Ongs in Malawi



October Update

Posted on October 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Pete here writing a quick update for the Ongs. You know its me when I give my blog entries boring titles unlike my other better creative half! :)


We are over the half-way mark in Semester 2! Enjoying abit of college holidays at the moment after completing my Intensive Subject on 'Organic Leadership Development' last week. And thanks to my awesome wife who looked after the kids during this crazy week (especially with a cranky Lucas who was recovering from hand-foot-and-mouth) and now herself is recovering from mastitis! Jo's selflessness gave me a good week to reflect on what God has been doing in my life and how He has been shaping me to serve Him. I was reminded through Terry Walling that 'personal transformation precedes any corporate transformation,'   and that we 'minister out of who we are' (Robert Clinton). Allowing God to break and shape us is so crucial for effective ministry, not flashy forms and methods. This has tied in really nicely with what I have been learning in my 2 Corinthians subject about how the Apostle Paul ministered through his suffering and weakness, for God's power was made perfect in them, and His grace shown all sufficient through them. A great reminder that my life and ministry must also be 'cross-shaped'.


Some prayer points below:

  • Give thanks for the ongoing prayer and financial support from friends and family as we continue to study at Morling College in preparation for long-term cross-cultural mission. We continue to marvel at God’s gracious generosity through the lives of His people. Praise God that we can partner with Him and with one another in His work of bringing the nations back to Himself.
  • Give thanks for the successful completion of the SIM Doctrinal assessment in August, and the psychometric assessment in Sept. Please pray as we undergo a few suggested counselling sessions to work through some areas of growth to enable us to minister effectively when we are in Malawi. This leaves the Health assessment as the final assessment to be completed, which will be followed by an Interview with the SIM NSW Leadership Team. Please pray especially for the kids as they get their blood tests done as part of the health assessment, that it would not be too traumatic for them!
  • Please pray for God’s leading as we hope to be appointed by SIM by end of November, which will leave us about 8 months for support raising. If in God’s will, we plan to leave for Malawi at the beginning of July 2012. Pete has been in discussions with the field about the Youth Ministry Coordinator role that he is pursuing there, which involves serving the African Evangelical Church in discipleship and leadership development.
  • Give thanks for Pete’s completion of his Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies last semester (after studying 3yrs part-time and 1 full semester this year!). Please pray that as he commences his Masters of Arts in Christian Studies in semester 2 that it would serve to prepare him and Jo for life and ministry in Malawi. He is currently planning an ethnographic study on Malawi Youth Culture as part of his final year project. Please pray for a smooth approvals process.
  • Continue to be in prayer for Jo as she looks after the kids in the midst of busy college life and running cake decorating workshops in the upcoming months.

~ Pete

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

March 2011 Update

Posted on March 27, 2011 at 7:22 AM Comments comments (1)

Just thought I would take the opportunity to provide a brief update on what's been happening at our end. I can't believe that its been over two months already since we moved onto College. This week is 'Week 7' of lectures already and half way through the semester!


Life is going at a crazy speed for us and at times it does feel abit overwhelming especially as we prepare for Baby#3 due in just over a month! Jo and I were reflecting a few days ago that we haven't really given much thought to the birth of Baby #3! Everything else seems to have pre-occupied us! Would appreciate prayer as we prepare to become a family of five!


Here are some things coming up for us in April: Jo's cake entries for the Easter Show (due 1st April) - she has been working hard on her masterpieces! Be sure to check them out if you are going to the Show! Jo will also be starting her doctrinal assessment around this time as part of our SIM application. It takes on average about 30-40hrs to complete! I'll be doing mine abit later on as I have too many essays to write at the moment! I will be busying myself with these assignments which are due around the same time as the baby's birth! Great timing I know!  College Partnership Mission is also coming up too (April 6 - 10). The team I'm part of will be helping out at Hornsby Heights Baptist Church, and I have drawn the short straw to preach that Sunday! Please pray for the team that we would be effective in the short time we are there, and that we would be an encouragement to the church and the community there!


If you have not already and would like to, you can subscribe online to receive our monthly updates via this website. For specific updated prayer points, please refer to the tab "Prayer Points". I just updated some!


Gotta go! Til next time.


We're HOME!

Posted on February 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (1)

So we’ve been living on campus here at Morling for a month now. How time flies!


We have more or less finished unpacking and feeling more at home now in our ‘Rainbow House’.

Our homely lounge/dining area

Our green kitchen 

So how are we all settling in?



Well, Pete had his orientation week last week and is feeling a bit more prepared for when college starts next week. He enjoyed meeting with other fellow students at the orientation camp and being challenged by God’s word. He has finally finished unpacking his study upstairs (which is no easy task with 2 kids and a sore pregnant wife always needing him to do stuff around the house!).



I never thought I’d say this... but I’m starting to love living here!!

I’m enjoying getting to know the other mums here on campus and to know that we’re all in the same boat. I’m encouraged by their servant hearts – in interacting with others, as well as taking care of their families while their husbands study. It’s great to be able to pop out the front door for a chat with other mums while the kids have their afternoon rest.

And I love Thurs $10 feed the family roast night at the college dining hall!!



The kids are loving it here and would play outside all day long if we let them. Our backyard is small but it doesn’t matter since the kids prefer to play in the giant playground out the front.


Teaghan loves playing her little girl friends here, especially the little girl next door who is just a week younger than her. Their favourite past times include going into Teaghan’s room and putting on make-up. It’s hard not to laugh when three little girls come down the stairs with self-applied make up all over their faces! Teaghan is also settling in well at her new preschool.


Lucas just loves being surrounded by people. He loves giving people leg-cuddles and especially loves (sometimes a little too much!) the 1 year old boy from next door. He also enjoys pushing wheelie toys around with the other little boys his age. Often we would find him staring out the front window either watching for cars or seeing what the other kids are up to.



God has been good in helping us settle so quickly. We’d anticipated that it would take a bit longer to feel at home here so are both amazed at how we’re feeling. Having lovely neighbours help! We both agreed that it would be a little strange to move back to ‘normal’ non-community living now!


One thing we’re learning about living in community is that you need to learn not only to give but to take. Which seems to be one of the lessons God is teaching us as we prepare to head off on missions next year.


We’re learning that to be in a Christian community means that you need to have the humility to accept help when offered. Often we can be too proud to accept help from others, and in turn from God. This can be simply accepting a babysitting offer, to having people come and clean, to accepting a meal. We have felt tremendously blessed through the generosity of our Christian brothers and sisters – here at Morling, as well as those from our home church Dural Baptist, and other Christian friends. Just in the past month, we have experienced God’s goodness in so many ways that at times had us in tears as we’ve stood speechless before Him in thankfulness.



As you know, we have nicknamed our colourful house the ‘Rainbow House’ – for God keeps his promises. Not promises to give us whatever we want, but promises to give us whatever is best for us, and promises to be with us thru thick and thin. We have this plaque in our home that we feel sums this up really well:


First of many hellos

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

So... we’ve made the move into the "Rainbow House' at Morling.


As I sit here at the computer and watch an unidentified bug crawl across my computer desk. I have to remind myself that this place is indeed a blessing from God. In our family devotions a few nights after we moved in, we read about when God gave the Israelites manna – what a timely reminder to be thankful.


Having said that, whilst we are continually thankful for God’s awesome blessing of this house, we are finding that it still takes some time to adjust to this new change - physically, emotionally, and socially. The physical move is done, keys of our old place handed over to the new tenants, but it will be a while yet before we’re ‘home’ here. We’ve moved, now we’re just waiting for our hearts to do the same. We’re getting there. It’s feeling less like we’re on camp now...


As mentioned in a previous entry, we’ve found this move to be very different to any other move we’ve made in the past. A lot of friends our age are upsizing or upgrading their home at this stage of life. I can still remember the excitement of moving into our own place 5 years ago from a rental property, we were 5 months pregnant with Teaghan and couldn’t wait to say goodbye to the old place and make our nest in the new house. But this time, it’s a little different.


Even though we had always known that we wouldn’t be at our own place for long, with our plans for missions, still we settled with long term home-making in mind. I guess, after all, that is the place we will return to when we’re home on furlough in the future. That is the place that will serve as our Australian ‘home’.


It was hard saying goodbye to our own place, a place where we set up home and began our journey as parents. It was hard to say goodbye to a neighbourhood that I have grown to love and neighbours we have gotten to know.


In return, here I am in a neighbourhood I don’t know. I ventured out to the local shopping centre a few days after we moved in, and drove right through the boom gate at the entrance without getting a ticket! Luckily the boom gate didn’t come down on me. On any other ordinary day, I would’ve found it funny, but with all the emotions of settling into a new house and new area, I just found that a little depressing. Another reminder that I’m not home.

There are new neighbours to get to know. Living in a Christian community is new to me. It was a conscious choice that we made to live on campus to learn what it’s like, as it will be a big part of missionary living. I’m slowly adjusting to living in what can at times feel like a permanent Christian camp. Making new friends brings back memories of being in high school. We’re learning anew what ‘privacy’ means here. At times like these, I know I’m truly not an extrovert!


God sent me some timely encouragement thru an old school friend just before our move, a friend who has been thru what we’re going through now. These are the things she said that really encouraged me.

-          Home is where you are with your family.

-          With every goodbye comes a hello to something new.


So it’s been exciting to say hello to new things here. Such as...

-          The kids playground out the front where all the kids play. It’s been great to watch the kids make new friends as we ourselves get to know the parents.

-          New friends. I have met a couple of other mums how also love (making and eating) macarons.

-         Large built-in wardrobes with plenty of space for storage, even though there’s no shelving but we’re in the process of making some.

-          ‘Split level’ living area with one part behind a low wall that we use as the kids play area. It’s what I’ve always wanted, a place where the kids can make a mess and I don’t have to look at it!

-          The powerpoint outside the kids’ rooms. This excites me cos we can switch fans on and off in their rooms without going in and disturbing them. Small things make me happy.

-          Small sink in downstairs toilet.  Our downstairs toilet didn’t have one at our last place. I found it a bit of a hassle came toilet training time.

-          Screen door at the front. We didn’t have one at our last place. We’re enjoying being able to leave the door open to let the breeze in, especially since this place has no air con.

-          Better water pressure in the slightly larger shower.  Yay! Nothing like a good shower to make me feel better when I’m feeling down.

... and I’m sure there’ll be many more exciting hellos as we settle into this place and continue to discover new things.


To finish, I’d like to share with you this quote I read recently that I really liked:


We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;

We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

 ~ C.S. Lewis

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