February 5 we flew from LA overseas and arrived in Melbourne, Australia around midnight on the 7th. Other than being required to pay huge unexpected baggage fees on our layover in Fiji, our flights were uneventful and we were given pretty decent seats. The kids did great and we arrived to see our friends Phil, Lenna, Kristen and Emmanuel and Marie Claire.
After arriving we had a few days of down time to adjust to the time and temperature and to get over jetlag, which was such a blessing! Our first Sunday here we were asked to share at a new church plant called Arkhouse in St Kilda, Australia. They were a very friendly and energetic crew and we enjoyed getting to know them!
Monday, January 16 we loaded our container that is heading to Vanuatu. It then made its way to Vancouver to be cleared through customs, and then ship out over the Pacific. It was scheduled to leave January 25 but the carrier was delayed so as far as we know, it headed out Friday, Feb 3. We're happy with it arriving later than scheduled (March 23) in Vanuatu so we have more time to prepare for its coming! I want to thank all of you who gave toward my Outgoing account over the last few years to make it possible to pay for this shipping and all the items inside and a HUGE thank you too to all of you who helped with loading it. The truck driver heard what we were loading and imagined it would take us all day, even though he mistakenly thought we'd done this many times before! By God's grace the container was loaded and ready to head out to Washington in only 5 hours 5 minutes. It was a COLD cold day so I am especially thankful that all our loaders from Grace Bible stuck it out and were such a huge help to us. We thank God for you!!!
January was a crazy month getting last-minute things shipped to us in preparation of packing up our container to send to Vanuatu and taking care of all the paperwork for shipping. We are so grateful to New Tribes Mission and Friends in Action who put together a solar system package for us and got it shipped out just in time for us to pack up! Our solar batteries arrived damaged but they were great and quickly sent out new ones that we got in new condition on the very last day possible. Whew, thanks God!
Apparently what happened is the trucking company packed some sort of rod of iron later after all our stuff was on its way that fell and managed to make connection with every single terminal in addition to busting through the cases! Fortunately, we and the organizations we bought this from aren't responsible for the damages!
A lot of our boxes got beat up too, but fortunately the items within them are ok so we didn't have to have any of these re-shipped to us.
Praise God, the panels made it safe and sound!
We packed the container with heavy-duty totes for our small loose items and then for larger loose items, Houghton and my dad spent several days making 4x4 crates. Having these allowed a much easier and faster pack up since there were fewer loose individual items to go in the container.
Praise God for the donation of this 4-wheeler and the extra parts put on it! This will be SO useful to us in Vanuatu, especially in getting our items from the cargo boats that'll bring our things in shifts to Ambrym island and drop things off about a 45 minute walk from our village.
Crating this made it possible to pack it right up close to other items and also to pack things on top of it.
The crates for all the other loose items.
We are also thankful for a milder winter than last year that allowed these things to be built for the container.
The trailer this is sitting on is what the 4-wheeler will pull with all our items inside once we're on Ambrym!
Grace Bible Church in Miles City gave us a great sending off. We were given both morning services to share in and an evening service to show pictures, answer questions, and give updates on what God is doing in the ministry in Vanuatu. We are so grateful for all our supporting individuals and churches and for our main sending church, Grace Bible!
They had just put in these new screens the few days before our presentation so it was great to have such a high-tech way to show off what God is doing!
The church board prayed for us as we go back to Vanuatu again. It's a huge blessing to have you guys behind us in prayer. Thank you so much!
Dad and Clyde showing off the new t-shirts. :) We love the shameless advertising.
We had his celebration at my parents' house and also had Christmas Eve with them. Hought and Gretch and kids were in Terry for Christmas so just my parents and I hung out Christmas day. It's been great celebrating holidays with family and enjoying quality time together.
Addy got sea monkeys so my parents will babysit them and report on their progress while we're away. :)
Here's some more pics to add to posts from before (kids programs and canning).
And then there's some other random events.
Dad putting my nightstand together.
Me typing Sunday School and Lay Bible Institute notes for my mom when she had carpel tunnel surgery. Please pray for her hand to heal fully, by the way, she's having some problems with it still.
Gretch and I were able to sing together at church one Sunday, which was a lot of fun.
Dad drew up plans for our duplex in Vanuatu so that we were able to purchase the appropriate building supplies to put in our container.
Houghton doing surgery on my ganglion cyst. :)
which of course draws a crowd
Jesiah at play...his last few weeks at public school for several years!