(Clearwisdom.net, August 10, 2003) Bowen practitioners have recently been traveling to Mackay to give support to the practitioners in that area. Bowen is 1,200 kilometers north of Brisbane and Mackay is 200 kilometers south of Bowen. Being isolated ourselves, we understood that it was very important to go to their practice sites and help them to organize Fa-rectification activities. We knew that this would be beneficial to us and to them. After deciding to do some activities in Mackay, we sent out an e-mail to all practitioners in our state telling them of our plans and inviting them to join us.

We were very fortunate in the fact that a veteran practitioner from Southeast Queensland was able to fly up and share his experiences of organizing activities with us. After applying for permission to set up a library display, we went to our appointment with the mayor of Mackay, Julie Boyde. Some shared about how practicing Falun Dafa helped them to change their lives from being heavily involved with drugs to following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance and becoming better people. We talked with her for nearly an hour about the wonderful changes that practicing Falun Dafa has brought to our lives. Mayor Boyde mentioned that she would like us to help one of the community groups in the area by sharing our story with people wishing to give up drugs. We told her about the Falun Dafa practice sites in her own community and about the upcoming events we were going to hold in Mackay. She was very interested in hearing about the origin of Falun Dafa and was quite saddened to hear about the persecution. Happily receiving all the information we gave her, Mayor Boyde then told us she would give us her support, especially when we hold Falun Dafa Day there.

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Poster display in a library

The next day, we received permission to set up a library display. At first, the two Mackay libraries were concerned that we might be religious or political, but after reading the material we gave them and going to one of the websites, they happily accepted our applications. We were given a wonderful position that could be seen from the entrance. Our display included a beautiful, silk Falun banner, paper lotus flowers, balloons, pictures, CD's and books. We were allowed to leave it up for two weeks. The other library in Mackay is allowing a display to be set up in September.

Two practitioners from Cairns, North Queensland drove 8 hours to join us. Upon their arrival at the home of the practitioner with whom we were staying in Mackay, we made a poster board that said, "Four Years Too Long! Persecution Cannot Crush Our Hearts." We used this poster board the next day at the Mackay Showground Markets as part of the activities commemorating the four years of persecution in China.

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Activities at the markets for July 20

At the markets, we set up our gazebo, which had shade cloths as two of the walls displaying photos of Falun Dafa activities around the world. Doing exercise demonstrations and sending righteous thoughts attracted many local people. During the 5 hours that our information booth was set up, many flyers and other literature were handed out and a lot of people were pleased to hear about the local practice sites. We also spoke about the persecution and the reason for holding this activity. While we were there, a reporter from the local newspaper, Pioneer News, came to interview one of the practitioners. We were fortunate to have the Queensland Falun Dafa spokesperson with us. They spoke for over half an hour and he was particularly interested in the persecution and the lawsuits against Jiang.

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One of the Mackay practice sites

That afternoon at one of the practice sites, three new people came along as a result of our booth at the markets. One of them bought a copy of Zhuan Falun before he left. We had the photo display laid out and many people who were attending a large music festival across from the site came to see what we were about.

A dinner was planned that evening for us to reflect upon the day's activities. We shared about the successful day and the great response we received, the importance of Fa-rectification activities, as well as personal experiences and the future Dafa will have in this area.

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Candlelight vigil commemorating the persecution of Falun Gong

On Sunday July 20, we commemorated the practitioners persecuted in China by holding North Queensland's first Candlelight Vigil. It was held at the entrance of an arcade on one of Mackay's main streets. We sent forth righteous thoughts every half-hour from 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. and did exercise demonstrations in between. Quite a few people took information brochures, looked at the photo display on the gazebo and several people stopped to talk more about the situation in China. For the practitioners in Mackay, this was the first time they had been involved in such an activity.

A couple of days later, three practitioners traveled up to spend time with the two Cairns practitioners. We attended their practice site, studied the Fa together and shared about the wonderful opportunity they have to spread the Fa in the remote North Queensland. The site is on a beach-front boardwalk area in Cairns used by many locals and tourists for exercising. Three new people joined us to learn the exercises that afternoon and this seemed to be a sign of things to come.

On Saturday, we had one more meeting with the Mackay practitioners at one of their practice sites. Here we discussed how best to move forward in North Queensland and work as one body. All the practitioners here understand the importance of sharing and cooperating in our activities and to learn from Master's teachings and suggestions. We all look forward to a bright future in the Fa, supporting each other in North Queensland and becoming more diligent in all that we do to help with Fa-rectification.