Thursday, 22 November 2007

Off To Oz

We are about to leave New Zealand - tomorrow morning (Sat) but the glorious weather will go with us. But we will be taking many precious and happy memories with us too. With the extra blessing of summer though, the Christmas preparations here seem a bit out of place alongside the sunshine.
This past week we have caught up with many of Avril's cousins and learnt more about her family history on her father's side. It gives much food for thought!
Tomorrow we arrive in Canberra for a week's Leaders' School of Ministry and are really looking forward to it. Also the opportunity to go to meetings on Saturday and Sunday before the start of the school on Monday. We are expectant that God will meet with us and go with open hearts to receive all He has for us. Watch this space.....

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Now enjoying NZ Summer

We have had a fantastic week visiting friends and relatives and various places in the North Island covering hundreds of miles. Our visit to Lake Taupo was a real blessing and Avril received prayer for healing from a lady who had an identical problem two years ago. What an encouragement to talk with her and receive prayer.

Also we found one of Avril's cousins in hospital and discovered that he has done an Alpha course with a catholic church. He was delighted that we offered to pray with him. Another cousin arrived home as we were on their doorstep - what timing! And yet another cousin took the morning off work to see us and picked lots of grapefruit, oranges and lemons from their tree in the garden which are so sweet, juicy and delicious.

Tomorrow we are going to stay with another cousin for a couple of nights who lives in Auckland before returning to Mary's for our last few days here. On Saturday we head for Canberra to go to the Leaders' Conference with the Arnotts and are so looking forward to this and all God has for us there.

The weather has been glorious, the scenery quite stunning and it has made us more aware of our wonderful creator God. It has been so good to catch up with friends and relatives this week and enjoy some great fellowship.

I have been trying to put pictures on this blog but meanwhile it will have to be just news. But watch this space because sooner or later we will meet someone who can help, hopefully before we get home! You are welcome to try emailing instructions but we make no promises!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Left Luggage

We are whizzing around the world so fast that our luggage is struggling to keep up with us! We had short time in Hong Kong after arriving from Manila to catch our flight to Auckland! We made the flight but our luggage didn't! So we have bought a few basic essentials and are hopeful that we may be re-united with our luggage today.

Avril's cousin Quentin and his wife Daphne met us at Auckland airport and we went to our very good friend Mary's house where we are staying. Re-unions are wonderful things. We thank God for this amazing trip.

On Monday we head down south but still in North Island to the Fatherheart ministries and join in a meeting there. Mary and her dear Mum are coming with us. We are really looking forward to that. As well as staying with another friend the next day we are hoping to visit another of Avril's cousins who is in hospital following hip surgery.

It's coming into summer here so it's warm and sunny, the birds are singing and the evenings drawing out....and we are making the most of it!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Feeling Hot in the Philippines

Today is 29 degrees and very humid here in Manila! A typhoon is approaching here tomorrow and heading for Hong Kong, and so are we! So we hope it gets to Hong Kong before we do. We only have an hour there on our way to Auckland. We are staying here in a place called Beverly Hills and hope to get a picture on the blog when we get to NZ as we have never been to Beverly Hills before!

It has been so good to have this time with our good Swedish friends whom we have not seen for 27 years yet it feels just the same as ever to be with them. We have enjoyed some wonderful fellowship sharing with each other what God has and is doing in our lives and the lives of our children.

Their mission here has some inspirational work with children, the poor and needy too. They have a school next to the main town rubbish dump and you can smell it before you see it! Some of the school children have parents who work as scavengers on the dump so it is good to know that these children have the opportunity of a better life than their parents. They have health care programs, dentist, card making for women, computer lessons and driving lessons too. However the traffic here is unbelievable. It took us 2 hours to travel 13 miles! Cars are 5 or 6 side by side with no lanes and weaving in and out of traffic. We have been to some places but not seen anything quite like this before. However there is no road rage as Filipinos are relaxed and happy people and obviously do not mind being patient and it is just the way of life here. Think you would all find it very interesting to say the least!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Honestly - We are in Japan!

This is a picture of us all under the Japanese Cherry Tree for those who are doubting our Japanese experience. Yes, we know it could be anywhere but we really are here!
It has been a great week as we have been to an Alpha celebration and met folks involved in Alpha. To hear the many stories of lives transformed by God as a direct result of Alpha is thrilling. One pastor has baptised 32 people in 5 years through Alpha. Quite something here in Japan. We had lunch with this pastor and a homeless man who has been converted but still homeless but happy in God. He is cutting grass to get money which he insists will help towards Alpha course. He and his mother had a suicide pact as they lost everything and he survived! But he was full of guilt and no hope - until he met Jesus.
We have been on bullet train but found it hard to get a decent picture as it whizzes along. You should have seen Avril running along the platform!! Also we got involved in a Japanese Green Tea Ceremony and Avril became the Tea Master actually making the green tea according to Japanese tradition. We have stayed with friends who live half-way up a mountain and enjoyed lots of wonderful fellowship. Truly we have met some beautiful people who are living out their lives for God here. Had opportunity to pray with them and laugh with them too!
We are so grateful to be able to share in Andy`s life, work, and friends here. It is so good to see the work he is involved with and feel the impact Alpha is making all over Japan. Seeing different denominations coming together and working together is extraordinary in the extreme here in Japan. So God is good and we are thankful for this fantastic opportunity God has given us to come here.
On Monday we go to the Philippines to meet our friends whom we have not seen for 27 years. Our children grew up together in Bangladesh so we have a lot to catch up on. Also our hearts will be listening to what God is saying about this nation and any future involvement we may be able to have.
We have walked miles, run up and down hundreds of steps, caught many trains, seen some beautiful sights and felt God`s hand on this nation of Japan here. And finally there are pictures for those of you who have been bemoaning the lack of such. What an amazing time we have had here. We thank God for it all!