I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again. I’m not good at resting. My mind prefers to work and ticking off the boxes on my to-do list can seem to be the ultimate satisfying goal. But my to-do list easily becomes my idol and expectations (usually self imposed) become more important than walking daily with Jesus. I’m still trying to figure out what this means practically for me. Finding that balance between productivity and trusting in the ultimate care of my gracious savior. Struggling against the lie in my head that tells me I’m lazy or unworthy, when I know that I am a beloved child of God. Coming to a place where rest is not guilt inducing but instead sweet and rejuvenating.
Please pray with me and know you’re not alone if you also struggle to find peace and rest. Know that you’re not alone if a call to create margin in your life induces anxiety and worry. Know that we were not created to bear the burden and weight of the world on our own shoulders.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This morning we woke up and took a walk over to a local market. Perth has a few markets open on Saturdays and Sundays: Weekend Markets in Perth. However, located in East Perth, the Perth City Farmer’s Market is just a 20 minute walk from our place. We’re still trying to stock our pantry and figure out how to adjust our cooking here but it’s wonderful to find fresh, local produce. There is also a little cafe so maybe we’ll get breakfast one Saturday and hang out awhile longer. We only bought a few things because we’re still figuring out prices, and getting use to carrying all our groceries and purchases home, but we are thankful for the variety. Ryan and I even talked to a local beekeeper, tasted a few different varieties of honey and learned more about farming in this area. We then of course bought some honey to take with us and I’m sure we’ll be back for more.
Since arriving in Perth, we have been slowly chipping away at all the to-dos that come with moving to a new country. The list remains long but one of the first accomplishments was getting Australian cell phone numbers. This means we’re giving up our US numbers but we still want to keep in touch with you.Here are the main ways to stay connected with us:
Snail Mail: The picture above is our humble, low-lying mail box. We’d love to have mail other than advertisement flyers when we check it. Especially since Ryan has to practically lay down on the floor to reach in to see what’s in there. Shoot me a message and I’ll send you our address.
WhatsApp: This is a messenger app that will allow you to send text messages and pictures through your data plan on your phone. Or if you don’t have a smart phone, you can use it on your computer. Download it, https://whatsapp.com/dl/ and find us! This is what we will be using as an alternative to texting.
Facebook: If you already have Facebook, we still have this and love being able to follow your lives this way. It’s also easy to send messages and video chat.
Skype: Ryan and I are working on getting our internet up and running. Once that happens we’d love to Skype and stay connected face to face.
Phone: You probably shouldn’t try calling us because of the expense but we do have a limited amount of US minutes each month so we can make US calls for special occasions. If you happen to have an international plan that includes Australia, shoot us a message and we will pass along our numbers.
Email: Our emails are the same, we can check them easily and love staying hearing from you personally.
Of course there is always this blog, our website (ryanwithjoy.com), Instagram and newsletters so you can be hearing from us but we like to hear from you too! Thanks for keeping in touch across the ocean.
This has been the question for almost a year now. Because, around this time last year we were already in sort, pack and sell mode. We’ve packed and purged. We’ve sorted and organized. We’ve added things and sold things. Given items away and also thrown away items. Last year we only had guesses of what we would need to do in order to get to this point and how long this process would take. But shipping day is finally here!Last night we did an inventory of most of our earthly possessions and today the items that we are not bringing in our suitcases with us, are starting their journey to Australia.Please pray for our items to arrive safe and sound on our doorstep in Perth. We know that our value is not found in what we are shipping but it truly is mostly about memories for us. If we had to we could have left more things behind and gotten rid of things too. But we had the option to ship and we are. Many of these items remind us of people, places and things that we love. We look forward to having these tangible memories with us to support and encourage us in Australia.
Long drawn out goodbyes are one of the most difficult parts of this stage in the process. We’ve been saying goodbye since November and it doesn’t get any easier. I still don’t know the best way to say goodbye. (Anyone have any tips? I’d be happy to listen.) Although, I do think it’s helpful to have a time when you choose to give an extra hug to someone, maybe say a word of prayer and at least remember that maybe this could be the last time you see each other for a relatively long period of time.
We had the opportunity for two wonderful goodbye parties this weekend. Warm, cozy houses filled with lots of friends, good food, and visiting is always sweet. And, of course, everyone always gathers in the kitchen. I’m so thankful for these homes where Ryan and I have had so many great memories over the years. Lord willing, there will be more memories made in these homes when we’re back for further visits.
The past two Sundays, we also had the opportunity to share our vision, say our thanks and goodbyes as well as be prayed over at the church where Ryan and I attended for our first two years of marriage. It is very sweet to be surrounded by our church family who loves us well and we know will be praying for us as we set out to Australia.
During this process I have to remind myself that saying goodbye is challenging because we have many wonderful friends and supportive, loving families. It’s these great relationships that are providing the foundation in support for us and our ministry. These have been such good goodbyes.
We have our tickets so it’s official. We are leaving for Perth on December 28th! At this time next month we will be flying across the world to Perth, Australia. When we arrive we will be staying with our teammates because right now we don’t have enough financial support to cover the cost of rent in West Perth. For the next two years, West Perth is the desired neighborhood for us because it’s close to the University of Western Australia where I will be getting my Masters Degree in Social Work.
How does social work fit in with our hearts for the rural areas outside of Perth? If you haven’t already seen it you should check out this video Ryan made recently about our vision for life and work in Western Australia.
Today is Giving Tuesday and you can be a part of helping us rent a place in Perth. This will keep me close to campus and also give us a home to entertain and have a welcoming place for people to gather. If you make a pledge before the end of November 30th to give a reoccurring gift (monthly, quarterly or annually), your monthly pledged amount will be matched in a one-time gift from a generous couple. Every gift makes a difference for us, your $10, $25, $50 or $100 monthly gift adds up to help us afford Australian housing prices.
It’s been a long road but we’re excited to see how God will open doors and what opportunities we’re going to have to minister in Perth, Brookton and beyond.
Today is the first day of Advent. We are currently in Colorado with Ryan’s family so we’ll have to wait until we’re back in California to light the Advent wreath but today we will start reading our Advent devotionals. I love the anticipation and preparation that happens during Advent. As much as I love the gift giving, the lights, the Christmas baking, music and more, there is a greater purpose for this season.Coming Into the World: Daily Reflections for Advent 2016 is the devotional that Ryan and I will reading together this Advent season. It was written by a co-worker and we’re thankful for the time and energy he put into preparing these beautiful reflections.
No matter how you prepare for this season, I hope that you set aside some time for sweet meditation and prayer that point us towards Jesus, the real reason for this season.