Monday, November 28, 2011

Family Visit!

This past week we were so blessed to have my family come visit. I was so excited about them coming that I could hardly focus on my work before they came! It was nice to be able to share our new life with them here and for them to get to know the people that have blessed us so much. We were able to take some time off work and explore a bit of Australia with them. They spent these first few days here in Yeppoon, then all of us headed down to Sydney for a few days. It was exciting to see more of the beautiful country God has put us in. Here are a few pictures from their time here.

Family picture with Zorro, the Koala, at a wildlife sanctuary near where we live.

We got to tour the Opera House in Sydney. It was beautiful! It was so neat to be able to learn some history about it. It was probably one of our favorite parts about Sydney.
We went hiking one day. Here is my mom and dad climbing on the side of the mountain.

We've jumped back into the swing of things and are back to work. Honestly, it's been a bit harder now that my family has left. I wasn't homesick before! But now, with the holidays coming up, I'm starting to miss home a bit more. We'd appreciate your prayers during this time!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Church Meeting

On Monday night we had our annual church meeting. It is a time when the covenant members (aka just regular church members) come together and talk about what's going on in the church and what is coming up next. Our Pastor started off by giving his Pastor's report on the last year. It was a very positive report. The average attendance of our church is up from 90 last year to about 125 this year. That is pretty significant growth for our area, so that is pretty exciting! That was followed by the treasurer's report which was also pretty exciting. The churches annual giving has also gone up. It's so neat to see the way the Lord is blessing the church.

With this growth comes new issues to work through. One thing that we are beginning to look forward to is building a new youth/children's ministries building. At the meeting, the board proposed an idea to build a large shed for youth and children's ministries. This opens the door for larger programs and for multiple things to go on at one time. Right now we are limited for space and the kind of activities we can do because of the room that we are in.

With more people attending church comes the need for more leaders. We are struggling to find enough people who are committed to being ministry leaders. A lot of people would be great leaders but don't have the time or are not willing to make it a priority. Please pray with us that God will provide more leaders so that ministries can grow.

We are so grateful to be a part of this church. We are both growing a lot through our experience here!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What now?

We have been blessed beyond belief. It is humbling to sit back and think about the countless ways the Lord has blessed us in ways that we would never have imagined. I was recently listening to a sermon on materialism. The Pastor suggested that it is the "slavery of 2011." He talked about how no matter how much we have, we always want more. We are constantly thinking of the next best thing, but in the end, in light of eternity....does it really matter? He later talked about how someone commented to him and his wife that they were blessed financially. He responded by suggesting that God was testing them. Yes, he had given them a lot, but then he felt like God was saying, "what now? How are you going to use it to bring glory to me?"

I've thought about this a lot over the last couple days. I feel like God is saying to me, "what now? I have blessed you, I've shown you what generosity looks like. Now what are you going to do?" Are we using our time and money in a way that is honoring to God? What about after we leave Australia and head off to wherever God calls us next, what are we going to do? We have been welcomed into a home with open arms, we have been given a what now? I'm praying that God would open our eyes to the ways we can use what he's given us to bless those around us.

What are you holding on to? What are ways that you can bless those around you? What now?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday = Baking Day!

There is a lady at our church who is an AMAZING baker. She makes the most beautiful, delicious, melt in your mouth kind of desserts. One day I was telling her that I would like to have some of her recipes so I could try to make them. Then, she suggested that we bake together every week and take turns teaching each other new recipes. What a great idea! We have started exercising together every morning, and on Tuesday mornings after we work out, we bake! It has been great to get to know her better during our walks in the morning.

She has taught me some delicious recipes! So far she has taught me how to make chocolate mud cakes, banana raspberry muffins and mint chocolate chip tim tam cheesecake. All of which have been amazing! I have taught her how to make cookies n' cream ice cream cupcakes and homemade peanut butter cups. Boy, I feel like I'm gaining a lot of weight from eating all of these wonderful desserts, but they are just so good!! Next week I am teaching her how to make no bakes. I love how God can use things we enjoy, like baking, to help me get to know people in the church and have fellowship together!

Mint Chocolate Chip Tim Tam Cheesecake
Chocolate Mud Cakes


We REALLY love the youth that we are working with. Yesterday was probably one of my favorite days of youth Bible study. The students were really asking questions that had depth and they are internalizing what they are learning! It's so exciting to be able to work through some tough questions and help them figure out why the believe what they believe. We got very off topic, but it was one of those times that you don't care because the conversation is going so well! We feel so incredibly blessed to be working with these youth. I am really excited about what God has in store for all of us over the next year and a half!