Friday, December 23, 2011

Tradition

Usually, I buck tradition.  However, when it comes to Christmas there is a tradition I have been a part of my entire life. 

From my earliest years I remember one gift that has always been present under the tree: a box of chocolate covered cherries.  This gift was always given to my grandpa Longcor.  It was one of those things you could count on every year.  Grandpa would receive the hollowed box of cherries.  The tradition included him opening up the box and passing them around for everyone to share.  It was just a given that Grandpa Longcor loved Chocolate Covered Cherries and Christmas wasn't Christmas without a box under the tree!  I can remember for weeks after Christmas going to Grandpa's and within a matter of minutes he would pull out his stash of cherries to share. 

A few years before he died he was spending a week with Ruthann and I.  I was at work and he and Ruthann were doing gardening.  They took a break to have a cup of coffee and Ruthann pulled out our stash of Chocolate Covered Cherries to share with Grandpa.  As they sat on the couch enjoying their coffee Grandpa leaned into Ruthann and with a faint whisper said: "I have something to tell you: I don't like chocolate covered cherries!"  He then threw back his head and laughed like there was no tomorrow.  The secret was out.  It all made sense to me why he would always open the box and share.  It also made sense why he always had cherries well after Christmas.  The following Christmas he received a plethora of chocolate covered cherries!  It has been 21 years since grandpa died but every year a box of cherries would magically appear under our tree. 

This has been a tradition for 50 plus years and this year I was wondering if Christmas would come and go without the cherries.  Unlike the States, Australia hasn't caught on to this tradition and does not have chocolate covered cherries...chocolate covered licorice yes, cherries, NO!  When Natalie's luggage came she called me to her room as she unpacked her suitcase and what did she uncover?  A box of Chocolate Covered Cherries sent to me by my sister in law Jan!  WOW, the tradition continues.  Thanks Jan!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Christmas Time!

I was asked the other day what the word Christmas means.  My answer: "it means Christ Mass or the Mass of Christ."  I then did a little research and learned it is associated with the celebration of the Lord's Supper.  I am struck at how we celebrate the birth of Christ with a word that goes right to the heart of the mission of Christ...to give his life as a ransom for us.  He came to bring fulfillment to life and connection back to the Father!  May you be blessed this Christmas with the realization that Jesus loves you.  I don't know about you, but that gives me hope and a reason to celebrate!!!

By the way, this Christmas there are a lot of firsts for me: 1. long daylight hours, 2. Caroling in sandals and shorts, & 3. 80 F weather.  (Sorry, just had to mention that!)

Merry Christmas,

Marty

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Done, but NOT Finished!!!

I'm DONE, done with my Master's from Fuller Theological Seminary.  In January 2008 I started the adventure and today, submitted my final two papers for my last two classes.  I have to admit, when I finished the last paper and sent it to my editor, tears welled up in my eyes.  This has been a long haul but I have learned and gained so much from this experience.  The knowledge was a given, the life-long friends were unexpected.  I have great friends now all over the world who have walked with me through a significant part of this journey.  I also have come to realized how blessed I am.  My family, Ruthann and Natalie have put up with almost four years of me being consumed at times with homework, papers, reading, and the anxiety of waiting for grades to be posted.  Ruthann has put in countless hours as my chief editor and put up with a lot of run on sentences, poor grammar, and looming deadlines.  Who would have guessed that 34 years ago in college when I was flunking out of Freshman English, that pretty little tutor I began meeting with several nights a week would be editing my papers for my Master's!  Thanks Ruthann! Both Ruthann and Natalie have been my cheerleaders through it all. I love em heaps!  I'm done, but NOT finished.  I'm done with my Master's but not finished learning.  I am committed to be a lifelong learner...there is so much more to learn!

Be Blessed,

Marty

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Posting Blah's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2x5V5zUPYo

Ok, I know I haven't posted anything for quite some time.  "The reason?" you may ask.  Simple: Grad School.  I am in my final quarter at Fuller Theological Seminary and will complete my degree on December 8th...that is if I finish the two classes I'm currently in.  Because I'm taking two classes this quarter my life has been pretty full with reading, writing, posting connection posts weekly, reading, and more reading.  Did I mention reading???  Anyway, once this quarter if finished I will be looking to post every week.  In the meantime, my brain just refused to think about this blog, until today that is!

A few months ago I was transported back to my young childhood.  Before I came on the scene my grandfather and dad raised sheep.  Some of my earliest memories are of being out in the barn for two momentous occasions.  1. Lambing (the birth of baby lambs) and the subsequent "cutting off of the Lamb's tail ritual" (my job was to collect the freshly cut tails and place them in the proper receptacle). And, 2. The shearing of the sheep!  We have a sheep farmer in the church who was born on the farm and just recently retired and moved into the city after 70+ years of sheep raising.  Since farmer Ron and I have a common heritage beginning with sheep, he invited me to the shearing shed to witness this momentous event.  He raises over 1,500 sheep.  The video link I posted will give you a glimpse into this iconic Australian event in which a sheep is sheared in less than 2 1/2 minutes.  Be forewarned though, there is blatant nudity!  Also, no sheep or shearer were injured or harmed in the making of this video.  Just click on the link and enjoy! So, what is the profound truth or life lesson behind this post?  Ummmmm, there isn't, just trying to get out of the posting blah's!
Marty

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Settled?

Okay, this having patience and waiting is getting a little old.  A reoccurring question I have been asked over the last six months is: "how are you settling into life in Australia?"  My usual answer is: "Great."  But underneath the surface, I'm beginning to think: "Settled? What's That?"  It seems like nearly every aspect of getting settled is taking a very long time.  We are still living in temporary accommodations, albeit, very nice accommodations we haven't been able to unpack things that were boxed up in late December of last year.  We're hoping...anticipating...wondering...and a little bit skeptical about when we'll be located in a more permanent place.  Here's the latest:

About a month ago Ruthann got a call from a property management company.  They had a house for us to see that they thought might be "the one" for us.  We have decided to rent, since buying is out of the question for us at this time (that's a whole other story).  So, we set an appointment, saw the house, made the decision to rent, and set the date to move for Sept. 15th.  This would give us enough time to accumulate everything we needed to strike out on our own, I could finish my class (I just submitted my final paper and took the final...YES~), and have time to move!  Ok, so, Ruthann was taking care of arrangements to transfer things like phone line, change of address, and internet when she discovers there is a very real possibility internet isn't available to this residence?  Long story short: when the new development went into the island (yes, were hopefully moving to an island...I've been watching reruns of Gilligan's Island and am trying to find Ruthann a grass skirt and coconut top.) they only set up the internet capability for 60% of the residences.  The phone company is saying the system maybe at capacity and internet may not be available.  WHAT???  Are you kidding me. So, the waiting game continues. Yesterday phone lines were hooked up and today, the 15th of Sept. at 3 o'clock they will run a test to see if there is room for one more hook up to the internet.

So, are we settled?  Yes!  We're settled on the fact that God is in control and loves us with an everlasting love.  We're settled in knowing that one day EVERYTHING will be settled, all wrongs will be righted, all things will be made new, and there will be no more waiting for things to be settled.  We are settled into the fact that we have an awesome family and great friends.  At this point, what more could there be???  Are we moving?  Don't know, maybe, maybe not!  If we do, we could use some help especially with moving Ruthann's new island wardrobe!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Camping in the City!

Okay, for some of you this may seem like an oxymoron but for a non-camper like me it's a compromise almost to the extent of adverting a national debt crisis!  This past weekend we took a little get a way with another family.  When we first started conversations about this get a way we talked about going to Kangaroo Island (just off the coast of south Australia).  Once the price of the get a way exceeded $1,000 plans quickly switched to a more economical get a way.  Before I knew what was happening camping became the selected event. 

However, the location was Adelaide, a bustling metropolis of over a million people.  Things were looking up.  The event started with a trip to the Adelaide zoo where the only two panda bears in the southern hemisphere are located.  In the afternoon we made our way to the "camp".  The family that traveled with us pulled their caravan (RV).  As we pulled into the "camp" no tents were seen only caravans and nicely situated cabins!  YES...running water, queen sized bed, heat, full kitchen and bath...my kind of camping.  What we discovered was in this large city was a place to feel like you were out in the middle of nowhere.  The rest of the time we spent hanging out, playing games, and doing a little exploring.  What we did discover was beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails, a lone koala hanging out in a tree, and a nearby Woolworth's store with a great deal on chocolate!  Not to mention the memories we made with good friends!  All in all, two thumbs up on camping in the city!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Come With Me...written by Ruthann

The last 24 hours have been a journey…Three events, intertwined with last Friday night’s outing, have made a huge impression in my heart.  Come with me…

First to a bonfire hosted by Natalie’s employer—Natalie was excited to introduce us to the people she’s been working with.  How wonderful to put a face with the people in her stories.  Graeme, Natalie’s employer and elder at our church, and Mandy, his wife and keyboard player in our church band and my hairdresser, dug a pit near the bonfire where they placed foil wrapped potatoes and threw on hot coals.  The menu was YUM…cooked potatoes with tons of toppings and marshmallows roasted on the fire.  It was also bring your own drinks…which translated to BYOB (bring your own beer) for the majority.  Mandy shared with me how her heart aches as they live for their weekends with alcohol.  (The government here shares her concern, evidenced by a massive TV ad campaign as to the realities of alcohol abuse.)  Natalie has shared with us how BIG alcohol is to her friends…and her dismay as to their bondage to the stuff—even when its bringing lifelong consequences and reaping havoc in their lives.  Yet, we see three families, all employed at the farm whom are prayerfully asking God to show them how their work can be their mission field—which is why the bonfire happened in the first place. Also, we see a certain young woman, whom we happen to know very well, who is trying with all her might to introduce her new friends to Jesus during her summer break.

Next, will you go with me to my one-afternoon-a-week volunteering at the Open Door?  They have converted the parsonage/manse (place the pastor used to live) in to a community center that provides a toy library, a food pantry, rooms counselors may contract, a branch for a clinic, etc.  The Open Door is now under construction to expand so we can provide ministry for Divorce Recovery, Journeys through Grief, Parenting Classes, and such.  The vision is that this place is an Open Door for people coming to know Jesus through practical ministry to the community.  What a joy to see their passion first hand.

Come with me later in the evening and go with me to the cinema with five other friends.  Rhoda gave the invite—her future son-in-law directed the photography for an award winning, Australian film, Mad Bastards.  (Rhoda gave much of her life to ministering as a teacher and principle in an aborigine community).  This movie depicts the lifestyle of those enslaved to alcohol and the despair, the drunken brawls, the frightened children, the dysfunctional families, and the poverty that is so prevalent.  The main character searches for his son and begins to hope for escape from his despair when he realizes the price he’s paid for the life he has lived.   My friends were amazed at the incredible job done of a realistic portrayal of life among many.  They mentioned it was so good to watch to remind them of why they do what they do—teach, sit through frustrating staff meetings, volunteer, lead mission trips, go to Monday night prayer meetings, etc.  So amazing to get a glimpse into their passion.

Finally, can you picture yourself going with me to the local public, primary school where volunteers participate with Christian Option—which is a  quarterly presentation they are allowed to give to present Christianity as an option.  There is a careful distinction made…no evangelizing allowed, but clear Biblical presentation allowed.  The government understands that there is much about Christianity that can assist with issues in their country.  Chaplains are also allowed on campus—and even in many cases partially funded by the government.  Sit with me and be completely mesmerized…not so much by the presentation, although it is done with great excellence, but to watch as a room full of 7th graders watch and participate without so much as a whisper or talking out of turn.  Not one time did a teacher from the school or a volunteer from Christian Options have to say “SSHH” or “Be quiet” or pull a kid aside for disciplinary action.  The volunteer team did an amazing, five star job of giving a Biblical lesson on forgiveness with dramas, video, Scripture presentation and a game.  Somehow I felt honored to belong with these people!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this experience with me.  Words cannot describe the blessing of  moving in to this community of believers.  They love Jesus, they love each other, and they are devoted to being missional.  They seriously organize their time and their lives around serving and reaching those without the hope of Jesus. Thanks, God, for bringing me here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Meet my friend Paul

Meet Paul.  Paul is a 92 year old father of 5 boys, former WWII spitfire fighter pilot, pastor for over 50 years, follower of Jesus!

Before we came to Australia I had decided I would ask Paul if he would be interested in being prayer partners.  This idea was sparked when I first met him.  It was on a Friday morning following the Traditional service at church.  I had finished speaking and off to the side of the church sat a little old man with a big smile on his face.  As he stood I knew he was intent on talking to me.  Sometimes you can just tell by looking at a person they are fully devoted too and in love with Jesus.  It was that way with Paul.  He approached me, shook my hand, and proceeded to tell me what a good message I had just given.  He then went on to tell me how much he appreciated Adam, how blessed he was to have such a godly young pastor who was doing such a great job of leading the church.  As he talked the conversation turned to how he had come to faith in Jesus.  He was a young man in the Australian Air Force who loved to fly.  One weekend he had some time off and decided to go to a Salvation Army gathering.  The rest was history, he met Jesus there and his life was forever changed!  As he shared his story tears streamed down his face and his smile never faded.  He said the moment he decided to receive Jesus as his savior was the best moment of his life.  Paul shared that once he'd met Jesus he had no more fear of engaging the enemy in dogfights..."I knew where I was going if I died!"  This peace permeated how he led his squadron.  Typically, when the enemy would be engaged the squadron leaders would fly at a higher, safer altitude while the rest would fly lower with guns blazing.  With Paul's new found faith he would insist on flying the lower position in order to protect his non-believing comrades.  He said, "if anyone was going to die in battle, it may as well be me than someone who didn't know Jesus!" 

Paul has a resiliency and purpose about life.  He has had several life threatening strokes, brought back from death three times by paramedics, and has a constant prayer request: "I need to know from God what he wants me to do today!" In some respects, I think he may have been the inspiration for the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps going and going and going.  He reminds me of my Grandpa Longcor and Uncle Ade Roth.  He has an uncanny sense of humor mixed with Auzzy sarcasm and an unmistakable love for people and life.

I meet with Paul on Wednesday mornings at his home.  His wife Audrey has water on for coffee and we spend time sharing what's going on in our lives, then we pray.  When Paul prays it's like I'm sitting in the presence of a Saint, who is talking to his God...wait, I am!  Just after the first time of praying together I knew I had made a great decision to meet up with Paul.  I just hope I can keep up with him!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

30 Years and Still Counting

June 6th, 1981 I married my best friend, Ruthann.  It doesn't seem possible that 30 years have come and gone.  But, when I think back over the years we have shared, the awesome memories remind me of the life we have lived together.  If I were to sum up the last 30 years in 3 words, it would be: a Grand ADVENTURE!  We have had some really cool adventures over the years.  We've traveled together, raised a daughter together, been involved in ministry together, built homes together.  There is a lot of fond memories we've built over the years.  Over the last 30 years we have seen God time and time again provide for our needs and even some of our wants, comfort us through disappointments and painful situations, hold us when life seemed to be falling a part, and remind us over and over again that he loves us and has a hope and a future for our lives.  We've been blessed!

Happy Anniversary Ruthann.  I love you dearly.  You've been such a wonderful friend, lover, and companion over the years and I look forward to the next leg of our adventure together.  Thank you for the best years of my life!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Living on Retail Overload

When we began this journey of moving to Australia I didn't realize the tremendous amount of hard work it would take.  I underestimated the amount of time sorting through every possession and deciding what to do with it.  And, I underestimated the energy it would take on the other end (down under) to replace some of the usual items.  (Secretly, I was kind of looking forward to this)  When I was in the mobile phone store the manager jokingly said: "you must be on retail overload!"  This has become no joke!  I'm so grateful for the house and contents we moved into shortly after arriving.  I can't imagine what it would have been like if we would of had to adjust to living in another country and try to find a house, furnish it, buy cars, and eat!  I think the eating part would have taken priority.  The amount of stress in all the shopping could have pushed me over the edge...or further down the hill!  We have learned we have at least 3 months before we need to find a more permanent place to live.  In the mean time, we can move at more relaxed pace of accumulation!!!  I'm hoping this next week to locate another car.  Then move on to more important things...xbox, home theater system, TV, etc! (kidding) One thing I hope I am learning; to be content no matter what the circumstance!  Time will tell. 

I have a feeling that there are some of you who would just love to have this "problem" and would be willing to help, well, we have a guest room and you're welcome anytime.  Just let us know when to pick you up at the airport! Any takers?

P.S. The picture has nothing to do with this post other than I thought our friends from the US would enjoy it.  BTW, we already have our pet Kangaroo!

Monday, May 16, 2011

TV in the Land of OZ

Okay, when we moved to Australia I didn't think we'd have so many American TV shows.  I thought I had left the land of CSI, CSI Miami, NCIS, Bones, America's Next Top Model, 2 1/2 Men, The Big Bang Theory, Wife Swap, and on and on and on!!!  We even have our choice of: Australia's Got Talent, The Amazing Race Australia, The Biggest Loser Australian, Dancing with the Stars, and of course the AFL (Australian Football League).  We have ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Company and another broadcaster uses the NBC theme music for their nightly news.  At any given time we can watch German news casts, Italian news casts, Indian News Casts, Romanian News casts...you name the country or language and we can watch it (can't understand it, but we can watch it) even Urdu!!! It's amazing to realize how much the US has influenced the land of OZ.  For the most part Australian's get the understanding of America and Americans through TV and Movies.  Hmmm, we just hope that doesn't become an issue for us...would hate to find out people here think I'm like Charlie Sheen!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Royal Evening!!!


OK, this post may just mean I need to hand in my man badge...!  Last Friday night here in Australia was the wedding of Kate and William.  It's interesting being in a country that is a part of the Common Wealth and experiencing such an event.  Being a male and from a former Colony, I didn't really see what the big deal was.  I knew it was captivating a lot of attention here by the commercials and TV specials being aired WEEKS before.  Then, Ruthann announces to me her desire to host a Royal Wedding Party!  WHAT???  This meant I needed to find refuge somewhere else.  So, I thought I had plans to eat out with a friend and then go to his house a "play" Mac computers (he had just seen the light and entered into ownership of an Mac desktop).  Earlier in the day I rang him to find out more details and when I asked about tea time (supper) he replied: "Well, we're eating at your house!"  Unbeknown to me the plans had changed.  I was about to experience a Royal Wedding!!!  

Shortly before the ladies and one guy were to arrive I sensed Ruthann getting ready to explore a possibility!  As she came out of the bedroom, I gazed upon not the normal run of the mill, we're having people over attire, but Ruthann dressed to kill: Pearl necklace, dangling earrings, sleek blue dress, and high heels. (Sorry to burst some of your bubbles that thought this is the way Ruthann always dresses for tea!)  She was stunning!  At that point I looked down at my tattered jeans and T-shirt and wondered if my life was about to change?  As you can see from the picture I was able to locate the tuxedo shirt and tie with very little effort...the tiara was a little harder to find!  I still had on my jeans.  As people arrived I was designated as the doorman and soon the party was off and running!  In the crowd were two ladies who immigrated to Australia from England, two Canadians, and two Australian's.  The one thing that really did save the night was the food.  Each lady brought a "plate to share." Fortunately, each lady loaded some awesome food to each plate!  Shortly after the meal and the wedding had commenced it became exceedingly clear that my personal commentary on the whole Royal Extravaganza wasn't appreciated...so Ralph and I made our exit.  When we returned to the house, we arrived just as the wedding was over and dessert was being served: SCORE!  Seriously, I am really grateful Ruthann had this time of sharing this event and making some good friends.  My closing comment to this post is very simple and directed at Prince Harry:  ELOPE! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Surrounded



It has been a little over two weeks since our plane touched down in the land of OZ and one word keeps coming to my mind: Surrounded.  I am surrounded by great beauty (I know what some of you maybe thinking..."Marty, you've been surrounded by great beauty ever since you started hanging around Ruthann!" That's a given.).  What I'm talking about is the creation that I see every day...the multi colored parrots that are as common here as pigeons in London, flowers that are blooming even though winter is fast approaching (I use the word winter loosely, winter here means a fridged 50-60 degrees), the ocean and how it rages to the coast, the river and the pelicans that sore looking for fish, the sky and it’s deep hue of blue with fluffy white clouds, the rolling hills and mini mountains.  I'm surrounded by the glory of God through His creation. 

There's also great beauty in the church we've become a part of: people who deeply love Jesus and are so expressive in their love.  They have enveloped us in that love.  I don't think I've been kissed (cheek) and hugged by so many little "old" (older than me) ladies in my life.  Not even at family reunions! 

There is another surrounding that I’m reminded of in Hebrews 12:1:

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

In the past I’ve always associated that verse with those who have died and are now in the presence of Jesus, cheering us on. I’ve thought of my mom, grandparents, friends, and the great numbers of those who have lived and died loving Jesus.  I still think of that but, but the last few weeks I’ve been reminded at how we’ve been surrounded in this adventure by many dear friends and family who are still on this earth cheering us on.  Your prayers and words of encouragement have surrounded us during this time.  Thank you seems so trite.  But, thank you!

Most of all, I sense that God is surrounding us with His presence.  I am trying this Easter to grasp the presence of God in everywhere I look, in everything I do, and in every conversation I engage.  I hope this Easter you sense the "surrounding" of God.  He's there right beside you! 

G’day and Happy Easter,  Marty

Monday, April 18, 2011

We're NOT in Kansas anymore Toto!

Ok, where to begin.  The last week has been a blur.  I didn't realize that when we came to OZ it would be easier to get an Auzzy driver's license than a mobile phone!  On Monday of last week Adam and I went to the mobile phone store for what we thought would result in me walking away with 2 mobile phones.  What we discovered was this was going to take a while...5 DAYS!

First, I needed 100 points to apply for a phone...no worries, I have a passport, visa, US credit card, US drivers license, good looks, and a winsome personality.  Wrong.  We didn't have anything that stated we lived in South Australia.  So, to the bank.  We opened bank accounts and discovered we couldn't get a bank statement from the bank...it would come in the letter box (mail box) in a few days.  Thursday:  the bank statement arrived, off to Victor Harbor...to the phone store.  Upon entering with heaps of confidence that today would be a banner day, I was greeted not by the manager who waited on me Monday but by 2 clerks who's combined age probably didn't exceed 40.  No worries, the manager left extensive notes on me. (Is that good?)  We proceeded into the point tally to which I proudly displayed my bank statement, passport, and visa letter, to which that was met with: "that's only 70 points!"  What?  the manager was clear that was all I needed.  However, I had an ace in my pocket...the day before we had received our Auzzy driver's licenses.  Ha!  To which the reply was: I can't accept that!  It's paper!  They were temporary DL.  "Do you have a bank card?" (aka, credit card)  YES...Visa!  "Great, wait, I cannot accept this!"  WHY?  "It's not an Auzzy bank card, you cannot use it here!"  At this point my friend who had come with me to translate stepped into the fray and begin explaining how I could and have used my VISA card in OZ.  "NOPE, cannot accept it."    At this point my rational reasoning skills kicked in.  "I need 100 points right?"  Yes.  "How much is my passport worth?"  70 points, but you need a visa letter and bank statement with it.   "How much is my bank statement worth alone?  40 points.  "So, I have 110 points!"  After a couple of phone calls to the manager it was decided to try to send the application to corporate for approval.

The Application:  Normal questions began the process, then came THE QUESTION: Previous residence for the last two years:  "No Problem...here is my US driver's license with that address."  I'm sorry, I cannot accept this...it must be an Auzzy address!  No words could explain my reaction at this point!  I've only been here 1 week.  "No Worries, I'll call the manager."  The instructions were to call corporate and ask what address we were supposed to use...I didn't realize we lived in Canberra the last 2 years but our address was: 9999 International Dr. Canberra, AU.  The next step was a credit check.  Everything was put through and we were waiting.  Finally, after what seemed like a long time we got our answer: PENDING~  Which means...there's more red tape!  An email needed to be sent to the regional representative of the company explaining our situation to which she then would decide if we were worthy to have mobile phones.  "How long will this take?"  No worries...straight away!  "Great"  After another phone call to the manager it was discovered that straight away meant within 24 hours.  No worries, we will ring you when we hear...and it could be any moment.  The rest of Thursday...no call, Friday morning...no call.  We had an appointment in Victor Harbor on Friday at 11:30, so we decided to drive the 30 minute drive and after our appointment check into the phone store.  We arrived and were greeted with a smile...the approval just came in!  After 30 minutes of signing documents and hearing all the terms we walked out of the phone store with 2 brand new IPhone 4's.  Now, we just need someone to help us figure out how to make a call!!!

Seriously, we are amazed at how God is going before us and as some things take longer to do because we are not familiar with how things are done, we are so grateful to be right where God wants us...dependent on Him!  More on the adventure later...See Ya,  Mawty

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"God's just showing off!"

Have you ever experienced something and realized you were in the middle of God doing something special?  Last Sunday afternoon, both Ruthann and I were in the middle of something unbelievable.  After several weeks of waiting for the visa to come through we finally got all the clearances to make our way to our new home in the land of OZ.  Naturally, I was bemoaning the delay and wondering if God really knew the importance of us getting on with our lives down under.  On Saturday there was a wedding at the church.  Carol, a member of the church was a widow who was marrying a gentleman from Adelaide.  With her grown children living in Adelaide Carol and Trevor decided they would move to Adelaide to live in his house.  The problem?  Carol owned a home in Goolwa...fully furnished.  In a conversation with one of the members of the church Carol communicated her desire to have us live in the house rent free until we could get our barrings of where we wanted to settle.  Guess when the house was ready for us to move in?  Sunday night!  Sunday afternoon we went to look at the house.  One word describes it: UNBELIEVABLE!  3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage, 2 living areas, a large covered veranda with a huge barbie (grill), a 50" flat screen TV with surround sound, & food in the kitchen!!!  God's just showing off...his timing is perfect.  When will I get this through my thick skull?  Oh, and by the way...plenty of room for guests...ya'll come down!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Gig is UP!

For the past four days we have been undercover and secluded from the church.  Adam wanted to surprise the church on Sunday.  On Saturday he came over to our island hide-a-way and video taped a greeting from us to the church.  He had told the congregation the Sunday before we'd be "there" via video.  Plan was set.  Sunday morning we arrived at the church late, being chauffeured in the back of a car to the back car park (parking lot) of the church.  Following the announcements, Adam would show the video at which time Clare, Adam's wife would slip out the back of the church and signal us to come in the church. As we were sitting in the car waiting, me with my sunglasses on, I commented to Ruthann: "I feel like a Rock Star!"  To which she replied: "You're not a Rock Star!"  I was quickly brought back to reality.  We slipped into the church as the video greeting was playing.  The greeting included us dressed in winter clothes and sharing how we are really anxious to be with them and that we'd be there soon.  The video ended by me saying how grateful we were for the technology to be able to do this but wished we could just be beamed down under right now.  The video ended and Adam led the congregation in prayer for us.  At that time, we moved to the platform.  As we moved we could hear a collective gasp (from those who were obviously not closing their eyes).  Adam closed the prayer, turned to us in surprise and the congregation broke out in applause and laughter.  We had arrived.  The rest of the day was spent giving and receiving hugs, sharing meals, and beginning to be a part of an awesome church family.

Friday, April 8, 2011

And the Adventure Begins!

Actually the adventure began a few months ago...the last few days the accelerator has been jammed to the floor as we packed, weighed, eliminated stuff, weighed, eliminated, weighed, and eliminated some more!!!  Finally, everything was ready to go and we headed to the airport.  Our destination isn't Australia, if it were, what would we do once we arrived?  Our destination is life with Jesus and following Him...ministry!  It just so happens that this ministry is here...they call it paradise!