Recently I have had cause to reflect upon many shared experiences but also wise words from a friend and mentor of mine. Thankfully my “Aussie Dad”, John Gollan, is still with us and slowly recovering from a major stroke a number of weeks ago. When I first came to Australia (in 1993) I spent many hours at the Gollans place before finally moving in and living there. I was young and headstrong and yet desired to know what God’s will for my life would be. Then, and many a time over the years since, I have hashed out conversations pertaining to the direction of my life. Each time the bottom line, the final word, would be the same: “Jono, you have to do what God wants you to do.” And that, my friends, is that!MARIE’S CORNER
Nothing different from last month.PRAY FOR PEACE – AND UKRAINE
Peace continues to be my burden. At the birth of Jesus, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!” I know that the coming of the Prince of Peace opened up the Way. But now we, as followers of this Way, as ministers of reconciliation, we should be working hard for peace. Praying for peace, proclaiming peace, providing peace.
I was able to spend a few hours visiting Daniel on his rather brief visit to Australia. It’s great to hear of Luda and Yura’s wedding. I first met Luda in 2004 and it has been good to see her grow in God and I enjoy the memories of the experiences we shared in Rzhyshchiv Youth.
Please pray for the many refugees who have fled the conflict areas of Ukraine. A number are in Rzhyshchiv staying with friends of mine.
Please also pray for a smooth transition from one tenant to another in my house in Ukraine.
Lastly, UTSIM (the language school) is operating for another year. Sveta continues to teach English but also to share her love for Jesus with a number of young people in Rzhyshchiv.LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE
September is already half spent. As I write, it is the beginning of the last week of Term 3. Two weeks ago we babysat 7 then 5 children for a week (7 for the weekend then 5 Mon – Fri). Marie took the week off work and I had increased travel each day. It was a good “hit out” before we tackle the real deal in 75 days. We are excited and sometimes daunted. Please pray that we will be good and godly parents. Pray that our boy will grow to be a man of God, a man of peace.
We were able to have a few days away for our final “holiday BC”! We spent a weekend with my friends Ben and Tamara Clarke and family. I previously worked with them in Ukraine in 2004-2005. Then we had a couple of lovely days on the beachside of Glenelg, just out of Adelaide. I came back from that holiday to immediately go on Year 3 Camp.
I have enjoyed this term. The next thing is one last trip to NZ before the baby arrives. We will briefly see all my family there but spend the majority of the time helping Ruth and Jon run another camp. Please pray for the leaders and children attending Lonsdale Park for another camp. This is Ruth and Jon’s 11th camp, my 7th, Marie’s 3rd and baby’s 1st. Pray for strength for Marie as camp Mum and for the right words for me as I give devotions each day.PRAYER AND PRAISE
To Ben and Tamara and the tribe for a really lovely time in Adelaide.AttachmentSize 201409 JAM September 2014.pdf313.54 KB
Recently Marie and I have joked that we should write a book with the above title. Whilst in the States we celebrated our one year anniversary. I have to say that we are both loving this thing called marriage. So we are now old pros and know all there is to know about love – kidding. But I would like to share a few of the blessings I have gleaned.
• Love refines you. As you allow yourself to love and be loved, it necessitates the rising of dross to the surface. Then as you choose love for the other (instead of self) the purging process begins.
• Love halves sorrows but doubles joys. When you have a bad day or a gripe, there is someone there to say “everything’s gonna be alright”. When you have reason to celebrate or just see a beautiful sunset – there is someone to share it with.
• Love gives an alternative perspective. Of course I am smart, intelligent and nearly always right. Well, I was when I was single. Now I have another pair of eyes to see situations from another perspective and this extra information can help me to make better choices.
• Love is fun.
• Love is also meaningful.
Life truly is “Better Together”. (Not to mention having someone to watch your bags at the airport when you “need to go”)MARIE’S CORNER
One nice thing about being from a big family is that there are lots of weddings to go home for! Jono and I had a really lovely time visiting my family in the States for a few weeks in July to celebrate my youngest sister’s wedding. She, of course, was a stunning bride and the ceremony was beautiful. I’m grateful that I was able to be a part of this special day in her life.
Jono and I made the most of the summer weather while we were home and enjoyed hanging out with friends, hiking, kayaking and biking in the most beautiful place on earth. Thanks to all the friends and family who went out of their way to make time to see us. Praise God that I was only sick one day on the trip and then again as we were traveling back; I expected much worse than that and was pleased that most of our plans went off without a hitch. But I’d like to say sorry again to my friends that got cancelled on on the day that I was sick.
We are looking forward to going back to the States in April for another of my sisters’ weddings, this time with Baby Miller in tow!
Coming back to chilly Sydney has had its ups and downs, but mostly it has been good to get back into a normal routine again. One thing I’ve particularly enjoyed is reconnecting with my refugee family. They have become good friends of mine and every week I look forward to chatting about pregnancy, babies and food with them. If you would like to find out how you can also adopt a local refugee family or volunteer in some other way, there is a Refugee Volunteer Training coming up on Sept 13th and 20th. Please let me know if you’d like the details for this training. I’m hoping that someone will be able to take my place sorting and delivering food on Wednesdays for several months when our baby is born (probably late Nov till March or April).PRAY FOR UKRAINE – PRAY FOR PEACE
It is right to pray for peace. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to process in my head what is happening on the other side of the globe, in a place I lived, where my friends are. I must be about my life here. My friends in Rzhyshchiv must be about their lives (they are far from the fighting and danger). And yet we read, listen, worry and wonder about what is happening.
Firstly, please pray for Alyosha. He has been deployed to eastern Ukraine with the Ukrainian Army. More than this I do not know. Pray for his wife Natasha and their two children left behind in Rzhyshchiv.
Secondly, pray that God would cause the hearts of men to move away from war and toward peace. Ultimately they will find peace in the Prince of Peace, Jesus! Pray for this in Ukraine, in Gaza, in Iraq, in Syria, in Sudan, in the whole world.
Thirdly, and on a most wonderful note: STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS!
Vlad is free! If you were following his Facebook page you already know this. This is wonderful news. All we know is that it was a rare amnesty offered by the President. He applied and now is free. He is adjusting to living life as a free man. Vlad is so thankful to the many people who prayed for him, even without knowing him. Send your prayers of thanks to God and smile today. Then tell someone who asks you why you are smiling, that God answers prayer!LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE
July = USA. Hence no JAM last month but hopefully lots of pictures to show you where we went and what we did and who we saw. (You can always find more pictures on our website)
August = rugby, missions conferences, more rugby and preparing for a baby. I better mention that as I get older and have to slow down from rugby, I have taken up netball. I am playing an indoor version of mixed netball with colleagues from school.
Our new house feels like home. We love being here together. Even though it is small and cozy, we also love having visitors, so please hit us up if you have spare time or are just travelling through. My coffee maker is up and running (every morning about 6:30).
We would appreciate prayer as we plan to travel to NZ again for the September/October holidays and help out with Far North Holiday Camps at Lonsdale Park. Please pray for Jono as he takes on the role of speaker and for Marie as camp mum and nurse. Pray for the whole leadership team, the preparation and for the kids who will come to camp.Prayer and Praise
· Thank God for the release of Vlad to his family
· Pray for new volunteers for the refugee food delivery
· Pray for peace to come to Ukraine soon
· Pray for Alyosha to stay safe and for God to comfort Natasha
· Pray for Marie’s nursing and Jono’s teaching
· Pray for Jono preparing talks for camp
· Thank God for a wonderful time together in the USA and our first year of marriage
Beth Weldon, Lochie and Harrow for organizing our airport drop-offs and pick-ups.
Love from Jono and Marie
Keep Looking UpAttachmentSize August JAM 2014.pdf426.78 KB
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Psalm 139)
This is a wonderful description of what is taking place in Marie right now! Yes, we are pregnant. Thanks be to God!Marie’s Corner
I read an article recently about first time parents. It talked about how these newbies read through baby books together and go to doctor’s appointments together and generally dream about what life will be like when their baby finally arrives. This seems like a pretty apt description of us at the moment!
Pregnancy has been an interesting experience so far. I’ve just started my second trimester, which means the baby is due at the end of November. I’m so thankful to God that I never threw up. I hate throwing up. And the nausea seems to be gone now too, so that’s also good. Now, I’m mostly struggling with headaches and excessive tiredness. I’m so glad I only work part time and I have a husband who doesn’t mind helping out with the housework! In the midst of all the discomforts, it’s nice to have a little person around to love. Can’t wait to meet the kid!
On a completely different note, there was some unrest in my old home last week that seems to have settled down now. I’m relieved that my host family and friends are all ok and am hoping that the peace will hold and life will get back to normal for them all.Pray for Ukraine
The “Chocolate King” may be the new President of Ukraine but God is still the King of all. It is not always possible to understand why God allows certain events. God does not wish for any to perish, be they Ukrainian, Russian, separatist, rebel or terrorist. Please pray for my friends in Ukraine who are confused, scared, anxious or perplexed. Pray that Christians will remain strong in their faith in God and that those around them will be drawn to Christ.
Here is a snippet of how confusing life can be from my friend Masha in Rzhyshchiv: “it's so .... I even don't know how to say it... sad? when I look through Fb I see happy faces... the regular lives which are going on like nothing had happened... when I walk though Kyiv streets (now and during the revolution) and people seem like nothing is happening... and then I look at news.... or read something about the terrible bloodshed in the East of Ukraine or see the mothers of young men who gave their lives for our safe life.... my head gets so confused.... and a strange feeling fills me up.... it is like two different worlds.... in one lil country.....”
Please pray especially for my good friends Alyosha and Natasha. Alyosha has been called up to serve in the army. Pray that God will keep him safe. Pray for Christian fellowship in the army. Pray for Natasha and their two children at home that God would give them his peace in a special way.Life In The Big Smoke
Teaching and nursing consume most of our time. For Jono there is also rugby and youth group. For Marie there is refugee help and helping Jono out at school. We also both enjoy our church life and being able to share together in a Bible study on Sunday afternoons is really good.
We both recently helped out at West Penno’s annual Missions Conference. Marie sang on the worship team and I ran the kids program and took them around the world. We rode motorbikes through South America and danced in Africa. We listened to our own live missionaries in Japan and of course learned some Ukrainian in Europe.
We will be moving this month, so we are getting prepared to pack it all up, move it, unpack it and throw out what doesn’t fit. It’s a good way to not get too encumbered with the things of this world.
Travel time is just around the corner. We are looking forward to a family vacation in the States in the upcoming school holidays. Marie’s youngest sister Julia is getting married and we are thankful to God for the opportunity to be there to celebrate with her. One of the challenges of being from different continents is being present at your families’ momentous occasions.Prayer and Praise
· Praise God – words are not enough
· Pray for peace to come to Ukraine soon
· Thank God for a refreshing holiday period
· Pray for 3M at PHCS
· Pray for rugby to be a place where I am a living example for Christ
· Thank God for the provision of a place to liveThanks
To Amanda for letting us look after her DVD collection while she is away in USA.AttachmentSize May JAM 2014.pdf305.76 KB