Ongs in Malawi

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Makki Diary 11-01-2002

Posted on October 12, 2009 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been good being reminded again of what I learnt those many years ago. It still holds true today.

 

~Pete

 

Photo: Gilbert (Owl) & Naretae (Dog)

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Friday 11 Jan 02

Didn’t sleep very well last night. Wasn’t able to get to sleep until the early morning…kept being woken up by noises outside. It must have been Bryon (pet African Civet) and Naretae (Pet dog) having a go at each other again…

 

The Geddes left yesterday for Jinka and they’ll be heading to Aber Minch today. It rained in the early morning… hope their 4WD don’t get bogged down on the way there!

 

Jon left me with a list of things I could do while they are away. I’m not too sure how to approach things at the moment. Need much wisdom to know which things are important to do first and how to relate with the Mursi. Had a good time of fellowship with Thomas last night over dinner. It was good to have a chat with him and find out abit more about him.

Got a radio message from Jo this morning. She says she had a good birthday… her front door was decorated… her hair got plaited like that of an African’s! And her mum called to say “Happy Birthday”. Miss Jo very much… hope to see her soon.

 

Have been reading about the sovereignty of God in Chuck Swindoll’s book. I’m finding it a very appropriate book to read at this time... being alone in the Geddes’ place… being a stranger in a strange place, not knowing the language nor the culture very well is very humbling indeed. I am at the mercy of God! I too need to acknowledge God’s sovereign rule and right over my life. Until I do, I will never feel at peace in my heart and mind. God's sovereignty is indeed unfathomable! He works in ways that we cannot fully understand. For myself, I need to keep asking God to take control of my life and to surrender everything to Him no matter what the cost. It is one thing to know it in theory but another to actually do it or know how to do it....There is no need to fear the uncertainties when you surrender every aspect of your life to God, trusting His sovereignty and faithfulness. I need to take God at His word that what He has in stored for my life is for my good and most of all for His glory!

 

Father, please help me to have an unwavering trust in you… taking you at your word because you have proven to be sovereign and faithful. Give me the peace of heart and mind that comes from fully trusting you. Amen!

The Road Ahead

Posted on October 12, 2009 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

As Jo has already mentioned, last Friday (9th October 2009), we went into SIM to discuss the process for becoming long term members of SIM and some possible placement ideas.

 

After our initial discussion with SIM 8yrs ago, enquiring about short-term mission with Steve Turner and Kaye Shooter back at the old SIM office in Kingsgrove, the meeting on Friday was a significant step for us (although it didn't really feel like it as Jo has already explained). It was the first step of the membership process! As Jo has already mentioned in her previous blog entry, this process can take up to 2-3 yrs, so we have commenced at the right time as we had planned to leave for Africa by 2012.

 

So what will the road ahead look like? SIM's application process is as follows:

 

1. Enquiry/Discuss placements

2. Application completed & received by SIM

3. Reference forms sent out & received by SIM

4. CRC Interviews conducted & Reports received

5. SMD/Personnel Director Approval

6. Assessment material sent by Personnel Department

7. Assessments:

a. Doctrinal

b. Personality

c. Medical/Dental

d. Endorsing SIM material

8. Placement finalised

9. Summary of Assessments to State Leadership Team for Interview

10. Appointed

Orientation (SIMCO - 2wks in April) happens between Assessments and production of brochure

11. Production of Brochure/Prayer Card

12. Raising Support Team/Further courses

13. Departure 2-4 yr term

 

We should be getting the application forms and some ideas of placements in the next few weeks.

The plan is to complete the forms by end of 2009, and complete the doctrinal assessments by end of 2010.

 

For myself, 2010 will be my final year of working with the view of doing one year full time study at SMBC in 2011.

 

Things are gaining momentum after a very long build up, but it is all in God's perfect timing!

 

~Pete

Dark Days

Posted on October 9, 2009 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The journey to where we are today in our desire to serve God overseas hasn’t always been an easy road. In fact there have been some dark times along the journey. As Jo and I were recently talking about Reachout 2006 (See previous blog entry) and how that was a milestone for us in our journey, we came to realise that this event came after a period when Jo had gone through some dark times battling what we think might have been depression.

 

This event in lives was not something that I have openly shared before but felt it was important to record as a milestone to serve as a reminder of God’s grace in getting us to where we are today. I remember those days as being the lowest point in our lives, our ministries at church, and certainly it was perhaps the lowest point in Jo’s relationship with God. I remember the times when she questioned her own worth in God’s eyes; she didn't want to go to church even though she had been so actively involved for a number of years; she didn't want to meet with her friends and instead just wanted to be alone. I can remember making excuses to get out of meeting with friends and feeling that I couldn’t tell them what was really going on. We have shed many tears during that time, and it was also perhaps the lowest point in my life so far to see my wife go through what she went through and feeling helpless to do anything about it.

 

The Jo today is a very different Jo to back then, and I praise God for the love and support from dear friends such as Steve and Jan who walked with us through this period and supported us in key decisions that we made. I am also thankful to God for giving her the courage to see a professional counsellor during this time which really helped her in talking through the issues. It was also around this time that we also started attending DBC, which the counselling office was part of.

 

As I reflect back on this period, I remember thinking about our mission plans and what would become of it. I was not optimistic and selfishly felt disappointed. I knew in my heart that the plans to serve God overseas would be parked indefinitely. At that time I had also made the decision to step aside from the church ministries I was involved with at CBC in order to focus my emotional energy in dealing with the circumstances at hand. I had tried to make things work by juggling ministry and Jo’s needs but after some time, I was not getting anywhere with anything. I felt that I could not give adequate attention to both Jo and my ministries and that one had to give. Given Jo’s circumstances, the choice I had to make was clear but it was not personally an easy one to make. The love to serve in the ministries I was involved in was strong but God was teaching me through this that the love for my wife should be stronger. Serving my wife (and family) should always be my primary ministry and everything else second no matter how important I may have thought of my ministry. Back in my uni days, I remember listening to a talk by Josh McDowell and he said something that has stayed with me to this day (and more relevant now that I am married and studying Bible college) He basically said that if you are not loving your wife by looking after her needs then you should not be in ministry or studying Bible College. I guess he was addressing a potential pitfall that all in ministry may face from time to time and that is the elevation of ministry or ministry plans over serving your primary ministry of spouse and children. Of course the wife and kids aren’t just passengers on your ministry but partners! As partners in life and ministry, it was important that Jo and I had the same goals and outlook in life. This dark period in Jo's life was a disjunct in our goals and outlook, so the desire and plans to serve God in missions overseas had to take the back seat while we dealt with the more fundamental issues of our personal relationship with God.

 

The significance of these dark days in relation to Reachout 2006 for us was that it was a realignment of our mission goals and rekindling of our passion to serve God overseas. It was the first step after having parked those ambitions and plans for a number of years to once again bring it to the foreground of our thinking. In light of this, Reachout 2006 was a very significant milestone for us!

 

~ Pete

 

Oh how I remember those 'dark days'. I remember feeling like I was worth nothing in anyone eyes and worst of all - an unimportant speck to God. I also remember questioning my belief in God.

I'm thankful to God for blessing me with Pete. Part of my memories of those days, in the midst of the darkness, was of Pete supporting me thru it. He never once made me feel guilty that I was not where I 'should' be in my walk with God. Never once did he force me to 'step up' in my ministries. Never once did he get upset at me for not wanting to be involved in church activities, though at the same time quietly encouraging me and praying for me. I knew that the thought of our mission plans being put on hold would be on his mind and that he would be disappointed about it, but he never made me feel like I was to blame, but walked beside me all the way. Pete trusted that God will bring about healing in his timing, and that He did! Thru all this, he loved me for who I was, as he vowed to do on our wedding day.

As Pete mentioned above, it wasn't until we talked about the significance of Reachout 2006 the other day, that we realised how God has worked everything according to His perfect timing. We had both initially thought that we made that decision as a couple before/during the dark days and had both wondered how that could be. Then after doing some maths, we realised that it was actually about 9 months down the path of recovery that God again reaffirmed his 'calling' for us, not just as individuals, but as a couple to serve him whenever wherever. This is huge, as I believe that unless if God calls us as a couple to serve overseas, neither of us can coerce the other into going if they do not feel that that was what God wanted them to do. That just wouldn't be loving to each other nor obedient to God. Perhaps what happened was a bit of a 'test' for us?? that if we can survive that as a couple, then we can survive working as a couple overseas?

~Jo

Visit to SIM thru Jo's eyes

Posted on October 9, 2009 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

We visited SIM today to chat with Steve Shooter (NSW director) about our plans. We know Steve from being involved with SIM over the past years, so it wasn't a daunting experience. It wasn't even as huge a thing as one would expect such a meeting to be. Afterall, we were practically there to sign on the dotted line to go serve in Africa! I guess it was because we'd known for the past 9 years that we were going, so this hasn't come out of the blue for us, nor is it a surprise to those who know us. The huge event happened 9 years ago when we first approached SIM about our short term trip to Ethiopia. Back then, it was huge for us and for our families to take that first step.

 

We decided to bring Teaghan and Lucas with us, so they could meet us as a family. The last time we set foot in SIM, we didn't have kids! Symbolically, it was important to us that all four of us were there as we are in this together. Team Ong: two Ongs and two Onglets :o)

 

The whole meeting lasted about 2 hrs, during which time Lucas had a nap in my arms (which he has never done before!) and Teaghan made a mess of the playroom there.

 

 

Teaghan's trail of destruction from the playroom to the meeting room.

 

It was a very informative time, and we had many of our questions answered. Here are some things that we nutted out, as well as things we're still thinking thru...

 

1. God's timing is perfect. Our plan was to be 'on the field' by 2012, in 3 yrs time. Without knowing how long the application process will take, we approached SIM today. We found out that the process will take 2-3 years. So we are at just the right time. We plan to submit our application by the end of this year.

 

2. God wastes nothing. All our experiences, gifts, and skills are coming together to point us to areas in which we can be involved. At this stage, we are excited about the possibility of being involved in training up teachers in Christian schools to teach Christianly and/or training up people to minister to children. Having worked at Pacific Hills, where we were daily encouraged to be Christ to those we teach, this is something that excites me. I can also draw on resources and experiences of those from PHCS to help us in our journey too. Pete is very excited about this as he gets to work with people, which he prefers over engineering related ministry. I had thought he'd want to use his water engineering, but it turns out that he's much more excited about children's ministry possibilities. This works out well as Steve tells us that placements are decided based on the guy, and the wife is generally 'free', as her primary responsibility would be for her kids. So this way, I can still be involved as much as I can, as it is an area I'm passionate about, while still doing what I love - being mum to our little monkeys.

 

3. We did the right thing in buying a home now, and we've been advised not to sell it before we go. This cleared up this part of the puzzle for us, as we were also unsure about housing.

 

4. We've narrowed it down to a part of the African continent - East Africa. It was acceptable for me to say NOT Ethiopia, as having been there, I didn't feel drawn to return. I couldn't stomach the local food and just generally didn't feel at home there. I felt 'at home' when we were in Kenya in 2005/6.

 

5. We can take a 2-3 week 'survey trip', once a placement has been decided. This will help us prepare ourselves to work there long term, as well as preparing Pete's parents in getting them used to the idea of us going. We haven't budgetted for this in our 3 year plan, but I'm sure God will make a way if he too thinks this is a good idea. We'd love to visit our conuntries of birth (Hong Kong and Singapore) before we go to Africa, but at this stage with the survey trip in mind, it is highly unlikely that we can afford it. Poo. Double poo.

 

6. There's a 'doctrinal test' somewhere in the process. I'm a bit worried about this. I feel as though I've just wandered back from the wildreness, as Pete put it. What if I fail??!! Gosh I need to really get back into reading the Bible regularly. Is it wrong to want to read the Bible just so I can pass this test??!! I should be wanting to read it for personal growth... Eeek, sometimes I feel like maybe I'm not 'holy' enough to serve overseas where I need to be really strong spiritually to fight off Satan's attacks. He already knows I'm good target, having gotten me once! I need to 'stock up' on holiness before we head off!!

 

7. Third child. Should we have another one? If so, when? It not, then will we live to regret it? Should we alter our original family plans for our ministry plans? We can delay missions for a year or 2, but once we miss the time frame to have one more, we can't go back!

 

Oh so much to process!! Sometimes I find myself thinking, oh gosh this is all so real now! and the reality hits, esp when we do things that I know we'll miss when we're overseas, like visiting my mum. At those times, I think: I don't know if I want to go anymore!! I guess that's all part of the sacrifices we make.

 

At the end of our meeting yesterday, Steve prayed that "If it is God's plan that we stay in Australia, then may there be such blockages in the way that it will be very clear to us. And if it is indeed God's plan for us to go, then may He open door after door for us."

 

And to that, I say amen!

To Live is Christ

Posted on October 4, 2009 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Really liked the lyrics of this song that we sung at church today.

 

To live is Christ

 

I make a vow

My life will always honour you

Whether I live or die

 

I belong to Him

He bore my sin

I owe this life to my saving King

 

Hallelujah, I´m not my own

You´re in control

Hallelujah

 

For me to live is Christ

And to die is gain

No matter what price i pay

I choose to give this life away

 

Only by the Cross I´m saved