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.

Koalified in Christ

There is comfort, security and strength in being Totally Koalified in Christ (Colossians 1:9-14).  This meme was posted to my husband’s Facebook page this week.  It is a good reminder for us in the middle of so many things that seem out of our expertise and control.  It’s not that we aren’t qualified in any way but even the qualifications we have are gifts from God.  I’m thankful for this gentle reminder that I do not need to rely on my personal achievements, abilities or supposedly self-won qualifications.  Jesus walks with me and gives me what I need.  Indeed anything I could boast about is only because of the strength of the Lord.screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-9-51-42-am

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 states this in confident yet humbling words.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

 

News From Australia

Getting mail has already been an event in Australia.  We have received most of the mail sent to us but we’re pretty sure some things have been misdirected and/or lost along the way.  Maybe they’ll show up in time.  We’re also working on getting a post office address sorted so that we can receive packages without the package being left at the front door of our apartment building where anyone could grab it before we picked it up.  Despite these minor setbacks we have been receiving some mail and we even received mail from ourselves:-)  We wanted to see how our organization’s mailing service worked firsthand.Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 10.24.35 AM.pngIf you’re on our mailing list and we have your address correct, you should have received our latest newsletter in the form of a postcard.  It’s pretty large so you can’t miss it.  We are not abandoning our typical emailed news but every once in awhile it is nice to receive something that you can hold in your hands.  If you didn’t get one and you think you should have, please contact me and we’ll get your address correct for next time.

Following us on social media will give you a definite leg up on our news but here is what we wrote in the postcard just in case you missed it:

We love the Perth skyline.  Our temporary apartment, on the 18th floor overlooking the Swan River, is a 30 minute walk from downtown.  We’ve starred our balcony.  Can you find it?  It’s a beautiful place to live and a great introduction to the city.  We are abundantly grateful for generous people at the local church who have provided the apartment and furnished it for us.

Pray for us as we begin intentionally getting to know people in our community.  Being in a high-rise has its challenges for building relationships, but chocolate chip cookies have helped open some doors.  We also have three little shops right at our doorstep.  Please pray for ‘I’ and ‘H’, two of the clerks we are getting to know.  Dance lessons, city walks, the farmer’s market and more, are all ways we are getting to know this city and the people who live here.

In February, Joy begins her masters program at UWA and Ryan will begin a more official ministry schedule, reaching out to and building relationships in Brookton and the Wheatbelt.  We hope to continue to make friends and build community, sharing our lives and sharing Jesus, as we navigate through this wonderful, beautiful city.  Thank you for praying for us and for Western Australia!

God’s Glory in a Loaf of Hands

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:5-6Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 7.15.54 PM.pngA few weeks ago our team sat around a large round table, all together for the first time ever.  6 couples, uniquely gifted and wonderfully diverse, gathered in Australia for the sake of the gospel.  We are thankful to have such an amazing group of people surrounding us and walking through this transition with us.  It is not by accident that we are here.  May God use these hands for His glory!

Getting to Know Perth- The American Store

Ryan and I have some newfound freedom this week because we are borrowing a car.  Because of this, we’ve taken the opportunity to do a big grocery shopping trip at Coles (not clothing but food) as well as visit Ikea (the same wonderful store).  It’s been interesting hauling our purchases up to the 18th floor but praise the Lord for elevators (or the lift for all you Australians).  And it is worth mentioning that the driving has been interesting for us too.  I’m sure I will blog more about our Australian road adventures another time.  But now is the time to share about The American Store.screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-3-24-15-pm50 States American Foodmart has two locations in Perth.  There is a small shop in the CBD (central business district) and a larger in the suburbs just outside of East Perth.  We’ve checked out both of them now and the only thing we bought was 4 jars of non-Old El Paso salsa that was awesomely on sale.  Side note: Old El Paso is pretty much the main Mexican food provider here at the grocery store.  Hard shell tacos, taco kits and salsa are all Old El Paso brand.  We’ve already tried some Australian salsas but it’s not quite the same.  We’re going to keep trying though because Mexican food is slowly gaining in popularity here.

50 States does have many speciality American items that you won’t find on the grocery store shelves.  But there are many American products that can also be found at a normal grocery store as well.  Some things like ranch packets and taco seasoning you can find here but they just cost more.  Other things like chocolate chips, salsa and marshmallows can also be bought, however, they are different and don’t really taste the same.  But don’t hear this as complaining, we’re thankful for all the food options and choices that we do have.  And I’m following @50statesinperth now so that I can have a heads up if something special does come in that we can’t live without.

And at least for now we don’t have to pay the super high prices for our hot sauce of choice, Cholula, because we brought our own extra large bottle with us:-)

Finding Joy in Western Australia

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-4-22-53-pmWith our move comes a new title as well: Finding Joy in Western Australia.  Although transition is still a very good word to describe my current journey, I’d rather focus on where we are.  Ryan and I have arrived in a place with many possibilities as well as new things to discover.  We are here listening, learning and asking questions.  But we also have opportunities to share ourselves and our lives with the people we meet along the way.  I’m looking forward to finding out more of what my own joy looks like in Western Australia.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-4-23-11-pmOur current home in East Perth is located in a high-rise of apartments or flats if you’re Australian.  There are 5 large buildings in this close up shot and we are in the middle, either 3rd from the right or left.  Either way, the tall one with two shorter buildings in front and to the sides of us.  It’s a beautiful way to get to see the city and the swan river.  We’re thankful for this place that we get to call home for this season.

Getting to Know Perth- Saturday Markets

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-1-45-06-pmThis 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.  screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-1-45-24-pmWe 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.Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 1.45.40 PM.png