Saturday, July 17, 2010

settling blessed we are!

Okay, so we've traded sweat and dehydration for this....

...not so charming to look at, but oh so warm!

And for now we are enjoying this:

....and this...

...instead of our usual abode surrounded by lots of other houses only a few metres away from ours, with barbed/razor wire fences surrounding us!

...And for now Andrew has traded his office and doing errands and pastoral visits for this...

...he has done such a great job already in cleaning up our gardens!

....And we are all trying out some new toys...

...that rip stick is much harder to ride than it looks I found out...

... though the girls mastered it easily: Shiana shows...

...and Ashlyn enjoys a bargain bike that her Dad found for her...

And how the girls have been enjoying their cousins to play with....

Ashlyn and her cousin Kayla

...talking to the horse (not ours) on our property (thanks to my niece Jessica for those two photos!)

...Kirilee and her dear cousin Sharelle...

...they just can't stop giggling...

Can you tell how blessed we feel? I remember walking into our own home again (it has been 6 years since we have lived in it!) and just feeling overwhelmed. My family had gone all out in preparing it for us. Everything was just perfect. My nephew, Jonathan, had spent hours making some changes to our house (which we are now working on painting) and had done such a great job. The fridge and cupboards were filled with food, we had furniture much of which others had donated for our use, and it really felt like a home! I was just feeling so overwhelmed with the space around us too, the quiet peacefulness, the sounds of birds and the beautiful rainbows (rainbows are a very, very rare occurrence in Lae, so Ashlyn has been pointing them out continually).

We are so thankful that God has provided for us so well, also through so many wonderful family and friends. We are enjoying catching up again. There are some things which are still in many ways so unreal for us, but over all we are adjusting well and we are thankful for that. The girls will begin school next week (I have lost track of how many times they have changed schools in their young lives!), and we pray that they will fit in well and make the transition smoothly.

God is so amazing. Amazing that wherever we all go, in whatever circumstance, He is there blessing us and giving us joy and contentment. We continue to remember our brothers and sisters in Lae. May they too continue to feel His joy and contentment in their often difficult circumstances. How blessed we are!

P.S. I meant to do this in our last post while in Lae, but I will do it now as I forgot back then. As I went through some old mail as I "spring-cleaned" the house before our furlough, I was reminded of how may people have sent us cards throughout our time of serving in PNG. Then there are those of you who leave comments on this blog or on Facebook. Then there are others who send emails (which I usually reply to...I think), and still other who read this blog (and I never even know!) and live with us in thought and prayer. To you all we say: thank you! We are often strengthened and encouraged through you all! Please continue praying for God's Church-Gathering work in PNG, and also for those on the field labouring in His Mission field!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our trip in photos...

Warning: Photo overload!! Using some photos is the easiest way to share our amazing trip back to Albany so please scroll down if you like and share some highlights of our holiday with us...

...early Saturday morning wait at the Lae airport. Thankfully we had no delays!

...more waiting!

...we spent our first weekend in Cairns with our amazing hosts Matt and Claire Byl and their great kids! We all had a great time together and the children just had so much fun playing together. Was a relaxing way to start off our holiday!

...early Tuesday morning we flew to the Gold Coast, where the first thing we noticed was the drop in temperature! Little did we realize how warm it still was compared to where we were headed (well our minds knew it in theory, but our bodies just couldn't imagine it getting colder). On these picture we are standing in front of Main Beach where we were staying.

....trying to soak up the early morning sunshine!

...on one of the main streets in Surfer's Paradise.

....whilst in the Gold Coast we treated ourselves to visiting some of the main attractions like SeaWorld. What an amazing see these creatures do these things was just priceless. I really missed that there was no acknowledgment of the awesomeness of our Creator God - not that we expected that acknowledgment, but there is so much glorying in the animals themselves, while as a Christian when you see these amazing things, your mind cries out: "What an awesome God we serve!"

...and we could enjoy some fun rides as well. Ashlyn was very smitten with these little cars and the bumper cars!

....a miniature train ride

...okay...can you guess where we headed next??? Sydney! We took a train ride from the Gold Coast to Sydney (took the whole day - early morning till 10pm or so), and then began to realise that the temperatures were getting even colder as we toured around on a local bus.

We spent the whole weekend in Sydney and worshiped at the PCEA on Sunday, where we also enjoyed lunch at the home of the Pastor and his family.

...On Tuesday morning we took the train again, this time to Canberra. On this picture we are enjoying Parliament house. This is a view from its roof toward the Old Parliament.

Ashlyn and Shiana - with the Old Parliament in the background.

...we also visited the National War Memorial which was a wonderful experience, not to be missed. This is a view from the Memorial toward Parliament house.

We all really enjoyed the displays...

...which were so realistic! The whole Memorial was fascinating and also a wonderful remembrance of those who have lost their lives fighting for our National freedom!

Our girls on some lookout in Canberra.

Kirilee and Ashlyn warming each other up!

Ashlyn and Shiana

In Canberra we also visited Cockington Greens a miniature style village with a section based on England and also an international section. We were all duly fascinated.

On Friday morning we flew to Perth where we were warmly greeted by my brother and his family as well as another nephew and a member of the mission board and his family who delivered "our" car (for the next 6 months) to the airport. Then we drove to Albany and arrived there at about 7:30pm and were greeted by lots of family members and a pot of Mum's delicious
chicken soup....on that note this post will end and I'll leave the rest for an upcoming, "settling in" post....stay tuned (or not!)