gladstone City Council, showed great interest in the practice when he visited our stall one evening at the Harbour Festival. Our photo exhibit "Journey of Falun Dafa" allowed him to visually take in the extent of the persecution. He listened intently, not understanding why the Jiang Regime could ban such a peaceful practice. After clarifying how the practice brings people physical well-being, inner strength and peace, thus attracting huge numbers of people in China, he then understood how the sheer numbers of practitioners in China could be perceived as a threat to a regime that must have total control over its citizens.
The local newspapers, radio and television stations in and around Bundaberg portrayed us very well. Evening television news showed the exercises being performed in the town's centre pavilion along with interviews of two practitioners sharing their understanding of Falun Dafa and the persecution of practitioners in China. The local radio station presented an interview session with a practitioner to the mid-morning listeners. Coverage in the form of photographs and short positive write-ups appeared in the local newspapers.
Immense interest was shown in learning the exercises and cultivating one's inner nature. A dear 90 year old lady visited us at our stall at the Gladstone Harbour Festival to learn the exercises after spending months searching for us and visiting bookshops in other towns looking for the book Falun Gong. She had been attempting to do the exercises following an information flyer. After being shown the exercises and buying the book Falun Gong, she now intends to borrow the Exercise Video from the City Library.
A lovely-natured man who was recently released from jail spent days with us as we shared with the community at different venues. His jail term was the result of a moment of lost control and the misuse of his skills in martial arts. He sat nearby reading the book Falun Gong till he finished and learned the exercises. He shared with us the loss of his young family while in jail through divorce and how Falun Dafa was now giving him an understanding of life. A practitioner showed her compassion by presenting him with a copy of Zhuan Falun because he was so obviously taken by Falun Dafa but so short of funds and unable to buy the book.
New Practice Site
As an outcome of such great interest from the community, practitioners have travelled one and a half to two hours there and back to establish a site in Bundaberg.
Townsville/Thuringowa Area and Rockhampton/Yeppoon Area
The most recent trip to the north, a fourteen hour drive from Brisbane, proved most productive for Dafa practitioners from Southeast Queensland to share Dafa with the local communities and tourists in the Townsville/Thuringowa area and the Rockhampton/Yeppoon area on the return trip.
Extensive attractive displays were presented in the busy Shopping Centres and the huge Sunday markets with week-long static displays in the libraries. These displays followed a similar theme as used on the above trip.
Activities in Townsville/Thuringowa
Two appointments were made to meet separately with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Thuringowa. Both Councillors were most interested in the benefits of Falun Dafa, especially in the off-drug related area for their teenage community. Four practitioners who live two hours drive away have been invited to share their experiences with the community and liaise with a Council department.
Contact has been made with the local Chinese community which is showing an interest in participating in the near future. A well-known retired Chinese doctor in this community was once a practitioner until the persecution began in 1999. The long-standing fear of the practice amongst members of this Chinese community due to Mainland China's propaganda is now being dissolved. Information shared with them recently was eagerly read.
A practice site has now been established in the Townsville/Thuringowa area with hundreds of people having the opportunity to experience the exercises and/or know more about incorporating the principles of Truth Compassion and Forbearance into their everyday lives through reading the books Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun. Over 40 people came on the opening day of the site. Practitioners now drive two hours, once a week, to continue sharing in a lovely shady park by the sea where visitors to the area often walk by and sometimes join in. Temperatures in this area reach 40oC in summertime.
Activities in Rockhampton/Yeppoon
A number of the local Council members in the Rockhampton/Yeppoon area showed interest in our visit to their communities. Locals were also very interested, especially in the seaside town of Yeppoon. People wished to learn and practice immediately. At the moment, practitioners live too far away to drive there on a regular basis.
The four practitioners from Bowen are continuing to keep contact with the community in the Townsville/Thuringowa areas, including the local, State and Federal Government officials.
Season's Greetings cards, along with a CD of Pudu and other peaceful practitioner-composed music from around the world, have been presented or posted to Government officials in the above areas together with information on "Help Rescue our Family Members".
Peoples' hearts everywhere are awakening to the beauty and righteousness of Dafa as the old forces' influence and control over people diminishes daily.