Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, whose mission has encompassed a Tourism Ministry for over thirty years, recently undertook a development study tour looking at Kakadu, the Yellow River and the accompanying bird life.
Why this specific interest is so close to his heart, is that for 10 years he and his wife Delma ran the tourism ministry project "Australia's Bush Orchestra" which was a natural bush walk under an Iron Bark forest canopy with the birdsong of the Bell Miner (Bellbird).
He is always looking for opportunities to develop better and more widespread tourism ministries in Australia, as this aspect of Christian endeavour is extremely thin on the ground and what is there is under-resourced.
Mark Tronson compares this situation with the massive investment in Australia's tourism industry in general, and sees huge opportunities to collaborate with others. This therefore makes his research and development work within Well-Being Australia one of his most critical areas of engagement, as he sees the potential in forging relationships with those within the larger sphere of this industry.
When Mark and Delma Tronson recently investigated the Yellow River, they saw for themselves the magnitude and remarkable diversity of its bird life. This is not the place to list the names of all the birds there, but he was told reliably that there are 280 species. The Tronson's saw and noted for themselves well over 20 different types of birds, including the iconic Black Necked Stork – otherwise known as the Jabiru, with its huge nest nestled high into the top of a tree.
Each bird had a story attached to it associated with the indigenous peoples. Herein lies the fascinating all encompassing story associated with the Birds, the People and the Land.
The fines for taking these birds are severe. The Radjah Shelduck has acquired the nick-name of the $1000 Duck because that is the amount of the fine. These birds mate for life, and if one is taken its partner dies within weeks and the tiny ducklings then die as well.
"In my view, Tourism Ministry is the most obvious form of ministry outside the structures of church walls," remarked Mark Tronson. "It is Australia's second largest money spinner behind mining, and yet the Christian church has hardly touched this whole arena.
"Imagine the capacity for evangelism if we could tap into just a small section of the Australian and overseas tourists who travel around our vast country!"