Another Country

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 3.23.47 PM.pngWhile browsing through the DVDs at the Perth City Library, I came across this cultural gem.  I’ve been trying to soak in information about Aboriginal history and culture and this is yet another great documentary with a lot of meaningful and practical insight.  If you’ve seen the movie Australia, you know David Gulpilil (the documentary’s narrator), he’s the one who played King George.  He was also the narrator in 10 Canoes.

Watching Another Country was significant for me because it confirmed the clash of cultures that still continues today between white and Aboriginal.  It also emphasizes the basic human need to be productive, have meaningful work and be able to contribute positively to your community.  And I appreciated the insights into some Aboriginal views of Christianity.  If you can get ahold of this movie, it’s definitely worth a watch.  I’d love to have a chat with you about your thoughts and any questions that might arise.

Anzac Day 2017

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.29.21 PM.pngAnzac Day is a pretty big deal here in Australia.  I was first introduced to this holiday through the delicious Anzac biscuit.  Click HERE for the recipe I used to make these and let me know if I need to translate some of the ingredients for you:-)  Even Ryan enjoyed this version of these classic cookies and he’s not a coconut fan.  Now that we’re here in Australian, we see that Anzac Day is about more than just a tasty cookie…excuse me, more than just a tasty biscuit.

Anzac Day commemorates the first major military action Australia and New Zealand fought in during WWI.  Today we heard over and over again “Lest we forget.”  Because this military action, along with many others, happened at dawn the first celebrations/remembrances began with a dawn service up at Kings Park and then there was a breakfast in the city.

We did not make it to either of those events but we found ourselves a great spot along the parade route.  And we enjoyed the cool morning while chatting with a women next to us about Anzac Day and the celebrations.  The parade had marching bands, lots of bagpipes and people of all ages marching in remembrance.

We enjoyed hearing the many versions of Waltzing Matilda and other songs too as current service men and women, veterans and family members marched by.  Australia recognizes that they have fought alongside many other countries as well, so some of them (including the USA) were honored in the parade as well.

After the parade we walked over to the park where they held a memorial service.  The Governor of Western Australia spoke as well as a wounded veteran.  It was warm in the sun but we still enjoyed the service and hearing the choir sing about Australia.  Anzac Day is yet another cultural experience for us here in Perth.

Spiritual Reflections in the City

Last week was Resurrection Sunday.  Although Ryan and I enjoyed the church service and our relaxing afternoon, we felt something missing.  Some of what we were missing may have been our typical Easter traditions with family and friends; however, I think there was something more going on.  Yes, there were a lot of people out enjoying the beautiful autumn day (yes, it’s autumn here) but I got the feeling that most people were just enjoying the 4 day weekend because it was time off work.  There seemed to be little or no thought given to the reason behind the holiday.Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 12.43.48 PMMost of the time when we walk around the city, we see churches like St. Mary’s gated off and quiet.  There are a couple large, beautiful cathedrals in the city but I’ve rarely seen people gathering for anything besides a tour.  We also see signs posted for little churches outside of buildings or in shopping centers where they meet on Sundays but rarely do we get see the visible community of God meeting outside of our own church and church family.Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 12.55.00 PMBut today while walking home I saw something different.  I first walked by a little church that had just let out of their service, all ages, different races, gathered outside the doors chatting and enjoying the Sunday sunshine.  Almost everyone had a delicious looking donut in hand and I walked through getting a peek into this community.  And then I came to St. Mary’s Cathedral with gates open, cars coming and going, kids playing on the lawn and signs of life.  It was encouraging to me that these places do have active communities, hopefully the Gospel is being preached and people are being reached.  I know for sure that God is at work even if we don’t always see outward, visible signs.

I look forward to continuing to see how God is at work as we get to know more people in the city and see firsthand the Gospel being lived out.  If you are discouraged by the lack of God and faith in your community, be encouraged that God is at work.  Open your eyes and hopefully God will show you His specific work.  Please pray for us here, that God would be working through us and other Christians in Perth, and we will be praying the same for you.


An April Newsletter

2017 April- InternetE-mailed on Monday and snail-mailed this past weekend (thanks to my mother and Ryan’s mother), many of you should have already seen our April Newsletter.  But for those of you who are better at Facebook than email or simply follow along on the blog, here is our latest news, a summary of the last few months here in Perth, which you can also find on the ‘About’ page of our website.IMG_20170416_140817.jpgWe love being able to keep in touch with you.  And if you’re on our mailing list, you should have received a large post card from us a couple months ago with a picture of the city of Perth.  If you didn’t get that update, we probably don’t have your mailing address correct.  Could you please take a moment to help us update our records?  Please also let us know if you want to be added to our email/mailing list.  Send me a message at and I’ll get you set up.

To give towards our ministry:
Give Online: Our Giving Page at MTW
Send a Check: Include our names and account number 11299
MTW PO Box 2589
Suwanee, GA 30024-0982

We hope you enjoy our latest update.  Thank you for reading about what God is doing here in Australia.

Social Work at UWA

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.55.05 PM.pngHere’s a little more of a peek into my life at UWA.  First of all, the campus is beautiful.  I will share more pictures some other time but between the roses, the trees, the lovely lawn areas and all the peacocks and ducks (currently with ducklings!) we have many beautiful things to enjoy as we walk through campus or sit outside while meeting for our group projects.Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.53.13 PMGroup projects have been a significant part of our course and I’m sure there will be more in our future.  Today we completed our first group task and this picture is from our group presentation.  Our group of 9 students read a chapter from a book, summarized the chapter, made our own reflections and presented our findings to the entire class.  Working in a group always has challenges but I love the conversations and the learning that is taking place through our group interactions.  There are some pretty amazing students in this class!Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.52.42 PMAnd not just a few students but 130 students!  We are typically split into two groups for our lectures but our Indigenous Studies Course has us all together and we fill the lecture hall to the brim.  I took this picture during a break when not everyone was in their seats.  There is also a lot of independent learning expected from us but I am thankful for the time outside of class to research interesting social work theories and to continue the conversations that start around our the lectures and other classroom work.Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 7.14.30 PM.pngI’m currently finalizing my first paper for this semester.  It includes reflections about how critical thinking is impacting my views as a future social worker.  While we are learning plenty of content, a lot of the course is geared towards introspection, self awareness and critical thinking.  I’m being challenged to think differently and this is only week 7 of the course!  There is still so much to learn.

Reflections on Change

Four years ago the Australia team looked very different, more singles and an even higher concentration of creative types.  2/3 of the people in this picture are in Australia with me now but the others left their footprints.  Four years ago Ryan and I had just begun our relationship but the future was uncertain and no commitments had been made.  I didn’t even know at this point that he was seriously praying about Australia.  Four years ago I had no idea how things would change.Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 1.56.40 PMI’m pausing for a bit of reflection because I needed a break from the paper I’m currently working on for the university and because I find myself in a wonderful place where I miss what could have been but I’m so amazed at what God has done.  I can definitely idealize the way the team dynamics would have played out if four years ago we could have all snapped our fingers and been in Perth together.  But I can currently see some of what would have been lost if we had circumvented God’s process.  This is the benefit that we have from being able to look back.  You know, the whole hindsight is 20/20 thing.

I’m thankful that my path crossed with these amazing people.  I’m thankful for the winding journey that kept me away from Australia until now.  I’m thankful that I can see evidence of God’s faithfulness in my life and all who are pictured here.  Change is rarely easy yet sometimes change can be amazing.

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!