Australia: Telling the Story of Falun Gong at the Batlow Apple Blossom Festival

Batlow, a small country town in the Snowy Mountains of Australia, is famous for its lovely scenery and crisp juicy apples. On October 23rd the town staged its first Apple Blossom Festival. It was a resounding success, with a myriad of displays and stalls. Local Falun Gong practitioners and practitioners from Canberra and Goulburn participated in this event, organising a booth to display information about Falun Dafa and the "Petals of Peace" project. Together with Falun Gong truth-clarifying materials, many beautiful origami lotus flowers were handed out, with a small flyer clarifying the truth folded and tucked into each one. People were very glad to receive this gift, with many teenage girls coming back for more to give to their friends and relatives, and to learn how to make them themselves.

People were very interested and enjoyed watching the demonstration of the Falun Dafa exercises. During one of these displays, a group of youths were poking a bit of fun at the exercise demonstration, but after being given some lotus flowers to give to their mothers, they politely said "thank you" and stopped their teasing to quietly watch instead.

Batlow is a very small town where a lot of people know each other. So far, there is one family of Falun Gong practitioners in Batlow, including two little girls who go to the local school. When applying for the booth at the festival, the Festival Committee was presented with an information folder explaining the reasons behind the "Petals of Peace" project and the feedback was very positive.

One of the girls' teachers talked at length about the fact that a lot of children in the country towns don't get a chance to learn about what is happening in the world, and saw this truth clarifying activity as an effective educational experience. The day before the festival, the teacher asked all the children in her class to make sure they found out what the little girl's mother (a Falun Dafa practitioner) was doing at her display and she asked them all to report back on Monday.

At the festival, a lot of the teachers from the school received a lotus flower with a flyer in it, and during the week after the festival, the nine-year-old young practitioner was asked to teach the whole class how to make a folded paper lotus flower. She did so and was given a merit award.

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