Easter Around the World

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 10.43.36 AMIt’s been fun watching people celebrating Easter around the world.  From the comfort of my own home, I’ve watched videos and seen pictures from celebrations in Papua New Guinea, Japan, Bulgaria, Peru, different parts of the US and all up and down California.  The pictures included here are from some Easter traditions that I missed not being in PNG or California.  In Papua New Guinea a sunrise service is held and a cross is decorated with flowers that everyone brings.  It is beautiful!  And in Camarillo the sunrise beach service is always wonderful.  Such an amazing visual reminder of light overtaking darkness.  Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 10.54.18 AMMaybe we’ll have to start a sunrise service tradition here.  Easter was very low key, with a typical service pointing to Jesus and the resurrection but we enjoyed a wonderful relaxing afternoon.  We hope you made more family memories this year and enjoyed your Easter traditions new and old.  I’m thankful that Jesus is alive, although we remember it especially during Easter, it’s true every day of the year!

 

Anticipating the Resurrection

Today is our last day of waiting.  40 days of remembering, learning and anticipating.  Tomorrow Christians all over the world will celebrate Resurrection Sunday, the day that marks Christ rising from the dead.  Our God is not dead.  He’s alive.  Hallelujah!  Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 4.53.29 PMSo today we went to the park and sat, enjoyed the beautiful day and remembered.  We’ve read devotionals for the past 40 days, learning more about scripture and the final candle has now been blown out.  Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week as we anticipated the events that had to happen in order to fulfill the prophecies.  We celebrated with a Passover Seder, ate and drank and remembered.  We heard a beautiful sermon on Good Friday, Christ was dead, buried and in the tomb.  And now we wait.  Because tomorrow we know what happens but that doesn’t make it any less marvelous.  He is surely alive.  Hallelujah!

Tomorrow we will light all the candles, we will sing songs of His glorious resurrection and we will celebrate Christ overcoming death.  It was worth the wait.  Hallelujah!

Ryan Preaches on Palm Sunday

“Hosanna to the Son of David!  He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 6.30.33 PMI’ve been looking forward to Palm Sunday all year.  Since I love Easter, I am disappointed when we miss or overlook all the amazing things leading up to Resurrection Sunday that anchor our faith in history and point us towards Jesus as he fulfills prophesy.  Palm Sunday does both and Ryan preached a great sermon reminding us of the impactful history of our faith and pointing us towards Jesus, not just as the one who fulfills prophecy but the one who died to save us and loves us so much that he weeps when we reject him.Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 6.28.28 PMAfter church in Brookton, we always share a morning tea, which is feeling more and more like a family gathering.  Today we had all sorts of treats that included leftover birthday cake, fairy bread, muffins, other goodies and the special Easter hot cross buns.  We prefer ours sans fruit so I just make them with lots of cinnamon:-)  Fellowship and treats are always a sweet way to spend a Sunday.screen-shot-2017-04-09-at-6-31-17-pm.png

Visiting York

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 6.49.25 PMIt’s been 3 years since Ryan and I have visited York.  This little town of about 3000 people is about an hour north of Brookton.  It was one of my favorite towns along the 120 and I’m excited to get to spend more time in this part of the Wheatbelt.Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 6.50.02 PMSome of the members of the church in Brookton live in York, therefore it has been decided that the weekly Bible study will try occasionaly to meet in York.  Although I usually stay home and study for my University classes, I’m going to accompany Ryan out to York today and we’ll spend the night with friends after the study.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and participating in the Bible study too.  York here we come!

Bible Study Routines

Post-it notes remind me of prayers.  When I started attending Ryan’s Bible study in Camarillo while we were dating, it was already a routine.  At the end of every study he brought out post-its and everyone wrote down a prayer request and then these were passed around.  You write a post-it and then you take someone else’s post-it.  It could be anonymous or you could put your name down but either way that request was prayed for over the week.  I know a few people who would put the post-its up on their bathroom mirror as a reminder to pray.Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 5.19.44 PM.pngOn Wednesdays Ryan now drives out to Brookton.  He teaches the Bible study and each week brings post-it notes so that everyone can share prayer requests.  Even though I don’t usually attend, I’ve started writing a prayer request to send with Ryan because I enjoy getting a prayer request back to pray for during the week.  I love being connected to this community through simple, weekly prayers.  Post-it notes have a lot of other uses but for me, they will probably always be connected to prayers.  I look forward to seeing what God will do through the prayers that will be written on these post-its.

Baseball and Bible Study

When was baseball first mentioned in the Bible? “In the Big Inning.” (Genesis 1:1)  When was baseball mentioned again? “The righteous run to it and they are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)  Alright, so maybe baseball isn’t an important theme in the Bible but it still is just fine (as long as we steer clear of heresy) to mix the Bible and Baseball.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.43.44 AMRyan is currently making the final preparations for his second Bible study out in Brookton and he has the Japan verses US up in the background.  Since we don’t have TV, we get creative with how we get our news and keep up with other things like sports.

Please pray for Ryan as he heads out to Brookton every Wednesday (it works out great with the time change if our friends in the US pray on Tuesday night before you head to bed).  Ryan has set aside Wednesday to visit with people and teach through the Bible.  We’ll see how this time evolves in the future and I may join him on some Wednesdays too later on.  We’re looking forward to marking our time here in Australia as Ryan teaches chronologically through the Bible.  Thanks for your prayers!

Lenten Lights

Easter is one of my favorite holidays but unlike Christmas with the big build up that you can see in the stores, listening to Christmas music and participating in holiday festivities, Easter can sometimes creep up quietly.  I do admit, there is some candy out in the stores this time of year even in Australia and, of course, Girl Scout cookies in the US seem to mark the beginning of this special season somehow in my mind.  But unless your church observes lent there really isn’t a huge build up towards Easter/Passion Week.  Since getting married Ryan and I have done our best to observe this season and mark it in our own way.  Lenten lights are my favorite tangible reminder.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 3.49.29 PMAt the beginning of the season (Ash Wednesday) it begins with 7 lit candles.  We have a special candle holder but 7 tea lights on a plate would do the same thing.  Then each night during the meal or at another time during the day all the candles are lit and each day has it’s own reading.   This is the one we’re using for this year: Lent Devotional.  On each Sunday during lent one candle is blown out and the following week one less candle is lit during the daily reading.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 3.50.35 PMThree weeks in and now we’re only lighting 4 candles each day.  And slowly we will work our way down to blowing out the last candle on Good Friday.  Seeing the darkness represented tangibly is a powerful reminder for me that helps my heart prepare for the joyous celebration that is Easter/Resurrection Sunday.  It may seem counterintuitive but understanding what Jesus did on the cross, makes the celebration of His resurrection more beautiful and more jubilant.  I look forward to continuing this transition and making it a part of how our home marks the Christian seasons.