În primii ani de pastorație în Los Angeles am fost “ghidul“ tinerilor din bisericile de aici în excursiile noastre estivale. Majoritatea rămâneau uimiți de câte cunoștințe le împărtășeam pe drum. În realitate eram la fel de ignorant ca ei, dar … purtam la mine de fiecare dată un ghid tipărit de una din foarte competentele edituri turistice. Înaintea fiecărei zile, citeam descrierea traseului pe care-l aveam de parcurs. Le-am arătat cartea mea, dar, ca toți tinerii, au dat din mână și mi-au spus: “Citește tu și ne spui pe parcurs și nouă ce avem de văzut“.
Obiceiul mi-a rămas și acum. Iată ce am citit în pregătirile mele dinaintea vizitei în Australia:
Australia (i/əˈstreɪljə/ ə-strayl-yə  or /ɒˈstreɪlɪə/ or /ɒˈstreɪljə/ o-strayl-yə), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numeroussmaller islands. It is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.
For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia’s eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary democracy andconstitutional monarchy. The federation comprises six states and several territories. The population of 22.7 million  is heavily concentrated in the Eastern states and is highly urbanised.
A highly developed country, Australia is the world’s 13th-largest economy and has the world’s sixth-highest per capita income. Australia’s military expenditure is the world’s 13th-largest. With the second-highest human development index globally, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of theG20, OECD, WTO, APEC, UN, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Un articol mai cmplet despre istoria Australiei găsiți aici: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Australia
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