Update on the last few weeks.

Josh river up closeWe have had a very interesting time over the last few weeks. Whilst I was “fasting the computer” ie not spending time on the internet over the last few weeks & thus no blogging, we were trying instead to spend the time on preparing our hearts for our mission trip to Cambodia. God certainly used that time to raise some character stuff in us that we were able to deal with, along with some relational issues. Some of these issues are ones that we have “pushed down” and not dealt with for a few years so it was a huge breakthrough.

imageA great book that the team (our family and 4 other folk from our church) is using as we prepare for the trip is called “Before You Go” by Jack Hempfling.  It is a 40 Day devotional and I would highly recommend it to anyone going on a mission trip. In fact, a must read!!  It covers a fantastic but highly needed range of topics.  It covers spiritual, physical and emotional preparation on topics like taking photographs & exploiting the people, embracing the culture, things are “different” not “weird”, is it worth going, spiritual warfare, re-entry, etc.

Fun: We have also had some fun times and different experiences. Hubby and Matey (8) went camping up in the bush for a weekend. Matey loved exploring the creek, cooking on the fire, doing boy stuff. He apparently spent the weekend with a huge coil of rope wound around his neck and body just in case he should need it. He loves exploring and is quite an adventurer. After listening to audio tapes in the car on famous explorers, is now debating whether he wants to be an explorer and discover new trade routes and islands, be a medical doctor or a missionary. His current hero is David Livingstone, so we have got the “YWAM Christian Heroes Then and Now” Series of Books by Janet and Geoff Benge out again and am starting to read David Livingstone with him.

Matey has discovered the adrenaline rush of riding his bicycle down a huge steep hill (Oliver’s Hill in Frankston) and how great it makes you feel. Hubby is also trying to increase his exercise so most days this past week they have ridden down the hill. They are yet to tackle coming back up so I have been driving down and collecting them at the bottom. To our great surprise, Princess also completed this hill ride on Friday, on her suggestion (after they had all swum several kilometres at the pool). We are really trying to change our family habits with exercise as hubby and I are quite overweight and the kids are very active. Matey loves riding his bike with hubby and we need to make this an important part of our lifestyle. Hubby has found that it is also improving his relationship with Matey as Matey chats away whilst riding and shares stuff he wouldn’t normally tell dad. I have recommenced walking most mornings and Matey, who is awake early, loves riding his bike alongside me. He chats away and loves sharing stuff with me whilst I am trying to “kill 2 birds with the one stone” and use it for prayer. Instead, I am learning to value the one on one time with Matey pouring out his heart to me.

Matey has also graduated from the Kings Swimming Program in being an efficient swimmer and will join their swimming squad later in the year. This was a huge achievement. Breaststroke is his favourite stroke and he does it beautifully. Swimming is a great sport for him as it keeps him focussed.

Princess (11) and I were planning on having some great girly time when the boys went away camping but found that the weekend was full of other activities that we went to. Our church’s Healing Rooms were on and Princess was able to pray for a young girl with brain cancer and draw her a picture that God showed her. It was a before and after picture of her brain and the cancer as God healed her whilst they prayed.

We then had a friend’s ordination.  This friend was the kids play group leader and Messy Church leader many years ago and has since undertaken theological training and it was special to be able to witness her ordination as a Uniting Church Minister.

Later that same week we had good friends become Australian citizens and were able to go and witness that and celebrate with them.  It was a special time and another experience that was great to be a part of. This was a significant night for our friends and we were excited to be there with them.

Prophetic words: During this time, hubby and I also went to a fantastic wedding. We know the couple through the prophetic ministry at our church even though they belong to another church in the city. They had written a personal prophetic word for every guest, writing the word on the pieces of paper with the guest names hidden. When we all read our words, we were astonished at how accurate each written word was. Another friend also painted a prophetic picture at this wedding for the couple. It was an amazing experience. We have learnt a lot from this couple about how to honour your parents well despite what happens in life. The church this couple are from (Hope Christian City Church Melbourne) know how to do community well and they embraced us so well. We had been once to their church last year when the Children’s Pastor at our church went and spoke there and invited our children to go with her. People at this church steward their prophetic words so well. Numerous people recognised us and came up to us and shared how they had grabbed the prophetic words they had received for their children and were running with them. One lady shared how our son had prophesied over her daughter and how every morning she now declares that same word over her daughter. Another couple shared how I had seen their daughter as being a “go-getter” in the spiritual and had likened her to two missionaries Lillian Trasher and Gladys Aylward. I had recommended getting the “YWAM Christian Heroes Then and Now” books on those two missionaries and reading them. They went out and bought them and the daughter loves reading them.  

Our family also had the privilege of giving prophetic words to folk who were doing a 12 Step Addiction Group. We spoke on their new identity and had a fantastic time. My friend, who runs the group, sent me a list of first names of everyone in the group and our children drew pictures for each person before we went. Once again, the folk were totally amazed at how accurate the words and pictures were. A couple of examples were Princess drew a picture for one guy of him in a  canoe fishing. Jesus was there with him and they were having fun. This guy was so amazed as he had been encouraged to take up a new hobby to help fill his time and he had gone out and bought a canoe and was starting to go fishing the next day. Princess also drew a picture for another lady of a red brick house and how she would have people visit her from all over the world and stay at her house, even missionaries, and they would share with her how God was using them around the world. This lady has a red brick house and has commenced a journey with Jesus and has a huge gift of hospitality and has rooms available in her house for people to stay.

Dream Workshop: I was able to help at an ‘Almond Tree Workshop’, a day of rediscovering your dreams and getting the next step for your journey. I would highly recommend this workshop to everyone who has unfulfilled dreams in their life. Their next ‘rediscovering your dreams’ course in being held on Saturday August 2nd. Feel free to check it out on their website. www.almondtreeministries.com.au  After being involved in this for 3 workshops, I recommend it highly for the next step in people’s lives. 

Whilst I was there, hubby and the kids were helping a friend at Dandenong Market. They went ‘treasure hunting’ but focussed on people as the treasure. They asked God to highlight people they could help and share the gospel with and they had some amazing encounters with people.

Audio tapes: We have also done a lot of country driving lately and have enjoyed spending the time listening to series of tapes on “Great Explorers”, “Great Scientists and their Discoveries”, “Famous People in History”, and “Great Inventors and their Inventions”. We have bought these CD’s from www.bookdepository.com  and the kids love listening to them. Due to the success of audio, especially with Matey, we have purchased the following as well: “Kings and Queens of England”, “The Vikings”, “The Glory of Ancient Greece”, and “Great Men and Women in the History of Medicine”. As we haven’t yet listened to these ones, I can’t recommend them yet but I am sure we will find them a great learning resource as well. Hubby and I are learning so much as well.

Excursions: Special Homeschooling activities in the last fortnight have included  a science workshop at CSIRO, being able to do various experiments. We also went to the Distribution Centre of Australia Post in Dandenong and had a tour of the centre. Every letter posted within Victoria goes through this centre. It was interesting to see the inside of a factory and see how letters are culled, cancelled (stamps marked so you can’t use them again), and sorted, and also more information about what a postman actually does. Also, another fire station tour was toured after which Matey suddenly declared he no longer wanted to be a fireman.

Reading: The children were documenting their time in minutes of how much reading they did for the month of May. I was flabbergasted at the fact that on average they spend 3 hours per day reading. Lately Matey has been focussing on war stories and Princess has been reading the “My Royal Stories” of Queen Victoria, Cleopatra, Lady Jane Grey, Princess Mary of Scotland, Elizabeth 1, Anastasia, Mary Antoinette etc. Even though these books are fiction, they contain some great historical facts that have been good for the kids to learn. I am also learning a lot about history as when we are in the car, the kids love playing “20 Questions” and a lot of the questions end up being about historical figures such as royalty and famous war figures.

JUMP: The annual “JUMP” program at Stairway is on during the second week of the school holidays. Parents of kids aged prep to grade 8 – I highly recommend this 2 day program. All the details are on the Stairway website. It intentionally trains the kids in leadership and living a supernatural lifestyle naturally. The focus this year is on exploring your royal identity and mission.

God Spaces: Another fantastic activity is the “God Space Workshop” for families. This will be held at Stairway next Sunday 29th June and bookings are essential. God space is a simple and effective tool to lead your family into powerful and real encounters with The Lord. Come along and discover how God speaks to your child and family. 12.45 – 3pm. Cost is $15. Children aged 5-15 years are included. Please contact Jacqui Nolan for more details (you are welcome to email me on [email protected] and I will pass on her phone number. Alternatively, ring Stairway Church and ask for your details to be passed on to her.

Book collection: The new Iris Children’s School, which we support, has recently been opened in Nepal. We have had the added pleasure of collecting 31kg of picture story books to be taken over in luggage on the next trip the educational consultants make. We enjoyed selecting some of our most favourite titles to be given to them. We love books and reading and have great pleasure in these children having access to some great books.We have found that being involved in a practical way ignites our children’s interest in the project , mission and the miracles of God.

Hubby’s Birthday: Hubby had a birthday last week and I treasured a special moment during the day. Princess made the cake and decorated it herself. Matey was reading with me as he saw what Princess was doing and he then preceded to ask Princess to make and decorate his birthday cake for his next birthday (at Christmas). Princess was thrilled to be asked and to have obviously achieved a status in cake making and decorating that was of a desired level for Matey. I was thrilled as I am thoroughly enjoying not having to make and spend the whole night decorating elaborate carousel or fire engine or police car or ballerina cakes any more. It certainly reduces my stress level around birthdays!!

Spiritual warfare: As we have been preparing for our mission trip to Cambodia, it has been interesting(?) to see all the obstacles that have come against us. The bookings have gone smoothly. It has been the rest of our life where health issues (eg Princess developing a massive yellow lump in the front of her mouth that the doctor wanted an ENT surgeon to cut out which disappeared after several days, my not being able to lift or use my right arm due to intense pain for several days for no apparent reason), relational issues, computer breaking down and losing all our emails and being unable to be fixed for a fortnight, severe financial issues and issues of justice were extremely prevalent. We have increased our prayer focus and have concentrated on praising and worshipping God. Hubby and I also went through Arthur Burk’s Seven Curses and Blessings Renunciation again (www.theslg.com) and found real freedom after doing this. (We first did this in February and saw a massive change around in our life). Apparently when you submit to someone in an area where you shouldn’t, you can allow a predator spirit to violate and the enemy to gain a stronghold once again. It was fantastic to sort this through and to see the difference since then. I had also not correlated the fact that our children, who are usually the best sleepers, had not been sleeping well at all during the last month. Since I have started specifically covering their eyes and ears with my hands and praying God’s protection over them as they sleep, they have resumed their normal fantastic sleeping patterns.

Missionary Biographies: Since we are going on a short term mission trip to Cambodia where we will be staying in two different children’s centres and running outreach programs, praying and doing prophetic acts and teaching children about healing and the supernatural and prophesies, the children have once again had their missionary spirit flamed into life. They are devouring books about missionaries (I highly recommend the whole series of the YWAM Christian Heroes Then and Now), plus watching DVD’s of various missionaries lives. Whilst tucking Matey into bed last night, he was so excited as he counted down the days until we leave. He then asked why we can’t do more mission trips overseas as he loves going on mission.

Princess is finally becoming excited but according to her, only about the movies on the aeroplane which she is hoping are good as we are flying Vietnam Airlines!! Her time in Mozambique 3 years ago put a dampner on third world countries as she was groped by men who thought she looked marriageable age (9 in Mozambique and she was tall for her age). Plus she was sick repeatably and diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease on her return to Australia, necessitating painful injections and twice daily doses of penicillin until she turns 21 years of age. Thankfully her health is great at the moment and we believe that this trip will re-ignite an enthusiasm for mission and ministry.

I will endeavour to post pictures, stories and reflections on our 3 weeks away. Please feel free to email, comment etc.