Because We Love Our Life

I was buying our groceries on Sunday afternoon (alone… which is another glorious story entirely, even though I only had 30-45 minutes round trip… can all the mama’s say amen!?) and the checkout girl asked me if I had any plans for the evening.

“Yes, I do, actually!” I said, “I’m going on a BBQ on a ship!”

I was surprised at her reaction, “Really!? That is SO cool! You just don’t hear about people doing THAT every day!”

And you know what!? She’s right!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we do. (Might be in part due to the stretches of time I’m awake in the quiet of the night with a certain baby girl).

The good news is, I’ve re-decided that I really do love it.

Jared is spending early mornings down at the ship and has had some late nights and Saturdays as well. We didn’t have “a weekend” this week and that’s not uncommon for us.

But what we did get to do was take our kids to the National Youth Week event put on but our Youth Teams on Saturday night. This means that Max got to watch skateboarding teenagers doing cool tricks on a half pipe, dance to some awesome tunes, and eat pizza. Hello!?? Does he not have an awesome life!?

As for us, we got to watch some of the fruit of labour in action as we saw hundreds of young people swarming our centre finding a positive place to have fun… and maybe learn a lesson or two about life or maybe even their purpose! It was particularly amazing to see Kate Martin perform… this girl was a youth street crew herself years ago and now she’s starting to get pretty popular in the Australian music scene. Ummm… awesome?!

And for Sunday, we had a BBQ on a ship getting to know 20 new students who have just arrived for the YWAM Medical Ship DTS. What a delight to meet a heap of new passionate young people who are not only eager to learn how to serve the people of PNG, but also to hold our babies and be-friend our family. We are blessed.

Last week I was teaching on our Staff Internship and sharing with them about some of our values and culture here in YWAM – how its not just an 8-5 “job”. Its a lifestyle.

And the reality is, despite the fact that I get tired, sometimes feel like I’m not doing a great job, feel torn between family and community, or “work” and “kids”, miss home, etc… I really am grateful God gave us this lifestyle.

Because its not every day you get to go to a BBQ on a ship…

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That Other Guy In Our Family

We’ve written a lot about Max and a little about me…

But can I just say Jared has been a champion all the while too! We’ve moved some things around on our centre and he was busy building a new chapel and relocating our recording studio. The results are fantastic, stunning, and we’re really excited about the change in culture it brings to our centre and the impact that has on all of our staff and students. Its funny how rearranging the furniture just a bit can make just the right change to our home and I think that’s what these projects have been about.

Our ship is still doing phenomenal things and I thought I’d share a short video clip that had me in tears (and I don’t think its just the hormones) from one of our DTS outreach teams who were working alongside the ship in PNG.

For those of you who get behind what we do, know you’re not just championing our family but an entire nation. And the results have been astounding – not just statistically – but in the way they are changing individual lives, families, and communities.

Good work, team!!

No One Likes to Sit Next to a Crying Baby

My travel buddy

I was expecting dread, dirty looks, the evil eye, and not-so-subtle sighing.

So imagine my surprise when after 13 hours in the air in a small and confined space, I was greeted instead by… reliefdelightsmiles… and statements of overwhelming gratitude for my awesome parenting (which I refer to as “luck” and “the grace of God”)?

Evidently, no one likes sitting next to a crying baby. But when the baby doesn’t cry (at all!), people are very very happy. I mean, SERIOUSLY happy. Its like their dread gives way to a waterfall of gratitude and joy.

My little Max is an exceptional traveller.

Overall our trip, was amazing. Profitable. Insightful. Worth it.

We met some amazing people – like these guys, who run a garment factory in Cambodia where people who have been trafficked can have a paying job and rehabilitation services. And  these guys – who ship medical supplies all around the world… and maybe even to Papua New Guinea?!

And we launched the very first Not For Sale DTS. Anyone know someone with 6 months to change the world? Send ’em our way!

We were reminded of the 27 million people around the world who live in slavery. The ones who are making products that you and I get at bottom bucket bargain prices…

Maybe that whole underground railroad, abolition thing isn’t quite over yet.

We don’t want to be radical. We want to be smart.
We don’t want to be condemning. We want to be responsible.
We don’t want to be naive. We want to seek truth.

We’re not hopping on the bandwagon… we’re asking questions… learning… and remembering that the whole “set the captives free” thing is a bit more literal that we realised… but way too important to ignore.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

I remember growing up loving the Sound of Music and this song was one of my favourites.

So how do you solve a problem like Maria? Well, at our house, there’s nothing to solve!

Let me introduce you to our Maria.

Meet Maria

Maria is a gorgeous young woman from England here on her YWAM DTS. Three days a week she comes to our house for two hours to help look after Max and tidy up around the place.

She is one of Max’s biggest fans and loves him A LOT. Max loves Maria too. She is always greeted with HUGE smiles in this house.

Maria has worked in two day care nurseries so she is super experienced when it comes to looking after little ones. Imagine my surprise on her first day when I got home and she told me the exact time of his nappy changes, their consistency, what they played and the new tricks he’d been attempting!

She is a gem.

One is of the blessings of being a work-at-home mom at our YWAM centre is that when there are extra hands, we often have them sent our way! For the past few DTS’s, we’ve had some amazing ladies help us for between 1 and 3 days per week during their DTS (minus camping and outreach, of course) – Chrissie, Katie and Belinda. All but Chrissie have been from England. (Fancy that!)

And all of them have been… wonderful!

We are so grateful for these amazing women in our lives… and Max’s!

Oh… and today just happens to be Maria’s birthday. Have a happy one, lady!!

Wanna Watch Jared on TV?

April DTS

The April DTS is graduating this week (Congratulations, guys!) and you can “come” to graduation virtually!

That’s right… check it out LIVE online at this link: CLICK HERE

If you can’t join us at 11:00am (Australia time) – check here to find out when it will air in your time zone – you can always check back there to watch it later.

Its been a special 5 ½ moths and we are super proud of all these guys have learned and done… and pretty stoked to call them our friends.

Hope you can join us to say hello to your friends the Hoovers down under!

Cheesy clip art editing or awesome design... you decide.

Winter Lovin’

We’ve been taking advantage of the awesome winter weather we’ve been having. (Read: 70 degrees and next to no humidity – HALLELUJAH!)

Gorgeous Aussie Bush

We spent today out in the rainforest enjoying the company of our friends Ken, and Robyn and Gus & Catie who are visiting from the States. Catie led both Jared & my DTS so even though we do not see her often, she will always have a special place in our heart.

Catie and Max

The April DTS are still away on outreach. Our Outback Queensland team have been going so well. They did nine – yes nine – religious education classes in one day last week! What rippers! We’re so proud of them!

The PNG team is also doing amazingly. They have seen some wonderful results from their time in Port Moresby and just today arrived in Kerema to welcome the YWAM Medical Ship, which is now officially on its first medical outreach in PNG!

The ship arrived into the Gulf Province today, fully staffed with a volunteer medical team. The Governor mentioned that the welcome put on by the people of the province was the biggest welcome they’ve ever seen. We are so excited to hear how the first two weeks go and will be reporting soon! In the mean time, if you’d like to see where its at, go to: http://marinetraffic.com/ais/ and choose “PACIFIC SOUTH” on the “Go to Area” menu and then “PACIFIC LINK” on the vessel menu.

Lil Toother

Outreach In Focus: Thursday Island

Beautiful Thursday Island

If it looks like a beautiful island paradise, that’s because it is! But people live on beautiful island paradises too. And people need love… so to beautiful island paradises we go!

Two weeks ago while we were in Cairns, we also sent off an outreach team from the wonderful April Discipleship Training School that Jared has been leading. After spending the week in Cairns sharing with high school students, the team sailed off to Thursday Island where they have spent the last week.

Saying goodbye...

TI (as its commonly referred to) is part of Australia but it is a world away. Off the coast of Australia, it is far more like the stereotypical Pacific Islands rather mainland Australia.

And the people are GORGEOUS.

Precious Ones!

Known as Torres Strait Islanders (Thursday Island is one of the Torres Strait Islands) they are generous, loving, fun and one of our favourite people groups in the entire country.

The team, led by our good friends Johannes and Shauna (who have been staffing the DTS with Jared) have had a great week walking around the Island, being immersed in a totally different culture, making new friends, sharing in schools and helping build hope around the message “I WANT TO LIVE.”

The Fabulous Team

Thursday Island is very close to Papua New Guinea. In fact, many of the Torres Strait people look very similar to people from the region of PNG that is nearby. So much so that there is actually a treaty that allows PNG people who live in that region to come in their little tinnies to the Torres Strait for health care, etc. We hope to collaborate with both the Australian & PNG stakeholders in taking the ship to PNG.

A bigger ship will make a BIG difference