Friday, April 22, 2011


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 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 would come in the letter box (mail box) in a few days.  Thursday:  the bank statement arrived, off to Victor 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 is my US driver's license with that address."  I'm sorry, I cannot accept 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 call, Friday 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!