Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Tour of Our Church Building

About 50kms south of Katherine, Northern Territory, you turn left onto this small paved road.  It takes you to several Indigenous communities, many are several hours away.  (On a side note, if a road train is coming the other way, it's a good idea to go into the dirt and get out of their way!)  If you drive about 20 minutes down this road you will come to Barunga, a small indigenous community of about 300 people.

Welcome to Barunga!

We are very blessed to be able to work in this community.  This community has a good Christian foundation, but hasn't had a pastor for many years.  Over 40 years ago the AIM (Australia Indigenous Mission) built this church in the center of the community.   We've been told this is one of the nicest churches on any community in the Northern Territory.  For many years, some of the olgaman (older woman) kept the church going by teaching Sunday School and doing Bible Studies.  They were thrilled when our team came along to help them.

Front of the church

Our new church sign

Our family in front of the church a few months ago.

Our sanctuary towards the front

Our sanctuary looking towards the back.
We have a morning tea table (back left)
and a welcome table (back right).

Go down through that hallway and you come to this room: 
Our Sunday School room

It is also where the adults meet to pray on Wednesday nights.

We also a kitchen not pictured because it still needs a lot of work!   And there is also a room upstairs off the Sunday School room, but that is currently being used as a storage room, so not really photo worthy.  :)

We also have a good bit of land around us.
My husband recently put up a volley ball net, which the kids love!

And here we are on a Sunday morning.
The Lord has been filling the seats!

Thanks for allowing me to give you a tour of our church.
God is good!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Colour Run Fun!

Our local YMCA put on a Rainbow Run to raise money and awareness for mental health week.  I've always wanted to do a colour run and was excited to participate!  We had lots of fun!

Here we are at the beginning.

They gave out bags of chalk.  Lots of fun!

With my friend, Kate.

These eyes get me every time!
He wasn't so sure about the chalk.

Over 500 people participated!

And here we are at the end.

With a photo finish!

We had heaps of fun!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

10 Things I Wish People Knew About My Field

The Baptist Missionary Women blog is doing another fun blog hop!  This time the theme is
"10 Things I Wish People Knew About My Field."

Thanks for joining us!

Before I share my 10 things, I just want to clarify that Australia is a large country and I live in the Northern Territory, so that is what I will be talking about - the Northern Territory.  Just remember, it is much different here than what you see in Sydney or Perth.

Just so you have an idea of how big Australia is,
here you can see that it's about the same size as the US.

And this is to show you the states and territories.
I live up there in the Northern Territory,
very far from Sydney and the other big cities.

So, here are 10 things I wish people knew about my field...

1.  We have two seasons - the wet and the dry.  We are currently in the "build up" which is a mini season between the dry and the wet.  And it's just plain hot!  Our hottest time of the year is around Christmas.  Here are common temps this time of year (in Fahrenheit).  Anyone want to come visit and sweat with us?!

2. We have gorgeous sunsets!  People come from all over to see our sunsets.  This photo was taken in Darwin, about 3 hours north.  It's one of my favourite places.

3. They say pretty much everything here will kill you: the dirt, snakes, spiders, and ... crocodiles.  These creatures kill people every year, and  yet people still insist on getting in little boats and going down the river to fish.  So, if  you come visit, here's my motto: "Stay out of the water, stay alive."

4. We have many other animals, that are less dangerous...

5.  Churches have freedom to teach in public schools.  They call it Religious Instruction or Religious Education.  What an amazing opportunity!  If you are a regular here, you know I just started teaching RI in the community school.  I teach all grades, and am loving it!

6.  We have many long roads.  There is one main road from Darwin to Adelaide (check the map above), this is one long and nearly straight road.  There is even a section that has open speed limits.  I share this because travelling here is not like travelling in the states.  You can go very long distances without seeing a petrol (gas) station.  When we travelled to Alice Springs, we learned to fill up and eat when there was opportunity and take plenty of water!

7.  Most indigenous communities can be hundreds of miles from paved roads, and  you need a permit to legally visit.  During the wet season, it can be impossible to reach some of these communities.

8. Most Australians we know make at least $50,000 per year, and housing and groceries are priced accordingly.  This article was in our local newspaper awhile back:

9.  The Indigenous Culture is very similar to the American Indians.  I've heard both groups say this.  Basically they owned the land first, and the white people came and took over, then later apologized and tried to solve the problems with money.  God called us to work with the Indigenous People here, and we were so blessed to be able to work with the American Indians (Navajo's) while we lived in America.  It was a great learning experience.

10. Australia is truly a beautiful place to live and the people are wonderful.  If you ever want to visit, we'd love to have you!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to follow me or like me blog on facebook.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

I love organization.  I love order.  I love simplicity.  This year I decided I needed to be more organized with our meals and eliminate eating out because I didn't know what to cook or didn't have what I needed to make a certain meal.  I was constantly making trips to the store.  And I hate grocery shopping.  When we lived in Darwin, our local grocery store would deliver for free so long as your order was over a certain amount, so I did a monthly menu then and ordered groceries for the month.  This way I only had to make one or two trips to the store every month for fresh fruit and veggies.  It was so nice having a months worth of groceries delivered right to my door.  I got to know the delivery guy and he often brought them right into my kitchen for me.

We live in a much smaller town now, and although they do offer to shop for you, you still have to go and pick it up.  So, I figure I might as well do the shopping.  This year I started making meal plans for each week (instead of month) and a grocery list to go with it.  

I was just writing out a menu plan on a sheet of paper, and then making a grocery list to go with it, then sticking the menu on my fridge.  Recently I stumbled upon a great blog called Raising Clovers.  Kristi is a homeschooling mom to 5 children. I highly recommend you visit her blog.  Her joy is contagious.  She created a weekly menu plan and grocery list printable and it's free if you subscribe to her blog.  

I will share how I use this great printable.  On Friday or early Saturday  morning, I write out my menu for the week.  You can see in this photo that I make a lunch menu and dinner menu.  I also write out our schedule for the week.  This helps me to plan our dinners.  For example, on Wednesday nights we do kid's club, and almost always go to McDonalds afterwards with our friends who help us.  As I am writing out the meals, I write out items on the grocery list side.  I also try to write out the items according to the layout of our grocery store, this helps me to not backtrack in the store.  Did I mention I hate grocery shopping?  We only have one grocery store in our town, so I don't need to compare prices and hit different stores.  

I keep the menu side of the printable for a few weeks this way I can see what meals I have cooked so I don't make the same thing every week.  Here is a photo of the past two weeks of meals.  This is also what the old printable looked like.  Kristi has recently given it a makeover (above photo) and made it prettier!  I do try to make a new recipe every week, but this doesn't always happen.  You'll see we had Stuffed Pepper Soup two Saturdays in a row, that was a new recipe that I tried and my family loved.  They requested to have it again the next week.

Once I have finished the menu and grocery list, I just cut the paper in half.  I take the grocery list with me to the store (sometimes I jot down the dinner meals on the back of the grocery list in case I forget what I might need a certain ingredient for).  

Then I put the weekly menu on the side of our fridge.  My family likes knowing what we're having for dinner.  I may mix it up and not make a certain meal on that particular day, but this is the basic menu for the week.

So, I'm curious, do you have a weekly menu, a monthly menu, do you love grocery shopping, how do you organize your grocery list?  Please share!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Teaching Your Child to Read Using the Bible

Teaching reading has been one area I struggle in.  I don't feel that I am qualified and confident enough.  My daughter struggled with reading until she was about 8 or 9, then somehow the love of reading kicked in and there's been no stopping her.  She loves reading, and I love catching her up late reading with a flashlight.  It makes this momma's heart swell with pride.
My son is 7 and he struggles with reading.  I was thinking, "Oh, no!  Not again."  He's not a big fan of school in general, he enjoys riding his bike, kicking the soccer ball around, shooting his bow, climbing a tree, playing basketball, playing legos...basically anything that is not school.  I try to get away from the workbooks occasionally and find other ways of teaching him to make learning a fun experience rather than a drudgery. 

Recently, we were talking about how God sees everything.  He asked me how I knew this, and I told him because the Bible says so.  His response?  "Show me."  So, I did.  And now every time we are discussing something about God (which is often!), he wants to know where it is in the Bible.
One of the awesome things about our curriculum is the Bible memorization.  Every workbook teaches a Bible verse.  He is now looking up each verse in the Bible.  This is teaching him not only to read, but also how to use the Bible by learning the order of the books, learning about chapters and verses, and so on. 

But most importantly, it is teaching my son how to follow and please God.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:4

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Teen Group - First Night!

Want to know a secret?  I love working with teenagers!  While serving in our home church in America, we had the amazing opportunity to be "youth sponsors".  It was a really great experience.  The youth pastor was amazing, and I was always jealous I didn't have something like that growing up.

This past week we had our first night of teen group.  It's something we've been wanting to do for awhile, but wanted to make sure we could do it well.  With the Kid's Club and the Religious Instruction classes going fantastic, we knew it was time to get the Teen Group started.  Because I am teaching Religious Instruction in the high school I was able to invite all the teens and get them excited about it. 

Our first night was wonderful.  We had ten teenagers show up (one left before we took the photo)!!  I will mention we had a slight bribe with pizza!  Patrick recently put up a volleyball net in the grassy area outside the church so we played a game of girls against the boys. (Can I just insert how thankful we are to have a church building with lots of property!). 

Please pray for this new ministry, this is the next generation.  The Lord has blessed us with amazing opportunities here.  Our plate is full, but we are so happy.  That's why we are here!