Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving thought

This is a short email note I sent out to my family and just wanted to share. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Love you all

Hello to the family from Australia!

I just wanted to send out this quick hello to say Happy Thanksgiving! Don't we have so much to be thankful for? Every single one of us have had food to eat, a place to lay our heads, different clothes to wear every day, cars to drive, we have more than we could ever really need. Even though money may have been and may still be tighter in the past this year, we still have had money in abundance. Without even realizing it, every single member of our extended family is living in the top 10% of the entire world in wealth. We have more than most people have in this world even while in a recession. Despite some struggles through health issues, none of us have had our lives threatened by the water we drink or the food we eat. There are so many people in this world who die every day from a lack of clean water and other simple necessities.

The interesting thing is, all of our privilege that we have enjoyed either part or most of our lives often becomes the greatest curse we will have, rather than blessing. What if our privilege really just blinds us to what is really important? If there are people dying everyday from lack of something I have so readily, whenever I want it or need it, isn't there something wrong with that? How caught up in our own world often are we?

This Thanksgiving is going to be really different for me. While I am thousands of miles away from home, I am also preparing to leave in just 9 days now to go to a country where clean water is not always readily accessible, where people live in extreme poverty, where people die everyday from lack of medical support for AIDS and other disease. I'll be living near orphans who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS and have been rejected most of their lives, near tribal groups who have never heard about the God who loves them so much, and also near Americans and Europeans who spend thousands to come and relax on the gorgeous beaches. Can you believe all these things could exist in one place?

I am getting ready to experience all this first hand. To see it and be in it and live in it. But I am more than thankful, because I am preparing to meet people who's lives are drastically changed by the smallest gesture. They don't need cell phones or fancy cars, but what they need is love. Isn't that what we all really need?

Let's give thanks for the things that money can't buy, that recession can't stop, and that last forever.

"For God SO LOVED the world THAT HE GAVE His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16


Click here for a special Thanksgiving treat

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Learning the missionary way

Before you get too jealous about us being in Australia, I wanted to tell of some of the harder aspects of living here. I’m realizing more and more just what it means to be a missionary, and I have had the privilege of speaking with numerous full time missionaries that have given me a lot of insight. Here are some things that have not been typical for Laura and I, but is simply a way of life for most missionaries.

Very little money

It is quite crazy when I stop to think about it that we are actually paying a large sum of money to come her to work, lose many personal privileges we had back home, and actually “suffer” in many ways. The logical perspective would be that we should get paid to be here, but we are not making one cent. This is the life of a missionary, never being able to accumulate material wealth. The base pioneers who started this base left very well PAYING jobs in order to PAY to do ministry. No one here has much money, thus making simply entertainments such as eating out, or going shopping, almost none existent.

I have heard numerous people have said they were not able to go to a concert or take a trip to Sydney because they had no money, even though the cost was as little as $5. This is not going to say that it is a difficult thing to do to rely on others for support. I haven’t talked to anyone yet who have said they like asking for money or that it is an easy thing to do. It is actually a very humbling thing which is hard to do. Humility in asking for support is just one more thing that is necessary for missionaries. It is not at all like we are on vacation here, and when we go on outreach it is only going to get harder.

Little to no privacy

Here we live on a small base, in small rooms, with lots of people. On base it is nearly impossible to have alone personal time without someone else being around. There are only a few areas to “hang out” which are constantly occupied.
Very little transportation

Here public transportation is not good at all, and the little that there is, is very expensive. This means that the majority of the time we are stuck on base or only to what is within walking distance. Thankfully we are privileged to be within walking distance of the beach and some restaurants, as well as the mall which is a 20 minute walk away, but I quickly found out that to walk most places takes far more time then I have. There is only a few families that have cars here, and even they are very limited as to where they drive them.

No choice of food

The meal plan here is not like cafeterias at Universities back home. There is only one main course, usually with salad and some kind of bread, and only on occasion do we have desert. If someone doesn’t like the meal, then they don’t eat. There are not the many choice of food like there are back home, and there is no flexibility as to when we want to eat. Breakfast is from 7:00 a.m. to 7:45, lunch from 1 p.m. to 1:45 and dinner 6:00 p.m. to 6:45, and besides those times there is no eating unless it is a snack that we buy ourselves. Food here is also very expensive!

These are only a few of the small differences, and there are many more. I am certainly not complaining about the life style, for I personally enjoy it must better then the individualistic life style that I usually live back home. However, this does not mean that it is easy to adjust to by any means.

Days have continued to fly by, and we are now in week 8 of 12 of the lecture phase. We are continuing to prepare for outreach, and continuing to learn and grow in our relationships with God, with others, and with each other. It has been a struggle, and it will continue to be, but I know it will be for both of our benefit.
Below is a link to the blog of one of the other guys here, Jun. I encourage you to check out his blog if you would like to know more about what life is like here.