a year ago today

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A year ago this morning, our little family put our feet on Australia soil, er concrete, for the first time. Oh, the range of emotions I have on this anniversary!

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I have this picture, above, in our bedroom and the kids love looking at it, picking out faces. Thank you, friends who came to send us off before we and our 17(?) bags headed to the Land of Tomorrow. What community we have in Orlando and often long for.

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Oh, that was a hard goodbye for my heart at the airport.

And that flight. Whew! We’d lost some hearing, we’re sure, with Joshua’s screaming for a huge chunk of the trip. Can I say thank you again to all you who signed up and prayed for us to get here in one piece and with our sanity still in tact? It was hard but–holy cow–it’d have been a complete disaster had people not been praying. Thank you. (How far Joshua and his speech has come in a year!)

It’s wild to read about our first day in Australia. I’m hoping for some time to be quiet and journal and pray and listen to what God might say to my heart as I think about this past year.

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a fun map lesson: US & Australia

Raise your hand if you actually realized how large Australia really is before right now. (I sure didn’t until I moved here.)

Scott's flight today is to Sydney, an hour and 20 minutes northeast of us here in Melbourne.
Scott’s flight today is to Sydney (Georgia), an hour and 20 minutes northeast of us here in Melbourne (Gulf of Mexico).

what is that?

Shhh. I think I hear it. It’s stirring. The sound of people awake.

Oh, wait. It’s us! it’s 9:00pm and we’re not fried from the day, about to dive into bed! Is it possible that this is I’ve-lived-in-Australia-8-days-and-survived-driving-to-the-grocery-store-alone-for-the-first-time-and-stayed-on-my-side-of-the-street energy?

A bit about yesterday before we proceed to today:

First, I need to pause and thank the good Lord that Joshua slept through the night! That was reversed this morning, but I’ll take it for yesterday!

Laundry. Who knew it’d have to be well-timed laundry, taking into account 2 hours in the machine for a fairly-small load, and then time to hang on the line, get dry and take down before rain or night time. A beautiful day suddenly makes for a racing heart, happy for sun for all the stinky tiny socks that need a little laundry’in.

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We got our driver’s licenses! I shouldn’t complain, but can you believe they didn’t make us take a written or driving test? Holy cow, good thing we’re a-MAY-zing drivers. Thank you, Vic Roads (aka their DMV) for getting us in and out in 30 minutes and making the entire thing a smooth, kind and overall non-U.S.-DMV experience. I’d gladly give you $148 for the both of us…all over again.

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A doctor appointment. Leave it to the medical-issue Bentleys to use the doctor the first week we’re in country. Thankfully, nothing big. Just a rash on Lizzy we’re not sure about. Seemed to have started by a bite behind an ear, but with her history of strep, we wanted to check it out, even when dr said she didn’t think it’s strep. No quick strep test so we’ll know Thursday morning. Culture note: doctors are very informal here. Dr. Anna (she introduced herself as just “Anna”) came out to get us from the waiting room and took us back with no pomp and circumstance and no white coat.

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A sweet spot in the day–catching Catherine reading to Lizzy.

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Today:

Kids awoke at 6:15am, yet somehow we’re not ready to leave the house until 10am. It’s like a culture-move hangover every morning.

Went to NAB, our Aussie bank. Is it me or does that sound like someone didn’t think through the potential marketing that could go awry, “Come NAB money!” or something along those lines?

Had to go in person because our PIN numbers weren’t working at the ATM. Took us going to 2 branches, after trying to get it solved over the phone. Turns out we have 2 savings accounts, a transfer account and an online account…and our money was in the savings account (not sure which one) and we’d just assumed we had a simple checking account I guess. Wow. That’s about as complicated as I don’t need it to be.

I’m learning…everything takes longer when you’re not in your native culture.

Even Lizzy got tuckered out in all the confusion.

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But, we are on the other side now and have NAB’d our cash.

We needed to get the kids some runnin’, so went back to a new favorite park and had a picnic lunch of Subway. (Yes, they are here on many street corners–didn’t expect that.) A footlong was $7. Eat fresh–I’ll take it!

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A fun thing about parks here is that many are equipped with barbecues/”barbies”–and you bring your own food to use on their propane or gas grills (under green awnings).

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This week and next make up a 2-week holiday vacation for students, so the park was packed. Joshua kept eyeing a little baby nearby on a blanket with her “mum” and 3 other moms and I thought, “I wonder if any of those moms know Jesus.” From what we know about Melbourne, it’s unlikely. Oh, Jesus, give me Your heart and Your eyes for these people you love!

Lizzy’s been begging to pick lemons from Mark & Mary’s trees here, so we did and used them to make dinner tonight for our families.

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I prepped dinner while kids slept this afternoon, knowing that we had another house to look at–an “inspection”–at 5pm, close to the office, and knew we’d be hungry when we got back to Mark & Mary’s at 6. We got our paperwork all ready before we went to see it, in case we liked it, so we could apply to rent at the end of seeing it.

We turned in our application and will know by Tuesday. An exciting first! Pray we’d know sooner than Tuesday, if God would get glory from it? (Owner looks at all applications and decides Friday, agent thought.) We look at another rental Saturday and can only have one application turned in at a time and Saturday’s option looks great, too.

Oh, and Scott looked at a car today and test drove it. We’re praying about it tonight and might go buy it tomorrow.

Sheesh. Enough of the major-life things we’re needing to decide. One day you’ll read up to see what we’re up to and the blog entry will be:

Life’s a bit calmer. Enjoyed a restful day. Joshua slept in until 7 and Lizzy counted lemons on the tree.

Sweaty, full heart

Being awake at this hour calls makes my stomach growl. So I write with sticky peach on my face and sticky sweat covering every other surface area. I need a shower (as does my wonderful husband who is still working back at the house) but I wanted to say public ally that God is caring for us through friends in amazing ways.

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3 of the last 4 days we’ve had friends come help. Almost like they were scheduled work days #2, 3 and 4. But most weren’t scheduled. Kinda like pop-up gatherings of people to sing (what’s that called? My brain signed off hours ago). Like that, only people texted to ask if they could come help. And worked hard. Really hard. And did it with such joy.

I’m all the more grateful because the kids have been sick. Not horrible but a cold and a small D–but enough the we couldn’t take them to a sitter all day Wed when we’d planned to get so much done.

Last night this hit me–again, God is saying, “Angie, it’s not all up to you. I’m going to love you and provide help for your family through your community of friends.”

Oh, did I mention I haven’t had to worry about cooking for 3 days as meals just come to my door?

I’m now here at a Wycliffe ministry apartment tonight as Scott dropped me off and returned home to work longer. (He hopes to be done by 2:30 am) He’s been an incredibly hard worker. The late night Is even after Dan stayed with our kids so I could pack and we had the entire Hand family and Amanda workin’.

It does take a village to get us outta town!

Looking forward to teary hugs and telling lots of friends how much we love then and will miss them at a farewell gathering from 3-5:30 tomorrow.

Pray one if our beloved sitters can come play with kids tomorrow am for even an hour so Scott and I can get a nap in.

Goodnight!

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Jerky, anyone?

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We feel a bit like a jerky-making plant today. A neighbor is watching the kids all day so we can pack, using a vacuum. Who knew ziplock suck-the-air-outta-all-our-clothes bags would be my new favorite thing! The end result of each bag is clothes jerky. Mmmm.

Looking forward to a shower and needed date night tonight!

pray for us while we travel?

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When I first played out the reality of what 25 hours of travel might look for our family, I started to panic. Then, quite quickly, God gave me an idea: ask people to sign up to pray for a time slot. My heart filled with hope at what that would mean–a tangible reminder that friends are with us in this! 

So, pick a slot and pray for whatever portion of that hour you’d like. If the time slot already has a name, just add yours to it! We welcome lots of people praying for us as we step out in faith on this next adventure and assignment.