Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First Days. . .

Those who want to be first must be last of all and the servants of all. ~ Mark 9:35

Mates, let's see how well versed you are in Aussie English! Give these words a go and see if you can incorporate them in your vocabulary:
  • boot (trunk)
  • rubbish (garbage)
  • good on ya (good for you/way to go)
  • footpath (sidewalk)
  • carpark (parking lot)
  • chemist (pharmacy)
  • nappies (diapers)
  • toilet (bathroom) . . . the list goes on.
It is a blast becoming reacquainted with the language of those who call the 'Land Down Under' their home!

On a different note, the Lord has blessed us with some incredibly big-hearted brothers and sisters here in Campbelltown. We are a amazed daily at their generosity to us, offering assistance to us at all hours of the day and night with advice, supplies, transportation and good laugh!
Let me mention a few individuals who have been especially good to us during our stay here:
  • Tali and Faamanu (the pastors or the Sydney Samoan Church of the Nazarene and coordinators for our ministry experience here. They have also given us their very own car to drive around town; now that's a scary thought!)
  • Talia (the woman who has SO graciously offered up her home for us to stay in while she lives with her daughter-in-law down the street)
  • Ian and Vela (lovely people who are friends and neighbors of Tali who have smiles as wide as the sea and hearts to match that have helped us navigate the city and helped us to shop for the necessities for the home)
  • Vinny and Anna (members of the Nazarene Church and servant-hearted givers)
  • and MANY others.
We are finding that though our purpose is to serve the Lord and the Samoan community here in Sydney, WE are actually BEING BLESSED and SERVED far beyond anything we can return! Christ's love and sacrifice is lived out right in front of us in the selfless service of the Samoan Christians here. What a great example for us to follow!

6/9/08- Olympic Park here we come! Today was spent enjoying the sites and venues of the 2000 Sydney Olympics! A BBQ was prepared for us in the evening, filling our bellies with yummy sausages, steak and burgers! Then we all sat around enjoying one another's company singing, praying and rejoicing in God's goodness.

Today Talia was released from the hospital and we were able to meet with her, learn of her Samoan and island heritage, and present her with some uniquely American gifts. What a lovely lady!

Then we headed out to the youth center and shopping areas to meet with teens from the community and have a chat with them. After lots of mingling, laughing about accents and American stereotypes, we headed out to the Police and Community Youth Center to hear kids practicing on the traditional Pacific island drums, and having a go at some boxing and martial arts training.

. . Then the adventure began as yours truly tried her hand at driving in Australia first time. . . at night in the dark. . . on the left side of the road. . . with only my own mere chicken scratch for directions to guide us back home. Whew! I spy on God! After getting turned around only twice and laughing our heads off, we finally made it home in one piece, safe and sound!

Some of you may wonder about our accommodations here in Campbelltown. We are actually in Airds, a small suburb of Campelltown, where the large majority of homes are government subsidized and many families broken by drug abuse and violence. Our entire team has been given a small 3 bedroom home to stay in for the duration of our stay here. It has a kitchenette, bathroom, meeting room and some nice big cockatoos and magpies that squawk at us constantly in case we get a bit drowsy. Upon our arrival at the home we developed some house rules and familiarized ourselves with the area. What a gift to be part of this incredible team! We hope you enjoy this blog and will continue to check it regularly, as we plan to update it when possible.

Tofa soifua! (Good bye!)

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