About Face is a unique experience of meeting cultures. It’s an experience not only for you, but also for the community you visit. Being in its nature a flexible program and one that is very God guided, regardless of where you go there are always opportunities to be impacted and have an impact on others.
For my own About Face experience, I went to Broken Hill. The family who hosted us was very warm and receptive, and gave us many opportunities to meet and speak with their community. These opportunities were treasures because on our own, we would never have had the chance to talk so freely and get such a deep insight into that community. At the same time, our presence was significant. It said that people from all over Australia cared enough about this community to made the effort to come to them. Often I struggled with the change of pace from urban to country life, from mainstream thinking to Indigenous ways of thinking, from stereotyping to appreciating the culture for what it is at this time. But I am extremely glad I did it. I have friends now that I would never have met by myself. I have first hand experience of a culture that I would never have been able to connect to by myself.
Having said all that, I believe one of the core things you have to try to understand before going on About Face is that this is not all about you specifically. You are a part of a much greater story in the continuing relationships between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people, but also between God and His people. With this greater view point in mind, it is much easier to see that one visit will not be the solution to a systemic problem. However, with the right heart it can be an outreach by God seeking to love and heal all His children of their guilt, hurt and brokenness. While one person is not the answer, they are an answer. And every year About Face continues, every year that more people take on this singular step in a very long journey, more people can experience that love and healing. This is absolutely not a mission trip, but God definitely stands in the middle of it. And that is the beautiful thing about About Face.