p2p blog header_Justine

 

I know that I have recently written the words “Life is just one BIG adventure” and that “you just never know what is around the corner.”  It was the blog I wrote when I found out that I was to be heading to America in May/June of last year for Mackinac and some other p2P Live Events.  I wrote it on 17th February and here we are almost exactly a year later and I am writing and thinking those same words.  Life continues to be one big adventure!

This is what has been happening for our family …

My husband Dave has been unsettled in his teaching job for some time now and occasionally finds himself searching for a new opportunity. He found one early last year and applied for a one year voluntary position as a Physical Education Teacher on board the Mercy Ships docked off the West Coast of Africa.  You can read more about Mercy Ships here.  Big step, big change.  However, he was emailed to say it was a single person’s position and there would be no allocation for family accommodation.  Not a problem, chapter closed.  Or so we thought! A week later, Dave received another email asking if the organisation could keep his information for the Principal’s position if it was to come up some time in the future.  His reply … sure!

In the early hours of the morning on his last day of school last year (December 13th), Dave received another email from Texas asking if he was still interested in the Principal’s position.  As he was just going to bed, and would have to wake me to ask if we were, he decided to respond to the email later that morning!  We said yes, thinking we were interested and that we could go through the process, finding out more as we went along and see what happens.  The next email requested that Dave formally apply for the position by the end of  January.  Interviews were conducted during the second week in February and Dave’s interview was over the phone, across three timezones – West Africa, Texas and Australia – last week!  In the p2P world we are used to working like this and it was really nothing out of the ordinary.

It was 7am in Australia at the time, so the girls and I were getting up and getting ready for school and the day ahead.  Two things struck me about the interview, other than that it was a good hour and a half long!  Dave had gone downstairs to Chloe’s room which is by far the quietest room in the house as it is the furthest away from the action of the kitchen.  However, half way through the interview Dave had to get up to close the door to the room as the School Captain (at his current school) and two of his friends had just come back from a surf and walked through the bottom floor of our house to put their surfboards back into our garage.  This was all happening right at the time that Dave was being asked how he would feel being in a small community where you are often doing laundry or eating dinner with students!  Dave just explained what was happening right there and then in our house and simply said that we were pretty used to that happening around us, and we actually enjoyed that aspect of living in a small country town!  The other thing that struck me was Dave’s face as he came back up to the kitchen … he was beaming!  Not only was it a great interview but he felt it was a great fit and he was so excited about the opportunity.

As I said, that was just last week!  Yesterday, he was offered the job and we have to let them know our decision by Monday (our Tuesday) … OH MY GOODNESS!

For the last week we have been adding to a list of “great things” and “challenges” on our pantry door.  They are pretty full lists!  Some of the “great things” include: Big adventure, fabulous experience and an incredible opportunity to serve others far less fortunate than us and to be part of something way bigger than any of us could ever do on our own.  I would also get to continue my work (full-time) with p2P!  In fact, it is only because of p2P that we can even contemplate this opportunity – what a blessing! The challenges … we would leave our eldest daughter Chloe behind in Australia (she has just started University this week) – but she is also talking about the possibility of deferring her second year and volunteering on the ship with us.  Annabelle, our middle daughter, up until yesterday was adamant that she did not want to go … partly because we found out that it was for a three year minimum commitment (we all found that a challenge!)  We also found out that we would need to be in Texas for 8 weeks of training before boarding the ship in Conakry, Guinea in August.  Just 106 days from today and we could be in the USA, certainly not something I expected as I said goodbye to Jan in Memphis the exact same time last year!  Our biggest challenge is a financial one, as the ship is almost entirely staffed by volunteers from over 40 nations, who raise their own finances to travel to the ship and pay towards their cost of living while serving on board.  This allows Mercy Ships to provide the medical care and development assistance free of charge to the poorest of the poor.  We have continued to receive wonderful emails from Texas encouraging us and asking for us to voice these concerns.  One such  email suggested that we consider the decision based on “if money was not an issue, would you do it?” and all along one lovely man has been saying “God is up to something!” and we certainly believe that!

So with all that in mind, we have a big decision to make!  If you pray, I would appreciate your prayers for our family 🙂 If you don’t, I know that you will be thinking of us as we consider what this means for us all and make that big decision.  I will certainly keep you posted … until then, you just never know what is around the next corner or what that next big adventure will be!

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52 Responses to Blog: A BIG decision

  1. Bill Gray says:

    Wow, all I can say is good luck and good on you! Fantastic opportunities always surface but hey, this one appears to be something very special. Good Fortune and Fun awaits. Sorry to see you leave the valley and look forward to seeing the news… weekly!!!

  2. 2acorns 2acorns says:

    I haven’t been on the site nearly as much as I used to having put my artistic energies into illustration for the moment. BUT, I hopped on was intrigued and read this! Awesome. It looks like you decided to do it??? Epilogue please!!! We have supported Mercy Ships for YEARS ever since they showed up in Lake Erie in Cleveland. Good work indeed. I remember seeing the classroom that was smaller than our kitchen! But, the WORLD is the classroom and what an amazing opportunity for ministry. Keep us posted!!!

  3. I cannot tell you HOW EXCITED I am to read your blog Justine!!! I served with Mercy Missions (a division of Mercy Ships) in Honduras back in 2002 and toured the ship there – we stayed shore side. WOW! I know Larry and Helen Mast – you’ll meet them in TX (and Africa) and will love them! I wish we could join you! OH SO AMAZING! Let’s stay in touch about this, ok! Praying as you prepare and knowing God will provide! SO EXCITED!!!!

  4. Carol says:

    WOW what an amazing opportunity for your family. But such a difficult decision to make. Sending hugs your way.

  5. Barbara Mitchell says:

    Justine, it brings tears to my eyes, reading about the awesome opportunity God has brought your way! I will be praying for you and your family as you make this decision.

  6. Robyn McInnis says:

    God does place people in His strategic positions. Sounds like He has a plan for you, what a great opportunity to serve but not easy to change all that we know. Good Luck and prayers for a peaceful decision.

  7. Lisa Purrington says:

    Amazing – it is a life changing experience! I have relatives who have worked with Mercy Ships for many years and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. God works in mysterious ways…..

  8. kathy says:

    If life has a “best time,” then this may be it! The chance to give of yourself, and help in such a special way is both a blessing and scary. Whatever decision you make I am sure God is leading. You are in my prayers for peace and guidance at this time of decision making.

  9. junegauntley says:

    Justine, what a wonderful opportunity for you and your family to make such a difference in so many lives! God works in wondrous and mysterious ways! Praying that you will know His will in a very powerful way!! 🙂

  10. Sandy says:

    What an amazing opportunity for you and your family and the lives you would be touching. here is a reason Dave was called to do this and the strength of your family will help you with your decision.
    Prayers for all of you as you figure this all out.

  11. Deanna Emmert says:

    Praying the Lord will guide, direct, and provide in BIG ways for you and your family! 🙂

  12. shirley shingara says:

    Prayers you will be granted wisdom and peace in following the path you are led to follow and blessing to all you do!

  13. LindaIOSMe says:

    7 years ago, we found out in June that we’d be moving from the US to England, for 3 years – which became 6. Our kids were 12 and 15 at the time, and really didn’t want to leave their friends behind. It meant an additional year of schooling for my daughter, as her new school didn’t think the courses were similar enough from what she’d done in the US. Looking back, going to England was the best thing we could have done for our children. It took them out of their comfort zones – but they soon had a new home and comfort zone. Most importantly, it brought them closer together. It gave them lots of new experiences and caused them to really think about their own culture and what was important to them and what sort of people they wanted to be. For our last 2 years in the UK, my daughter was in college in the US – a very different challenge! But we’re a closer family now, and the kids don’t take each other for granted. They’ve grown into mature young adults – largely because we didn’t stay put. As a matter of fact, they were sadder when we moved back to the States than they were to move to England. It won’t be easy, and moving is a REAL pain – especially overseas, but in the end, I think the experiences are worth it. I would warn you – it has really given my son the travel bug – he graduated HS in June and has taken a year off – first in Patagonia, and now is currently sailing from the Maldives to Jakarta!

    • Justine says:

      I can so relate to everything you have said here Linda – our younger two daughters are 12 in May and 16 in July and the oldest at nearly 19 is the one staying behind. I think it will be such a good thing for them all and us as a family for all of your same reasons and also seeing that how we live here in Australia (or the US for that matter) is not how a majority of the world lives! Finding out what is important and how little we need “stuff” too! One friends words of advised included “Are you prepared for your children to be living all over the globe?” Lots to think about … thanks for your story 🙂

  14. Karen says:

    Whatever decision you and your family make Justine you can be assured that your friends and fellow scrapbookers will be anxiously awaiting updates on your BLOG. Good luck.

  15. adakallen adakallen says:

    I will be praying! Yes, God is up to something!

    What part of Texas?

  16. Carolyn says:

    The coin is in the mouth of the fish. :-). The resources will follow the faith.

  17. Ruth says:

    What am amazing opportunity, and life changing experience I have done a bit of research on these ships myself with a view of one day volunteering. I hope the decision isn’t too difficult.

  18. Linda DeLaughter says:

    Juzzie, you are truly an amazing woman married to an even more amazing man! This could be the opportunity of your lifetime — serving those less fortunate, and being in another beautiful part of our world! Just think of all the new and different locations in which to take photos! LOL! We know that your decision will be right for your family, and that Annabelle will decide to join you on this venture. Of course, we in the U.S. want you here for a bit so that we can have our Juzzie fix!

    Praying for you and your family to make the best decision! Love you!

  19. Viv says:

    That is amazing Justine. I have many friends who have been on Mercy Ships and have supported the work they do for many years. My prayers are with you. God’s peace and joy be with you as you plan the next stage of your incredible journey.

  20. alclark11 says:

    On my way home from the hospital the day I had to leave my baby girl in the NICU (which is 45 minutes from my home), I read this quote on a sign of a local church….”If God brings you to it, He will lead you through it.” That was just about 9 years ago (next week), and that verse comes to me each time I face a challenge or big decision. Prayers to you and your family, Justine, as you work through this decision together.

  21. Fay Wilde says:

    Wow what a decision, Ifits to be God will guide you and direct you. I pray for you that God’s will be done!

  22. Cheryl says:

    Justine, I will be praying for all of you as you contemplate and pray about this big change in your life. It does sound like a wonderful adventure but so much to decide in such a short period.

  23. jolleyontheroad jolleyontheroad says:

    Wow!! Awesome opportunity!! Big Decisions!! We just made a much smaller decisions about keeping our Dad with us for month in our RV! We only have one bedroom, but we will give it to him and sleep on an air mattress in the living room! It’s just for a month, but will be a bit of an adjustment! I always tell my children, you can do anything as long as it is temporary!! Will be praying for guidance!!

  24. KatieK. says:

    Mercy Ships does such amazing work and brings blessings and gifts to all. I will pray that you and the family find what you are being called to do!

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