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JAM January 2017

Jono Miller - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 6:57pm



Every day I walk outside and am amazed and enthralled by the view no matter which direction I cast my gaze. For those of you who have connected on WhatsApp you have probably seen some of the spectacular pictures (find our WhatsApp numbers in the right-hand column). We have had two wonderful dumps of fresh snow and Jonny has enjoyed throwing it, making a snowman and lying in it to make some sort of snow angel. The ice is slippery but one learns to be careful. You also should adjust your expectation of how long things take. It truly takes 30 minutes for our family to get ready to leave the house together. We have had water off a couple times with frozen pipes and a couple of electricity outages, but in general the utilities here are pretty reliable.


How do you take care of a toddler, a baby and a house and still have time to learn a language? I’ve been wondering this all month and I’ve had to conclude that it’s impossible (at least for me!) If any of you mothers out there have any helpful suggestions, I’d be very interested in hearing them! Two weeks ago my friend here told me about a young lady looking for work so I asked her if she wanted to come and help me a few times a week. She is fantastic! She loves kids, she has a great attitude, and she’s super helpful around the house. It’s such a blessing to me to have someone I can learn from who is happy to come to me. Especially now that getting out of the house to visit people is a lot more difficult with kids!


I have a new favourite song which I randomly sing: “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.” Snow is great. It is pretty cold but that doesn’t stop me picking it up and trying to throw it. Presents are great too. I seem to do well as I can play with my presents and Will’s. I love it when I get to go and see any of our Uncles or Aunties (team mates). I went to the office Christmas party with Daddy and ate nearly an entire bowl of olives. I think Daddy uses me as his play thing sometimes. Daddy says something, I copy it, and then everyone else laughs. Someone should tell him I’m not a parrot. Every day I need to remember to listen to Mama and Daddy and to obey. The best thing about last month was the clues. Every day was a new clue that Mama had painted and we hung them up. I learned they all lead to Jesus’ birth on Christmas day.


Could someone tell Jonny to stop stealing my toys? Only I’m allowed to do that. Also, food is much better if I put it in my mouth rather than someone else doing it. Who cares if I miss my mouth most of the time, my parents always clean up the mess. Daddy tried to teach me to sleep through the night. I told him what I thought of that by screaming for 1 ½ hours straight, but I am able to go with just one feed a night now. Rumour has it they want me to drop that one too. I might have something to say about that! When we go out in the cold they zip me in this thing called a snowsuit which is basically a straightjacket for babies. I can’t move in any direction in that thing. I suppose it is important to keep warm though. I can stand up holding on to stuff with just one hand, I really want to let go and try that walking thing everyone is talking about. I haven’t let my teeth come through yet cause I think my gummy smile is truly the cutest.


This month’s short clip is a 9 minute tour of our town with Jono. Put on a jacket, I’m pretty sure that looking at this much snow will make you feel cold.

Love from

Jono, Marie, Jonny and Will Miller

Categories: Family

December 2016

Jono Miller - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 11:20pm



We have finally made it to Khorog! It has been four long years since Marie was here and it is the first time for me and the boys. Tonight was team meeting, and as it was our first, it was a social get-to-know-you. We went down to KFC and picked up pizzas!


Our washing machine is working, yay! I’m very glad to be back in my old home with my host family. I’ll write something more next month.


Travelling to Khorog must be experienced to be understood. The first part was amazing driving through mountains covered in snow, a couple of long tunnels and some coffee table book landscapes. Eventually we wind down to the River Panj and follow a long course on one side of a narrow valley. Across the river is Afghanistan and it was great to see the villages and various roadworks and other happenings as we twist and bend our way through our own villages dodging other fourwheel drives and potholes.

The mountains here to the north and south tower above you with jagged skylines. There are amazing views of mountains east and west also. Come and see it for yourself.



This is my month. I can finally stop telling everyone “almost two” because now I am two. We are having cake and lots of friends over in the chiid. Mama or Daddy can explain what a chiid is another time, but I sure love running and going up and down the big steps in it. Here’s a few things I have been up to lately:

· I turn off the light and yell “svet nest” and then turn it back on and say “yast”.

· After a big shopping trip, Daddy told me when we got home it would be nap time. So when I got in the door I put myself to bed in the cot. Daddy didn’t know where I was.

· Ladies in the street come up to me and pinch my cheeks and kiss me all the time, but the other day someone came up and took a selfie with me.

· I can go to the restaurant with Daddy and drink green tea with him from the same teapot.

· I hold my brother’s hand in the taxi and loudly commentate in English everything I see, “lady getting in the car, lady getting out of the car”.

· I also thought it was fun to pull my hat over my eyes and run around the house, until I ran into the door, then it wasn’t so fun. I tell everyone, “Jonny is crying a little bit”.

· I learned the hard way not to eat crayons.

· Sometimes I make up new words and then say, “Daddy don’t understand Jonny”.

That’s enough for now, time to go and eat some Happy Birthday Cake!



Sleep. I am still learning the meaning of that word. I don’t get the fuss people make about me waking up all the time. 45 minutes at a time is more than enough. I have learned to crawl and get about the place. I can stand up holding on to things. It’s ok if you land on your bottom but landing on your head is not so much fun. I like rice and carrot and sometimes mashed up fruit. I also like making my mouth a moving target for whoever is feeding me. My brother loves me and cuddles and kisses me. He is not allowed to tackle me but that doesn’t stop me tackling him. We have a lot of toys but my favourite one is always the one Jonny is playing with right now. Jonny likes to remind me that “Will can’t talk yet”.



Here is a link to a 7-minute collection of roughly edited footage of our road trip in Dropbox. Warning! Watching this footage may induce car sickness.


Thanks to the Js for helping us leave Dushanbe and the Vs for helping us arrive in Khorog.

Love from

Jono, Marie, Jonny and Will Miller

Categories: Family

November 2016

Jono Miller - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 8:30pm



We are in our final month in Dushanbe. The next update will come to you from the crisp clean air of the Pamir Mountains – God willing. We have had great culture coaching in our orientation, we have made a start on language learning, we have settled into a new and different place, we have a level of familiarity and comfort in the capital city which will help us as we will come through here probably 3-4 times a year.. We are now starting to collect all we need to transition one more time. Pray for sanity as we make our list and check it twice. We have a long cold winter to last through in the mountains before we will be back. But we are happy to go. We are happy to re-establish friendships (Marie) and make new ones (Jono and boys).



Shopping with Daddy. On the bed with Mama. Playing with Will. These are just a few of the things I love to do each day. I love to list off the names of everyone I’ve met in the past couple of months. I love it when I get to see some of them on Skype (even though I get bored after a minute). I read and reread the books I have memorised (anyone want to send more books). I like cornflakes and milk. Daddy bought some speakers so now I can dance to my Colin Buchanan songs. At the shops ladies pick me up and kiss me and then they give me candy. I give it to Daddy to “have one later” (I never seem to remember to ask for it later though). After we go out somewhere, when we get back to our gate, I love to say loudly “our home”. But the best thing is my new Duplo and train set. I love playing with it.



I sat up for the first time the other day. It’s not that hard and you can really get the adults worrying by just tipping one way and then the other. I’ve also worked out how to move around on the floor to get what I want, but the adults keep moving what I want away from me. So I have taken to sucking Jonny’s toys. Most of the time Jonny is pretty good about sharing them with me. I also think that sleep time should be as unpredictable as possible, just to keep everyone guessing.


Jono’s sister Ruth has had successful surgery and is nearly finished with chemo and is on the road to recovery.


Thanks to the P family for Jonny’s new Duplo and train set. He LOVES it!


Love from

Jono, Marie, Jonny and Will Miller

Categories: Family


Jono Miller - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 8:11pm



One month, eight flights, a few cars, vans and buses, 8 different beds and we are all still standing. Just.

Thanks to those who have prayed. The boys have gone better than expected although little tell-tale signs of tiredness are creeping in.

We had an emotional week in NZ. Thanks for praying for my sister Ruth, please continue to pray. She has had one round of chemotherapy and will start round 2 soon. Her tumour was large and advanced but they are hoping that 3 rounds of chemo will shrink it enough to make surgery successful. Please keep her and Jon and Gabby in your prayers.

Then a whirlwind week in Rzhyshchiv where I realised it’s impossible to catch up with 6 years of friends in a week. However, it was great to see people.


We had 2 days family rest in Lviv which was just wonderful.

By the time we next write JAM we will be in a house in Dushanbe and hopefully have some photos to share and something more resembling a routine.

Thank God for travelling mercies so far. Two more legs to go.

Jonny Peace’s Piece


I say hello and goodbye with ease, however I haven’t shown what I really feel about it deep down. I sleep talk at night and sometimes it is about food, sometimes about airplanes but sometimes about people I miss.

William Kind’s Comments


I’ve learned to roll. I’m now a liability to myself. Pretty much everyone else thinks I’m just cute.


Marie who constantly supports me in everything and pushes through even when extremely tired.

Love from,

Jono, Marie, Jonny and Will Miller

Categories: Family

Photo Update From Ukraine August 2016

Jono Miller - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 7:55pm


Categories: Family


Jono Miller - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 7:41pm



Life has twists and turns. Sometimes we see them coming, and sometimes we don’t. As I begin to write this, we expected to be in transit to Ukraine (and summer time). Instead we are in cold, wet NZ. The reasons are not what we would choose. We are here to be with my sister Ruth and her family. Here are her words:


“Hi friends & family. Yesterday I (Ruth) was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (stage 3). As you can imagine this was not the news we wanted to hear & we are still processing the full impact of this. Of course it brings up many questions and what seems like little answers. We don't know what the next few weeks/months or years will hold (truth be told no one does) although this does probably involve some sort of surgery and treatment - likely in Auckland.
We will stand together with God who is our anchor and who remains in control to fight this thing. We will not give up yet embrace each day as one to be lived fully for Him. We are asking you if you would stand with us in prayer for strength, peace and above all that God will be glorified in our lives and actions.
Thanks for your love and friendship - it means a lot.
God Bless
Jon & Ruth & Gabby Pirini”

Please make this a prayer point to bring before our merciful God. At this stage we hope to leave on August 5th and continue our plans as before with a reduced time in Ukraine.

Marie’s Corner

Still married to Jono

Jonny Peace’s Piece


Dad is teaching me to tackle. So far I reckon it is fun to be tackled because he is pretty easy on me. I also seem to be developing Dad’s morning addiction. I get pretty upset if I don’t get my morning fluffy (babyccino) along with my coffee. Thanks to Aunty Essie I had my first marshmallow along with a fluffy the other day. This travel thing is ok so far with me. What is confusing is all of these people coming and saying hello and then goodbye. If you are so nice to me, why do you always have to leave?

William Kind’s Comments


Dad says I’m now eligible to play for the All Blacks. Whoop-dee-do. I’m just stoked that before I was 2 months old I had citizenship of 3 countries. Beat that! Actually I’m so happy that I have decided to start smiling. If you give me a cuddle I’ll probably give you a smile.


To Uncle Ken who dropped everything to help out at the last minute when our plans went topsy-turvy.DSCF9951

Love from,

Jono, Marie, Jonny and Will Miller

Categories: Family

JULY 2016

Jono Miller - Fri, 09/12/2016 - 7:23pm

Emotions and Goodbyes


Let me make this easier than saying goodbye: let me tell you hello in advance for the next time I get to see you.”

I’ve said goodbye and left many times. It’s different this time. I have become emotional in my old age and prone to moisture around the eyes at random moments. It may have something to do with having a family including a wife I love and precious young kids. It may have something to do with the depth of relationship that I have enjoyed here in the past few years.

Emotions are great. You can use them for highs and lows and sometimes that can happen simultaneously. I want to ride the high of enjoying what is, cherishing what was and anticipating what is to come. In honesty, I would love to be able to live in two worlds at the same time, but that is not possible. Marie and I already experience the great divide of meaningful relationships in geographically removed locations (before we were married we each had several meaningful places on earth and that doubled when we got hitched).

Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

The COUNTDOWN is on!


As we begin writing this update, we are four weeks away from being somewhere in the air between here and Europe. Thank God that all of our tickets are purchased and all of our passports have arrived. Jono has almost finished at school and then we have the job of packing and saying goodbye in between providing for Will’s needs and entertaining Jonny.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed in any way. You’ve helped us, our projects and our team! We appreciate you! Your generosity inspires us to be generous as well.

Jonny Peace’s Piece


Grandparents are the best! I’ve been spoiled with lots of presents, a trip on the train (I’m enamored with trains and airplanes at the moment), walks in the woods, learning new words and almost constant entertainment. I was sad to realize that they left and weren’t coming back. But I am glad that I can play hide and seek in the empty wardrobe again!

I love baby Will. I get to give him lots of kisses and sometimes I try to share my toys with him. I taught him how to turn pages in a book, but he hasn’t caught on to that yet. He likes it best when I give him his dummy (pacifier) when he’s crying. I’m being very helpful to Mama as well. I can turn the heater on, bring her a towel and throw things in the rubbish (garbage) when she asks me. I love being a big brother!

William Kind’s Comments


Can you imagine growing 8cm (3in) in one month? That’s what I’ve been doing. No wonder I sleep all the time!


To the Grandparents who came to stay and help look after one energetic boy and cuddle a cute baby.

Love from,

Jono, Marie, Jonny and Will Miller

Categories: Family

Thu, 01/01/1970 - 10:00am