Sunday, October 23, 2011

Australian Adventures

With our stay in Australia already more than half way finished, I wanted to make sure I shared some of our journey here with you. I can’t believe it has been 2 months since we have been back, yet at the same time feel that it has been so long since we were at Grace.
So a few highlights...
It was a huge highlight to have the kids in school this time. I want to give a huge thank you to Hillcrest Christian College ( for allowing all five of our children to attend a whole term of school. They opened up their hearts and classrooms to us and made our children feel so welcome. As Josh said so well on his last week of term “I feel like this has been the best time in my life”. Thank you so much Mr Keith Francis and Mrs Ruth Burgess for your generous gift and support to our family during our stay. It has been immeasurable. Your generosity humbled us and we feel blessed to find a school with such high excellence in education, Christian ethics and also such an amazing outward focus in the community. Thank you.
To have the opportunity to bring Melishew to Australia for 3 months has been tremendous so far. Melishew has been a valuable employee at Grace for more than 4 years, is a founder of Grace Children’s Home, oversees the children’s care in the orphanage, runs the literacy program for our mothers, and helps oversee the day care centres at Grace. She was so brave travelling half way across the world on her own and proved that she could really do anything from there. Hillcrest has also allowed Melishew to observe and learn in Prep and Kindergarten and the teachers and staff have been so willing to help, answering any questions or queries she has had. It has been a great opportunity for her to see for herself the excellence with which education can be delivered and see in practice the children learning so well. She is also studying for a Certificate in Training  through LearnMe, a local training orgaisation. We hope to get her as equipped as possible before we head back at the end of November. She cannot wait to get back to Grace in Ethiopia and use the tools she has gained so far.
We have had both some really great speaking engagements, and some really great rest time as a family, special times catching up with some of our ‘Grace families’ who are very dear to us as the children in them had once been at Grace but have now found their forever families.
We were blessed with a week on Stradbroke Island recently. It was an amazing time, so much fun and laughter, sun and sand. It was a very special time baptising Joshua and Melishew, and Sara learnt how to ride a bike. It was a real opportunity of creating memories that last a lifetime for the kids. I want our lives to be that constantly, and the time away really reminded us of this.
Our friends who we are staying with have been amazing in opening up their home to us. We are in their 3 bedroom granny flat with a huge yard for the kids to ride bikes and play in. What I am really enjoying is that there are NO cockroaches, I do not miss those little friends in Ethiopia.
One of my highest highlights is being back at Dream Centre, our home church. We have also had the opportunity to spend time with some wonderful church families who support Grace and our family, who have really come alongside and encouraged us, but nothing is like being at home. The kids are all being recharged, God is doing fantastic stuff in their lives too.
To share a few funnies... Sara asked one day, shortly after arriving in Australia, if grapes were alcoholic. Haha, love it, and really, I get it. Mekonnen calls burgers ‘boogers’ and says he doesn’t like the green things in them (pickles). He is also at 5, quite fond of the ‘woobies’. And living on the Gold Coast during summer, there are plenty around. Sara’s first day on the beach was entertaining for all of us, for as soon as she got back into the car, she exclaimed “oh mummy, did you see the man with earrings in his boobies!?” We all just burst out laughing. Life is certainly ‘different’ here to say the least.
I have some wonderful news to share about the goings on at Grace while we have been gone, but I will wait to share that in my next blog soon. I can hardly wait to tell you.
Thanks everyoe for your love, prayers and support.
Below a just a few photos of our time here....

 Lydia with her friend Georgia at school on Sports Day. Both Lydia and Sara were able to experience what real highschool was like for the first time.

 Picking up Melishew at the airport just after midnight.

Berhani on Stradbroke Island. Gee she makes me smile :)

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