WHEN Samuel Clear speaks to young people at the Ignite Conference in Brisbane about sharing Christ’s love with the world, his words will be anything but abstract. The 33-year-old Youth Mission Team Australia (YMTA) member once sold his possessions and between 2006 and 2008 covered 15,500 km over 568 days on a mission for Church unity. He started walking in Brazil and went on to cover parts of South, Central and North America and Siberia and Spain as well. In all, his journey encompassed 20 countries and 10 languages. “While the mission was easy, the journey was hard”, he later said. “I was bashed and robbed at gun point and knife point. “I got typhoid fever, salmonella poisoning, staph infections and had to endure temperatures ranging from 47 Celsius to -33 Celsius. “The longest day I walked was 82km, which included stopping at a few villages to talk to the people, but took 22 hours in total.” But the rewards for Samuel were great. “The journey around the world praying for unity taught me two great lessons,” he said. “Firstly that unity is not simply about agreeing with each other, but being involved in each other’s lives carrying Christ’s love to one another. “Secondly that God is incredibly trustworthy.” Now married to Cat, Samuel grew up one of five children on isolated Flinders Island in Australia’s southeast. He attended St Patrick’s College in Launceston, where he was the school captain in 1996 and captain and vice-captain of many of the college’s sporting teams. While studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tasmania, Samuel met a fellow student and former YMT member who not only shared a similar faith, but lived it. After graduating in 2001, he joined YMT Australia for one year of youth ministry, but never left, apart from his 568 days of ‘leave without pay’ while he walked the globe. These days Samuel is managing director of INROADS, an arm of Harvest Pilgrimages, which enables high school students and young adults to participate in Christian mission experiences in other cultures. Samuel told The Catholic Leader he was moving forward slowly but with great anticipation on this latest stage of his life journey. “Our first pilgrimage for young adults was the Guadalupe Expedition to Mexico and the USA in January this year,” he said. “Here, we delved into the dignity of the human person by visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the pre-Aztec pyramids, working with the Missionaries of Charity and going on retreat with the Sisters of Life. “We lunched with the guys behind the amazing film The Human Experience and stepping out in the March for Life with half a million Americans. “There are two expeditions for over-18’s rich in mission work heading to the Holy Land, and the high school expeditions are gaining significant interest from various diocese. “It’s exciting to be in this set-up stage of the company and to be part of the many opportunities we’ve been able to pull into each journey.” Samuel is focused on the Ignite Conference to be held from September 27 to 30 at the Mueller Performing Arts Centre on Redcliffe Peninsula. Along with Samuel there will be a broad range of speakers including Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, MenAlive co-founder Robert Falzon, Drive announcer for 96Five radio and the youth ministry co-ordinator for Brisbane East Deanery Scott McDonald, NET (National Evangelisation Teams) Ministries executive director Shanelle Bennett, Blind Eye Ministries co-ordinator Roby Curtis and many others. Samuel describes Ignite as “a real chance for young people to encounter Christ, experience the Church and be equipped and empowered to impact the world”. “The opportunity to talk at Ignite provides a wonderful platform to share about the once-in-a-life-time journey around the world and the ups and downs associated with such a journey,” he said. “More importantly, I can offer witness to the satisfaction in life that comes from putting everything on the line, following God’s voice and stepping out despite what society may perceive to not be the responsible action. “Trusting God hurts (and I’m not referring to the walk). “But the beauty in life that comes from placing our trust in him overwhelms any other ‘prize’ we could attain.” Samuel is writing a book on his experiences which can also be explored further on the website www.walk4one.com Details about the Ignite Conference are at www.igniteconference.com.au/
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.