I love March! I remember when I was living in Ukraine, and I thought March was an ugly month. The snow was old and dirty. The roads were muddy and slippery. The weather was cold and dull while the demeanour of the populace was abrupt and gloomy. Yet March whispered a promise, “winter is almost done, and spring will soon follow.”
I also love March because it’s my birthday!
And I also love March because this month we celebrate that the Miller Family is free. I love freedom. What pictures do you see when you hear the word "free"? Freedom that can be truly celebrated actually has parameters. The boundary is God. Life with God is an adventure! When as a family we live freely following the adventures God offers then we enjoy life together. Have you ever thought about that? Those three words convey so much.
I wish for all my friends to be free. Join the adventure of journeying with God. The entry point is Jesus, the one who said, “If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Then live! Live your life in community. And “enjoy the moment” (Ben Clark).MARIE'S CORNER
Marie is busy looking after the baby and cooking muffins so will be back next month.UKRAINE
The Ukrainian hryvna has gone into a spin. When I lived there it was 5 to the dollar and slipped to 8 to the dollar after the GFC. It has now burst out to 26 to the dollar and last week was above 30. Along with conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the economy is as bad as it has been in decades and the future is anything but certain.
I challenge you with two responses:
1. Pray. Pray that while people are in despair materially and physically it will cause them to reflect spiritually and to be drawn to the Saviour who brings peace and freedom.
2. Sacrifice. How about giving up something from your comfortable life to help families in need. If you would like to know how, please contact me. I can pass on money or I can even pass you on if you have the time and energy and love to help out.LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE
Life seems to consist of school, Jonny, the weekend, school, Jonny, the weekend. That is rather simplistic. Marie and I are enjoying the time we have together with Jonny each evening and on the weekends. We are slowly getting a good evening and sleeping routine. We are able to have a Bible Study group at our place once a week. We don’t get out to visit others a lot but we welcome you round to our little residence. School is going well. I have begun to click well with my class this year and thank God for them and pray that God allows me to speak positive and awesome truths into their lives. Next week my parents are coming to visit and my Dad is going to come and teach the kids some knot tying and give them a talk about ropes from the Bible.
I also get to turn 21 (again) this month. Come on over and share a coffee with me and help me get fat on some of Marie’s awesome home cooking. Actually playing sport to keep fit is a pastime that seems to be currently eluding me. I have played squash a few times but am needing to do something regularly. From a lounge chair point of view, I am enjoying the Black Caps and hope that maybe this time they can go all the way to the final.PRAYER AND PRAISE
Thank God for the freedom we have in Jesus
Pray for Jonny as he learns the routines of family life
Pray for families in Ukraine who are suffering in many different ways
Pray for the 24 students in my class at PHCS
Thank God that my parents can come and visitTHANKS TO
Marie for all the muffins!AttachmentSize 201503 JAM March 2015.pdf284.57 KB
If you come and visit us in Beecroft, along with the cafe quality latte and amazing assortment of gluten free snacks which you'll be offered, there is a good chance that I will force our wedding album upon you. It's more than a wedding album. My wife has done an amazing job getting photos of us all around the world (a few photos of friends, but really the book features us). Towards the end of the book we have written out our Miller Family Values. I want to focus on one of these for each of the next few JAMs
The Miller Family is hopeful. What springs to mind when you hear the word "hope"? Is it more than just wishful thinking or longing expectancy? The source of our hope is God and his providence. And knowing that he is trustworthy our hope for the future is secure. Hope gives strength. But it can wane if we take our eyes off of God’s provision and direction. It is easy to trust ourselves for a short time and then we find ourselves in trouble and hope vanishes. Keep hope at the forefront of your family by daily looking to God for provision and guidance..MARIE’S CORNER
“Don’t worry, Marie’s friends are really generous, they will get you the things you need” said my friend to her cousin who just arrived in Sydney from detention last week. All you friends from church are giving me a better name than I deserve! I hope that Jesus is also getting a good name from your generosity. Thanks for everything you do; you may not see where all your things go, but they do make a difference.
If you are interested in getting more involved in refugee ministry in Sydney, there is a training coming up on February 14th and 21st. This training is a great way to find out about different ways you can help refugees settle into their new city and also to learn about where refugees come from and how they end up here. Let me know if you want details and I will send you the flyer. On a really practical note, Sydney Refugee Team is looking for some storage space near Carlingford for items of furniture that get donated. If you or someone you know has a half-empty garage on offer, shoot me an email. They also need a few more people to help sort and pack food on Wednesday afternoons.
Jonny is smiling, babbling, hating tummy time, trying to play with his toys, and enjoying long naps in the morning. Life with him is delightful. I definitely don’t miss work yet!UKRAINE
Thank you to those who have been praying for UTSIM, for Sveta, Natasha and all the students in Rzhyshchiv. Continue to pray for the church in Rzhyshchiv that God would add to the number of those being saved and that they would be one.
Can I also implore you to continue to pray for peace? It is easy to give up and not have eyes of faith to see a way forward, but pray for the families of those in the conflict zone, that peace would come to them.LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE
Can you believe Jonny is more than 2 months old already! What more is there to talk about? Sure I go to work every day. I have 24 more Year 3 children to love, to teach, to pray for. But I love coming home to Jonny. Sure there is laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning and shopping, but that is nothing compared to the joy of family. Sure my wife hasn't had a decent sleep in two months, but that is . . . well that actually is something. Please pray for Marie as she does an excellent job of Momma to our gorgeous boy.
I'm sure other things happen in life, but really everything else is a blur. Today I walked up the street with Jonny pointing out things we could see while he gazed absentmindedly at the blue sky. I thought how quickly he will grow and change and I want to be able to be there every step. So let the big smoke grind on. I've got more important things to do.Prayer and Praise
· Praise God for the hope we have in Jesus
· Pray that God would be glorified through the refugee ministry
· Pray for peace to come to Ukraine
· Thank God for Jonny Peace and pray that he grows to know the Prince of Peace
· Pray for good sleep to come to the Miller householdThanks
The hundreds of people who have given us baby things for Jonny.AttachmentSize 201501 JAM February 2015.pdf270.4 KB
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