#CodesGoesAbrodes

This is the place for all things abrodes… I mean abroad. If you want to know about my adventure in AussieLand, this is the place to be! Also, search #CodesGoesAbrodes on social media sites to find other fun things! Thanks for being interested in my life!

Grace and peace to you, my friend!

-Cody Wilkinson

\June 18th, 2016 – This day will always be known as “The Day I Never Lived”

Because of the time change, when I landed in Brisbane, I had never lived Saturday, June 18th, 2016. I figured out time travel, my friends. I’m writing this from the future!

Grace and peace to you, my friend!

-Cody Wilkinson

\\June 30th, 2016

It will be two weeks since I left Alberta tomorrow. Man, has it been a crazy two weeks! I met some wonderful people on the plane rides over here; a few fellow Aussie’s that gave me some pointers for living in Australia and some other just all around cool people. Once I landed, I got “home” to where I’ll be staying at least for the next while and got all settled. This place is beautiful! In these last two weeks, I’ve experienced so much. I experienced a Queensland winter storm (which are unusual – at least what came through is), what building a house in Australia is like, plenty of crazy sounding birds, walked up two “mountains” (glorified hills ;)), went camping on the beach in Noosa, tried surfing for the first time, became a youth leader at a church, got a phone and a car, met some absolutely amazing people, ate a lot of super delicious fresh fruit – right off the trees (or vines or whatever else they grew on)ย and tomorrow I’ll be heading off to help at a youth camp-out where I’ll be leading worship. Man, it’s been a good two weeks! Oh, and one more thing (but don’t tell my mom – Mom, don’t finish reading this sentence): I nearly chopped the tip off my thumb… So that was fun. I was cutting up some pumpkin to cook (who knew people actually ate pumpkin – aside from, you know, pumpkin pie).ย Anyways, below are a few pictures from my adventures so far. I hope you enjoy! Thanks for being interested in my life!

Grace and peace to you, my friend!

-Cody Wilkinson

\\July 14th, 2016 – The Day I Became a Lumberjack

Well, not really… But several days add up to this. But I’ll get there in a sec. After the youth camp-out I told you about, Nathan and I got up the next morning and headed to a place called Tunnel Ridge which is a Christian camp. I got to volunteer for the week there and it was super incredible! I met 3 Germans, some Kiwis and (of course) some Aussies. I also got to ride Hubble! No, not the telescope; the horse’s name is Hubble. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, after we got home from camp, we decided to go to this little shack on the shore that our friend owns and we slept there on the beach. That makes about 2 weeks straight of camping. Wow. Anyways, about the whole lumberjack thing: on the camp-out, one of the other youth leaders and I decided to have a friendly lumberjack competition; Australia vs. Canada (which also happens to be my new nickname here). Canada got first hit. The block-splitter went in clean, but pretty tight! As Canada went to get the axe out of the wood, the wood decided it didn’t like being hit with an axe so it spat it out and the axe hit me in the face (no joke). It hurt a bit. But now that piece of wood is in four pieces and burned to ash, so I guess we’re even. On top of that, the last few days I have been stripping bark off of a tree to prep the logs for replacing some veranda posts at “home.” And, you know, I’m from Canada. And I have a big beard. So automatically that makes me a lumberjack, right? Cool. Thanks for agreeing.

Well, in other news, I’m gonna be going on a leadership retreat with Nathan in a week and a bit which is paid for by our church(!). It is such a blessing to be a part of such an incredible community of faith! Also, there may or may not be a surprise in the next little while… But that’s a secret, so pretend I didn’t say anything. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hey, thanks for being interested in my life!

Grace and peace to you, my friend!

-Cody Wilkinson

Here’s some more pics from this last bit!

\\September 19, 2016 – The Day I Became and Aussie

Well, again, not really… But I am quite established here now. I’m sorry for the silence this last while. I have been without the ability to use a computer for a while (which I’ll explain in a sec), but now I have my own laptop so hopefully I’ll be able to post more!

So, some life updates. Well, I moved. Got a job. Bought a guitar. Bought a laptop. Made some new friends. Wrote some songs. (Hopefully) changed some kids’ lives. It’s been 3 months today since I arrived in Australia, which is a bit crazy – it has gone by so fast. Last time I posted, I didn’t have a job and was starting to need to find a new place to live which was a bit stressful. The place I was at was only a temporary place and I wouldn’t be able to stay there for much longer. However, God is always good! I met a really awesome German guy at camp (see above) named Eddy who lived and worked at the camp – but he was going home right away. Paul and Cheryl (who own and run the camp) approached me at his going away party and said “Cody, we would be really keen for you to come and live and work at the camp with us.” All this time, I was looking for jobs and applying at so many places and every place either didn’t even contact me at all, or the few that did said they had no positions available. I was praying that God would give me the right job and knew that He would provide, but it was only when I surrendered to Him, saying I was willing to go wherever He would take me, ย that He provided exactly what I needed – and then some! Camp is my all-time favourite job and I am so, so, so blessed to be able to do it again here. And I didn’t even have to apply! They came to ME and offered me the job! Wow, God is good! So, as a part of the job, I live here at the camp for free in my own little bachelor pad/flat that is fully equipped with a kitchenette, bathroom, bedroom, and living room. And the place is absolutely beautiful! On top of living here for free, I only work 3 days a week, with most of my food provided for (because I eat during camps and then I get the leftovers as well), AND (yes, there’s more), on top of all that, I also get paid $200/week!! I know that isn’t much, but it’s certainly enough considering I’m not paying anything to live here! God indeed has blessed me immensely, but I first need to surrender to Him and trust in His ways.

With the awesomeness that is camp, I also get to serve at the youth group with Nathan the youth pastor every Friday and Tuesday for Youth Night and Bible Study, as well I am on the worship team at the church so I get to play quite a bit, which is a huge passion of mine. I am quite connected at the church and I feel right at home there; they have welcomed me so well and brought me right into their family. It is an honour to serve them! One of the older ladies gives me a hug every Sunday morning and calls me her grandson! ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel very much a part of the church family and it is so great. That’s what I mean when I say “Became an Aussie.” Although I am not planning to live here forever (yet…), and I am not a citizen, I do feel quite a part of this place and that I belong.

So. Life is moving along here and I am super excited for what God has in store for me in these coming months. Thank you all for being a part of my life, and for all the Aussies for welcoming me in to their’s so openly. It is a blessing and an honour to have people like you (yes, YOU) be a part of my life and to be interested in what God is doing in it. So thank you.

Grace and peace to you, my friend!

-Cody Wilkinson

P.S. I’ll try to post some pictures shortly. But for now, just this update will have to do.

\\December 12, 2016 – The Day I Felt Loved

Oh hi there. It’s been a while… I’m sorry about that. It’s been quite a ride here on the other side of the planet. Many things have happened; many friends have been made; many stories have been told, and more importantly, written. But there are a few that are really close to my heart and I want to share them with you. But first, I’d like to be vulnerable with you.

If you know me (or read My Story), you’d know that I have – and occasionally still do – battled depression. Mixed around in that depression is a feeling of loneliness, as well as many roots in insecurity – of feeling unloved. I’ve never felt “good enough.” I’ve always felt that my friendship didn’t matter to people and that nobody ACTUALLY liked me, they just put up with my presence while I was there until I left. And I believed these things for a very long time, and every once in a while they pop back into my heart.

My journey is one of “becoming”: Becoming a Son, becoming a friend, and becoming loved. These things mean a whole lot to me, and I could write a whole heap of a lot of words to explain them to you, but for brevity’s sake, I will just trust that you at least somewhat understand what I mean. But if you are interested, please don’t hesitate to contact meย and I will gladly answer any questions you might have.

This “day” is really several; some key moments in the last few years that have helped me to grasp this heart-cry of being loved. It really begins with heartbreak. The last person I had the opportunity to call a “special someone” in my life and I’s relationship became marred, broken, torn, and we left each other hurting. It was a rough time where we both hurt each other a lot. But from that, I actually learned a lot about love (and how much I sucked at it). Since then, I’ve realised how I’m really good at ‘caring for’ people while not actually letting them love me, which in turn means I’m not really loving them all that well at all. I distance myself and don’t let myself get attached because, like everything in this world, when two previously unattached things become attached, there becomes the opportunity for them to be detached, which causes brokenness and scarring on both pieces.

After our “break-up” (side note: the reason for the quotations is because we weren’t ever “officially dating,” but in reality we were very much “together,” and it wasn’t a single moment of separation, but rather a long process over a couple months), I went to a house full of friends and for the first time, let them love me and care for me. That weekend was monumental for me.

And since being in Australia, I’ve made some really incredible friendships. One of which in particular is my friend Ben and his wife, Jess. They have grown to be my best friends here and it’s been so healing to have a true friendship. To give you a hint at what I mean, they have invited me to join them and their family for Christmas. But not just to join them so I’m not alone/I have somewhere to go; rather, they invited me as a part of the family. This is the message they sent me, exactly: “Hey Cody ๐Ÿ™‚ you are very welcome to come join our family for christmas if you want… …Everyone wants you to be a part of it. You can be our honorary (if that’s how you spell it) brother. :-)”

When I read those words, I nearly cried. And still nearly do. With the pain of my past still raw on my heart, to hear the words “All of us want you to come be a part of our family, as our brother” touches and mends me in ways I can’t explain to you. What’s more beautiful is that it is an echo of my life. Again, if you knew me, you’d know that I am adopted; that a family looked at my brokenness and said “We want you to come be our son/brother.”

And with that, this is the Day I Felt Loved. There’s a lot more to all of these stories, and even more stories I didn’t mention, but that is the beauty of stories: we get to keep telling them and every time we do, we fill in or take out parts to fit the reason and motive of why we’re telling them. So, as always, if you want to know more, just ask. ๐Ÿ™‚

As far as my adventure goes, There’s a lot to update you on… So I’ll try my best to keep it short and sweet. I’ve been working and living at Tunnel Ridge Ranch, a Christian camp and retreat centre, which has been a huge blessing. I almost left because of visa stuff and this being the slow season of camps here meaning they had no money to continue to pay me. But we managed to work things out so I don’t have to be homeless anymore! Apart from that, I’ve been trying my best to be really involved in my church, being a youth leader, being on the worship team, participating in different ministries (youth, young adults, etc.) and getting to know the community.

Apart from church and camp life, I’ve also been able to a little bit adventuring. I went down to the Gold Coast with my friends Todd, George, and Andy, which really was quite the adventure. We encountered a tiger snake, several lizards, swam in two different waterfalls (which were pretty cold), cooked dinner in a ditch beside a cow field, and slept in said ditch (well, I slept in the car because I didn’t have proper stuff…).

This time I wont post any pictures here, but you can check out my social media on Instagram and/or Facebook with the hashtag #CodesGoesAbrodes and find some pics and posts about my life as an Aussie. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and one more super exciting thing happened to me. As you know, I have quite a passion for music, and using my gift of music to worship my God. I wrote a worship song a while back and was able to record it with one of my best friends/roommates at the time who is a sound engineer and super talented musician. This was a huge blessing in itself. However, I gave the song to one of my friends here who is also a music producer/engineer with his own studio and he liked it so much that he wanted to do his own cover of it and put it on an album! But, being the extravagant person that he is, a simple cover wont cut it. He got a professional drummer and keyboardist to add some more life to it (it was a pretty simple recording, though still professional quality). Then, the other day I had the opportunity to sit in the studio while he was getting an INCREDIBLY talented guitarist to add some more guitars, adding beef and depth to it, as well as he did his own vocals. The song is now huge. And hearing him sing my song was one of the most humbling and honouring experiences of my life. I cried in the studio… Haha. So, all that to say, I’m super honoured and excited to hear my own song be done professionally and covered. I can’t really say any details, but I look forward to sharing that experience with you more later. ๐Ÿ™‚ Otherwise, if you would like to listen to my version of the song, you can listen free on SoundCloud.

Thank you so, so much for being interested in my life. It seriously does mean a whole heap of a lot to me. I love you and God bless you. Grace and peace to you, my friend.

-Cody Wilkinson

\\January 7th, 2017 – The Day I Never Slept

Well, it’s a new year, full of new adventures. And boy has it been adventurous lately. My brother and his girlfriend – Quinton and Victoria – came down from Canada to have some time adventuring and relaxing and all that jazz that comes with a month-long holiday. I met up with them on January 2nd, but I want to start this story a bit earlier.

On New Years Eve, I spent the day packing, cleaning, and getting ready for an adventure down south to Sydney (where I was going to meet Quinton and Victoria). After I was all ready to go, I went to my friend Ben’s house for a little New Years party with some mates. We ended up staying up until around 3:30am, which was pretty well perfect as I had a shuttle to the airport at 4:15am. So I drove to the pick-up point, went to the airport, went through security 3 times (long story short, pay attention to what you can and can’t have in your carry-on), got on the plane, and landed in Sydney at 10am. From there, I went for a bit of a solo adventure. I figured out how to use the rail system here and hopped on a train straight for the Sydney harbour. I got off and wandered around for a while, making a stop at the Opera House of course. But then my phone died ’cause I hadn’t charged it the night before (I was too busy partying… and by partying I mean eating food), so I had to find a place to sit and charge my phone for an hour or so (which was a lot harder than you’d think…).

I finally got my phone charged enough to last me the rest of the day, so I set off to find the next place I wanted to be: a bus stop. Which I had to take a 50-minute train to. But that’s alright. I sat at this chocolate cafe place that was pretty cool, and waited there for a bus. Not just any bus, though. The Hillsong “Big Red Bus” bus! Which is a free bus that stops at a couple places and picks up people for a free ride to church! So yes, I got to go to Hillsong, and to the original campus where it all started as a small 45-person congregation! It was pretty neat.

But what is more exciting, I met this family there who were just the nicest people. I told them how I was pretty well homeless for the night as I hadn’t been able to find a place to stay (long story…). They answered, “Oh sure! We’ve got a spare bed.” It turns out, they had just been thinking and feeling like God was urging to help out people more like that. And the next minute they get asked by some Canadian in church carrying a backpack and sleeping bag around if he can stay in their house. Haha. Well, it worked out well. They were so super nice and we chatted until 11pm that night about all kinds of things, but mostly about my life and theirs. And then I finally went to sleep… 40 hours later. Which was glorious.

Waking up, we had breakfast together, prayed together, and then they drove me to the train station where I caught a train back close to the harbour where I walked to meet up with Quinton and Victoria. Once we were together, we spent another couple hours in Sydney, then grabbed the hire car, and drove off for the start of our road trip! But I’ll tell you about that later. You’ve read enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you so much for being interested in my life and for taking the time to read my stories. It is such a huge pleasure and honour to share these with you. And I hope you’Ve enjoyed it! I love you all!

Grace and peace to you, my friend!

-Cody Wilkinson

P.S. Camp starts tomorrow, so I’m just preparing for that. But when I get some free time after camp, I’ll post a bunch of pictures. Look forward to: Stuff to do with animals, stuff to do with water, and stuff to do with astronomy. ๐Ÿ˜‰