Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What I Did Today

Well, to give you an idea of how my days flow, I thought I'd give you the details of my day today....enjoy!

I woke up at 6 am and hopped in the shower. Normally I get to the base at 8:30 am, so I have some time to exercise (a new thing for me...please pray that I stick with it!) and some quiet time with the Lord. However, today I had to be at the base at 7 am in order to pray with the Pathway team, so I just got ready and we left, walking the 6-8 blocks to the base.

Once at the base, I joined with Megan and Sharon from Pathway to pray. Sala is out this week on holiday. We prayed over our ministry, specifically praying Psalm 115 and Psalm 108:13. We prayed until 8 am.

After prayer, Sierra and I joined in with morning chores and helped in the kitchen preparing food for the day. Sierra washed fruit and put it in bowls for the tables. I sliced up cabbage for coleslaw and then put together tuna for lunch.

At 8:30 the whole base met together for a few announcements, and then we broke up into small groups for intercession. I met with Joel, Ashla, Mark, Sven and Sierra. We prayed about the brothels that are in the area, discipling young men and women, preparing the groundwork for the groups going to Mexico and also for our Christmas celebrations, and finally for the nations of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. We prayed together until about 9:45.

There was a short break for about 20 minutes, and then Sharon, Sierra and I met together to pray about where God wanted us to go for outreach for the rest of the morning. We felt like we should just get on the bus and ride it. Sierra saw a picture of a girl with long, black, wavy hair and thought she was Mexican. I felt like we were supposed to talk with an Indian woman. Sierra stayed at the base and Sharon and I headed out to the bus - about 8 blocks away. We took separate seats and then just prayed and waited.

After a few stops, a girl got on and sat next to Sharon. She had long, black, wavy hair and was from Colombia - not Mexican, but certainly latin! Sharon started talking to her and they had a great conversation and Sharon was able to share the gospel with her. They exchanged phone numbers and we'll continue to pray.

We ended up talking with an Iranian family that just moved here last week, as well as an Australian couple and three Aboriginals. We were able to share the gospel and the love of Christ and it turned out really cool. It was funny because I had to really pray about not being afraid or intimidated about sharing Jesus in such a public place as a bus, but I did and it was fine!

We got back to the base just in time for lunch, and some soup and an orange. After lunch Megan, Sharon, Sierra and I headed to my house to have a time of worship. We visited for a bit, then spent time in prayer and worship. We were meditating on Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God". We did this until 3:15 pm, then Sharon had to leave to babysit and Megan and I headed to the base where we were supposed to meet with Sultan, a young Afghani who is a new Christian. He ended up having to cancel, and so I did some work on a book I'm making to help teach English to refugees.

Dinner was at 5:30 - we had lasagna, with cake for dessert. After dinner Sierra and I were asked over to watch a movie by one family, and over for tea at another. I passed on both invitations as we needed to go to the grocery store and also needed to get some rest. We've been invited over to people's houses already several times since we've gotten here, which is so cool!

Sierra and I headed the 10-12 blocks to the grocery store (and saw some wild parrots on the way) and picked up a few items, loaded up the backpack and still had a few bags, and then headed home the 8 or so blocks. Groceries are definitely hard without a car! I was exhausted by the time we made it up to the flat and, after putting the groceries away, sat down and relaxed while I wrote this little note!

As you can tell, I am getting in a LOT of walking! I sort of wish I had a pedometer to see how many steps I'm taking a day! It looks like the Lord has got me on an exercise program...please pray for my feet and ankles to be strong and flexible.

Well, there you have it - a day in the life! As I have said - this base majors on prayer!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Photo Tour

Here are some photos and videos to give you a little idea of our new life!
A few of the popular flavors of chips are "Honey Baked Ham" and "Chicken"...
not a taste we've acquired yet....

This is the view of the city from our 3rd floor flat...it's really pretty!

Sierra helped to make these "chandaliers" for Christmas decorations.
This is the main auditorium.

Sierra also helped to make and frost a few hundred cookies...aren't they pretty?

This is one of the beaches...it's really nice to have a grassy area to sit on and
have a picnic before you hit the sand.

This is a video tour of our flat...it's kind of lame, but you'll get the idea...haha!

Just a little video from our day at the beach with the whole base.

When it's someone's birthday, they have quite a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday!!

Before breaking into groups of 2, our evangelism team had a time of worship - it's a lot of fun!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Crikey! No worries, mate!

Well, we made it! We are in Perth, Western Australia. We got here about a week and a half ago, and have been settling in and getting familiar with the city and the base. I know everyone is anxious to hear how everything is going, so I thought I'd do a day-by-day breakdown of what has happened so far! Okay, here we go!

Monday, Nov. 23
We all piled into my dad's SUV and headed down to SFO. The verse the Lord had given me was Nehemiah 8:9-10, which is:

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.”

So, anytime we would get a little weepy or sad we would say "the joy of the Lord is our strength!" We all did pretty good until it was the final goodbye, and then a few tears started to roll, but I just kept meditating on that scripture, and also on that song by the same words..."the joy of the Lord is our strenght" - did you know you can replace the words with laughing? It's really fun.

We got on our first flight to LA, where we had a layover for a few hours, which wasn't too bad. Then, we boarded our flight to Sydney on V Australia. I am disappointed to say I never saw the star constellations on the ceiling which I was so looking forward to. Otherwise, it was a great flight - we each had our own row of 3 seats, so plenty of room to stretch out and rest. The flight went surprisingly quick for 15 hours! We landed in Sydney with an 11 hour layover and thought to go traipse around, but had underestimated how tired we would be. Instead, we found a youth hostel and rented a room for the day and slept a bit. That evening (Wed night, Nov. 25) we made our final flight into Perth, and were greeted by Quenton and Abby, two staff from the base. They took us to our flat to get settled.

I was thankful to find out that we would be staying in a place that is already furnished, so that will be helpful. We are on the 3rd floor with great views of the city.

Thursday, Nov. 26
We were told to take a day or so getting acclimated and rested, so we slept in and then went to the store to get a few essentials like shampoo and soap. I was still pretty out of it and tired. We found our way to town and to an internet cafe, so we were able to let the family know we had made it safely. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, Nov. 27
We headed into the base to meet with different people and to check things out. Everyone is so nice! Several people introduced themselves to us and were really welcoming and inclusive - it was great.

That night we attended our first Friday Night Meeting. This is basically a church service for the base and anyone else who would like to join. It is pretty exciting! The worship was amazing and it is just so exciting to see hundreds of young people so passionate about God. A pastor from Nigeria spoke, and gave a first-hand account of all the amazing things that have been going on there. If you don't know - tell me and I will email you the news report! Let's just say revival is happening!

After we started walking home (it's about 8-10 blocks) and a young Samoan guy named Manny walked with us to make sure we made it alright. Like I said, people are so nice!

Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 28 & 29
It's time to start figuring out about our phone and whatnot, so we headed into downtown to get cell service and internet. Wow - now that's a process. You practically have to sign over your firstborn to get a phone! We needed more information on our visa status and so we left disappointed. We did, however, find the Target and were able to get Sierra a hair straightener.

We had found a great little Lebanese restaraunt a few days earlier and went there again...the owner is quickly becoming a friend and he gave us some baklava to see us on our way.

We were both still feeling pretty tired, so we decided to have church at home and that was nice. I also started making a list of things we need for the house to make it more homey and functional. Mostly, we relaxed and rested. That night, we were invited to watch movies with Richard and Isabelle. They are from Virginia and have been here about a year. Isabelle is 13. Her mom and brother and sister are on outreach right now, but will be returning in a few weeks. It was nice to make a connection and meet some friends!

Monday, Nov. 30
Started off the day with worship together as a base. It's really great worship, and again was impressed just with how engaged everyone is and excited for the Lord. In the midst of worship, they directed us to pray for one another and Sierra and I had an amazing time of praying together and prophesying over one another - it was breathtaking.

Afterward, I met with Colleen at the base - she is the Personnel person and has been at the base almost 25 years. We talked about different things and she suggested that she thought I might enjoy working with the ARMS or Pathway ministry. ARMS works with families in crisis and Pathway works with refugees. She was going to speak with them and let me know at dinner.

We helped in the kitchen a bit, then headed back into downtown to give a go with the phones again. What a hassle! Still needed more info for proof of residency and whatnot, so headed back to get that. I was feeling rather frustrated with the confusing phone requirements and programs, but continued to press on.

Tuesday, Dec. 1
Started off the day with intercession...as you can imagine, 300+ people is a lot of people, so we are broken down into groups of 8 or so. Had a great time of praying together and interceding on behalf of Mexico. I loved that we started off by searching our hearts and confession, then waiting on the Lord to direct us.

After that, I met with Sala, a lady from Fiji who I will be working with in Pathway. She is wonderful, and I think we will be good friends. I met Megan and Sharon, two other girls also working with Pathway. After that, Sala let us go to get a few things done. I went to the immigration office to get my passport stamped properly with my visa, then off to the department of infrastructure (like the DMV) and got a drivers license...!! Funny, huh? Yes, it's true - I haven't driven a car here yet, but I have my license! The Amercian license is accepted and they just give it to you (well, you have to pay for it). Then went AGAIN to try to do the phone thing...FINALLY got some phones and internet service, so we were feeling good about that.

Wed, Dec 2
Sierra stayed at the base to help with Christmas decorations and I headed out with Megan and the Community Development school to a neighborhood called Mirabooka. They are trying to get a better picture of the community and see how they can help in that community, so we were going door to door with surveys. I saw a woman walking with about 6 grocery bags and suggested we go help her, which we did (Megan and I). She then invited us in and we were able to visit with her for about an hour and 20 minutes. Her names is Aswaq and she is from Iraq. She needs help with her English and also with driving. We made an appointment to come back next Tuesday to help her.

As we continued on, we also met Rose from Sudan and Toi from China. The nations are here!

We returned to the base for lunch and I learned a very valuable lesson. Get to lunch on time! I had called my parents to check in and came in a little late and there was no more food left...well, lesson learned! Haha..

After lunch we had an all-staff meeting and went over details about Christmas and different things. After that, the entire staff and all the students headed out to the beach for the afternoon. It was really fun, but freezing! The wind was blowing and cold, but it was nice to be outside and to watch the waves and visit with people. I got to talk with Ben, Joelle and Amy and to know them a bit better. We made plans to make dinner together one night next week.

We had a BBQ dinner out at the beach and Sierra swam with Isabelle and enjoyed our first outing to the beach!

Thurs, Dec 3
Sharon took me to see another community they work in and we ended up visiting with Tseda, from Eritrea. She blessed us with tea and bread and showed us a video of her wedding with traditional dances. She goes to a church with many Africans, and invited me to go with her one day. I think that will be amazing!

After we all met together (me, Sharon, Megan, Sala) and took lunch to a YWAM lady who just had a baby a few days ago. She lives across from me, so I got to meet another neighbor.

Dinner is early on Thursdays because we all go out for evangelism in the evening. We went with the downtown team and it was awesome. We first had a time of worship and then broke up into groups of 2. Tonight they had a twist for us - a "scavenger hunt" to do...things like - find someone with a cross necklace and ask what it means to them; ask someone what it is about Christmas that they love; share your testimony. It was fun and gave us focus. We spoke with many people and also got to pray for a few. That night there were also 2 people who were saved - hallelujah!

After evangelism, Danny drove us home - he is the leader for the School of Evangelism. He's really cool. His mom is also here on staff, and she is a grandma to all the kids. He invited Sierra to join his group when they go out on evangelism on Tues & Fri afternoons and said he'd heard amazing things about how boldly she'd prayed out, and he figures she'll take over his school someday. I thought it was great! Sierra said she couldn't go out tomorrow as she'd already committed to help with making Christmas cookies and decorating, but maybe next week.

Fri, Dec 4
Started our day with intercession again - this time as a whole base. The intercession was more like worship and intercession interlaced. We'd sing and worship, then break out into prayer. We were specifically praying for Africa. At the end everyone spontaneously broke out into various forms of African dance, which was really cool.

After, we met as a Pathway group and prayed together. Then I did some office work - apparently I'm the only one in the ministry with any type of administrative skills, so that is something they are all excited about!

Friday night is Fri Night Meeting, and I was sooo tired. I definitely knew if I walked home, I wouldn't want to walk back an hour later! So I went to Sala's house to relax and Sierra stayed at the base to play volleyball. The meeting was good, but I was really tired and had a hard time staying focused.

Sat, Dec 5
Well, here we are - almost up to date! We did some really exciting things for Sat...we deep cleaned the apartment and did laundry! Haha...yeah, but it was 98 degrees outside, and our little 3rd floor apartment was probably over 100. I was melting!

Sat evening my friend Simon picked me up to go to church with him and his roommate Steve. Simon had come to Mexico with us a few times, so it is cool to have a friend here already. We went to Riverview Church and then out for Vietnamese. The church is a big church, and seems really solid. I met a lady named Linda and her friend Deane and they seemed keen on getting to know me better - they were really nice.

Sierra stayed home because her stomach was hurting, and while home she heard some people fighting outside - it was pretty scary for her and she ended up calling the police and then me, so we came home. Simon told us that it is extremely difficult for people to get guns or even knives here, so they are almost unheard of, which I hope calmed her a bit.

Sun, Dec 6
Well, here we are on Sunday morning...it is a bit cooler today (thank you Jesus!) and we are just hanging out a bit, trying to decide what to do for the day. Beach? Maybe...

So, overall our experiences here have been really positive - people are truly welcoming and friendly, the worship and intercession is amazing, you can really sense God's spirit amongst the people and everyone is really focused on the Lord.

Some of the little cultural things we've come across....
  • 'no worries, mate' is the most used phrase of Australian english
  • groceries are twice as expensive as they are in the US...eg - chicken legs are $14 per kilo ($7 per pound)
  • 'no standing' means 'no parking'
  • they are both much more strict and much more licentious than we are in the US...it's an interesting paradox.
  • flavored milk is all the rage - we like mocha
  • if someone wants to 'knock you up' - no worries - it just means they will come by the house.
  • when someone asked if I was 'knackered" I was worried they thought I'd been drinking...but they were just asking if I was tired.

More to come! Love you all!! I have some pictures and videos on my phone, but don't have the chord to download them! When I get it, I will post them.

Oh yea - my cell phone is (from the US)...001-61-04-331-4-8-16-4

Sierra's cell is 001-61-04-30-44-32-44

Also, you can get us on Skype - mine is dayna_murphy and Sierra's is sierra.vota - we'd love to hear from you!!