Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Every Day Stuff

Today is a public holiday in Australia, Anzac Day.  It is celebrated on April 25th every year and it honors the members of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps who fought in the battle of Gallipoli in WWI.  From my understanding, it is a day to also honor all veterans.  There was a dawn service this morning at 4:30am that we skipped out on.

We are using the day to catch up on some stuff around the house and relax a bit before all of our ministries pick back up this week.  I also thought we could tell you about some every day stuff that we've been up to.

First, I celebrated my first birthday in Australia.  I can't think of any birthday traditions that are different here than the US.  After they sing "Happy Birthday" they yell out "hip, hip, hooray!" 3 times...but that's about it.  On my actual birthday we were with the youth camping.  They were all very sweet and sang me happy birthday.  Sean and I decided to go out and celebrate on Saturday.  It turned out to be quite the experience.  Fact about Sean and Sam: We LOVE Mexican food!!  We heard about a Mexican restaurant a while ago, so we decided to try it out.  We looked up their website and it said that we needed to make reservations.  Sean called and they said they didn't have any openings until 7 or 7:30.  We were hoping to go earlier so we were kind of bummed...but the lady came back and said that she just had an opening and she thought they could squeeze us in at 6.  We were excited and said we would take it.  This is what the restaurant looked like when we showed up...  

Notice that there is NO ONE in the restaurant.  There was another room about the same size (about 10 tables) and there was a 1 couple there.  We thought it was so funny that they could "squeeze" us in at 6.  Then they took us to our table and it looked like the picture on the left.  Do you like the green thing that hung down in front of our table?  Random right?  This also gave us a good laugh.  The rest of the night continued to be entertaining.  I don't know if it's Australians in general or just the restaurant, but they were pretty confused about the difference between Mexican and Country Western.  They were playing old Country Western movies throughout dinner and playing Country music on the radio.  Also, have you ever been to a restaurant where they take your order at the table, but you have to go up to the bar and order your drinks??  Even water and coke?  We never had!  The food was pretty good.  I got my usual quesadillas and Sean got enchiladas.  Mine was good, but Sean said that his tasted a little bit like mac n' cheese.  Lucky for him, he really likes mac n' cheese!

The yummy quesadillas and chips!!
Another fact about us: We Love playing games!  We recently decided that we wanted the game Scrabble, but we're too cheap to go out and by the game because games are expensive!  So we decided to make our own.  What do you think??  Someone gave us some black and white tiles, then we used matte board to make the board and our friends also had little holders for us.  We've really enjoyed playing!

Well, that's enough for today. Hope everyone is doing well back home!  We love and miss you all!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Youth Camp

We had a great time at camp last week.  Thanks for all of your prayers!  This is the first camp that Sean and I have ever planned and led.  I would say for our first time, it went pretty well.  A very generous couple from our church offered for us to camp on their property. It was so much fun!  Our theme for the camp was Be Set Apart.  We focused on the passage 1 Timothy 4:12 that says "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."  We talked to the kids about how God calls them to be examples to those around them even though they are young.  We had devotions at night and in the morning and each time we focused on a different aspect of the verse.  After, we got into small groups with the kids and talked through each area.  Please pray for those students that made commitments.  

For the games we split the kids into 2 team.  Meet our teams below :)
Team Rome...I like the muscle picture!

Team Ephesus.  They left their flag out in the rain on the first night.  One of our students faithfully stood over the fire for at least an hour to dry it out the next day.  This is a pre-rain photo :)
 We had a bit of an Olympic theme. The teams had to work together to complete different tasks or games.  At the end of camp, the team with the highest score won.  We had a great time with this!  Some of the things we did were ultimate frisbee, jumbo soccer, water bomb volleyball, capture the flag at night.  We also played a game where we chained 2 team members up and had 3 padlocks on them.  The kids had to run into the woods, down to a creek and find a key to unlock their team mate.  There were only 3 correct keys and 12 incorrect keys.  Here are a couple pictures of the games:
Water bomb volleyball.  The kids had to work in pairs with a towel and fling a water balloon to the other side.  They loved this game!  It took them a while to get the hang out it!

We had a game where the kids had to find wooden puzzle pieces in the woods to find out their team name.  
It was really nice to spend time with the kids out side of the "Friday Youth Group" atmosphere.  We felt like we had a better chance to catch up with the kids.  We had 2 other leaders join us and it was so great to have them around to help.  Overall, the camp went really well.  It rained pretty hard both nights which kept some of us up.  Thankfully, everyone was able to stay dry in their tents and we had great weather during the day.
The whole gang at the end of camp...we haven't showered in a few days.  Don't we all look great?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter in Australia

Easter in Australia is just a little different.  Most things are fairly similar.  One thing that we found interesting is that people do not seem to celebrate like people back in the US.  From what we found, it didn't seem like a day where families come together and have a big lunch like Thanksgiving and Easter.  One thing that we thought was interesting is that they eat hot cross buns here at Easter!

Hot cross buns
Up until Friday, the only time that I'd ever heard of hot cross buns was when I learned to play it on the piano in 6th grade.  Sean said he knew it on the recorder as well!  But here it is a very common Easter food.  After church on Good Friday, we were invited over to our Pastor's house for hot cross buns and tea.  They were quite delicious and we had a great time being with our church family.  We feel so blessed to have them because they make us feel very at home.  

On Sunday we went to church and had a typical Easter service like back home.  After church we had a picnic with some church family and had fish and chips...well I had chicken of course.  The weather is beautiful this time of year and we enjoyed being outside and spending time with the wonderful people God has blessed us with.  After lunch we came home and relaxed for a bit.  We played a few games then went for a nice walk on the beach.  It was a gorgeous night and there were a lot of people out.

At the beach

 We came home and I made Sean's family's traditional holiday meal.  Chicken and noodles!!  Although they weren't perfect they were much better than last time.  I'm getting better!!  My father-in-law thinks they would have been perfect because he said he likes his noodles chewy :)  But Sean and I had a wonderful dinner, just the two of us, to celebrate that our Lord has risen!!

Below is an unrelated picture, but I wanted to introduce you to the amazing woman that we live with!  On our day off last week, Sonja took us up on top of this hill to see the beautiful view.  We enjoyed spending time with her. I just realized we've never shown you a picture of her or her husband.  We'll have to get one of John soon as well :)

We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Awards Ceremony

Our 1st term of XLR8 is now done!  Boy that flew by quickly!  We had a great term learning about Heroes of the Faith.  The other leaders that I'm working with are just wonderful.  Each week we are acting out the stories and we have so much fun.  One day we had one of our girl leaders stuff her sweater with plastic shopping bags to be Goliath and stand on a giant chair.  The kids loved it and it was great!  Yesterday we held and XLR8 awards ceremony in church and honored all of our kiddos who have done such a fabulous job learning about heroes of the Bible and what faith means!  Next term we'll be focusing on parables and I am really looking forward to it!  Until then, here are some pictures from XLR8!  

Our XLR8 family!  We had a few missing for this picture.   
Goliath game.  The kids had to throw balls with velcro on them and hit Goliath on the head.  The loved it!


Also, here is the link to our latest youth video!  We had a records night where the students fought to defend their own records, or beat a previous record.  Some of the events were: push-up contest, sit-up contest, who can eat a mintie (a mint candy) the fastest, milk drinking contest and a contest to see who could eat a Popsicle the fastest.  I must say the most impressive part of the night was when one of our students drank a liter of milk is 17 seconds.  We were all shocked!  The same kid put down a Popsicle in 27 seconds!