Happy Anniversary!

4 years ago yesterday Ryan and I met for the first time after finding each other on OkCupid.  After that first (5 hour!) date, we both knew there was the potential of something more but had no idea where this relationship would take us.  Now we’re celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary in our new home in Perth, Australia after traveling around the US and around the world too.

3 years ago today, Ryan and I got married in Santa Barbara, California at beautiful Franceschi Park.  If you missed the wedding because we’re new friends or you want to re-watch our wonderful ceremony, you can check it out on our webpage: Ryan and Joy’s Wedding or directly on Youtube: Ryan and Joy’s Wedding.

Happy Anniversary to my favorite husband!  You drive me crazy but I wouldn’t change this life with you.  I’m looking forward to many more years and many more memories together.

Flooding in Two Places

We can easily compared the weather here in Perth to the weather in Sacramento.  Although the patterns may be a bit different, the average highs and lows are pretty similar and both areas are also known for their droughts.  The only major difference is that, on average, Sacramento gets two more inches of rainfall a year.  It’s currently winter in California and Summer in Perth but there has been an unusual amount of rainfall in both places which has lead to widespread flooding.  Although it needs to be mentioned that despite some unseasonably cool days, the rain here has been accompanied by warm and muggy weather so it’s definitely not winter here.

In Australia there has been enough water to create a waterfall on Wave Rock where Ryan and I visited on our trip in 2014.  It’s probably amazing to see in person but possibly dangerous to get to currently because the flooding has been along both the Swan River and the Avon river.  Here are a couple news articles if you’re interested: WA Towns Flooded and Heavy Rain Wreaks Havoc. The Swan River runs right in front of our apartment in Perth but the flooding hasn’t been in our area and we checked out the swollen Avon river while we were out in Brookton this weekend.  Some of the bridges to the north of Brookton are close to being covered and some of the places mentioned in these news articles are names we recognize because it’s an area where we could potentially work in the future.

As for Sacramento, my parents are a couple feet away from flooding which isn’t uncommon but if you can see in the picture of us, we’re standing on the deck and the grass below us is typically completely dry.  For a good number of years, the Sacramento river hasn’t even flooded it’s banks.  But now thanks to a very wet winter, not only is the drought in Northern California mostly over, some of the dams are reaching capacity and causing potential problems.  Evidently there is a spillway near Oroville (Thousands in California Told to Evacuate) that could possibly break sending water down the Feather River which feeds into the Sacramento River above my parent’s home.  My parents don’t need to evacuate yet but they have a plan and places to stay if needed.

Please pray for those being impacted by the flooding in both Western Australia and in California.

American Politics in Australia

I’m an American, a citizen of the United States and unless something unexpected or drastic happens, that’s not changing anytime soon.  However, I’m living in a very multicultural city in Australia and meeting new people every day.  It doesn’t seem to matter what their background, pretty much everyone has some sort of interest in US politics.  I couldn’t escape the conversations if I tried, so I don’t try to avoid them, I listen.  Listening allows me to hear what others think and also gives me input to continually reexamine and check my own attitudes and assumptions as well as values and beliefs.  I am generally encouraged by these conversations and my personal convictions are strengthened, although I am often challenged to look deeper into certain issues and policies.  Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 1.59.50 PM.pngConversations aside, I do realize that I am somewhat removed from US current events.  Although, the news here covers the main issues and my Facebook feed is an ever present reminder.  But I’m not in the US so, even if I wanted to, I can’t join the marches and protests.  I am not around to be a part of certain US organizations that are on the frontline when it comes to refugee resettlement.  I don’t have the time or the energy to devote to writing to US political leaders or to organize something more substantial.  Even if I was still in my safe, insulated US community, I would probably find it difficult to engage appropriately with the current policies that I agree or disagree with.  This is what, in my experience, often leads to apathy.  I can’t be the only one who recognizes something should be done but then doesn’t have the time, energy, resources and/or knowledge to do anything that might be deemed worthwhile.  So what are our options?

  1. Pray – Pray for wisdom (James 1:5).  Pray for your leaders (I Timothy 2:1,2).  Pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44).  Pray for those who agree with you.  Pray for those who disagree with you.  Pray.
  2. Read the Bible- Justice (Isaiah 1:17), mercy (Micah 6:8), love (Leviticus 19:18), compassion (Matthew 25:25-37), all of this and more is addressed in the pages of scripture.  I didn’t struggle to find verses here, the struggle was to choose just a few.  The Bible is an amazingly rich and holy resource.
  3. Love your Neighbor-  I mean your neighbor in the broader sense of Luke 10 (the parable of the Good Samaritan).  Your neighbors are those people you come into contact with during your daily life.  This can be as simple as loving and serving your family in your home, the person across the street, the man or woman who is driving next to you on the road, the person bagging your groceries, serving your meal at a restaurant, etc.
  4. Do What You Can- There are a lot of important issues that we can advocate for and be passionate about but refugees are close to my heart.  World Relief, one organization that I have worked with and respect just posted this to their blog: 3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Show Support for Refugees.  There are probably simple things to do online or in your community for almost every social cause that needs attention.

As divided as my Facebook feed is at the moment, I am generally encouraged by the real discussions that are happening, the hypocrisy that is being confronted across the board and those who are rising up to the challenge of practicing what they are preaching.  I can not fight every battle and shout from the mountain tops over every important issue.  But I can pray, I can read my Bible, I can love my neighbor and I can do what I can to live justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.

Linus Explains The True Meaning of Christmas

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-8-34-25-pm“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 8.40.07 PM.pngMerry Christmas from our family to yours!

Does it Matter Which Word We Use?

On Christmas we see many depictions of the nativity scene and most of them are beautiful, clean and etherial.  I love these scenes that give me a visual of the Biblical stories of Mary and Jospeh traveling to Bethlehem and Mary giving birth to the Light of the World.  However, I realize that they are a cleaned up, sanitized version of what really happened.  The following story from Bob Creson, Wycliffe USA’s President and his communication assistant, Carol Schatz, gave Ryan and me a new perspective on this story that we know very well.  I hope you enjoy it and see the beautiful humility of Christ this Christmas season.screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-12-18-30-pmAs the Mbe translation team in Nigeria was translating the Gospel of Luke, they came to chapter 2, verse 7: “She [Mary] gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”

The translators took time to ponder how to translate some of the words, but not “manger.” They immediately used the word “ókpáng.”

The “What’s an ókpáng?” asked their consultant, John Watters. “Tell me what it looks like.” One of the translators drew a picture on the whiteboard. It was essentially a cradle hung by ropes so that the newborn would be laid in it and swung.

“Read the Translator’s Notes again,” John suggested. “What do the notes say about the manger?” (“Translators Notes” is a series of commentaries in non-technical English that are especially helpful for Bible translators for whom English is a second language.)

The Mbe translators read the notes and saw that “manger” referred to an animal feeding trough. Even as the Mbe team read the notes, they objected. “We have always used the word ókpáng. We have used it for years, and that’s what we should use.”

John pointed out to them that it wasn’t just a matter of tradition. God expects us to find the words that express the original meaning as accurately as possible. Furthermore, this word tells us something profound about God. “When he came to live among us and bring salvation to us, he came in the lowliest way possible. He did not come and sleep in a nice ókpáng like every Mbe mother wants for her newborn. Instead, he showed us his unbelievable humility,” John told them. “So we need to find your best word for an animal feeding trough.”

Suddenly the one who had argued most loudly for the traditional term offered, “We feed our animals out of an old worn-out basket that is not usable anymore except to fee the animals. We call it ‘ɛdzábrí.’”

“Then try that term,” said John. “Put it in your rough draft and test it with Mbe speakers.”

“As the Mbe people listened, they were visibly moved. Picturing the newborn baby lying in the animals’ feeding basket, they recognized in a new way that Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to reach them. As an adult, he would humble himself by washing the disciples’ feet and then by dying on the cross. And this humility started right from birth, when he was born to a young peasant woman under questionable social conditions and laid in an animal feeding trough.

“No word in Scripture is too unimportant to translate carefully and accurately. And no language community is too unimportant to merit the Scriptures in the language they best understand. John Watters says, “Translation in the heart language respects the people who speak it, and through the process it frees them to have a relationship with God in their own words and terms.”

Let’s Do the Numbers – End of the Year Giving

Ryan and I leave for Australia in one week, and year end giving ends just a few days later.  We are so abundantly thankful for all the individuals, churches and families who are already partnering with us.  If you aren’t already giving, please pray about becoming a part of what God is going in Australia.Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 6.32.46 PM.pngWe praise God for how he has provided in many ways!  We are thankful for the provision of an apartment for our first 6 months in Perth.  This will get us through my first semester before we try to find a bigger more semi-permanent flat to rent.  Ryan and I are amazed at how God provides and are so thankful for a place to call our own in Perth.  Let me know if you want our address, it will be fun to get mail in Australia.

We are currently at 91%!  And we also have received some very generous end of the year gifts.  Each gift is a blessing to us.  In order to be at 100% we still need another $1000 in monthly giving.  Any amount pledged monthly gets us closer and as seen below, gifts of all amounts make a difference.

5 faithful givers @ $100 a month = $500
4 faithful givers @ $50 a month = $200
8 faithful givers @ $30 a month = $240
6 faithful givers @ $10 a month = $60

How do you give?  Contact the MTW one of three main ways.

  1. Call- 1-866-373-6133 (Before December 30th because that’s the last day to make donations for 2016)
  2. Give Online- Ryan and Joy (End of the year gifts and pledges will be accepted before midnight EST on December 31st)
  3. Mail a Check- MTW Donations PO Box 2589 Suwanee, GA 30024-0982 (Must be postmarked before the 31st and include our names and account number 11299)

Any questions?  Feel free to ask me, I will happily help you through the process.

Thank you to everyone who has already been giving and for those of you praying for us!  We look forward to sharing the journey with you as we ring in the new year in Perth Western Australia.  2017 should be a very interesting year.

A Reiter Christmas Card

Please forgive us for not mailing out Christmas cards this year.  We would have loved to because we love receiving Christmas cards.  But for our sanity during this crazy season of moving across the world, we decided that Christmas cards were not a main priority.christmas-cardHowever, we are planning on doing snail mail in January, not Christmas cards but something newsy.  Real mail (not bills or junk mail) is fun all year long.  So if we don’t have your current address please let us know (joy.candee@gmail.com) and then we can make sure you hear the latest and greatest from Perth.