"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29: 11

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Church Camp

Last weekend was our bi annual church camp.  At our previous camp, it poured with rain.  And strangely enough, the exact same thing happened this time.    It absolutely bucketed down - so all the bush walking, basketball games etc were all cancelled in lieu of indoor games and chatting around the tables.
I'm a big fan of outdoor activities and feel disappointed as much as the next person when it rains and these things are cancelled. However, after a busy start to the year, it was wonderful to just chill.  I got to know a few people more because we were stuck waiting for a break in the weather together.  We couldn't do much and there was a general acceptance of this, so people kind of got on with "chill axing".

I am amazed at how refreshed I feel from that one weekend away.  This refreshment not only comes from the time away in the bush setting, but also the comfort and peace you have when a whole bunch of people are praying for you.  Mick was interviewed during the Sunday service about our hopes and plans for service with Mercy Ships and then everyone prayed for us.  And after several months of being on edge about whether we are staying or going, I'm finally at peace about this.  We can expect to find out within the month - so I know that a time frame helps a planner like me.  But more than that - knowing other people are praying for you, really does give you peace.  Like that verse - from Matthew 18:20

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The other thing that I took away from this church camp is that I have untapped gifts.  I now know that I can move an Oreo cookie from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands.  How I am going to use this skill, I'm not sure.  But it was fun seeing my kids faces when I did it.  And worthwhile volunteering for the contest for the laugh it gave everyone watching.  I wish I could say that I was the only one able to do this - but two other friends are also equally skilful so I will have to look out for a further skill to develop in the future...

Monday, February 11, 2013

First world problems.....

Monday is my one day not at work during the week.  I do the grocery shopping and hope to do some catching up with friends.  Invariably, I fill my day up so I rush around on the day I have set aside to take some time out.  Ironic, isn't it?
Well today was no different.  However, it occurred to me that everything that I was rushing about to do was a result of a "first world problem"  For example, I was picking up a shoe cupboard because I was tired of tripping over shoes as I walked in the door of my home.  Solution, replace the current inadequate cupboard because we have too many pairs of shoes!  If we do make it to Africa later this year, how would I explain the concept of a shoe cupboard?  Or even my need to get a new one?

I then had to collect some toilet paper and paper towel for Mick's work.  Again, a first world issue.  When sanitation is a major health hazard, getting your head around toilet paper, let alone a bulk purchase for a portable office along with paper towel for hand drying, may also seem somewhat excessive.

Finally I did the grocery shopping.  Now some people enjoy this task.  I am not one of them.  I go with my list of what we need for the weeks meals and try to stick to the plan.  I was struck this morning by how abundantly available our food is.  Australia has just had several major disasters in food producing areas and still I can get more than I need, with so much choice, it can become almost overwhelming - even if you shop at German supermarkets!  What must travellers from poorer countries think when they visit a supermarket? The excess.

I suppose there is no point ruminating about all of this if we don't do anything about it.  Hopefully for us, we will be able to give up some of our "first world problems" for a period of time to serve in the developing world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

He is there - even in the smaller parts of our lives

    Mick has a wood lathe.  When we were going to Africa two years ago, he sold off most of his wood and lathe accessories.  However, he just couldn't bear to part with it at that time.  And it has stayed packed away for the last two years.  So when we were asked to reapply for the ship, he decided that it was time to sell it and the remaining parts.  He doesn't have the time now to use it and there are other things that he would prefer to do with his time - cycling for one!  He has been preparing ebay ads for a couple of weeks now - not just for the lathe and accessories, but for a few other things as well.  And he was planning to start the auction tonight.  However, you never know how God may intervene.
    On Monday, Jack wanted to have a friend over from two doors up, David. I was tired and already had other neighbourhood kids in the house so I wasn't keen.  So I said he could come over once Jack had done his laps cycling around the park - which he did. So then Jack and David happily played Minecraft together on iPads. Now Davids parents are not strong English speakers - so whilst we have waved and smiled at each other in the time we have lived here, we have not ever really had a good conversation or got to know them.  Davids father came looking for him a little while later and because Jack had been on his bike, the boys had come inside through the garage - this was where David left his shoes.  So I opened the garage for David to go out and his Dad saw Mick's lathe - all ready to go on ebay (and blocking up available space in the garage).  He and Mick then had a long broken conversation about the lathe, the chisels etc.  Bottom line is, he was really keen to buy it! Now we are not sure if this will come to fruition yet - if not it goes on ebay tonight! - but it reminds me that God works in mysterious ways... And sometimes the smallest, most insignificant things, can show you that He has a plan for you and He is interested in your life - all of it.  Even the bits that have been stowed in the cupboard under the stairs for 2 years!