Out and About!

It has been a pleasure to get out and about representing Canberra Declaration and the National Day of Prayer & Fasting and the 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting this year.

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3 Special Opportunities

It has been our great privilege to represent the Canberra Declaration and the National Day of Prayer and Fasting and 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting at 3 special places in January.

IMG_05071. We journeyed up the mountain for the day to take part in the CMS Summer School at Mt Tamborine on 4 January. Although this was not their normal policy, because the organizer believed in the power of prayer, he was happy for us to have a table there. About 500 heard God’s Word and were challenged about missions. It was one of the hottest January days for awhile reaching even 32 degrees there!

DSC_0073 copy2. Our friend Ps Matt Prater of New Hope Brisbane invited us to come to the church and promote the National Day of Prayer and Fasting. He is chairman of the 8-person organising team on which we serve. Matt does the breakfast show on Vision Radio so is a well known Christian leader. He became better known to the public with his question to Kevin Rudd in the Q&A program on 2 Sept 2013 when the YouTube clip went viral. Matt interviewed us at both services and we set up a table with a sign-the-Declaration sheet and advertising to take. We had some great conversations and made some new friends including Daniel who took these photos. If you’d like to invite us to your church in South East QLD we would be happy to come.

3. On Australia Day, Sunday 26th January, David preached at Fairfield Christian Family. His message summarised well what the National Day of Prayer and Fasting is all about. Many commented on how they were challenged and he received very good feedback. I thought it was the best message I had heard him give. You can read his message here.

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Producing a Good News Update

Canberra DeclarationProducing a Canberra Declaration Good News Update fortnightly takes many hours. We try to base each one on a foundation of prayer.  David likes to include this in his 4-5 pm prayer walks.  We also pray each morning together about the work of the day after our ‘diary check’ time at breakfast.

With God’s leading, the topic for the next Good News Update is set as Warwick Marsh and David decide what to focus on. This requires keeping up with the news and other happenings in issues of religious freedom, marriage and family life, and the sanctity of life.

IMG_0536On Monday morning, David finds the materials and prints them as he likes to keep a hard copy for easy future reference. He reads these until he feels he understands, as much as possible, the issue being written about.  Then he begins writing. When he gets stuck he pauses to pray. David always writes well but it usually takes Monday to do this (there always seems to be something else urgent to attend to!)

In the meantime, I go to Wufoo forms and transfer entries since the last newsletter into Constant Contact.  There are 3 forms that I need to give attention to and I am still a bit slow at doing this.  It is encouraging to see how many have signed the Canberra Declaration or registered for the National Day of Prayer & Fasting or the 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting since the last mail-out.

Then I take what he has written and edit it while David finds suitable art work or photos to enhance the writing.  I then enter the text into Constant Contact, the email tool for sending mass emails (we send to 24,000 each time). Though recently we discovered that over 10,000 signers have no@email.com because they don’t have an email address or don’t want to receive emails!

Preparing the email to send is time consuming too because the template we use has a mind of it’s own!!  Often it looks good but when I save work, it jumps to something else which doesn’t look good (some text in another font or a line break where it shouldn’t be).  This can be incredibly frustrating.  I have begun going into the ‘html’ view when this happens and sometimes I can fix it.  I’d like to learn more about this! Finally I insert YouTube clips, pictures and hyperlinks. All this can take me 4-6 hours!

Now I’m ready to do a test send to David, our team leader, Warwick, and myself.  There’s always changes to make as one of us sees a better way of saying something.  We check that all the links actually work (we learnt this from experience!).  Then we sleep on it and wake up fresh the next morning and see if there are other changes (Hopefully we are not falling into the trap of being perfectionists.  We know our final is still imperfect so we simply ask God to take it and use it as he wills.)

IMG_0534The pattern this year is to send out at  6 am Wednesday mornings which is supposed to be the best time of the week to get the maximum number of opens. And so after an estimated 20 office hours of work we pray together.  Then we push the SEND button!  Hurrah! It always amazes us that from our little desktop computer in our home that these Good News Updates go out to thousands of other homes. Our trusty computers do work hard!

Unfortunately we have about 5,000 bounces each send. We still have to discover why and find other ways of contacting these people.  If anyone has spare hours plus some basic computer skills or would be willing to send a note to people whose postal address we have, we would gladly welcome you as a volunteer helper.

Here is the link to Canberra Declaration Good News Update 71 which Warwick wrote to explain how we got involved in all this! 

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Two special days in December

Every December, we have two special days to affirm our love and commitment to each other as we celebrate the anniversary of our wedding at CLTC in PNG on 3rd Dec 1983 and the anniversary of meeting a year earlier in Madang in PNG on the 12th Dec 1982.

Because David had suggested going on the cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary, I said I’d organize a surprise outing for the actual day of our wedding. We set off early in the morning and travelled through new territory in the Laidley Valley, an hour from Brisbane. It was a beautiful day as you can see from the photos.

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IMG_0373Then we drove to Grandchester with a seeming detour into Spicers Hidden Vale. As we drove in, David was surprised to see our bridesmaid and her husband, Heather and Royce Perkins, walking up the driveway! They took us to lunch on the verandah of the restaurant with its magnificent views across to the mountains.

Then there was a surprise for me when Heather gave me a gift for our pearl anniversary. It was her mother’s string of beautiful pearls! Only then did I tell her how two days after our holiday, we had a theft at home and lost all my jewelry and our passports. The most precious piece of jewelry I had was a single pearl drop necklace David gave me! I was speechless.

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We didn’t take too many photos on our meeting anniversary.  David had decorated the table where we have breakfast on the verandah each morning, to remind us of that day. We had met in church, had lunch of tinned baked beans and spaghetti together (which we have every year in memory of that), walked to a showing of “Chariots of Fire” at the World Vision House and walked back to Smuggler’s Cove for a snorkel (sharing one mask and snorkel). A full first day and a full life together!

This day we went to the new local Japanese restaurant for lunch and our favourite coffee shop next door for coffee. The owner gave us a single stem pink rose not knowing it was a special day for us! David said the food and its presentation reminded him of being in South Korea and he really liked the food there.

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David turns 60!

What a wonderful 60th Birthday celebration it was for David. It began with sunrise on our verandah at 4.53 am then a half hour’s drive to NW Brisbane and half an hour narrow windy climb up 600 metres to one of our favourite spots, Mt Glorious, in the the dense preserved bushlands of Brisbane Forest Park in the D’Aguilar Ranges.

170x170_q75-19_t_001rufous fantailAfter lighting a fire and cooking breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomato and beans, we went for a bush walk to Greene Falls. We saw the most birds we had for a long time including two regent bower birds and several rufous fantails.

At home, David had a special treat of a peanut butter sandwich – something he hasn’t eaten since we started dieting this year! The girls surprised him by popping in and staying for a barbecue tea. It was great to share stories and presents from our cruise with them too.

The celebration for 40 family and friends was a ‘Bush Tucker’ BBQ Brunch at Daisy Hill Conservation Park on Saturday 23rd November.  This is a 445 ha open eucalypt forest 16 km south of us. Wallabies are in abundance at dawn and dusk and there is a Koala Centre. Anna, Naomi and Esther did a great job of organizing decorations and food and Anna served David blue vein cheese omelet on sourdough bread with yoghurt. Michael, Rob and Matt spoke publicly of how David was such a great role model for them. Others also spoke words of encouragement also. Many gave to an account opened by the girls for publishing his devotional reflections for men on KOKODA.

David with his daughters and grandchildren on his 60th

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A wonderful week cruising on the Pacific Dawn

2013-11-13 19.45.00It was David’s idea to go on a cruise for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. He had crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a ship as a 10 year old and Marilyn had gone from Singapore to Brisbane as a cheap way of travel in 1972. But this would be our first 7-day holiday cruise out of Brisbane with stop-overs in Noumea and Lifou in New Caledonia and Port Vila in Vanuatu. We were excited to experience something new together.

We were especially amazed at how God had allowed us to take this Cruise into Missions History.

We had a wonderful time and highly recommend a cruise to anyone.  Take a look in our photo album and note these highlights.

  • A lovely cabin and friendly steward from the Philippines
  • Excellent food and dining options
  • New relationships formed with ni-Vanuatu crew
  • Times to relax and times to join in events on board
  • Lovely sunsets shared together
  • Excellent sailing conditions and tropical sunshine
  • Meaningful re-connection with Melanesia
  • Snorkeling together as we did on the first day we met and our honeymoon

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Relaxing at the beach

How we looked forward to a holiday at the beach after a busy year of ministry. Our planned departure was set back 30 hours to finish off some important tasks. It’s 90 mins drive to Currimundi on the Sunshine Coast. We got there in time to unpack and shop before the family arrived for the weekend (see post Family togetherness). Once everyone was off on Monday, it was time to unwind over the next 10 days. Beach holidays without technology are so restful!  Simple things bring joy.  We invite you to view these 2 slideshows.

  • The beauty of God’s creation
  • Early morning walks on the beach for David
  • Long quiet times with the Lord without deadlines to meet
  • Noticing how Currimundi Lake changes each day
  • Afternoon walks down the beach to swim in the surf
  • Eating fish and chips and watching the sunset at Bullcock Beach

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We always do a journey to the hinterland on holidays. But this time we joined it with meeting some new friends from Cairns, Ps Norm & Barb Miller, and joining in their weekend of ministry which was a great blessing to us. We did some sightseeing around Buderim, Noosa and Montville (where Naomi will be married next September). We were able to catch up too with our friends, Bruce and Fay Michael. There’s a little cafe called Cocos close by that has the cheapest ice creams ($2.50) and breakfasts ($10 of 2) we know of!  Going there is part of our beach tradition.

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2013-11-06 08.05.01We are so thankful to our friends Rob and Beth Carter from Dalby.  They have allowed us to use their beach house for R&R for nearly 20 years now (Marilyn’s friendship goes back nearly 40 years). It has been such a special place for our family during furloughs from PNG and since coming home.

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