|Us girls with an American in one of the museums!|
I'm really lost for words in describing the church here. I don't want to just say that we are blessed as that is something you are 'supposed' to say (all of us indeed!) but I would like to share with you some of our real life experiences. In a way I'm reluctant to share some of our 'blessings' with us as I know some of you face or have faced real hardships, difficulties and/or are going through a tough time in your life. I'm sorry for that and be assured that we do keep you (both generally and specifically) in our prayers. Secondly I'm hesitant to share some of our 'blessings' with you because we're not special by any means, or better than anyone else, in fact I'm quite sinful and so are my girls! We are so undeserving. So my plea to you as you read this, pray for our continued humility and also pray for the people that are blessing us, we can't 'repay' them but God who knows ALL things blesses those who bless others! I'll share with you some of our blessings but also some 'funny' stories with regard to us being sinful!
It has become rare for us to be at home at dinner time. People here seemed to 'want' to have us for dinner and get to know us better. I know that in Wanganui we (Albert and I) used to joke that if we wanted to have people for dinner on Sunday after church we would have to arrange it before Sunday or approach the visitor as soon as they came in 'sight' of the church otherwise other families would 'beat' us too it! What an AWESOME problem to have :). So I thought I knew about hospitality until we came to Pompton Plains! I'm lost for words, really as we have been invited to so many peoples homes and are spoiled. It is a very humbling experience when you know that even though I would love to show hospitality in return, I'm unable to do so. (time restraints, money). As Albert's sister Raewyn says: "You've just got to accept the ------------ (fill in the blessing) from the Lord". I so agree. If you don't practice hospitality, let me challenge you to do so, even if it is dry bread and water!
I know I know, he's is my husband but that is completely irrelevant here. The church people are so grateful that he is preaching the "WORD" to them, visiting them and are encouraged by his Kiwi "can do" attitude. It is encouraging to us to again be affirmed by the Lord that this is the path he has chosen for us at this stage in life. We feel that we should be grateful to Pompton Plains for paying us to allow Albert to 'practice' what he has learned in seminary on the church! The church members are also very appreciative of the many hours he spends visiting (four people have died since he came) writing sermons and leading bible study. The truth is that he really enjoys it and that we see more of him here than we did when he is in seminary! So to all who have/are praying for Albert and his ministry, thank you. Albert or us for that matter are no more special or deserving than anybody else. Image if there were no builders electricians/ cooks (fill in the blank), Albert wouldn't have anywhere to live and would go hungry :)!
We are so humbled by peoples generosity in so many ways. Leftovers from funerals, cadet camp, baptism, to the people/individuals/churches at home that support us, we think of you with every dollar we spend. Of course in a healthy way and we do enjoy occasional icecreams, homeschooling history trips, chocolate but all within the means provided! It is such a weight of our shoulders to not have to worry where our next dollar is going to come from. THANK YOU! It has changed our view on generosity and hopefully when we are able to 'save' again, to be able to help out where it is needed.
Pompton Plains have also been extremely generous financially. They have been willing to work us with us to make sure that all our bills/expenses are being covered! The exciting aspect of this is that Albert is 'working' and he is fully supporting us through the summer months!
Our local YMCA offers a free membership for pastors. We weren't sure at first whether this was for 'real' and rang them and asked about the details. All we had to do was get a letter from the church to say that we were here for the summer and then they would give us a FREE family membership for a year!! It's worth about $970. So we've been taking advantage of this and spend about 2-3 times a week exercising. They also have a kids arcade and so while we (Albert and I) are exercising the girls are being looked after at the kids arcade playing games, mostly Wii. Kate and Zara are also having swimming lessons twice a week which is great.
"Funny - or bringing me (and Albert) down a peg or two!"
Late to church. We live next to the church and just to show that I'm a sinful person, I managed to be late for church, not just slipping in when the first started, no after the law was being read. The usher told me that I couldn't 'slip in' quietly but had to wait for the next song. Then the usher led us to about the fifth row from the front and handed me a Psalter hymnal open at the correct hymn! Thankfully the girls were very good as we got settled in the church. Then top it all off, my cellphone (which is connected to the wireless network at the church) beeped to say that I had a new e-mail! Thankfully Albert didn't mention it /or stop the worship services to let me 'in'!
Woman's bible study - We have a lovely woman's bible study that meets twice a month. Quite a few of the ladies attend this on a Thursday morning. It is held at the church and so very convenient for me. On this particular Thursday, Albert had to make a visit while the Woman's bible study was going on. I told the girls that they needed to stay in the Parsonage and that I would be down at the church. The girls had some schoolwork to be done and I was sure that they would be fine. That morning it was hot and it rained. Half way during our bible study I looked through the church hall window. I saw the girls in their togs (swimsuits for the non-kiwis) playing the rain. I immediately left the bible study to have a word or two to the girls about disobeying my orders. I had told them to stay inside partly so that I knew where they were and partly so that I knew that they were safe as neither Albert or I were home. Once I returned to the biblestudy, the ladies thought the incident was VERY funny. I told them that I had thought since the girls were now seminary girls that sin would be a thing of the past, I was wrong! ;).
Treadmill - As I mentioned above Albert and I are able to excercise together. Not sure if this qualifies as a date but I'll take it! Since I had only run on a treadmill once before I was pretty careful at first. Once I got the 'hang' of it, I upped my speed to 8km an hour. Not fast and I wasn't unhappy with this pace as I hadn't run for a long time. Albert told me later on what went on in his head running on a treadmill next to mine. Unbeknownst to him I had changed my 'unit' of measure to KM instead of miles. As Albert is competitive, he looked over to my treadmill to see what my speed was. He saw that I was running at 8 Miles (when in reality I was running at 8km) and since he wasn't, thought that he better increase his speed! He told me afterwards that I did really well running 8 Miles per hour. I told him that I had changed the setting to KM! Joke is on him and the funny thing was that I wasn't even trying to play a trick on him, his competitiveness got the better of him! (8 Miles is 12.8 km/hr so quite a difference!) (He also knows full well that running is his strong point and unless something miraculous happens I would never be able to beat him!)
(Just another point re the treadmill completely unrelated but why oh why do they need to have the TV onto a food channel with subtitles so even when you haven't got your headphones tuned into the food channel you can still read it? Isn't that kind of cruel, when you are trying to get fitter and loose weight? and it is close to dinner time?)