Awe inspiring. That’s perhaps the best way to describe this island continent. Circled by beaches and rain forests, it’s home to modern cities as well as a dry, immense interior. It’s a place where cultures meet—Aboriginals, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, Asians, and others—some with roots as old as time, some only recently arrived. All of them cherish freedom. All of them seem as warm and friendly as the tropical sun.
Australia has been a prison colony and a gold rush mecca. It is still a surfing and diving paradise, a mining center, a land of grazing properties (ranches) bigger than whole states in the U.S., and a place with animals found nowhere else in the world.
But more awe inspiring than the country itself are the Latter-day Saint teens who live here. Some travel two to seven hours—each way—just to go to church. Many are the only Mormons in their schools, but they stand firm despite scores of temptations. Strong in their faith, solid in their testimonies, they are a witness that the restored gospel is true.
Thousands of these young Australians are faithful New Era readers. All of the articles, stories, songs, and photos in this special issue are in tribute to them. If you’d like to meet a few of these awesome Aussies, start on page 20.
But anywhere you look in this magazine, you’ll meet youth who know that a life centered on the Savior is a fuller, happier life. And that’s a great message for all New Era readers.