"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
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