Our new home

Just a few days after we returned to Timor we moved into the house next door. It was a lot of bother packing to move such a short distance, but we felt like it was something we needed to do for our sanity and mental health. Our old house had a constant stream of people through our garden, termites were invading various wooden parts of the house and ants loved to attack the water pump. The waste pipes for the kitchen and bathroom would block often. The problems of the house were starting to take it’s toll on our sanity and so we felt like a move was in order.

The house next door had several aspects that we really wanted. A fully fenced in yard, with no extra local visitors passing through, which has room for Sam to play in and our new dog, Maddy. The house has four bedrooms inside, one with an ensuite, which allows us a permanent guest room and an office / school room for homeschooling Sam. There is also more room to entertain friends and MAF guests for meals.

No house is perfect and there are some interesting quirks of our new home. Our bedroom is painted an interesting shade of “upset stomach” or diarrhea. Several of the room’s air vents have nests of small birds living in them, which is sort of cute and rather distracting for the homeschool room. Our guest room is very pink, not so great for all the male engineers who will come to stay. Storage is always an issue in Timorese houses, as no cupboards are ever built in, so we have been slowly finding places to store our stuff, while hunting through boxes to find items that we need. The rainy season is providing to be an adventure, as leaks are appearing in various places in the ceiling. Yesterday i needed to move the TV as drips were sliding into the back of it. Thankfully it still works fine.

Sam is enjoying the role of “zubunya” or gate guard! Funny how i still think of that role by it’s Amharic or Ethiopian term, and not by the Timorese name. He eagerly jumps out to open and close the gate each time we come and go.

We are loving the curtains in our new house and the darkness they bring for sleeping. Sam woke us up one night crying hysterically because he couldn’t find the door to his room. I forgot to turn on the night light and it is really dark without it. After two years of sleeping with no coverings on the window we are noticing a difference.

So, we are enjoying our new home sweet home… quirks and oddities included!

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First week of homeschool

Well we survived it! With only minimal moments of high blood pressure and hair pulling out… I think homeschooling adventure is going to be character revealing for both Sam and i. You learn a lot about another person working closely with them each day in this sort of way. I am amazed at the amount of time my son can spend fiddling with his pen, staring at the wall or swinging on his chair. It’s an interesting experiment in psychology to see what motivates him and what makes him to retreat into the world of “i don’t want to” land. Sometimes i think it is harder to teach one mischeivious seven year old than a whole class of teenagers. You have no peer pressure to help sway him to your way of doing things… But oh the joys are so rewarding. Snuggling on the couch reading a story or doing comprehension questions together. Asking him questions about his ideas of 100 years ago, which put people living in the stone age with animal skins and writing on stone tablets. Learning together is fun!

So we practised our handwriting, started using our new online English program, measured things around the house, watched videos about the history of clocks and what technology is and more.The simple of joy of seeing Sam’s face light up when he estimated the length of something accurately is great!

I love the flexibility of homeschooling. On one day Sam was still asleep at 8.30, a rarity for him, but seeing as we’ve been fighting cold/flu bugs this week i wasn’t waking him up, just change the plans a bit. Jason is on call this weekend, no problem, change our school days around so we can have a day off when Daddy does. Mummy gets sick on day three… just what you need in your first week of homeschooling isn’t it? A raging fever, runny nose and a headache that prevents any type of rational thought, so thankful for planning that allows you to teach even when you feel so disgusting.

One of the concerns i had about homeschooling Sam was his need to be around other people. Sam is an extrovert. He loves people and as an only child, who now homeschools, his contacts outside the family are reduced. I am so glad we got a dog! Several days this week he was outside on the swing and playing with Maddy in his down time. I love that he has some company, other than me during the day. This thought has lead me to considering starting a get together of other homeschooling families in Dili. A Facebook question, has led me to one other family i didn’t know of, which brings our possible group to four families including us. But this is something i need to think about a little more… We were excited though to hear about a soccer class on Friday evenings for interested kids. We were able to go on Friday evening, 6.30pm until 7.30 pm, not really our ideal time for sporting activity, but at least it is cooler then. A class run by the PE teacher from the Portuguese school runs a soccer training session for kids under 9! Drills and games kept the kids busy for an hour and Sam loved it. We left with him begging to go again next week and telling us about three new friends he made. There were also several kids there who he already knew from his school and from church connections which was good too.

So plans are made… already to do it all over again next week… i think. Hopefully this time without the sickness and with a little more wisdom from the week just gone… Love your prayers for both of us as we face this adventure together each day…

Jason’s First Week as PM (or CD)

This week ( two weeks ago now…. we are a bit slow at posting this…) was Jason’s first week alone as Programme Manager (or Country Director as they’ve change the name of the role just recently) for the MAF Timor-Leste team. It was a busy week for him as we have an engineer here, doing regular maintenance as well as some extra tasks on both planes. A week of engineering, meant that Jason was the pilot for the week, so Timon, our second pilot could assist with the engineering work.

Monday was a day off, after being on call for the weekend. It was a day to settle in more into our new home, do some shopping for groceries and lamps.

On Tuesday, Jason received a call for a medevac flight from Suai. Unfortunately, at the time of the call, both planes were unable to fly as the engineers were changing the props from one aircraft to the other. Jason had to inform the ambulance service that we could do the flight later in the day, but not at the moment. Jason had been so busy learning about the administration of his new role that he had not been flying since he returned to Timor. Two hours after the request for a medevac flight, Jason was able to head to Suai to assist the ill patient there. The patient was a young girl, who needed transportation to hospital, along with her mother . Unfortunately, the patient’s illness was so severe that she passed away during the flight to Dili. This flight made us all realise just how time critical our response to the needs of the patients can be. The need to delay this flight was unavoidable in many ways, but it made us all realise just how many lives we can help to save each year, just by being able to provide a speedy response for those in need.

The week continued on with meetings with various government departments, going through various paperwork steps to authenticate Jason as the new Programme Manager for MAF here. There was some negotiations with customs at the airport to do, as our engineer had brought parts for the aircraft with him that needed tax to be paid. And there was an endless influx of emails to be answered about possible group visits from Australia and the Philippines, the changing over of aircraft, bookings for the plane and more.

On Wednesday, Jason had a Skype call with Finance staff in the UK to help him understand the administrative would of MAF finances and accountancy, so he was home late. Balancing time zones with MAF staff in other countries can be tricky at times.

On Thursday, Jason attended what he thought was going to be a meeting set up by the airport security to promote a healthy working partnership with other operators. “I thought it was going to be with a handful of people, instead there was about 200 people in attendance, it seems it was a Christmas party (we’re told they are usually held in January) for those involved with working at the airport, with roasted pigs, delicious Timor style sweet and sour pork and more. Jason didn’t need dinner that evening, as the banquet at 4pm had filled him right up.

Saturday, was an on call day for Jason. We slept in and were considering making porridge when the phone rang with a medevac request from nearby Atauro island. A mad dash ensued to get Jason, and engineer John out the door as quickly as possible. Toast and eggs needed quick cooking, as we’d run out of cereal. Lunch and morning tea prepared. Get dressed and off they went. After the flight, Jason stayed at the hangar for awhile helping with the engineering work, before returning home mid afternoon. The power was out at home, so Jason returned to a hot and bothered Kim and Sam, so we all ran away to Timor Plaza for some air conditioning and a treat afternoon tea. A drink and some munchies were consumed and were just about to have a look through the shops with our engineering friend, when the phone rang. A medevac was needed from Los Palos, the airstrip in the far east of the country. Jason would be late for the dinner we’d planned with our MAF colleagues and Kim would need to ask our guests to help with the barbeque. A job she had planned for Jason. The medevac flight was needed for an old man with breathing difficulties and a young boy who had broken his leg. Thankfully though, the skies were clear and he was able to complete the medevac before the sun set. He enjoyed his dinner and his cheesecake when he got home. We were glad we’d had a fancy afternoon tea to tide him over for his late dinner.

Sunday, finally a day off for Jason. He was able to make porridge for breakfast this time, after another sleep in. Due to the pressures of the engineering, one day off means a quiet home day to conserve energy for the coming week. Lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant. A little tinkering around the house and lots of relaxing.

 

Storms in Timor-Leste

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The pictures show our Mission Aviation Fellowship Timor Leste hangar in Dili, before and after a storm hit last week.

The team arrived to find the shelter a little less weather-proof than it had been the previous day! Overnight the roof of the hangar was ripped to pieces by the powerful winds.
Thankfully, as the material was nearing the end of its 10-year life expectancy, the fundraising for a new covering was completed last year. The materials for the new roof are already in programme ready for installation!

Praise God for forward planning and generous supporters that help to meet timely needs!

VIPs and Medevacs

For pilots in Timor-Leste who fly two GA8 Airvans, their passengers are often medevac patients. Transporting seriously ill or injured local Timorese people who live in remote places of the country, where air transportation is needed to help them reach the National Hospital in Dili, where their chances of survival is significantly greater, than in rural clinics. For these pilots, this is a “normal” day in the office for them, pregnant women, accident victims and people suffering the effects of a stroke, are their “frequent flyers.”

The MAF aircraft are also available for charters by other groups and are often chartered by aid organisations and the Timorese government to assist them in their work. Transportation by road in Timor-Leste can be a time consuming and often dangerous activity, with mountainous roads being effected by landslips. Travelling by air is quicker and also safer than road travel.

The 20th of June was an unusual day for the MAF Timor-Leste pilots. Due to the ceremonial opening of the new airstrip in Suai, on the southern coast of Timor-Leste, a number of bookings had been made for the MAF aircraft. Jason Job, pilot, had an early start to the day as he flew to Maliana in VH-MQO, a town south west of Dili. His passenger was Bishop Don Norberto do Amaral, the Bishop of the Maliana region and several members of his staff. A little while later, Pilot Jonathan Lowe, was airborne in the second aircraft, VH-MTX heading for Suai. His passengers included Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo, the current Prime Minister of Timor-Leste and several other government officials.

The new airport in Suai has been under construction for several years and includes a new sealed runway, a terminal building, control tower, hangar facilities for five large helicopters and fire fighting facilities.Throughout the redevelopment of the new airport, the officials have ensured that at least part of the runway has been useable at all times for medevac purposes. This meant that the workmen worked on half the airstrip at a time, to allow enough width and length for the MAF aircraft to land and take off when emergency medical evacuation flights were needed. A simple phone call to airport management would ensure that all bulldozers and other machinery were off the landing strip, before the plane arrived. On average, MAF aircraft fly into Suai airport, seven times each month.

The celebration for the official opening of the new airport was very elaborate, with Timor-Leste’s newly elected President, Francisco Guterres, and many other government ministers and local officials in attendance. The airport has been named Xanana Gusmao International Airport, after Xanana Gusmao, former President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.

Pilot Jason Job, joined the crowds of people, in celebration, while he waited for his passengers to be ready to return to Maliana. He found himself being escorted to the front of one of the lines of people waiting to access the tables of banquet style food that surrounded the area. Feeling embarrassed to be singled out, his face must have shown his reluctance, but a comment from an unknown voice in the crowd boosted his confidence. “Don’t worry about it,” the unknown voice called out, “you help save lives every year…” The recognition of MAF and their role in helping people reach medical services was encouraging in that moment of feeling on the spot in a crowd of important guests.

Meanwhile, in Dili, Jonathan Lowe was in fact completing a medevac flight. Jonathan had been scheduled to fly another group of people to Suai for the opening ceremony, when a medevac flight was required from nearby Atauro island. He delayed this charter flight, completing the fifteen minute flight to Atauro, where he transported a young man to Dili for greater hospital care at the National Hospital. After this he was able to continue to complete his schedule flights for the day, which included flying the Prime Minister back to Dili, then returning to Suai to collect another group of guests.

This was not an average day of flying in Timor-Leste, but the 20th of June was one that stands out in our memory. Our MAF staff do serve the poor, the ill and isolated by providing a safe and quicker method of transportation to help them reach the National Hospital when they need it. These flights do help to save many lives each year. But MAF’s role in Timor-Leste also often includes transporting government officials, ambassadors and even the leaders of the nations. And sometimes, like on the 20th of June, they do both in one day!

Countdown

In church last week Sam made a list of things he likes best about Australia. Here’s his list….
Family
Real lego
Treetops (The MAF Guest house in Cairns)
McDonalds
No school

His list of favorite things about Timor…
Oliver (our next door neighbour and his buddy at school)
Ms Esther (his teacher from last year, who also attends the same church as us)
Cute babies
Being able to speak Tetun
School

Sam and I were discussing today how we are now on the downside of the mountain. His school term is more than halfway over and in a little over a month we will be on our way back to the land of Oz. Sam’s countdown is motivated partly by how many weeks he has left to earn money to buy “real Lego” when he is in Australia. My countdown is driven by my to do list that seems to be growing as i keep remembering other things i need to do before heading south.

So i fell into the whirlpool of guilt as i realised this week that i hadn’t written a blog in two months. I have written newsletters and MAF articles and updates and Hera plans and homeschool plans… but no blogs! Sorry!

Life has been busy but we have also felt like we were in limbo land awaiting the decision about whether Jason would get the new job or not. So now the decision has been made and plans can be concreted in, so it is time for the green light when to do lists can be actioned… items can be added and removed, several times each day.

Today was the day for booking in church speaking appointments! I also managed to do some online xmas shopping, don’t you love it when you have an idea and go to the online store to look around, only to find it has 50%! Another job done! I made shopping lists for his class teachers and upcoming birthdays here in Timor, forced Sam to try on winter clothes to see if they still fit, did a few emails with my MAF Timor-Leste Communications Officer hat on and answered a few emails. We have also arranged flights for Sam and i back to Victoria.

Yesterday Jason spent all day sitting in Oecusse, a part of Timor-Leste that is surrounded by Indonesian territory, while his passengers were working there. While he waited he was able to start constructing our photo book to bring home with us. I have to do lists for him to do too… when he’s not flying and doing his real job that is! But some things he is just so much better at than me!

So as of this afternoon, my to do list looks like this….

Plan Hera lessons for September – December (in English then translate to Tetun), collect resources for lessons and assemble into kits for the Timorese staff to follow.

Email families and individuals about catching up while we are home

Decide on thank you presents, order them, and collect them

Finalise the lists for thank you presents and Christmas cards

Order Christmas cards…. this week. Another thing that is 50% off at the moment.

Finish planning homeschool for Sam for Term 4. We will be in Australia for all of the term for Sam so it is time for Mummy to be teacher again.

Figure out what we will do for advent this year. Every year we try to do something for advent in December. This year we will be on the move so my usual traditions don’t really work. Time to rethink.

Pack up parts of our house. Friends will be staying in our house while we are away so they need some room to move.

I have done a stocktake of Sam’s and my clothes, so i know what we have and what we need to buy while back in Australia. Now it’s Jason’s turn. I also have a big bag of clothes that no longer fit to donate somewhere. There is nothing worse than standing in a department store in Australia, in culture shock and totally overwhelmed, trying to remember how many tshirts, bras or pairs of socks you actually own in Dili!

Stocktake the medical supplies.

Book in appointments – dentist, optometrist, doctor, physio etc

What photos do we need to print for displays?

What are we going to say? Time to write presentations! Design the Powerpoints! Print them out.

Where are we sleeping each night? Make plans for accommodation.

– Say goodbyes to friends who won’t be here in Dili when we return in January.

Design and arrange a new prayer card. Oh, yeah, oops… take a new photo for the prayer card first! Oops, get hair cuts first this time! Not like the last one! Better book that in!

And so on it goes…. and just as i am writing this i thought of something else to do add to my to do list! It keeps on growing.

So when missionaries write in their newsletter asking for prayer as they prepare to come back to Australia for furlough… these are the sorts of things they are doing! It’s huge and overwhelming and a crazy busy time, and sometimes i wish i could snap my fingers and have it all done. Because the reality is we love coming home. We love sharing about what we do here in Timor-Leste. We love visiting people who have been praying for us and supporting us. We love being back in the normality of Australia (for Jason and I anyway…. Australia is still a novelty for Sam!) But coming home does require a lot of work.

And just in case you are wondering about the time frame, aren’t we coming to Australia in November? Sam and I are heading to Australia earlier than Jason to have some extra family time during October. Jason will continue on in Dili, then head to Cairns for meetings before joining us in Melbourne at the end of October. November is visiting month! Then we are having a two week holiday / tenth anniversary trip just the three of us, before spending Christmas with our families and then heading back to Timor in early January.

Okay, time to get back to it….. See you soon…..

Generosity

About a year ago, our family was staying at a hotel on an island opposite Dili, for a weekend away with friends. As we waited for lunch one day i started chatting to another lady in the line. We discussed why we were in Timor, what we did and spoke for some time about the centre at Hera and my involvement there. She took my email address and began to talk about ways that she could help us.

Several months later, two boxes of goods arrived in Dili for us to use at Liman Hamutuk in Hera. As we’ve used the items, I have been trying to remember to take photos to show the enjoyment the students have had with the items. Have a look!

Through the web of connections that you make when you live in a place like this, we came in contact with a group called Timor Containers. They bring shipping containers full of goods from Australia to Timor-Leste for the use of charities and other not for profit organisations. Many of these items have been donated from schools in Australia. We were given several boxes of goods that we have been able to use in Hera and in our MAF care packages for patients who fly on our planes. Other goods we have passed on to organisations who are setting up preschools in remote areas of Timor-Leste where the children have no access to early childhood education. Jason and i travelled an hour and half out of Dili, straight up the mountain to a place called FatuMasi to deliver some of these goods to a preschool associated with our church in Dili.

Another donation, came to us a box of wooden trucks and cars, all handmade by a group in Australia. Each item was wrapped to be a Christmas gift for a Timorese child. Somewhere in Australia, people are making these precious toys and our students at Hera are loving them.

Because of the generosity of strangers and some of our friends here in Dili, we have set up a toy library with our students at Liman Hamutuk. This was a new idea for the families and initially many families resisted the idea of borrowing a toy, for fear it would get lost, damaged or broken. Other expats warned us that the items may not be returned, but we were willing to try. We explained, with lots of charades and acting, while some translated in Tetun, how the borrowing system worked, how you needed to care for the items, but emphasised that we understood that sometimes something would break or get lost. They just needed to tell us about it. Please don’t stop coming because of a toy. Friends with children have given us items as they left the country. Other organisations in Dili have passed on items that are not being used anymore. Six months in the students are loving having toys to borrow and play with at home. Yes the toys are getting beaten up and dirty, but that means they are being used! And with more donations, we can replace the items that are damaged or unusable.

Some of these donors we know, so we can pass on our thanks easily. Others, like the donors who put together the boxes which are shipped to Timor by Timor Containers or Rotary Australia, we may never know who they are. But we are so thankful for your generosity and the way your gifts are helping our friends in Timor-Leste learn and grow.

Thank you!

Why do I do it?

Recently I was asked why i volunteer in a disability centre, when i could be working full time… Here’s why I do what i do!

Sitting with a young Timorese woman as she “read” her first book recently. Looking at the words and pictures to decipher what each word meant. Following the repetitive pattern with each page, her excitement grew as she realised she could recognise words and know what they said by looking at the photographs. She was beaming by the end of the book.

Another young woman, who created these Tetun books for a school project. She spent hours combining photos and text to create easy reading books for our students at Liman Hamutuk. Her books are the students favorites, especially the one which has photos of them inside.

A young girl, who when we began volunteering at Hera, was reluctant to sit at the desk and complete any sort of task. As her confidence in us grew, she became more and more focused on completing a task. She used her sign language to communicate with us and then one day, verbally whispered a reply to a question i asked her. This was the first time i had ever speak. Her confidence continues to grow and she has now attends the local school several days each week. Something she did not want to do previously.

A mother of two sons, one of whom has cerebral palsy, has learnt to write her own name and the names of her sons, through the lessons we have taught.

The toy library we started late last year was a new idea to all of the Liman Hamutuk families. But we wanted a way to use the donations we were being given, while encouraging more literacy, numeracy and pretend play to happen at home during the week. Many expats not connected to the centre expressed concern about whether such an idea would even work, but we tried anyway! Six months into our experiment, we’ve had a few jigsaw puzzle pieces disappear, but the students who come regularly eagerly return their toy bag and borrow something new each week without significant loss or damage.

A young boy with cerebral palsy unable to speak, frowning at me in disappointment because i don’t know what the sign is for a particular item in the book he is pointing to. He is so eager to learn.

A little boy, probably about two or three years of age, so malnourished that he cannot hold up his head properly, smiles at me in recognition. Because after several weeks of coming to the centre for special enriched porridge, he has the energy to interact with and remember me.

Students who finished their work early, go to the bookshelves and start reading books. They know that we have book time before lunch and after their work is done. The routines we have been working so hard to develop are making a difference. Enjoying books is a start in the road to literacy!

Because it’s fun to know that in Timor-Leste cows don’t say Mooooo they say Ahhhhhh!

Agape Bible Baptist Church

This year we have started attending a new church, Agape Bible Baptist Church. Sam’s teacher last year, introduced us to her parents one evening when we bumped into them eating out at a restaurant. Her parents, missionaries from the Philippines pastor this church and run a school for deaf people that they also established. Church services are conducted in a combination of English, Tetun, Bahasa, Taglog and sign language. We love singing well known hymns in both English and Tetun. The church attendees are local Timorese, the students from the deaf school and their families, other expat Filipino believers, us and our next door neighbours, another Australian family.

On Mother’s Day each of the mothers had to go up the front and one by one introduce ourselves, and how many children we had, in tetun. I found this a little daunting as I was early on in the line and hadn’t had too much time to think through how to say it best in tetun, but I muddled my way through and I think it made sense.

Last Saturday, the church had a combined school and church fellowship day of sports and fun. We also found out later that it was also the Pastors 36th Wedding Anniversary. It was a public holiday in Timor-Leste, a day that celebrates the Restoration of their Independence, and the nation also inducted their 6th President that day, so it was a great day of celebrating across the nation. We arrived a little late not really knowing what to expect, but everyone was divided up into teams to participate in sports games like giant exercise ball volleyball, Poison ball, tug-of-war and basketball. We watched games and enjoyed the fun of competing together. It is always challenging at church, and in this situation to know who are the hearing people, and who are not. So you find yourself speaking to someone who cannot hear you, or signing to someone you could have spoken to.

Everyone has Timor-Leste flag fake tattoos on to celebrate the day. Luckily they come off easily!

Sam joined in some of the games for the littler kids, after being a bit shy about being the only non Asian kid there.

Jason’s strength was needed in the tug-of-war and so he and Sam got adopted into the blue team to participate. He even has the blisters to prove it!

Before lunch, Jason was asked to bless the food and was handed the megaphone so the hearing people could hear him. But as he bowed his head and closed his eyes to pray realised everyone else had their eyes open, to watch the signing of his words. Lunch was a yummy combination of marinated chicken, noodles and rice. There were even some freshly made spring rolls some of the Filipino women had made.

At church on Sunday, we were surprised at how many more faces we recognised, after the sports day the day before. Every time I get to know a new group of people, I am always surprised at how long it takes to become familiar with people, and get to know them well. I had wanted to finger spell my name to someone the previous day, but I know my sign alphabet up to the letter L, as that is as far as we have gotten in studying a letter each week at the disability centre where I volunteer. Thankfully someone was able to show me how to make a letter M and so I was able to introduce myself to several of the young women who attend the deaf school. Sam was very excited to learn how to sign his name as well. Meanwhile elsewhere at church, Jason was getting someone to show him how to finger-spell his name and to say “nice to meet you”. So we all learnt that lesson yesterday!

From teaching at Hera, I can sign a lot of the animals, colours, numbers and some other words we use in song lyrics, like God is so good, Jesus loves me and the Wheels on the bus. But I need to keep learning more. Watching the translators sign during church helps a lot, especially the welcoming song which they sing every week. We know many of those signs now.

Something else, both Jason and I commented on yesterday was how much of the Tetun parts of the service we seemed to be understanding. Suddenly I realised instead of just understanding words, I found myself being able to understand whole phrases and sentences. The speed at which they speak, I’m sure is part of my challenge at understanding what is being said, but it was exciting to notice a development in my comprehension of what is being said around me.

I think part of what I love about this church and the school for the deaf, is the love that is evident for the deaf students and their families. Like elsewhere in the world, including in Australia, people with disabilities aren’t always treated well here. Just this week, we became aware of the distressing situation in which one of our students at Hera is having to live. The details are heart wrenching and left me so sad and heart broken for this young woman, who just a year ago had a joy and carefree manner about her. Now she is so very different. So I love being part of a church body, who actively cares for these deaf students and their families, giving them a Christian education but also by helping them to find jobs, save their money and to be independant men and women.

Grateful

Gratefulness

Sometimes you just have to stop and be thankful…. for the big and small…. after our week away to rest, recover and get new visas…

Grateful for a week away

Grateful for a week to swim, rest, eat out, high speed internet

Grateful that the hotel staff fixed the toilet seat that pinched every time you sat on it the day before we got tummy troubles

Grateful for the beauty that comes with greenery, leaves and tropical plants

Grateful that when we send out a request for prayer, people pray for us and with us.

Grateful for friends who understand this life we’re living and encourage us

Grateful for time with my family

Grateful for super good air conditioning, a comfortable bed and bargain prices

Grateful for friends who invite you over for dinner after a day of traveling

Grateful for believing friends for Sam who share Colin CDs and you hear them sitting in his room singing Sunday School songs as they build Lego

Grateful for our financial support statement that just arrived as i was typing this. Money given by people to support us and to partner with God’s work here

Grateful for people who taught me, mentored me, befriended me, were taught by me, colleagues, friends, people we have never even met and others who financially support us.

Grateful for Sam’s school and his teachers. For a school library, sports teachers and music teachers who he loves, and a canteen for special treats on tough days.

Grateful that we can get our house rewired this week.

Grateful that even though the power went off again while we were away last week, the mess and food to be thrown out is minimal this time. Grateful that i left my medication that needs refrigeration with a friend and not in our fridge on this trip.

Grateful for a landlord and colleagues who kept an eye on our house while we were away.