I’m not convinced that I totally agree with that heading. As we navigate the maze that begins the journey of parenthood, one thing I love is that there is something that greatly makes up for lack of sleep. Family! What a great invention from God. The sense of having and being a part of a new family is a wonder, a joy, a privilege, and a massive responsibility. Please pray with us as we learn how to parent our little boy Jonathan Peace. The lack of sleep will one day be a distant memory. May our family grow to honour and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.MARIE’S CORNER – SLEEP IS UNDERRATED
Life gets busy and for many people here in Sydney that means that sleep takes a backseat to a myriad of activities. I suppose there is some excuse for sleep deprivation when caring for a newborn, but I want to make sure that as Jonny learns to sleep more at night I don’t lose sight of the fact that God rested and He created us with a need to rest too.
Having Jonny around has been great. We spent almost a week in hospital straight after his birth to treat an infection from which, praise God, he has fully recovered. I went a bit stir crazy being in hospital much longer than I had anticipated and was hugely relieved to come home and settle in to life as a family of three. Jonny is growing loads and just starting to learn how to smile and how to track people and objects with his eyes. It’s fun to see what makes him happy and what sorts of things he’s interested in watching.
We’ve had a good time with Ruth, Jon and Gabby visiting us this last week and are looking forward to a weekend in Brisbane soon just before Jono goes back to school. We know that free time can be hard to find when school starts up again, so please come visit us before your schedule fills up, we would love to see you!
In other news, a new refugee family is coming to Sydney next week after a year and a half in detention. I’m really thankful for the generosity of Sydneysiders who have donated beds and baby gear for them so that will have what they need when they arrive. Continuing to work with refugees, even in a more limited capacity now that I have a baby, is a real pleasure.PRAY FOR PEACE – AND UKRAINE
The majority of this JAM has been given to Ukraine and to the company I own and used to manage there. UTSIM is the Ukrainian Centre of Foreign Languages in Rzhyshchiv. Since I left at the end of 2010, Natasha and Sveta have served the town of Rzhyshchiv by providing English lessons and being the hands and feet of Jesus as they show care, love, integrity and perseverance in a difficult job market. Thanks to those of you who pray for UTSIM and those who have continued to provide support for them. Here are the words of Sveta, summing up this year: “Hi, our dear brother Jono!
First of all: My sincere congratulations on the gift God has given you - your precious son!!! I am so very happy for you!!! :) Would be so cool to see you all one day! Jono's family... :) How sweet...
As you asked, here is my update on how we are doing.
Again - God has blessed us!
Place, warmth, children, parents, strength, ideas, love, help, patience - all from His loving hands! In spite of feeling lack of some of those things at times :) He truly gives and helps to go on! And I am so thankful for that!!!
This year almost all groups are full, we have a list of students whom we had to say no, because we simply don't have a place for them... I guess nowadays parents just understand more the benefits of knowing English: it's easier for the kids at school, then for the future - it's easier to get a better paying job, perhaps some of them want to go abroad to live... and other reasons. For whatever reason they come to study, I am glad they do so :).
Actually, I am so proud of these parents - most of them do not have very high wages, but they try to give their children what they can and - they trust us, which is nice :).
This year we have quite a few little kids - age 5, 6 and 7, they are very cute, but also hard work at times ;). I see that their progress depends on parents a lot, as they cannot do homework by themselves unless parents work with them and help a bit with writing and memorizing. They also simply need to be reminded of doing it.
With all of the students I realize though: even if they don't work at home memorizing the words I see that they still get something from the lessons -they hear my English, and I see that it 'sticks in their minds'.
So, now holidays have begun! As it is the end of the term I was looking at the tests the children have done and was encouraged to see the progress of some old students, comparing to the last year, significant progress, some of them really worked hard, were diligent in learning and now I, as well as them, am enjoying seeing the fruit of their efforts! I am proud of them all!
Also, was interesting to see some of our first year students come back. Remember our first UTSIM student Katya, she asked me to do some lessons with her - was able to do that in summer. Was nice to spend some time with her. Obviously, she isn't a little girl any more, but still is very sweet! Time, a lot of time passed since we started...
The kids are sweet: they make me laugh, draw pictures for me, bring bunches of flowers that grow on the flowerbeds near the Culture House and Miska Rada (I am sure if the Mayor saw this he wouldn't be very happy about it), but when I ask where they get them: they say, that it isn't from the flowerbeds but from some other places... I sure hope so... :)
I want our lessons to be fun, useful, memorable... I want to put good things into their lives... so I need prayers! :)
I love getting to know these special little creatures! :)
Thanks so much Jono!!! For letting me work with you a long time ago, for letting me see you work, give, love... I am praising God for blessing me so-so much through you!!!
Happy New Year to your family!
And Merry Christmas!
With much love!
Sveta”LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE
We had our first Christmas at home in Sydney. New Years was celebrated with Jon and Ruth and Gabby coming to visit. We were in bed by 9pm but woke for a feeding before midnight and watched the Sydney fireworks on TV. It was great to have a week together with Ruth and Jon and we have enjoyed hanging out with various other friends including a visit from one of Marie’s cousins from the States. It is a blessing to be on holiday from work.Prayer and Praise
· Praise God for the miracle of life – Jonny Peace
· Pray for UTSIM, for Sveta, Natasha and the students
· Pray for peace in Ukraine – real peace
· Pray for Jono and Marie as we learn the ropes of parenthood and adjust to the impending school schedule
· Thank God for a great holiday with Ruth, Jon and GabbyThanks
To Jonathan Peace for totally changing our lives in a wonderful way.AttachmentSize 201501 JAM January 2015.pdf377.67 KB
A poem crafted in a workshop at www.thehighcalling.org retreat in Texas November 2014.
We were given the sentence "I don't know what to say" and told to add two additional sentences.
a medical chart with a flat line
i didn't know what to say
white flowers falling into an open grave
My thoughts as this poem came into existence were around my friend Ian who had suffered 3 heart attacks earlier this year and I had visited him in intensive care. I had thought at the time that would be the last time I would ever see him. He has currently survived.
And some photos from our time here.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
One of my favourite children’s authors is Dr Seuss and one of my favourite books is “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” Here is an excerpt:
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
The character in the book is stuck in the waiting place. Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like you are waiting on something to happen or someone to do something or change something?
Waiting is pertinent for us right now as we await the arrival of our son (be assured that the next JAM will have nothing much but photos and pleasant sounding platitudes). This can be a difficult wait, however it is a wait with an end in sight – a finite amount of time.
You may be waiting for what seems an eternity. That word should spark your interest. Think of eternity. Think big picture and wait not on someone or something but wait on the Lord. If you do, you will rise up on wings like an eagle, you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not grow faint.
So yesterday I got an email about my spouse visa application and after 15 months of waiting, we finally have a case worker! It is exciting to know that someone has actually looked at the application now. After our baby is born (17 days till the due date!) I’ll go in for a medical exam and once that’s submitted, hopefully we will hear whether our application has been accepted or rejected. We might need to go in for an interview if they ask us to as well. Praise God that something is happening on this front. An approved visa will mean the ability to travel without having to pay extra to get permission, as well as the continued benefits of unrestricted rights to work and Medicare. It also means that come the end of August, I will be eligible for permanent residency. If and when PR is granted, Jono and I will be able to start making concrete plans about working overseas again. We would love to head back out in July or August 2016, God willing. Our hearts are still in many places around the world and this comes up in our conversations and prayers quite regularly. It has been difficult for both of us to be away from friends we love for so long without a visit.
Thank you to all the friends, family and school kids who have given us baby clothes, toys, blankets, equipment and money. We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and feel like we have more than we need to be able to take care of this little one in comfort and even in style! Our baby is already well loved by many amazing people; what a blessing that is both to him and to us as well.
PRAY FOR PEACE – AND UKRAINE
I thought to myself “I’m sick of saying pray for peace in Ukraine.” Then I realized that I love to ask you to pray for Ukraine. Just not about a war, rather about people’s lives and their relationship with God.
So really I do want you to pray for peace in Ukraine. But not peace as the world thinks but the peace that only comes through forgiveness of sin. People accept this grace from God by faith in Jesus Christ and their peace is greater than any peace deal brokered by any world leader ever!
So pray for peace in Ukraine. Lift up the church in Rzhyshchiv to God. Pray for my friends Natasha and Sveta running UTSIM. Pray for Dan and Pris Gollan. Pray for the Lighthouse Café. Pray for Vlad returning to prison to minister to the inmates.
LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE
We have had “Baby Boy Bash”. We’ve been to the beach. My school reports are almost done. I have only a few more nights left at Youth Group. I’ve set up the cot, the capsule (and that other thing). We’ve been to parenting classes and I did my first ever nappy change with a clean nappy on a dummy.
Really there is not much more to do but welcome our son. And then I have lots of jobs. One of which will be “bouncer”. I will flex my muscles and only allow in a few at a time. If you are wanting to come and visit or organize a Skype date with us after the baby comes, then please contact me first. We want you all to come, just not 600 people in the first week.
PRAYER AND PRAISE
Praise God for a great recovery by Dad Gollan
Pray for Marie, the impending birth, and our son
Pray for peace in Ukraine – real peace
Pray for Jono to finish his responsibilities at school well
Thank God for so many friends who have helped us prepare for parenthood
To my wife Marie for growing and carrying our son. I love you mu juun.AttachmentSize 201411 JAM November 2014.pdf376.34 KB
"The greatest of these is love." But how do you communicate love? How do you receive love? Lately I have been a part of many varied conversations revolving around the 5 love languages. We each impart and accept love in different ways with varying levels of intensity. It is helpful to understand this. I have been challenged to try to go beyond merely understanding this and to consciously consider how I can show love to my friends. Do I go beyond what comes easily and naturally for me and engage my friends in a love which they comprehend?
This month's challenge: pick someone in your inner circle of friends, examine how they best receive love and then go out of your way to display love to them accordingly.MARIE'S CORNER
I am so grateful for the good friends that God has given me. I’ve been really touched by people’s willingness to drop their lives in order to give us rides to and from airports at inconvenient times. I hope that I am as generous with my time when people ask me for favours! Thank you to everyone who hosted us while we were away in beautiful New Zealand.
Now that we are back home, we are busy getting things ready for our baby. We have 52 days to go till the due date, so it’s time for us to put the cot together, pack a hospital bag, and buy some baby wipes. We are having a get together to celebrate our baby boy on Saturday, Oct 18th, so if you’re in the area and you’d like to come, please let us know and we’ll send you the details. If that day doesn’t work for you, we’d still love to see you and catch up on life before the birth as I plan on going into hibernation for several months once our kid is born!GLOBAL CONCERNS
Once again my main plea is prayer for peace. My thoughts tend to wander towards Ukraine even though it is not the most prominent in our daily newscasts. Of course it is where my friends live and work and worry and hope. Thank God Alyosha was able to have a week off from military duties to be with his wife and kids. Thank God for keeping him safe thus far and pray for continued safety back on the front. Read Dan Gollan's blog for an in depth look into life where I once lived. For a balanced view of both what is happening and an appropriate response from Christ's body, the church, read Danny Footes' notes.LIFE AWAY FROM THE BIG SMOKE
Firstly up north in the middle sized smoke, Brisbane, Dad Gollan is on the mend slowly but surely. The full extent is yet to be determined but thank you for praying for him.
Over in the Land of the Long White Cloud, Marie and I have had two action packed weeks. We arrived to pouring rain and got soaked picking up a car to drive south to KatiKati for a couple of days with my parents. Then we had just a day on the farm with Pris and kids before flying north to Kaitaia. It was great to hang with Jon and Ruth and Gabby and support them after a tough term getting ready for their 11th kids camp at Lonsdale Park. It was my 7th and Marie's 3rd. Thank you for praying for the team, the kids and the talks. The Gospel was presented clearly and simply. God the Creator of all is very big and deserving of our respect but our sin causes us to need forgiveness which we don't deserve. Jesus came to pay the way and offer us life with God as His children. We learned John 1:1,3,4 & 14 as well as looking at verses 10-12. On top of being pregnant, Marie did a fantastic job as camp Mum and camp Nurse.
Now it's back to the big smoke and back to work.PRAYER & PRAISE
Praise God that he has communicated love with us all
Thank God for a great time in NZ
Pray for the kids who heard about Jesus at camp
Thank God for Dad Gollan’s improvement and continue to pray for him
Please continue to pray for peace in Ukraine and for Alyosha
Pray for our little boy coming soon!THANKS TO
Ruth and Jon for driving us 5 hours to the airport – that’s service for you!AttachmentSize 201410 JAM October 2014.pdf308.52 KB