The week before we left the US, I read a book called The Light Between Oceans. In the book there is a lighthouse keeper living on the fictitious island of Janus, located near the south west tip of western Australia. At some point the lighthouse keeper describes why the island is called Janus, and I can’t find the exact quote, but he simply explains that Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, passages and endings. Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks simultaneously to the future and to the past. And this island sitting between two oceans, is aptly named Janus. If you’re looking for a beautifully written book, this is a worthwhile read. Be ready to feel all your emotions and keep a tissue box nearby.
Since this book is set in Western Australia, I have thought of it a few times as we’ve begun to settle in here. And I remembered the quote about Janus as we rung in the new year. Janus is where our word January comes from. January 2017 is a time when we can look back and reflect on 2016, but also look forward to the new year, a new unknown future. It’s fitting that Ryan and I would arrive in Perth just in time to begin the new year, settling in during this in-between time of looking back as well as looking forward.Since I’m in reflection mode, I couldn’t resist looking at my top liked Instagram posts of 2016. If you don’t already, you can follow me @joycandee. I do my best to post different things to Instagram, this blog and Facebook so you can hear/see a different angle of the story from each social media outlet. Anyway, it’s not surprising that my top liked pictures all point to Australia in some way. The top three and the middle were taken the last week of 2016 as we made our way to Australia. My birthday is represented, turning 32 and wearing my “totally koalafied” shirt. And of course, travels to Europe and our road trip/travels through the US this past year. 2016 was a good, hard, wonderful and challenging year.
Today, January 3rd 2017, I am in the doorway. Like Janus, looking back and looking forward. I am in the passage between the preparation, what it took to get us here and anticipation, looking ahead to what is to come. Welcome to 2017!
I’m writing this blog on a pause in between addressing the envelopes for those who receive these newsletters via snail mail. The mailing list has grown in the past few months but I’m happy to get our news to anyone who wants to following along, pray with us and be a part of our ministry.For those of you who read it here online, just click on the newsletter above or this LINK for the pdf version. We are excited as things keep progressing towards Australia. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!
So just in case you thought we only take amazing beautiful pictures of ourselves, one click and we’re set, here are a few outtakes. Sometimes we make crazy faces, sometimes we don’t know where to look and my favorite is Ryan’s pained look when we are in the sun. These pictures were gathered along the way during our travels so please enjoy while you read about what’s ahead for us. We have hit the ground running and are working through our long list of to-dos. Many things have been put off during while we were out of the country because we were focusing on our training but now it’s time to get back to the grindstone.This morning we sent out our August newsletter which has our anticipated departure date along with what needs to happen in order for that to become a reality. If you didn’t receive and would like to, then let us know so we can add you to the list. If you prefer to wait, I will post it here in a couple of days.
Ryan and I will be contacting people in the upcoming weeks to continue to share about our work and vision. As we get closer to November we will be spending time mainly in California and we want to meet with as many people as possible. We love that our work allows us to enjoy fun and fellowship while also, Lord willing, giving us the opportunity to share what God is doing in Australia.
We want you to understand our vision as well as the reasons and motivations behind our move. God has already been orchestrating things in amazing ways. The best way to share our vision is to sit down, answer your questions and have a conversation about what we’ve been doing and how that’s preparing us to join what God is already doing in Australia.
Please be praying for us because we need wisdom when it comes to scheduling and the best use of our time. Pray that God would guide us and open doors where we need to be for the rest of our time in the US. Pray that we would be able to balance work, relationships and the travel that continues.
If these pictures tell you anything, it’s that at least we know we’re going to have fun through the process. Let me know if you enjoyed these outtakes and maybe I’ll post more in the future:-)
Today is our final day at CCMI. We had a month of contrasts. There were a lot of difficult things but also a lot of wonderful things. We spent many hours in a classroom but also a lot of time out exploring and learning through experiences. Enjoy this video, once again Ryan has done a great job finding the highlights of this past month.
Next week at this time we leave Belgium and will head off to see some friends in Europe before coming back to the states. We are hoping that this time will be filled with refreshment and space to recuperate before jumping into the craziness that ensues once we are back in California. More on the craziness later but I hope this post reflects some of what has been reinforced this month during our training in regards to the power, purpose and posture of prayer. This is a big part of what we want to continue to carry with us as we start the final countdown to Australia.This month has been filled with a lot of fun experiences but the reasons behind these experiences is getting us prepared for our move. And a big part of our preparation is prayer. Before Ryan and I went on our first trip together to Perth in 2014, we started setting aside Wednesday lunch to fast and pray. We enjoyed this time so much that we continued to set it aside even when we returned. Although we’ve taken a little hiatus from this during our training month, I think we are both excited to get back into that habit. We feel that these devoted times of prayer allow us to prepare for and participate in life in Australia even before we are there on the ground.These past couple of days we have had a few tangible reminders to do all things prayerfully and more importantly we were given the space and time to pray more. We prayed for where we are going, we prayed for each other and we prayed for the city we are currently spending time in. Each morning this month there has also been time to pray specifically for each family. And today we were reminded that although the Bible commands us to ‘go’, in the great missions passage in Matthew 9 where it says “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”, ‘go’ is not the next line. Instead it says to “pray earnestly”. I love this because even those who are not called to go, can pray. We can all participate in the harvest in a real, tangible way though prayers.And speaking of prayer, while we have been in Belgium, Ryan and I have had a faithful group of people who have been taking the words “pray earnestly” to heart. One of our friends organized a weekly prayer meeting while we’ve been here in training. We have been able to share our struggles and requests and know that they would be corporately lifted up each week. They will be meeting one more time before we leave so if you’re in the Sacramento area, feel free to join them. I can also send you the requests if you want to know better how to participate in the harvest though prayer interceding on our behalf.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
Ryan and I spent Saturday exploring the town of Leuven, Belgium. We had a few ideas of what we were going to do, including beginning the Belgian waffle tour (I’ll have some pictures in a couple days highlighted on my Instagram @joycandee this week during #foodweek). And we also wanted to see the Leuven Botanical Garden along with some beautiful architecture. At some point, while heading towards the Botanical Garden we walked by an unremarkable church. Ryan asked if I wanted to check it out and I wasn’t super interested but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to just walk inside. I’m so glad we took those few extra steps. Not only did we find beautiful stained glass windows (taken from Ryan’s Instagram @lpturntable) but we found the crypt and story of Father Damien, a catholic priest who spent his life ministering to lepers on Molokai in Hawaii, eventually contracting the disease himself and dying there on the island.This church was more modern and clean but lit beautifully through the stained glass windows. However, our eyes were specifically drawn to Father Damien’s story which is pictured and written along the walls. Ryan and I were familiar with his life, had even heard his ministry referred to during our lessons the week before. However, we had no idea that he was Belgian, was born nearby and had lived in Leuven before moving to Hawaii.I’m so thankful for being able to take time, explore and discover new things. Ryan and I had a great day in Leuven but the highlight for me was this unassuming, ordinary on the outside church. I appreciate being reminded of Father Damien’s story and being able to see it from a different perspective, seeing his grave but being thankful for his life and ministry.
On Friday the 15th Ryan turned 37 in Wisconsin but in Europe Ryan turned 37 early in the morning on the 16th. So happy birthday to my favorite (and only!) husband. I’m glad that we could celebrate your first international birthday in Belgium. The pictures in this post were taken when we went out to eat with some friends at a little place with yummy Belgian food called Nuetnigenough and walked back to the train station through the Grote Markt, the beautiful central square in Brussels.
Now, in honor of his birth here are 3 more reasons why I love my husband. To see more reasons check out my previous posts like: Reasons #63-#65 Why I Love My Husband.#66- He thinks I’m funny.
This week he laughed out loud at one of my snarky side comment jokes. He often does laugh at my jokes but laughing out loud is something different. I’m not always full of humor and can easily be too serious. But Ryan doesn’t just think I’m funny, he knows I’m funny. So even when my humor is absent, he is ready and waiting for my jokes to happen. And when they happen, he laughs. Well, most of the time.#67- He sees the humor in life.
This goes along with my sometimes lack of humor. When things aren’t going my way I can get pretty serious. And yet it takes a lot for Ryan to lose his humor. He is amused by life. Amused by people. Amused by the good, the bad and the in between. And although I am often bothered by his happy go lucky ‘joie de vivre’ during my moments of serious humorlessness, I am so thankful that he loves life and finds humor in many things.#68- He makes others laugh.
Living in community is sometimes a challenge but I am thankful for a husband who loves people and generally relates well with everyone. Part of this relating well is his humor, telling jokes and sharing amusing moments. I love watching him make people laugh just being himself. I love his humor and how that draws people in.
Here’s to another year of laughter together! I love you Ryan!