Anzac Day

threecrosses-cropI was given a photocopy of a newspaper article when I was in New Zealand some years ago and I found it today – Anzac Day – so I thought I’d share it with you.
Its titled “Poem to God in the heat of battle”
A book restorer was moved to tears when he read this poem by a young soldier. The poem was found on the soldier’s body after he was killed in action during World War 1. He discovered it in an old army book he was restoring for a customer and made a copy of it. “I have  copy of it on my wall and read it often. It still has the same impact each time.

A Soldier’s Prayer
Look, God, I have never spoken to you before,
But now I want to say: “How do you do.”
You see God, they told me you didn’t exist,
And like a fool, I believed all this.
Last night from a shell hole I saw your sky,
I figured right then they had told me a lie.
Had I taken the time to see things you made,
I’d have known they weren’t calling a spade a spade.
I wonder God if you’d shake my hand,
Somehow I feel that you will understand.
Funny I had to come to this hellish place,
Before I had time to see your face.
Well, I guess there isn’t much more to say,
But I am sure, God, I met you today.
I guess the zero hour will soon be here.
The signal! Well, God, I’ll have to go,
I like you lots, this I want you to know.
Look now, this will be a horrible fight,
Who knows, I may come to your house tonight.
Though I wasn’t friendly to you before,
I wonder, God, if you’d wait at your door.
Look, I’m crying! Me shedding tears!
I wish I had known you these many years.
Well! I have to go now, God, goodbye.
Since I met you, I’m not afraid to die.

A year in the west

A Year In the West (ern Suburbs)

We have been here for just over a year and so much has happened, we have been so blessed far beyond what we deserve. Was it a good decision to move from UK to the western Suburbs of Melbourne? umm, in a word, yes.
Some of my observations, questions and answers. Is Australia what I expected? Is it as good as it is made out to be? Yes and no. There were a few surprises, one being the leaching through of the penal colony authoritarianism. There are some laws which I am astonished are still around, almost straight out of the “lord and slave” era! One in particular is that the local government can change the use of the land you own/work from one use to another and you have no recourse. An example might be a farmer whose land is not to distant from the nearby expanding town, the local government can change the use of the land from farming to residential so more housing can be built, the farmer now has land he can’t farm but he can sell, but only in accordance with the government guidelines!
In other areas Australia is so much more beautiful. The landscape is breath taking and the people are wonderfully friendly and helpful, even to pommies! The way of life is slower and more relaxed. “No worries mate” is really that, there is no real need to worry. There is a relaxed air of confident nonchalance that it will all sort itself out, it’ll come good. And generally it does, and sometimes on time! Every country has its problems, good points and not so good. I think its just a case of finding what you feel comfortable with, it is all a bit of a compromise really.
And what has happened to us? Well, we landed a year ago last September. Within weeks we had found somewhere to rent, a little house in a quiet neighbourhood. We were welcomed into a wonderful small church with great people, made some friends and Jules found employment. Wow indeed. Gods blessing. With 20/20 hindsight I see what God was preparing us for when in the UK, for without that preparation we certainly wouldn’t be where we are now.
And now, a year on, we have made even more friends, I have employment too. We have bought our first house. We have seen a little bit of Australia and visited Perth to see Brett and Chantal and the kids for Christmas. We are both happily involved in church life. There have been a few ups and downs along the way, but God even blessed us in those too, it just takes a bit to see it sometimes. God really has blessed us beyond our dreams, answered our prayers and continues to, and remained (as always) faithful. We are looking forward to the next year with even more hope for life in abundance!

Refugees in the modern world

I heard a comment today:

Jesus’s ministry was helped by Egypt’s generous refugee policy. Matthew chapter 2

How is the refugee policy of the country you live in? (This is a rhetorical question, you don’t have to answer here, but to think about it and to chat with friends about it)

Here in Australia there is quite a debate about it because of the people fleeing their own country in boats and trying to reach the safe shores of Australia. The numbers: about 25000 people over 35 years, I think (I may be wrong). The political up-heaval of this subject is huge, all for a few people needing a little rest and shelter.

Australia – Week One – God Provides

We landed at 6am on a Saturday morning at Melbourne International airport. After a somewhat hectic moment through passport control/immigration, luggage pick-up and customs, we emerged onto the pavement outside. We were both shattered and I scurried around trying to find the best way to get us and our luggage to the accommodation. In the end we took a taxi. Next time we’ll take the skybus.

After sorting out our stuff we headed into town to pick up the rental car and some food. Saturday afternoon in Melbourne was dedicated to the AFL final between The Cats and The Saints. We slept! Oh for the joys of travelling through time zones.

Sunday was a good day. We travelled out of Melbourne to the southwest suburbs and found the church we had looked up on the internet, New Generation Church. A pleasant and vibrant church with very friendly and helpful folks. Jules knew a couple from her student days in South Africa which made for a pleasant surprise all round. We were invited for lunch (lamb kebabs) by Adam and Rebecca, a lovely couple from Werribee. We are looking forward to going back next week and meeting more of the church as a few were away doing ministry things in Cambodia.

This week has been hectic. We were hunting for somewhere to live and trying to hunt down a half decent second hand car, by Wednesday we were frazzled as Jules also had had a job interview with an agency and the company. Thursday morning we had an extended time of prayer. In the afternoon we bought a car, a new car as it was cheaper than the secondhand car we were looking at! We also looked at three properties for rent and on Friday morning applied to rent one of the three. In the afternoon, the agent rang to say that the owner had agreed for us to rent the property. We had been in Australia for only seven days and God had provided a car (delivery in about 2 weeks), a house (planning to move in next week), a church, and a job (unofficially)! We have had some good people to guide us too.

All in all, a week that started a little daunting has turned out good. Looking forward to the challenge of next week!

The Big Move

Our bags are packed, we ready to go, taxi’s waiting at our door….

This song has been going round in my head (on and off) for the last few weeks, and now, just a few days away from actually going, I thought I write down a few thoughts on the subject.

A bit of back ground first. I was traveling around Australia in 2000 when during a prayer time I felt God say that Australia would be my home. I felt excited about it. At the time I was sitting outside in the sun, looking at the blue sea through palm trees. I was grateful too. In 2001 I moved to Enfield to do a years training with Jubilee Church. I returned to Australia in 2002 and then back to Enfield as I felt God call me back. He hadn’t finished with me yet in Enfield. In 2005 I tried to god back to Australia in my own and in my own way. I did all the research and was accepted to do a degree course in Brisbane, but, God wasn’t in it so I canceled and said to God “OK, I’ve tried and you said no, fair enough, so I leave it to you to take me there, like you said”, and I laid it down, not even thinking about it and putting down roots in Enfield. In Jan 2006 I met Julia. We got on so well we were engaged by May and married March 10th 2007. Shortly after we were married we talked about Australia and watched a show “Wanted down under” on the TV. We prayed a lot about it and decided to apply. The long and the short of it is that after 7 months of gathering all the forms and documents we applied and 7 months later we were given the visas to immigrate. This time God had said yes.

Then came the planning and the packing and the moving. We moved twice before we found somewhere that would let us stay for only 4 months. We have been so blessed over the last 18 months in that God has been with us throughout all of this.

I have travelled a fair bit, and have moved from place to place quite a lot too, but this time it is different in many ways. The one way ticket, the sense of permanence, the reality of knowing that I wont see some of my friends for a long time (except on internet video phone) and some I wont ever see again. We are not leaving anything behind and there is no safety net if it all goes wrong, which it wont of course! House hunting and applying for jobs 12000 miles away is a strange experience.

But we are both excited about this adventure to a new country, new culture, new things in many ways, it is a bit like starting a new life, which for us we are looking forward to. Making new friends, doing new things and starting a family.. Exciting times, and with God in the midst of it all, it is sure to be exciting.

So we fly on Monday evening to Singapore for a few nights and then on to Melbourne, landing on Saturday morning. I am looking forward to the start of the adventure and writing about it here as the story unfolds.