Thursday, March 22, 2012

Soaking It All Up!

I am finding myself having the same feelings that I had when Sean and I were getting married.  I was so excited to be marrying my best friend and I couldn't wait to start a new life with him.  At the same time though, I was sad that I no longer would be living with my friends and I would never get to go home to visit my family for months at a time.  I did my best to savor my last 6 1/2 months of singleness before we got married and not wish that time away because it was so precious.  God was giving me one of his most wonderful blessings, marriage, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on that extra time with my family and friends before we got married.

I'm feeling the same thing now...I cannot wait to meet our precious little baby in less than 5 1/2 months, but I want to enjoy ever second of the last time that it will be just Sean and I.  These past 9 months that we've spent in Australia have by far been the best time in our marriage.  Our marriage has always been strong but coming here and being away from everything we knew we have been forced to rely on each other in ways that we never had to before.  It has helped our relationship to grow so much stronger and deeper.  I am so proud of the man of God that my husband is and I have never seen him grow so much in his faith.  We also get to spend almost all day every day together and we LOVE it!!  We sit across the table from each other each day as we work and we are pouring into the same thing, working toward the same goal.  It's wonderful.  I don't know if we'll ever get an opportunity like this again and I am so grateful for this time before our life will change with the birth of our little one.

We still are not sure how our ministry is going to change once Baby Schwarze gets here so I am also doing my best to enjoy all of my time with the children and youth.  I know that I will still get to work with them and see them often, but I know that things will change. Until then I am planning on soaking up these next 5 1/2 month without wishing them away!  We are so grateful for our time here and we are looking forward to the year that we have left.  

Here are a couple pictures of us from our time here :)

This is from our first week in the country!!

Don't we look all grown up now?? least a little more!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Last week at youth group, we talked to the students about where they find their identity.  Do they allow other people to define them?  Do they allow the media to tell them who they need to be?  We were studying the life of David as a young boy.  Despite many set backs and people telling him that he wasn't worth much, he knew who he was because he knew whose he was.  He allowed himself to be defined by God and not the people around him.  Our biggest prayer for these youth is that they would come to know the Lord and that they would find their identity in Him!  After we talked to them, two students gave their hearts to the Lord!  What a wonderful praise!!  We are very excited to see how these two grow.  Since we don't want to give away student's names on our blog, we'll just ask that you pray for S. and A. Pray that they would grow in their hunger for the Lord and that they would be committed to living for the Lord.  Pray that they would find their identity in the Lord!

We are planning on having a youth camp April 11-13 in Byfield which is about 30ish km up the road.  The hopes are to have the camp at a person's house from our church.  Unfortunately, we are having a very difficult time getting on contact with the people and we're struggling to plan the camp because we need to see the location.  Please pray with us that we can see the location soon!!    

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Good Weekend

        We had a very fun-filled weekend :)  I thought we'd update you on what we've been up to lately.  First of all, the children's program (XLR8) is going really well!  We are having so much fun learning about the heroes of faith.  We have been teaching the stories through different types of dramas each week and we usually do a craft to remind them of the story.  I have been so impressed with all that the children are remembering!  Below is a picture from Friday.  We learned about the story of Gideon and the kids made trumpets!  Please pray for our XLR8 leadership team as we begin to figure out what the transition will look like once the baby comes.  We are also loosing another leader because he is going away to college soon.  It is our prayer that the Lord would lay it on other people's hearts to come and serve as our group is slowly growing.  
         On Sunday we had a baptism at church!  After church ended and everyone had morning tea, we headed down to the beach.  This baptism was especially close to our hearts because it was a friend that we've been able to spend a lot of time with.  She is in our young adult group and she is also a youth leader with us.  It has been amazing to watch her grow over the last 9 months and we were so proud of her on Sunday to take the step in obedience to the Lord and be baptized.
Here she is giving her testimony with her best friend near by to pray for her when she was done!

Here she is being baptized!  WOO HOO!!
          Also this weekend Sean learned how to surf!  We headed to the beach with 2 of our good friends after our worship class on Saturday.  There is one beach nearby that you can drive on and that is where the good surfing is.  As we were driving down the beach our friend spotted this little guy!!  Sadly he was hooked by a fisherman, dragged in and he died on the beach :(  It was really neat to be able to see one up close though!
 The waves weren't too big where we stopped the first time but they were good beginner waves for Sean.  After a few hours, we decided to head up the beach a bit to see if we could find bigger waves.  Thankfully, we did and we all had much more fun up there!  Everyone tried surfing while I paddled around on a boogie board and cheered everyone on :)  It was a really great way to spend our Saturday afternoon with good friends!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Children's Ministry

Our children's ministry on Fridays, XLR8, has been going really well.  I think I mentioned before that we have a few new people on our leadership team which has been wonderful!  We've had a great time getting together every week and teaching the kids about different heroes in the Bible.  I think the students are really understanding the stories and enjoying learning about them!  After each story we talk about how the Bible character had faith!  In the pictures (it's kind of hard to see) you can see the word faith really big on white letters on the wall that the kids decorated.  First they wrote what they think it means to have faith and drew pictures.  After we discussed what they came up with and we hung it up on the wall as a reminder to always have faith!  

Last week we learned about the characters Caleb and Joshua and how they obeyed the Lord even when everyone else was scared.  The leaders had a fun time acting out the story and the kids did a great job listening!  We even had some props to help illustrate the story.  The boy sitting on the chair is actually a giant and those green and blue sheets are mountains...can't you tell??  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Ocean Adventure

We have some wonderful friends who invited us over last week to go out on their paddleboard.  It's kind of like a really big surf board that you stand up on and paddle.  I was a bit nervous to try to stand up on it because of the baby so I went out with Gemma and she paddled me along as I sat on the front of the board.  It was so peaceful and fun to paddle around and catch up with Gemma.  Sean came out a bit later and decided to give it a try.  We paddled together for a bit then he tried standing up.  He did so well and had so much fun!  When it started getting dark and we decided to head in for dinner, Sean was bummed because he was having so much fun.  Our friends said that we could come over and borrow it any time that we want.  

Yesterday we decided to take them up on their offer!  We came home from church, had lunch and had a few hours before we had to head back to the church for the night service, so we decided it'd be fun to head to the beach!  Our friends Matt and Gemma weren't home but said we could grab the board!  So we headed down to the beach.  We paddled out together at first, just sitting on the board.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the waves were just the right size for us beginners!  Sean decided to give it a try again on his own while I headed back to the beach to read a book.  Sean did such a great job and I had a fun time watching him paddle around out there.  He was able to ride a few waves all the way in!  I decided to head back out and Sean suggested that I try to stand up on my own.  The waves were pretty small and he stood next to me in case I fell.  I only fell twice in the very beginning and I made sure to jump off so I didn't land on the board.  It was so fun!  I was also able to ride a few waves all the way in.  

Next weekend Sean may try to surf.  He said that if we keep doing fun things like this then he won't want to come home!  We feel so blessed to be here and have so many amazing opportunities to do things that we never have before.  We are also so grateful for the friends that God has placed in our lives.  God is good isn't he???  Check out a few pictures below from our day at the beach!