Our Ship Has Sailed!

Photo Courtesy of YWAM Medical Ships Australia

Ahhh… we breathed a huge sigh of relief, satisfaction and gratefulness yesterday as we watched our ship sail into the horizon.

What an amazing six months it has been renovating, maintaining, and caring for this beautiful, floating hunk of metal that was given to us. It was incredibly rewarding to hug our friends tightly and watch Jared pass the gangway over and throw the last of the lines. He’s a bit sad to not be sailing this time, and fully enjoying having a relaxing evening on the couch watching TV after many late nights and long weekends of preparations. 🙂

Last we heard they were cruising along, spotting dolphins, and not too sick yet. A good sign! We’re looking forward to some great stories to come soon and will most certainly share them.

In the mean time, there is this amazing video from the former Prime Minister of PNG who shared some insightful and touching words at our annual breakfast last week. It is lengthy for a computer video, but well worth the time!

And the shorter but also inspiring news clip:

PS – If you’re looking for a good Mother’s Day gift, why not sponsor the distribution of birth kits!?

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They Held Hands

Easter weekend was a delight.

You can thank our friend Jennifer for BOTH of those swimmers!

There was some swimming in the pool … first time for a certain girl in the family, some cookie baking, an Easter Egg hunt at a friends house, Easter Egg dying and nachos eating with good friends, and lots of adventures and drop-bys by some of our favourites.

We enjoyed seeing Easter in the eyes of a two year old. The endless singing of “Hallelujah” which never seemed to get old, despite the constant drumming with loud objects as he “worshipped.” (His words, not ours!) And just yesterday he told us that he was pretending to ride on a donkey like Jesus. I guess those resurrection eggs and story reading actually sunk in somewhere in there.

After Jared and Max’s hike (El and my drive) up Castle Hill for the combined churches sunrise service, we prepared a gigantic brunch feast. I don’t want to be silly by calling our own feast gigantic, but seriously – I panic about two things – the thought of not enough food for our guests, and people not having a family to celebrate holidays with. Despite our last minute additions, I did overcompensate.

As we all sat around the living room, something caught my eye – two of my guests, two men, one of which I had just met, holding hands.

And my heart melted.

One of our guests was a man from PNG, visiting our centre on his way back from some training he’d been doing. He’s pioneering a work in PNG and doing an amazing job. We loved hearing his stories… and that he’s planting banana trees for all the teams of young people we bring through. (I played the role of a good mom and asked him to plant some sweet potatoes, another of their staple diet, so that they don’t just live on sugar their entire time!)

But back to the hand-holding…

In PNG culture, the men often hold hands. In fact, in many places it would be totally inappropriate for Jared and I to touch in public, but the men?! They’re all walking down the street holding hands, or sitting next to each other chatting with a hand on their mate’s inner thigh.

And I loved that it was happening in my living room. What a beautiful picture of culture, what wonderful friends, all brought together by the common understanding and love of this man Jesus… these two men, black and white, holding hands in my living room as we shared and delighted and celebrated the gift of life that comes from Jesus.

Friends, He’s good. Really, really good.

 

 

I’m So Proud of Her

My mom came to visit.

I was a little panicked when our girl hadn’t arrived and her flight was pending. I was convinced I’d go early (or at least earlier) this time and she booked her ticket for four days after my due date on our hunch. Woops.

Or maybe hallelujah?

While she was planning to arrive after Elianna’s birth, the four days she spent with just Max and I may have just been divine. We didn’t do much – long walks on the beach, eating candy, feeding the ducks… but boy did we get some quality time. And more than that, I was so blessed to watch my mom be a grandma.

buddies ... linking this photo in with the paper mama photo "green" photo challenge

He calls her Nani… all 7 of them do… and even though I’ve seen my mom hold my boy many times before, and play with her other 5 grandkids for the past 5 years… it did something to my heart to see her with my Max now that he’s growing up.

They tickled and giggled and ran like mad men through the park as I waddled behind. She read stories with voices and picked up him and crawled on the ground with him.

she's soooo funny

And as I watched them play and laugh all I could think was, “Man… she is SUCH a cool grandma.”

I don’t know if you’re allowed to be proud of your mom but it must be possible because my heart was bursting at the seams with pride at how amazing she is – this woman who “gave up” her childhood to raise me from 18 years old.

I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have on the other side of me as I welcomed my own little girl into the world.

And wouldn’t you know we still had four days to spare at the end of her trip to soak in that newborn scent and melt into your chest snuggles.

I wish she didn’t have to go… but my memories of this trip will be some of my most significant. I think that it goes the same for Max too!

Making Friends and Memories

Last week we headed to Tahlee, NSW, a beautiful retreat centre with an amazing Christian heritage on the coast, for YWAM’s National Leaders Meeting.

On the beautiful NSW coast... 26 or 27 weeks with the little honey...

This year ended a bit more full than we anticipated and after two months of hard work on the ship (early mornings, late nights, and weekends), Jared especially was ready for a bit of a break for the first time this year.

And what a break it was! Of course there were a few responsibilities to take care of, and a party to plan to celebrate Ken & Robyn for their 24 years in YWAM, but we thoroughly enjoyed mornings of worship and teaching and afternoons to connect with other friends and families around Aus, Asia, and the Pacific.

Boat ride with Daddy

It was especially fun for Max as he attended the kids program every day. The team leading were fabulous (in fact, three were DTS students from Townsville who we… and he… adore), but little did we know that all week long they were learning about creation. I had little tears in my eyes as they presented the week’s art project. I think mommyhood will only get more special from here…

Glory!

We loved watching Max with his new friends, listening to his growing Aussie accent, and of course, seeing him grow wide-eyed at the “hop-hops” that were absolutely everywhere… our little kangaroo hunter! 🙂

It truly is a season of thankfulness and as we get ready to celebrate the year with the YWAM centre and plan our own Thanksgiving celebration with friends, we are really grateful for a wonderful week in Tahlee!

Renewable Energy

This weekend we found ourselves at the Townsville EcoFiesta and Lifestyle Expo on Green Living… or something like that.

Mostly, we love hitting up this gorgeous park called Queens Gardens and browsing some local innovations while listening to some folky tones from local musicians like our friends Woje… and getting free stuff.

But we’re also keen to put our hands on the roof painted with special paint to resist the heat, and entertain the comments of my observant teenage brother on the irony of the place he’s just come from is all about conserving heat… NOT repelling it.

Uncle Luke is here.

We couldn’t be happier.

And even though we did learn our share of energy and water saving tips, our energy was renewed in a different way too.

The, oh.my.gosh.my.brother.is.finally.at.my.house sort of way.

The, i’ve.dreamed.of.going.to.australia.for.eight.years sort of way.

The, i.have.a.real.life.uncle.who.is.teaching.me.how.to.be.a.warrior sort of way.

I left home when my brother was just older than my son. And now he’s 14 and travelled half way around the world on his own to hang with us. Awesome. And though our energy levels have hit the.pass.out.in.the.car.on.the.way.home level, we’ve also been renewed in a deep, soulful sort of way.

 

 

Toothaches and Heartaches

I’ll be honest.

Hearing each night about the hundreds of teeth that the dentists pulled every day on board was starting to make me cringe… and wonder.

I love what we’re doing, but why were so many teeth being pulled? It wasn’t as though I doubted their integrity… but still, it didn’t add up in my mind. I mean, what does someone do if you pull 18 teeth from their mouth? How is that possible?

Is this really necessary?!

And then it was my turn to head up to the clinic. It has the sterile smell of any doctor’s office you’ve ever been to, mixed with the sickly sweet smell of too much beetlenut chewing. People waiting nervously… but excitedly…

I put on my mask and glasses to maintain the hygiene standards of the clinic and stepped up to our first patient.

It only took a moment to see. This was not fancy dental work. This was basic, primary and emergency care. His “teeth” were nothing but black stubs – rotted away and causing deep infection in his mouth. Sometimes when the teeth came out, they revealed giant pussy abscesses.

It was absolutely sickening. Not in the “you’re the kid no one wants to be on the playground with sort of way” but in the “oh my goodness, your life is at risk from the infection that is growing inside their mouth sort of way.”

The heartbreaking sort of way.

Oral care is something we can easily take for granted. Something we often complain about because let’s face it – its not always comfortable on our mouths… or our wallets!

But here, oral care is not only virtually unheard of, but the lack of it is causing major disease and infection in people… and they don’t even know it!

So as our dentists came down each night, rubbing their sore wrists (I now know from first hand experience the kind of muscle it takes to get those teeth out!) and sharing war stories, that not only were they helping to give brighter smiles, they were also helping to save lives in a very real way.

The Sweetest Home, Sweet Home

Did we have to leave?!

We had such an amazing time in Papua New Guinea. I am still working on getting our stories updated. We had trouble with internet and then trouble with  pictures but I’ve uploaded a couple now and will continue to do so – with or without pictures! – over the next few days.

Because it was amazing and you will love it.

It was hard to say goodbye but we are making the most of our time at home.

And I do mean the most.

Cookie baking most.

There’s something in this egg kinda most.

Making messes most.

It is sweet to be home… and I don’t just mean the chocolate. I mean, the richness of family. The fresh gratefulness for every single thing we have. The feeling that our bed… our house… our yard… is absolutely huge. And luscious. Grocery stores stocked with food. Friends next door.

And then there’s Jesus. This has been an incredible season to remember and reflect on His sweetness.

It is sweet to be home.

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