Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The heat is cranking up

In the last couple of weeks the temperature and humidity has notably increased.  Mopping floors, vacuuming or some other necessary household task can reduce you to looking like you just got caught in a monsoon.  As I sit and write it is already over 30 degrees in the house and humidity is rising.  However, for all of you sitting in the northern hemisphere I am not jealous of your cold weather although maybe of the snow.

This past month has been eventful to say the least.  In my last update I mentioned that I went through an in depth process for the role of HR Officer in the MAF Cairns office.  I am thankful that I was accepted for the role and will start under the new terms and conditions in January.  Thank you to all of you who have been praying.  Along with that our new HR Manager will be starting this week after her induction in the UK.  We have been without an HR Manager for a number of months now so it has been quite the juggle managing the needs that are far and wide.  We are looking forward to having a new team member join us.

We seem to be managing Joshua's issue with diarrohea.  After a few conversations and time spent looking into the issue it appears that he has an issue with an amino acid called Tyramine.  Foods such as cured meat, aged cheese and sourdough bread, to name but a few seem to be the cause.  His body doesn't have the enzyme to break down this amino acid in big quantities.  If he has one food item on his plate containing this amino acid then it is fine but if he has multiple then it is a problem.  We are just so glad it is easy to manage and for the past few weeks he has had no further stomach issues.  Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us in this regard.

Joshua and Zara finished school last week and they were rejoicing at the much needed break after a busy first year in a new school.  Simon finishes this week with instructing and then is planning to scope out a new airstrip next week that could be used for training.  The plan is to take Joshua and Zara along and they can help with all the details that goes into planning and evaluating an airstrip.  Looks like they might be camping under the starts as it will be an overnight trip.  Islay, our puppy, might also get to go also and have a change of scenery from Cairns.  Thankfully she loves to go in the car.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Update on J and other news

As some of you will know Joshua has been having diarrhoea issues for a few months now.  We have completed a barrage of tests but nothing conclusive has shown up.  Last week, Simon and Joshua headed down to Townsville (4 hours south of Cairns) to meet with a specialist and to have an endoscopy done.  The specialist believes that Joshua issue is related to abdominal migraines.  We now need to get in touch with a dietician to see if food is a trigger for these migraines.  We are thankful that it is nothing more sinister and that there is a way forward in finding out the root cause.  Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and especially Joshua.  It has been a long road in some ways but thankful that we have come this far.

My 6 month interim stint as HR Officer in the MAF Cairns office is coming to a close.  It has been quite the learning curve and I have had some amazing opportunities including delivering some training at the RMC (Regional Mangers Conference) last week as well as supporting some managers face to face whilst they have been in town.  Some of them I knew already and others only via skype and emails.  Great to be able to work with different people from all over the world.
After praying and talking it through with others I have put in my application for the permanent role that was being advertised.  Next week I will have two interviews and a presentation to do.  Pray that I will present my best during these meetings and that whatever the result may be will be good for MAF and our family.

Monday, 9 October 2017

A new addition to the family and other news


Since our last post we have had a new addition to our family, Islay, our 7 month old puppy.   We got her from a family who were fostering her for a rescue home.  She was very nervous and timid when we first got her and almost scared of her own shadow.  However, after being with us for two weeks now we are seeing a big difference in her confidence.  She is not so scared to go on a walk will play happily in the garden.  She loves all the attention she gets from us.  Good to see such a difference in a short space of time.


It has been a busy few months with guests.  In July we had Simon's sister and brother-in-law visiting us from Switzerland.  It was good spend time with them and explore parts of our local vicinity that we hadn't taken the time to do.  

Following that Nadia and Olivia Dick stayed with us whilst connecting with other friends in Cairns.  Nadia, Andrew and the kids were good friends of ours in Uganda and left a month after we did to return to New Zealand.  Olivia and Zara had fun catching up and loved the time together.  It was a fun time!

A week later a good friend of mine from Scotland, Lillian, stopped in for a few days on her way to New Zealand to visit with her sister and family.  It was good to reminisce about old times and also make new memories. We have had some funny moments over the years.

Last but not least my Mum, Aunt and Uncle are with us for a few weeks.  At the moment my Aunt and Uncle are off to tour New Zealand for a couple of weeks so they are making the most of their time on this side of the world.  Good to have family around and the extra help doesn't go amiss.


Simon has almost completed another Standardisation course.  It has been a busy period for him with training different pilots.  One is heading back to Uganda, one to PNG and two to Arnhem Land.  Great to see new pilots going out to serve with MAF.

Pray for Simon as he adjusts to more of a ground role than involved in operational flying.  It is quite the change for him.


Joshua has been struggling with some health issues on and off since we arrived in Australia.  He had an ultra sound today for one issue which came back clear.  So thankful for answered prayer.  Another test also came back clear but further investigations are required.  This means a bit of travel as the test can't be done in Cairns.  

I am sure he would value your prayers as he is tired of dealing with health issues and, at times, frequent trips to the doctors.  He is not the only one!


Thankfully she is doing well and although suffered with pharyngitis (as well as Joshua and Simon) a month ago she recovered well.  She is so enjoying having a dog in the family.  They are like best friends already.  Islay can't wait to play with her.  Joshua and Zara both missed having a dog around so there has been a lot of joy with our furry friend.


My 6 month stint with MAF is almost up and it has been a great experience, although challenging at times.  I have applied for the full time role and so interviews will happen at the end of this month.  We will see how God leads this one.

Just today I received my certificate from the Australian Institute of Coaching.  I am now officially a Professional Life Coach.   All the studying has been worth it and has come in useful in my role with MAF.

Visa Update

Give thanks that we are now on a bridging visa for the 187 which is a more permanent visa.  It won't fully come into play for another year but will help us in terms of receiving full medicare instead of partial which will help.  Simon will also be able to get into the system which will be a bonus.  

Monday, 11 September 2017

Prayers Answered

We give thanks that Simon received notification from CASA (Aviation Authority) that they have granted him a restricted flight license.  He has been given a VFR (visual flight rating) which enables him to continue in his role as a flight instructor in the standardisation department.  In the future he hopes to challenge the aviation authority and pursue the full license with IFR (Instrument Flight Rating) and night flying.  However, one step at time.  Grateful we have made it this far.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying through this situation with us.  It has been quite the rollercoaster but thankful that God has been with us on the rollercoaster.  So thankful that we don't do this alone!

Friday, 8 September 2017

"Wombat" Week

"Some days just have me looking like a Wombat"

This past week or so has had some folks in our family looking more like a wombat due to being unwell.  Joshua has had some issues over the last few months with diarrhoea which we are having looked into but no specific cause has been found yet.  He has now been referred to a specialist.

On top of that he came down with pharyngitis at the beginning of the week and has been really unwell.  After another trip to the doctor this morning showed that he is improving but will take time. In the meantime Zara has come down with it also and Simon is now coughing and has a sore throat. We are praying that they don't get it as bad as Joshua and that I can rise above it.

However, through all the ups and downs of sickness we have had friends visit and had some special times together which we have enjoyed a lot.  Thankfully they are still healthy and doing well and have not picked up our bugs.  I will try and post some photos at a later date.  Time to do my rounds at the Wunderli "hospital".

Monday, 14 August 2017

Aussie Update

I used to think that when we lived on the Equator time went super fast but it seems in the southern hemisphere it is no different.

Some of you have been asking for an update on Simon's eye test the other week.  Sorry it has taken me so long to post an update.  He flew down to Brisbane and rented a car to drive to the clinic where he was to have the eye test.  Unfortunately he didn't pass this test either.  You may be wondering what does that mean for him and flying.  At this point we are not sure.  We are waiting to hear back from CASA and that could take some time.  Meanwhile life continues and Simon started his next course.  He will be taking a Indian lady through MAF's four week Standardisation course so that she can fly in our Northern Territory programme here in Australia.  He will be doing the same with a South Sudanese man who, in time, will return to South Sudan to fly all going well.  We might be in Australia but we continue to get to work cross culturally across more than just the Aussie culture.

Last Thursday we said goodbye to Simon's two sisters and brother-in-law who were visiting us from Switzerland.  It was fun to have them here and see parts of our neighbourhood that we haven't even seen yet.  This included snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef.  I am still amazed that we had the opportunity to do this even although it is on our door step.   We also visited some wildlife parks.  Normally we are on the lookout for lions, buffalo, leopards and elephants but this time it was crocs, koalas and different birds.

On one of our road trips as we were about to cross a bridge we noticed a group of people standing looking into the water.  Curiosity got the better of us so we stopped too only to find a very large crocodile on the opposite bank taking a snooze and a slightly smaller one in the water that would appear now and again.  Some guys were tempting it with a chicken on the end of a stick however there were no bites that day.

Below are some photos of our time together with family.  It was a special visit and we look forward to the next time.

Where are those turtles?

Shall I try standing next?

Who can spot Nemo?

Monika and Therese with "Crush"

Chillin on the beach...

Monika went along as a passenger on Simon's instruction flight.  Good practice for the student in passenger management :)

The girls just couldn't beat the boys!  Dani took the checkered flag each time!

Joshua making friends with a black parrot who squacked non stop

Zara and her furry koala friend Codi who just happened to pee right at that moment!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Colour Deficiency Update

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Simon regarding his colour deficiency issue.  As mentioned before he failed his colour test with CASA and has now been referred for another test in Brisbane on the 2nd August.  Thankfully, CASA has not banned him from flying but have issued him with a restricted pilots license which enables him to continue in his training role with MAF

We are praying that it all comes together and the issue can be sorted out.  Another pilot that Simon works with has a similar colour deficiency and he is able to fly with no restrictions.  Just need to work through the red tape on this one.

Thankful  for your prayers as we navigate the challenges of living in another culture.  Life continues to keep us on our toes.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Aussie Update

The last couple of months have continued to be a whirlwind for us.  Between work, studying, school and training the days and weeks have just sped by.  

I  have just returned from the airport this morning as Simon needs to fly down to Townsville for an eye test.  We found out this week that the medical that was done in Kenya and the subsequent FAA waiver that Simon has for his colour deficiency has not been accepted by CASA (Aviation Authority in Australia).  They have asked him to do a further test.  He was on a early flight this morning and has an appointment at lunch time.  To be honest we are not that hopeful of him passing this test as the testing is very similar to one he did in London a number of years ago which he failed.  However, we can always pray for a miracle.  I will keep you updated as to the results.

Arnhem Land

A few weeks ago Simon was up in Arnhem Land for a week getting checked out on the caravan.  MAF serves aboriginal communities in this remote area of Australia through flights, outreaches and technology services.  You can find out more by visiting their website http://www.maf-arnhemland.org/maf-arnhem-land/

Simon enjoyed being back in the caravan again and the plan is for him to help out in this programme in between the standardisation courses that he will be teaching.

Simon flew from Cairns to Gove Airport in Nhulunbuy.  Can you find it on the map? :)

MAF's hangar at Gove Airport in Arnhem Land

A view out the cockpit

I have been busy in the MAF office here in Cairns working in the HR department.  The department serves Arnhem Land, PNG, Bangladesh, Timor Leste and Mynamar along with the needs of the support office in Cairns and the Flight Training Centre in Mareeba.  Due to a shortage of staff the responsibilities have been shared far and wide in order to ensure that there is enough support for the programmes.  Next week we will be having interviews for one of the vacancies.  Pray for the right person to fill this slot.

Joshua and Zara are doing fine.. Their second term at school went well and are adjusting to the ways of doing things here in Australia.   We just returned from a camping weekend with friends.  We had a good time together and the kids were sorry to see the time come to an end.  I will post photos at some point.  They are still on holiday this week and have some fun things planned.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!

Monday, 22 May 2017

A new challenge

As many of you know I have been doing a Certification in Life Coaching to add to the qualifications I already have in Member Care.  I have enjoyed the course and hope to complete it in one more month. I have been already looking at opportunities for me to use what I have been learning and had a few conversations over the last weeks.

However, there has been some changes in the HR Dept here in MAF Australia.  Due to this there is a need for more staff members.  After an informal chat it became apparent that I could help in the interim and so discussions became more formal.  After discussing job profiles, contracts and agreements I will start on Tuesday, 30th May as HR Officer.  This will be for a time period of 6 months.  I am looking forward to the challenge and know I will be kept very busy.

The role is varied and many of the tasks will be new.  However, I am thankful for the experiences I have had in MAF Uganda which will help me in this new role here in Australia.  I look forward to joining the team here in Cairns.

I would value your prayers as it will be a big change for us all but thankful to have the family behind me and do their part to make this work.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Koala Moments

After living half of your life as an expat, and Australia being the fifth country you have lived in, it would be understandable if you sometimes feel like the koala in the picture above.  When cultural fatigue hits like a freight train, and it does, the only recoil is to sit on the proverbial branch and close your eyes for a bit.

This past year has been huge for our family in more ways than one.  As we adjust to our new “home” we often just have to have “Koala” moments.  A time to just be gentle on ourselves and realise it is going to take time to adjust to our new “normal”.  There are many reminders during the day that show us that Australia is not yet home and it will take a while.  We are the new round pegs trying to fit into a square hole and it just doesn’t work.  However, there will come a time when the round peg and the square hole will accept each other’s differences and will live comfortably side by side.

Cultural moments

On Saturday morning when I went to the servo (gas station, petrol station, filling station, or whatever else you might call it depending on your location and culture) and asked the man behind the counter for some ice for our esky (cooler box, chilly bin).  He looked at me and said I don’t understand.  I, of course, repeated it multiple times and still had the deer in the headlight look.  He asked the other customer “do you know what she is saying?” and he said “I have no idea”.  Then thankfully understanding came and he said “oh, you want some ice”.  Oh the relief, he got it.  I wondered if I had spoken in Chinese for a split second and that is why he couldn’t understand me.  Then to top it all when I was paying he said to me “are you local?”  I said I live locally but I don’t have the accent.  At which point he said I will give you locals rate then for your diesel.  We laughed at the irony.

Another day whilst in the local supermarket I was checking out at the self-check-out.  They have pictures on the display so it is usually easy to figure out what button to push for the vegetables and the fruit.  However, on this day I had a courgette but I couldn’t find the right button to push and the pictures weren’t helping.  It must be a zucchini then but no it wasn’t under “Z” either.  Thankfully, there was a helpful lady who saw my dilemma as I stared at the screen for probably too long without pressing any buttons and she told me what it was.  I think she said it was a marrow but can’t quite remember as she then proceeded to tell me what other vegetables are called that might not be so familiar in name.  I now know why we used picture books for one year olds to teach them what things are. (haha)

How to cut grass in Australia…..  Now you would think cutting the grass would be simple.  However, it takes time to figure out what patch of grass is yours and what part isn’t.  We were noticing people cutting grass but then leaving parts of it at one end.  Why would you do this?  Until you realise you are only responsible for the grass up to the imaginary boundary line of your property.  If there is still a couple of square metres of grass beyond that then you can leave it and it belongs to the neighbours.  I just found out recently that we haven’t been cutting our square metre on one side as I thought it belonged to the neighbor.  However, they have gone beyond the call of duty in these last months and cut it for us and we have been doing a bit extra on the other side.  Oh the things you learn.

The word “visa” gives a bit of a sinking feeling in the stomach when it is mentioned.  In the last 20 years or so I have been on a visa that gave me refugee status, a student visa, a dependents pass visa and now one that is affectionately called, according to some people online, “the slave visa”.  After all the craziness of the last months of trying to figure out visa issues the government is revamping the immigration system and the visa we are now on no longer exists.  It has been replaced by a newer one.  Thankfully, we will continue on the old 457 until it runs out in 4 years and hopefully, by then, we will have graduated onto a different one which will be more permanent.

There are many more stories that we could tell as we adjust to this country but this gives you a taster.  To end I will give you a bit of a laugh and insight into some Aussie words that we have been hearing along the way:-

Rellie’s – Relatives
Ripper – Great
Servo – Petrol Station
Thongs – Cheap rubber sandals
Rash vest – swim shirt
Togs - Swimsuit
Ute – Utility vehicle
Rego – Vehicle Registration
Arvo or Sarvo – Afternoon
Bikkie – Biscuit
Brekkie – Breakfast
Lollies -  Sweets or candy
True Blue -  honest and trustworthy
Avos -  Advocado
BYO – Bring your own
Chook -  Chicken
Chrissie – Christmas
Docket – Receipt
Dux – Top of the class
Reckon – Do you think so?
Kindie – Kindergarten
Freshie – Freshwater Crocodile

Saltie – Saltwater crocodile

Friday, 21 April 2017

Having fun with friends

Lake Eacham, Crater Lake National Park with no stingers (jelly fish) or crocs.....bonus!!!

The boys

Our Princess enjoying the great outdoors

Joshua enjoying the antics of Benjamin and warming up again after a cool dip in the lake.

Zara taking a leap

We have a flight instructor in the house

This week Simon completed all requirements to fulfill his role as a Standardisation Flight Instructor and has now been helping to teach two of the students.  These students, when they have successfully completed the course, will head out to serve in one of MAF's Programmes somewhere in the world.

Continue to pray for Simon as he settles into this new role and all that that means.  We look forward to what God has in store for him in this new job.

Thanks again for all your prayers!!!!!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

More exams and other things

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Simon throughout these months of studying, tests, exams and practicals.  These past two weeks he has been studying and doing training specifically related to his role as a Standardisation Flight Instructor.  He has been working every hour he can before the examiner comes up from Brisbane next week.  Pray for him to keep persevering and taking in all that he needs to in the remaining days.  It is taking days and nights to make this work.

Joshua and Zara are finished with school for the holidays.  They are enjoying homework free days and time to do different things.  We are hoping to go camping with friends at the end of next week and explore life outside of Cairns.  Pray for a good time together, time to relax and celebrate Simon being finished.

Thanks to all of you who pray for us, we appreciate it.  Transition can be a challenge!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Cyclone Debbie

For the last few days we have been keeping an eye on the brewing cyclone out in the coral sea.  We were told to buy water and other basics to be somewhat prepared in case it headed our way. Simon and I headed to our local supermarket on Friday night while the kids were at Youth Group. It was amazing to walk through some of the aisles and see empty shelves.  If you wanted bread then you would have been disappointed as there wasn't any and bottle water was definitely in demand.

The cyclone ended up tracking south of us and so we have escaped the effects of the storm.  Unfortunately those a bit further south are really suffering now that the storm has reached land.  I am sure you will have seen the news reports as news comes in from the different areas.

Thanks for all those who were checking in on us.  We are all fine although we are slowly dissolving into puddles with the intense heat and humidity.  I am beginning to wonder what it feels like to be dry. It was almost 40 degrees in our house today and outside in the sun it felt hotter and then add in some significant humidity and you have quite the experience.  However, I would take that over a cyclone any day.


Image result for photos of cyclone debbie

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Ups and Downs

This past week there was sickness in the Wunderli household.  Joshua was laid out for a few days with a flu/cold bug that seems to be going around school.  He was pretty miserable over the weekend and into the beginning of the week but was able to go back to school yesterday.  He seemed to cope fine.  It appears that Zara has the start of it but hopefully it won't be as bad as Joshua.  Simon and I are hoping that we don't catch it at all.

My love of dentists is not very high (nothing personal if you are a dentist and reading this) and so with having a couple of old fillings removed, running around getting x-rays done and then having to get one of my wisdom teeth out  this morning I am now hoping for some breathing space from the dentist chair. |However, I  have to say that my experience in Australia has been a good one and God was kind in that the dentist was actually from Scotland so there was a rapport right from the start.

I am leaving the good news till last though.  While I was in the dentist chair having my wisdom tooth plucked out Simon was sitting another exam.  This time it was his flight instructor one and he passed. He has a practical to do at some point and then that should be it for a while.  He was on a course all last week and now has assignments to complete.  He is just over halfway through with a few more long days of studying ahead but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We give thanks to all of you who continue to cover us in prayer.  As we have said before it has been quite the rollercoaster ride before we came to Australia and since we have been here.  However God has been faithful and so we take each day as it comes.  The verse below sums it up well.

Philippians 4:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)

I can do all things (which He has called me to do) through Him who strengthens and empowers me (to fulfill His purpose - I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Sunday afternoon

What do you do on a Sunday afternoon when you are tired of unpacking boxes and organising?  Well you take to the beach and try your hand at fishing.  I think the fish knew we were amateurs so stayed clear but one day we will get a bite on our line.

A lovely afternoon at Holloways Beach
Did I catch a fish....no not this time!
Try try again.....

We have a home not just a house

After packing up our home in Uganda almost 4 months ago we have finally received our belongings. Our house definitely feels more like home now and it didn't take Zara long to make her bedroom how she likes it.

We did come across some things that were meant to stay in Uganda or be thrown out but the packers were very enthusiastic and we didn't catch them in time.  However, it was only small things so "no dramas" as they say here.

Thank to all of you who prayed that we would see our things on the other side of the world.  So far we haven't found anything that was broken in transit or lost so that is amazing.

Our belongings really made it
The unwrapping begins

Now where to put everything???

Time to put the shelves together...

One happy girl...bear survived the trip!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


I dropped Simon off at the airport for his exam this morning at 8:30am.  The exam was 40 questions and 3.5 hours long.   After hours of study he came out the exam with a 90%.  Lots of joy in our house tonight.  Another hurdle cleared and off to face the next one.  Thanks to those of you who keep praying for us.  The last few months have been seriously crazy but we are learning to take one challenge at a time or trying to.

Tomorrow morning our shipment arrives from Brisbane.  It will be funny to have a sofa again to sit on, beds to sleep in, a dining room table to eat from, washing machine and all the other things we packed 4 months ago.  Having said that I will miss my frequent trips to Tree Tops (Guesthouse where we first stayed on arriving in Australia) to do our laundry and have theological discussions over folding clothes or learning about someones experience of living in the bush in PNG.  Might need to find some excuse to make a visit once in a while.  J and Z are also going to miss swimming in the pool too!!!

Joshua and Zara had their swimming gala today at school.  Zara got first place in her two races and Joshua came second.  Their house - "Crocs" won the gala so they were excited to share the news when they returned from school.

We were also looking at moving house but this has not worked out.  After various conversations with a property agent, migrant specialist, lawyer and others it looks like it will be better, for now, to stay where we are until we upgrade our visa status.  That will take just under a year to process.  We are still rejoicing in getting our 457 visa so the 187 will just need to wait for a bit.

I will post some photos of our shipment when it arrives.  Hopefully all in one piece.  It is going to feel a lot like Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Thankful for a breakfast bar

We are thankful for this breakfast bar.  This is a multi purpose unit.  It is where the meals get made, the homework gets done and the flight planning happens for the following days flight. 

Tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd) is Simon's next flight exam.  We are praying that he passes the first time although he has been warned this is the most difficult of them all and that it is not unusual to fail the first time.  Tomorrow we will know.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Woohoo we have our visa

After an interesting few months of gathering information for our visa application and trying to figure out the system a surprising miracle happened.  Our visa application was finally applied for last week and yesterday we got an email and a phone call to say that it was already accepted.  To say we were surprised was an understatement.  We were told it could take anywhere from 8-12 weeks to be processed.

This means that we now have a 4 year temporary permanent visa for living in Australia.  We will need to apply for another visa so that it is more permanent but all in due time.  Need to rejoice in making it this far first.  (haha).

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and asking how we are doing.  Your prayers were answered and it is a huge relief to have jumped that hurdle.

Now for the next one......

Friday, 10 February 2017

Quick update

It has been busy last few weeks with lots of comings and goings.  Simon is finishing up his third week of his standardistion course with one more week to go.  He has enjoyed all the flying and also getting to fly another aircraft.  So lots to learn but thankful for his flying experience these last years in MAF Uganda.

There are more courses for him to do as well as exams coming up so there is never a dull moment.  I am sure he would value your prayers that we he would retain the information well and continue to adjust to the newness of everything.

This week he and another pilot were supposed to flying into a specific airstrip only to find that there were termite hills on the runway.  They returned to Mareeba and then drove to the airstrip where they knocked them all down and made the airstrip useable again.  Not too far from his days in Africa.  It was good for the other pilot who hasn't served in a programme before to see what could be coming his way.  The joys of bush flying.

Joshua and Zara are settling into school.  They have made friends and adjusting to a new school culture and all that comes with it.  They are enjoying the experience and come back positive at the end of each day which is a real answer to prayer.  They always seem to have a lot of homework so takes a bit of time to get their head around that especially after enjoying all the long holidays recently.

They are involved in a Youth Group on a Friday night and have a lot of fun there.  There are usually between 80 and 100 kids so plenty of options for friends.

My days are also not boring.  (haha).  Finding my role within MAF and outside MAF takes time but God has a plan so I am not worried.  I have started studying again in the area of coaching.  This will add to what what I was doing in Uganda with Member Care.  It is an online course here in Australia so I can take it at my own pace which is helpful.  We will see where this all leads to.  I have also been having helpful conversations with different people as to the needs around so lots of things to process.

Our shipment from Uganda with all our belongings is in Brisbane and so hopefully will head north soon.  Friends of ours that were also leaving Uganda around the same time shared our container. Their belongings need to go onto New Zealand and ours needs to get to Cairns.  It all takes time logistically to make everything happen.  So we continue to play the waiting game.

Some good news is that our visa application for a more permanent status went in this week.  It should take around 8 weeks to process or longer depending on how it goes.  Thankfully once our visitors visa runs out we will be put on a bridging visa so we won't have to leave the country and then come back in again.  It has been quite the process but we are moving ahead one step at a time.

Well that is just a wee glimpse into what we are up to right now.  Thanks to all of you for your faithful commitment to pray for us.  It is working and we appreciate it.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

It's time for school

Joshua and Zara started their new school on Monday.  So far they are enjoying the experience and making some friends.  They seem to be taking all the newness in their stride as they figure out how it all works.  Thanks to all of you who have been praying for them.  God has been preparing the way and we are grateful.

Yesterday Joshua came home with some Maths homework.  I took one look at it and said if you have any questions then ask your Dad because I have no idea.  Thankfully he didn't need much help at all and he taught me a thing or two.

Zara is loving her drama class and art class.  She had a lot of joy when she explained what they were doing.  I wonder who she took the love of drama from....it sure wasn't me.  (haha)  She is also studying Japanese so we might have some fun with that.

Zara is in her PE kit and Joshua in his "normal" uniform

Zara in her "normal" uniform and Joshua in PE kit.  The challenge is no sandals and they need to wear closed shoes.  I wonder if its because we live in Jurassic Park (haha).  Something these "African kids" will need to get used to.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

"No Dramas", "Too Easy" and "No Worries"

The phrases "No Dramas", "Too Easy" and "No Worries" are common sayings we hear on a regular basis down here in Queensland.  After thanking someone for assistance for their help to buy shoes, or getting our car fixed, or needing help to find something in a shop the response is often one of the above phrases. 

I would love to say that our transition to Australia has been "No Dramas", "Too Easy" and "No Worries" but the reality when you cross continents to set up a new home in a new country it can be a challenge.  I am not saying it has been all bad, not at all, just that it can be a challenge.

This is the 5th country that Simon and I have lived in and although you can anticipate a lot of things you still need to walk through them and figure things out.  When you move to another English speaking country you think that things will be familiar and similar but that is not always the case.  Our time in America showed us that and so we were more prepared for it when we came to Australia.  One nice thing is that until we open our mouth no one really knows we are not Australian (haha).  The other week we were at a market wandering through all the stalls.  Joshua turned to us and said isn't it nice to walk through and people don't harass you to buy things or call you mzungu (white foreigner).  On the other hand the temperatures in Uganda were much more manageable than here in Cairns.  Thankfully there is not a shortage of water as we regularly have two showers a day just to cool off.  We are adjusting to that and other things like the Jurassic size bugs and beasties that we encounter along the way.  I took the kids swimming at a different creek the other week.  In the car park just at the entry way into the forest was a sign saying "watch out for the stinging trees".  So if the bugs don't get you the trees will.  It sure made me smile!  It was another Jurassic Park moment.

We had a good meeting with the Principal at Joshua and Zara's new school last week and are excited about this opportunity for them.  They are looking forward to going to school and making new friends.  Another blessing was that we found a house not far from school which means they can cycle there and back which gives them a bit of freedom.

Simon is continuing to study for more exams which has been a test in patience and perseverance at times.  He also has a busy two weeks coming up as he starts a course.  Pray for a beneficial time for him and clarity of thought.

We are currently still on a visitors visa which runs out in a month.  The upgrade to the more permanent visa has been fraught with a few challenges.  The visa company requires a bit more paperwork from us which we can only get from Switzerland.  This all takes time. The process usually takes 10 weeks for the visa to be processed so the likelihood of us getting it before we have to leave the country will be nothing short of a miracle.  However, God is still in the business of doing miracles so we will see what happens.  Otherwise we fly off to some exotic island somewhere to reinstate the vistors visa (haha).

God reminded me this week in John 14:27 that He has already given us His peace and so we need to walk in that.  Even if there are "dramas and worries" blowing all around we can live at peace and trust God with it all, one step at a time.  The problems come when we try and do it in our own strength.  Thankful for this experience that makes us rely on Him more.

Thanks to all of you who continue to intercede for us.  We are grateful!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Happy New Year from "Jurassic Park"

Since arriving in Australia we have experienced so many things that it is difficult to put it all into words or even photos but below are a few photos to keep you going.

We have some praises and prayer needs which are located to the right of this post.  Thanks for interceding for us!!

Happy New Year from Cairns Esplanade

Our first New Year in Aussie and its 9pm and still 30+ degrees.

Managed to get Joshua out the water for a photo, Zara's priority was swimming.

A view from one of the hills surrounding Cairns.

The view from Tree Tops Guesthouse where we stayed for a month.

Lake Morris, a reservoir that feeds Cairns

Joshua and Zara at Lake Morris, it was one hot day!
Zara enjoying the beach and the ocean.  It is jelly fish season (stingers) and so only specific areas that are cordoned off are safe to swim in.  These wee jellies and not so wee jellies are not to be messed with.

Zara feeding the turtles at a local campsite. 
She wasn't impressed that the fish were eating most of the food.

Visited a wildlife park and this feathery friend was at the entrance to welcome us.

Watch out for the crocs and the stingers!!!  Didn't I tell you that we now live in Jurassic Park (haha)

Don't want to get in a fight with this monster!

 Somebody has his beady eye on you.....

It is feeding time and chicken was on the menu

A Cassowary Bird.  It is BIG!!!
 These little cuties only wake up long enough to eat and then they are a back to sleep again. 
What a life!!!