Sunday, January 20, 2013

Coming Home

    As our two years are drawing to a close in Australia, we have been praying a lot about what the next step will be for our family.  We have learned so much in our time here and have grown  spiritually, emotionally, and numerically!  We have formed relationships with wonderful people in our church and have loved getting to know the children and youth.  With God’s help, we were able to continue our youth program and form a leadership team to take over when we are gone.  I (Sam) was able to work in the children’s ministry and share God’s Word with many children.  Sean has loved being a part of the worship team.  It was been a great year and a half in Australia!  As individuals we have been challenged and stretched to do things that we never thought we would do.  We have both grown deeper in our walks with the Lord.  As a couple, we have grown closer together and have had some of the best times in our marriage.  We feel incredibly blessed to have welcomed Rylan into our lives. 
    After a lot of prayer, we have decided that we are going to return to the United States when our visa expires in April.  As for what we will do?  We still don't know!  What we do know is that God is faithful and that He will lead and guide us to where He wants us to go.  We have so much peace knowing that this is where the Lord wanted us to serve for the past year and a half.   It is a bit overwhelming to look ahead and not know where the Lord has us, but we trust that He has a plan for our family.   I have been studying the life of David lately.   Towards the end of his life, he was making preparations for Solomon to take over as king and he was instructing other leaders on how to help Solomon.  I love what he said to them in 1 Chronicles 22 verse 19, “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.”  As I read that I thought,  that is exactly what Sean and I want to do.  We are devoted to following after the Lord and seeking Him with all that we are.  We have no idea what lies ahead for us but we simply want to follow Him.  Please pray for us as we finish our last 5 weeks in Australia.  Please pray that we could stay focused and finish strong.  As we look ahead, pray that we would do what God wants us to do and that we would trust Him with all of the unknowns. 
    Recently we received a gift from one of our supporting churches.  It was a prayer pillow case!  All of the hand prints on the pillow are from people who are praying for Rylan.  What a blessing!  We cannot tell you how much the prayers and support of people around us have meant to us.  Thank you for each prayer and every penny spent on supporting us!!  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas dinner

Our church held a Christmas dinner last weekend.  It was so fun!  It started off with burgers then the night continued with Christmas carols.  We had the first appearance of the Yeppoon Wesleyan Methodist Church choir which was fantastic!  They led the church in carols then there were individuals or small groups who did special items.  The night ended with the Sister Act 2 rendition of "Joyful, Joyful!" All of the money raised on the night went towards our women's ministry.  There was also a cake auction which of course Sean decided to take part in!  What a great night!  

Sean's red velvet present cake

All of the cakes!  I know it's sideways...sorry about that.  Just turn your head a bit :)

Church Choir

Sean and Jess singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain"

Joyful, Joyful!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Caroling!

Studying the music in her sleep :)

 On Sunday night we went Christmas caroling around Yeppoon.  It was so fun.  Even Rylan joined the fun!  There were a group of singers and musicians as well as 2 groups of people that went house to house.  A lot of people came out of their houses to listen to the music.  We invited people to come to the church this coming Saturday for our Christmas dinner and carols night.  Below are some pictures from the night.  Soon I'll be posting about the Christmas dinner.  The worship team has a special song planned and hopefully I'll be able to get a video of it!  Have a Merry Christmas!   

The whole group

A few of our lovely singers

Our worship leader

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Worship Dinner

Rylan was decked out and ready to go!
 Saturday night the worship team at our church held a dinner.  It was SO fun! The night was filled with musical entertainment, games, a delicious 3-course dinner and a cake auction!  The members of the worship team made cakes in the shape of musical instruments.  They all looked amazing!  There were cakes in the shape of a guitar, piano, drums, tambourine, a music note, microphone and a sound board.  I had no idea our worship team was so talented in making cakes.  Sean was up for the challenge and made the piano cake.  Take a look down below to see it.  It was amazing.  Who knew Sean was such a talented cake maker???
The piano cake!  Way to go Sean!!

Rylan had a good time as well.  She wanted to stand on my legs and do a little dance. Half way through the night though she decided she was sleepy and passed out for the night.  All of the money raised on the night is going toward new equipment for the worship ministry.  The worship team will he holding another dinner for Christmas and Easter.  We are all looking forward to them! I wonder if they are going to make Christmas themed cakes...

Here are a few more pictures from the night.  It was tricky holding a baby and taking pictures...I'm not that talented yet!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Getting back into things

We have not been good about updating our blog lately.  Sorry!  Things are just a bit crazy around here these days!  Sean is enjoying getting back into the swing of things at work.  Youth has started back up for the last school term of the year.  Boy this year has flown by!  The first 2 weeks have gone really well!  To check out a video from our first week back click here.  Right now they are learning about dating and how to wait on God's timing.  Tonight we are splitting up between guys and girls.  The guys are heading to one of the youth leader's houses and they are going to be playing video games while the girls are having a girly night painting nails, baking and watching a movie.  I'm hoping that Rylan and I will be able to make it!  It's a bit tricky to tag along to things with a little one now.  I am really missing being a part of youth, but I am enjoying spending time with the girls one-on-one.

Well...I think that's about it for now.  Just thought we'd send a quick update :)  Tomorrow night the worship team is putting on a dinner concert.  I will make sure to take lots of pictures and blog about that soon!  Take care!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


With this new little addition to our lives, we are learning how to adjust.  Learning how to adjust to being a family of 3, less sleep, constant bottle washing, lots of laundry, new routine (or somewhat of a routine), new ministry everything!  Rylan has definitely changed our life around and we are loving it.  Sean was sitting on the couch having some good Rylan cuddles and he said, "I kinda like this whole being a dad thing." We are head over heels in love with our little one and each day as we learn what life is going to be like now, we love being parents even more.

What's life going to look like now?  We're not too sure...but we're figuring it out!  Before Rylan was born we hadn't actually talked to our Pastor about how my role was going to change.  Would I go on a few month maternity leave then come back?  Or would I just stay home with Rylan?  The tricky thing is, our visa expires in April and we are heading home.  I was able to hand over my responsibilities at work at the end of my pregnancy and it almost seems silly to go back to what I was doing to just have to hand it over again in a few months.  On Monday I went into the church and had a really good talk with our Pastor.  We decided that I am going to stay out of my leadership roles for Youth and XLR8 but I am willing to help if ever needed.  My goal right now is to focus on learning how to be a new mommy as well as pour into our youth on a one-on-one basis.  I've always preferred meeting with the girls in small groups or one-on-one and now I have an opportunity to do that more often!  Towards the end of my pregnancy, since we were busy and I was SO tired all the time, I didn't have much time or energy to meet with the kids outside of youth or bible study and I've really missed that.  So now I'm really looking forward to being able to spend time with them :)

I've also felt like God is putting on my heart to meet with the women in the community.  I love the way Rylan has opened the door for me to do this!  I am looking to join a mom's group and meet with other new mom's once a week.  Since we've been so busy with things going on at the church most nights, we haven't had much opportunity to be in the community and meet people who don't go to our church.  I want to be able to share Christ's love with these other new moms.  Will you please pray that God would open up doors for me to do so?

Most other things have stayed the same.  Sean is still involved in all of his same ministries and is doing great.  I still go to my Monday night Bible study and Sean gets some daddy-daughter time and we go to young adult Bible study on Tuesday.  We really appreciate all of your prayers up until now and we ask that you would continue to pray for us as we adjust to our new life with little Rylan.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small Groups

One thing that Sean and I have enjoyed since we've been here is our young adult group.  We meet everyone Tuesday night for Bible study and then we will do things on weekends together sometimes.  In the beginning, we were meeting in one large group which was often between 12-15 people each week.  This term we decided to split into 2 smaller groups so we can have better conversations and to help people feel more open because there are not as many people.  We started studying the book Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and we're really enjoying it.  We're each challenged by the lessons each week. It's a great place to have fellowship with other believers our age.  

Our group is led by a couple, Matt and Gemma and they do a great job.  Recently, it was Matt's birthday so we decided a celebration was in order.  Sean found a delicious looking cake on the internet and we wanted an excuse to make it.  We decided Matt's birthday was the perfect time.  Below are some pictures of our group.  Sadly a few are missing for various reasons, but you can see some of them!!

Our group minus 3

Happy Birthday Matt!

Doesn't that look delicious?!  It was a layer of cookie dough, cheesecake and devil's food cake.
 We were all a bit too ambitious with our portion sizes and got sugar highs!!