Ongs in Malawi



"I scared the lions will bite me"

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The glorified picture of mission looked so rosy 10 years ago when Pete and I made decisions to follow God's call and let him use us wherever and whenever. But on this side of  being parents of three beautiful kids. It is much harder than we had anticipated to drop everything and go. We always knew were were going to be leaving with 2-3 Onglets, but now that they are a reality, I'm finding that a lot of my emotional energy surrounding our big move are spent on preparing the kids.

Don't get me wrong. We trust that God will take care of them. We have personally experienced that and know that God loves our kids so much more than we do. But we also understand that we need to exercise godly wisdom in preparing the kids adequately for the big move. We are so aware that it is OUR choice to go, not theirs.  We feel that it is important that they feel a part of it too (thus the kids website).

TEAGHAN our 5 year old is a sensitive routine kind of girl. We are the most worried about her, being the oldest and most 'knowing'. We've been decluttering a lot and giving away old toys, so much that she had a bad dream recently that we had given away her much loved baby sister Caya. :( She has a few friends here and will miss them when she moves. She also has a dairy allergy so will find it a challenge not to have her favourite soy items available. However, it's been so amazing to see the way she has handled a few big changes in the past few months and really maturing through them. We thank God for these glimpses of reassurance.

LUCAS our 3 year old is an easy going little guy. He is outgoing but has lately been feeling very insecure and clingy. He is resisting anything that is new - places, people, preschool, food, etc. He recently told us that he's worried about going to Malawi because he was scared that the lions might bite him! :( He's reverting to sucking his thumb a lot more now. Thank God that he is very good at expressing ihs feelings and so will tell us when he's happy or sad.

CAYA our 1 year old is Miss Social Queen and loves interaction. We're not too worried about her since she's so young. She'll grow up a little African! We'll probably worry more for her reverse culture shock when we return on our first Home Assignment in 3 years time.

All three kids love their grandparents and will find it hard to be away from them. I'm sure the grandparents will miss them lots too. Thank God for Skype.

The kids are generally exctied about the Big Move but we would really apprecaite your prayers for them. Please pray for opportunities in the coming weeks for them to open up to us, that they'll find the words they need to articulate their feelings, and that we find the words to reassure them. We have a sign at home that says 'Home'. We bring that with us to each new place we go to. The idea is that it reminds the kids that no matter where they are, as long as we're together as a family, that is where Home is.

Launching the Kids Website!

Posted on November 3, 2011 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (1)

So now that we've been 'appointed', we can finally launch our kids website!!

Been busting to launch it :)

We want the kids to be able to stay in touch with their friends and be excited about living in Africa, so we thought we'd make a blog for them. This way their friends can learn about why we've moved to Africa, stay in touch with our kids, and learn more about God and mission thru it.

If you have kids, one way to support us would be to get your kids involved in praying and keeping in touch with Teaghan, Lucas, and Micaiah :)

So here it is, check it out!

So close we can smell the mandasi's

Posted on September 11, 2011 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (2)

It's been a month since we did our last post...

We're going to try to post an update at least once a month now that preparations are hotting up...

What's been happening?

On the SIM application front, we're thanking God that we've moved a few more steps closer to our destination.

  • We've answered 640+ questions each for our psychometric assessments.
  • All 5 of us have been to our GP for our medical assessments.
  • Pete and I have had our mantoux tests to test for exposure to TB.
  • We've decided on pursuing a Youth Ministry Coordinator role for Pete which he's excited about. This role is also somewhat linked to the children's ministry which I can get involved in once our little family has settled into life in our new home.
  • We've enrolled the kids into international schools there. Even though we're not officially appointed yet, we went ahead with enrolments so as not to miss out on a place. We've got their names down at two schools at the moment (the only two British international schools in the town we'll be going to) and will make a final decision a bit later. Teaghan will be going into the British Year 1 (kindy equivalent), and Lucas into Nursery.
What's next?
  • Blood tests for me and all three kids.
  • Psychometric interview (29th September)

... after that we hope to be officially appointed by Nov 2011 so we can start raising support to go! How exciting!!

Teaghan and Lucas will also need Mantoux tests done (which involves a needle and injecting a substance under the skin which they're not allowed to scratch or cover with a bandaid), but they can get this done after we're appointed. Not looking forward to that one!!

Our plans are to leave beginning of July 2012 to give ourselves a couple of months to find a house and car, etc, and then another month to settle in before the kids start school in Sept.

Preparing the kids

Everything seemed so straight forward when we made our initial commitments to God as two singles for Him to use us wherever and whenever. Everything seemed to much more straight forward without kids.

On this side of things, a lot of our preparation are centered around the kids. Preparing the kids (especially Teaghan who does not like change) emotionally to go. Preparing them to move away from people, places, and things that are close to their little hearts. We know that God will look after them and that they will have an amazing time there, but nonetheless there are things we can do now to help make this transition as smooth as possible for them.

We have begun a 'program' to prepare Teaghan and Lucas, which includes lessons on:
  • Our God who loves us and who made us and our family (to help them feel secure in knowing that God and our little family will not change).
  • Parts of our world (moving the another 'country' is a hard concept to explain to under 5s when they hardly know what a country is!)
  • Our emotions (to equip them with words to express their feelings when they go thru all the changes in 2012)
  • God' blessings of friends (that he has given us friends here who we'll miss terribly, but he will also give us new friends in our new home)
  • Moving to another country
  • What is Malawi like?
We're also working on a website/blog for the kids (much like this one), where they can get excited about keeping in touch with their friends and where their friends can learn about what missions is all about as well as about the Malawian culture. We'll be launching this website once we're appointed so watch this space!

Micaiah will still be too young to be affected much, but could you please join us in praying for Teaghan and Lucas that they'll adjust well to the changes ahead? Especially for Teaghan who has already started saying that she'll miss her friends and still gets teary over missing our cat Moonbie who we had to give away 8 months ago to move to college. 

~ Jo

PS. Mandasi's are African doughnuts :)

It's a girl!

Posted on June 8, 2011 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (1)

It's been a while since we've posted an update. We've been a little preoccupied with a few things!

Pete survived his first lot of assignments at the end of April, with the big driving factor being the coming birth of Baby #3 in early May. With God's help, he managed to take care of a heavily pregnant wife and 2 kids, plus get in his three assignments with the last one handed on the morning of the birth of Baby #3!

Which brings me to our next big news -  Baby #3!

We welcomed a beautiful baby girl Micaiah (Mi-kay-uh) Joy into our lives at 9:15pm on 5th May, weighing in at 3.5kg and 49cm. Teaghan was very excited to have received the baby sister she asked God for, her first words when meeting Micaiah for the first time was: "It's a girl!! God listened to me!!". Lucas is a doting big brother and just loves giving 'Daya' (He calls her Caiah but can't say his 'C's properly) pats and kisses. We have all fallen totally in love with this new little bundle! Micaiah is slowly settling into life on the outside and has been putting a lot of effort into making herself heard above the chaos her brother and sister create (translation: she screams all day and doesn't like to sleep).

In the past month since Micaiah's arrival, Pete has handed in another 2 assignments and is busy preparing for 2 exams and another assigment all happening in the these couple of weeks. We are finding it a struggle to balance the demands of being parents to 3 kids, running a household, and ensuring that Pete has sufficient time to complete college assessment tasks. We are all exhausted and looking forward to college holidays in a couple of weeks' time!

~ Jo

The first of many goodbyes

Posted on January 4, 2011 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday we got the first real taste of giving up something precious for our journey ahead.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our beloved family pet - Moonbie the cat.

We had to give her away as we cannot take her to our rental house at Morling, or to Africa when we leave the year after.

Thank you God

We are continually in awe of how God takes care of us  in small steps through things like these. In His perfect timing, he has provided for Moonbie a wonderful new home with a lady who lost her own beloved cat a year ago. Without her, Moonbie would surely be going to either the RSPCA or the Cat Protection Society where she'll probably live in a caged pen until...who knows? We are so happy knowing that Moonbie will be well loved and pampered at her new home.

Packing Moonbie's things to go to her new home

Unpacking Moonbie's possessions at her new place

Moonbie exploring her new home

For those of you who love pets, you'll understand how hard it is to say goodbye to a furry member of your family. For those of you who aren't pet people, I'm sure you can imagine how hard it is to say goodbye to any beloved thing - especially an animal that you've loved, nurtured, fed, and included as part of the family for many years.

Early days with Moonbie

We brought Moonbie home 5 years ago as a 6 week old kitten before we had kids. So she was a little like our 'first child'. I even had photos of her in the delivery suit as I was pushing Teaghan out into the world! 

Moonbie has been with us as we've moved into our own place, then later as we welcomed the two kids into our world.

Moonbie has slept on our bed since the day we brought her home. She was great with the kids and never attacked them even when they pulled her tail and yanked her fur. But all I had to do was walk pass and I'll get a flying cat momentarily attach itself to my leg, leaving me with bloody scratch marks! Pete never got attacked because he was the provider of her food and clean litter box.

Emotional goodbyes

It was an emotional time for us as a family as we settled Moonbie into her new home, with the two of us adults trying not to lose it and the kids at first seemingly unaware of what it meant to "take Moonbie to her new home"... that is until halfway through dinner that night, when I mentioned that Moonbie wasn't coming back and reality finally dropped on Teaghan like the flying cat attaching itself to my leg. It came suddenly, it clung on, and it hurt. Poor Teaghy sobbed and sobbed as she wailed: "Moooonbie!! I WANT MOONBIE!!!!". Going upstairs for bath time brought on more tears, as the kids' usual daily routine before bath was to scout out Moonbie (who would usually be sleeping happily on our bed) and squeal at her until she hid under the bed.

Daddy read Teaghy one of her fav stories on our first night without Moonbie. I found a grey soft toy cat while we were clearing our stuff, which Teaghy took to bed with her.

On top of our own sadness in losing Moonbie, it was heartbreaking for us as parents to watch our little girl experience her first real taste of losing  a loved one. We couldn't help but think how much harder it would be for them to say goodbye to much-loved family and friends when we actually leave for Africa. Thankfully, Lucas is too young to really understand. He knows Moonbie's gone - for once he didn't go looking for her before bath time, but he seems to be handling it quite well otherwise.

Fuel for the journey ahead

We're learning a lot about missions through this... that there's a lot more to missions than raising money followed by a simple plane trip overseas to share the Gospel. There's a lot of seemingly 'non-spiritual' aspects that some dismiss as almost 'non-prayer-worthy', but all of which God uses to teach us about his awesome self and how he's interested in even the small things. It is through these 'small' things that God uses to constantly reassure us that he cares for us and will continue to care for us through our journey.

Saturday will see us say goodbye to a lot of our stuff at our garage sale....

Next week will see us say goodbye to our townhouse and neighbours... 

Goodbyes are never easy, but maybe we'll get used to this?

Trusting in God's strength for this leg of the emotional journey.

~ Jo

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