Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GREECE Missions Conference Report!

In case we haven't been able to tell you already, we had a WONDERFUL time in Greece. It was such a great blessing to be able to serve our missionaries in a way that was truly helpful and refreshing for them. We were really the beneficiaries though, because it was such a joy and privilege to get to know their precious kids. We fell in love with all of them!! I'll let the pictures tell the story...

 We flew through London on our way to Greece, and wouldn't you know it - we ran into the queen! She was surprisingly in Heathrow at the same time we were, just standing out in front of one of those tourist shops ... (heehee)

 So we arrived in Greece late at night, and went straight to sleep, exhausted (after chasing a gecko out of the room). The strange thing about jet-lag though... no matter how tired you are, your body still thinks that it's a great idea to wake up at 3 am. Hmmm. 
But we loved our accommodation, it was a great resort that had ample space for our huge conference group, as well as many other guests at the same time. 

 We had our own little front porch (which, incidentally, is one of "my favourite things"), and on the first morning I really enjoyed it. These first few photos are of the days BC (before children), familiarizing ourselves with the complex... ie: the calm before the storm :) 

We met Stephanie on our way to breakfast...

...and enjoyed a nice, relaxing buffet with the rest of our team. Complete with a Greek version of Nutella called "Melinda". Melinda and I became fast friends :)

 Doesn't the pool area look so nice? At this point it was about 9:30 am, and the temperature was already in the 90's (or 30's for all of us Celsius folk)

 The next day, we welcomed all our missionaries to the hotel, got them checked in, and took them and their luggage to their rooms. What a joy to see everyone's smiling faces as they arrived, and put names to faces. It was so much fun to meet the kids who were going to be in our class (7-8 year olds). The children's programme began the next morning, bright and early - while the parents started Day 1 of their bus tour around Greece. They went to Corinth, Delphi, Thessalonika, Berea, Athens and Philippi, and had a wonderful time exploring the ancient Biblical locations ... while we had : 

Lesson Time, 

Craft Time,

Music Time,

 Game Time (Heads Up, 7 Up was a favourite for our class), 

and Pool Time! 
There were 12 boys in our group, so you can imagine that pool time wasn't just sitting down on the lounge chair and enjoying a good book ;) 

 3, 2, 1, JUMP!

We also took them down to the beach, for fun exploring. 

Help yourself to the buffet lunch, kids - just make sure you've got something green on your plate!
"What about red? Is Ketchup a vegetable?"

 Nap time became more and more popular as the days went on...

Here's all the adults in one of their teaching sessions. There were a few days when they all stayed back at the resort and had meetings, instead of touring.

 Here's our class photo. 
Such precious children!!
The balloon face is for one of our kids who wasn't feeling well that day :(

And here's our team photo, responsible for all the children from nursery to age 10.

 At the end of the conference our whole group went on a day cruise to some nearby islands. For those who got seasick, they didn't seem so "nearby"... but all in all, it was a great day. Here's Reuben shooting the breeze with one of the guys in our class. Serious theological discussion, I'm sure.

Destination: Hydra

You could rent donkeys by the hour to explore the island of Hydra. We opted for a nice lunch at a seaside cafe with some of our new friends.

Here we are, after our lunch, with Stephanie, Jini, and the Biedebach family.

And what trip to Greece would be complete without a large slab of feta cheese?

Praise the Lord for such a wonderful trip.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Greece Missions Conference

This summer, Reuben and I have the opportunity to serve on a short-term ministry team that is going to Greece! Grace Church has more than 70 families serving in international ministry around the globe, and every two years they host a conference for them to all get together and be refreshed. Here is an excerpt from our support letter that says it best:

   "Our GMI missionaries are champions for the gospel...their labor is often attached to great sacrifice as they willingly give up the comfort and ease of home and find themselves immersed in an unfamiliar culture and language. They are a tremendous example of dedication and steadfast service as they passionately and joyfully minister for the glory of God. 
   Grace Community Church cherishes our precious missionaries and always looks to uphold and support them in practical, strengthening and edifying ways. Every two years we gather our missionaries together for a special conference intended to provide a window of necessary respite and reprieve. They enjoy worship and rich teaching while partaking in fellowship with like-minded missionaries who understand their unique trials and challenges."

It takes a team of people to facilitate this unique conference - and that's where we get to be involved. Our team is going to run a children's programme for the missionary kids, hoping to create an environment where the missionaries can thrive spiritually, be restored and renewed. Reuben and I are teaching the 7 and 8 year olds, which we are very excited about. There are 18 kids in our "class", coming from 14 different countries! We are very excited to get to know these sweet kids.

Ruins of temple at Delphi

Thessaloniki "old town"

Corinth Canal

Eretria beach

So, When are we going? June 21st- July 4th, 2012.

And Where? Eretria. Located on the island of Euboea, this was an important "city-state" in Ancient Greece. Eretria is about 1.5 hour drive away from Athens. A large hotel complex will be our home base, where we will have classrooms set up for the kids.

How can you be involved?
1. Prayer. Please pray for: our team to be unified, for wisdom in preparing the lessons, for lots of extra strength and energy when we are actually in Greece, and mostly for our efforts to be a true encouragement to the missionaries so that they can continue to serve the Lord in their respective fields.

2. Giving. We are very encouraged that the necessary funding for such a trip is beginning to come in. However, we still have financial needs to be met before we depart. If you would like to help support us in this way, please email us at

Thanks :) And we look forward to telling you more about this unique ministry opportunity as it comes closer to the date.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kiwi Reunion

What fun it has been over the last few weeks to be reconnected with so many dear friends from New Zealand! First, we had Nige and Sereena come over, and we got to travel with them and the Watsons to Josh & Michelle's wedding in Nevada. This was a HUGE treat, and we are so thankful that we got to witness this special event. So sadly, I forgot my camera :( Thanks to Sereena, who was responsible and got some pics, which I took off her blog:
Shortly after this trip, we have received more visitors from "down under" with the Shepherd's Conference happening at our church. We had the privilege of extra time with Greg Stephenson, who stayed with us for the week. We also were thrilled to be able to see our pastor Russell and his wife Liz, one of our elders Denys and his wife Elvira, as well as spend more time with Nige and Sereena, Josh and Michelle. Another friend of ours (pastor of Auckland Bible Church) Tim Collins was also able to come to the conference, and it was great to catch up with him too. During this time with the great influx of kiwis, we had a "kiwi dinner" at The Master's College one night thanks to Sereena, again! Wow!

A great time was had by all at the kiwi dinner. You may notice that my dear Reuben is not in the picture, and he was so sad that he had to miss this special event. He had to work that night, in the bookstore. As you can imagine, with having 3,000 pastors coming to Shepherd's Conference, there are a LOT of books to be sold! We are thankful that Reuben had the opportunity to work many overtime hours during the week, just another example where we get to see how the Lord continually provides for our needs,
e v e r y   s i n g l e   d a y.
He is so good to us!!

Santa Barbara

I think today must be a nostalgic day: a great day to look back through pictures from over the last few months, and be reminded of how many amazing blessings the Lord has given to us. As you may already know, we LOVE Stephanie, our dear friend who has become like family, and whose home we are living in. A few months ago she took us on a very fun weekend of relaxation after Reuben had just completed a difficult Hebrew test. Here's some of our favourite shots from the sunny, sandy days at the sea. A great thought to hold in your heart for those of you experiencing the end of a cold winter!

Third Anniversary

Yes, it was a few months ago now (Jan 7th), but we celebrated our third
 anniversary at Disneyland!! Reuben's sister Jillian was here visiting from NZ,
so we took her and Lawrence to Disneyland, and had a great time.
Amongst all the busy-ness and demanding schedule of seminary life,
it's great to have these fun memories to look back on.

Reuben's favourite ride: Space Mountain. The front row is where all the fun is had...

...and apparently the second row just isn't exciting enough to keep Reuben awake!
The rest of us might have been hamming it up slightly...

Autopia...another Disneyland classic, with Matterhorn in the background.
True or False: the Matterhorn mountain is equipped with a
basketball court inside for the staff of the mountain to play on during their breaks?

Verity in her element: definitely my favourite ride is Goofy's Flight School... starts off by going straight up into the air, then makes a number of quick turns,
like you're learning how to steer an airplane. Because there aren't any sides on the
track OR on your car, you really feel like you could fall right off the edge! 
Ja & I had fun trying on some glitzy Mickey ears 

Another favorite ride: Thunder Mountain 
We got these cute pins from Town Hall because we were celebrating

And how cool is that: our room # was 303 for our 3rd anniversary!

The happy couple :)