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I cannot believe that it has been six weeks since we left Australia and landed ourselves in Garden Valley, East Texas.  Our new home was quickly tagged as “Life in a Cow Pasture!”  We were surrounded by open fields, lots of trees and a farm on the hill.  The farm on the hill had “regular” cows, but just up the road there are longhorns.  We had two days to settle in before we commenced our training program.

Training was five, sometimes six days a week and from 8-4.  We learnt so much that each day felt like information was spilling out!  There was so much to take in. Some days were overwhelming and some days were just mind-blowing.  It was an amazing experience.  We have also met some awesome people from all over the world that have incredible stories of how they came to be here.  It is so exciting that, in two weeks, we will be going to the ship with this fabulous group of people.

On Wednesday this week, we finished our training by doing a 3-5 minute presentation on what we had been learning over the 5 weeks.  With 36 individuals, the presentations ranged from videos, powerpoints, artworks, childrens’ stories, photographs and even an interpretative dance!  No two presentations were alike – it was awesome and we celebrated with an African lunch to start it all off.

Dave’s presentation was an artwork of lines representing the history of his family, our family and now the people that we have met and where we are going.  The actual art work is about 3 metres wide and 1 metre tall (fortunately it all folds up for easy transport!)  He also made a film of the images and talked through the history and what lies ahead.  I created (in Artisan) a self-portrait with all the information, quotes, Bible verses and things that were meaningful and important to me. I chose a self-portrait because the information had really impacted me and the process was changing and transforming me! They were really random thoughts as I found it hard to process all the information as quickly as it was coming.

Have you ever experienced something where time kind of warps?  On one hand it’s amazing to think it has only been five weeks of training and on the other hand it feels like we’ve been in class since 1999!  Then in a blink, it is all over and we are moving onto our next adventure.

During our first couple of weeks, Dave was contacted by Mercy Ships’ head doctor, who spoke with him about his knee operation, his resulting DVT and then his current blood thinning medication. There were concerns about him travelling to Haiti.  It was one thing to be injured in the US but to be injured in Haiti would be a whole different matter and far too risky.  The doctor decided that Dave was unable to travel to Haiti.  Over the course of the next week, we decided to stay together as a family and head off on a bit of a US road trip!

So here we are, sitting in Grand Tetons National Park on our way to Yellowstone National Park!  Dave has always wanted to go to Yellowstone and today is his birthday! We’ve already spent two days on the road and we are enjoying being together as a family of four. We still think in “fives” but are pleased to report that Chloe is doing extremely well without us (she misses us, and we miss her but she is doing fine!)  Today while we are enjoying a pleasant summer day, Chloe is snowed in in the Snowy Mountains skiing and at the moment the roads are closed because of the snow and she can’t get home.


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13 Responses to Blog: We’ve been in class since 1999

  1. Kristin Sladek says:

    HOW did you do this page?!?! Awesome… just amazing. And your journey is, too!

  2. mindys7 says:

    Oh just LOVE your page! This is exactly what I want to do with the “First Dance” photo at my daughter’s wedding with the words of the song surrounding but…just don’t know how to start. I think from seeing yours I can figure it out but…sure could see a challenge or video tidbit for this.
    Good luck on your current journey. When your blog said that your husband could not travel to Haiti I thought it was all over. Sure glad you will still be able to go to Africa.
    So glad you get to go to Yellowstone though this is a super busy time of year. There is a sow grizzly with 3 very young cubs near Roosevelt. I follow a blog and FB page by Running Wolf Nature Photography by Deby Dixon . In her blog ($25/year subscription) she tells you where all of the animal sitings are. If you ever have a chance to go back late April – early June is when all the hibernating bears wake up and come down to the valleys to eat grass to clean their digestive systems out. And late Sept – all of Oct. is the rutting season for the elks. There is nothing like hearing an elk bugle from a short distance away! And those heavy racks they carry on their heads!
    Wishing you the best of luck on your journey. So fun to travel along with you vicariously. And good luck to your husband. Will he be able to stop the blood thinners before traveling to Africa? If not, will they be able to monitor his clotting labs while there? And the nurse in me just have to give a wee bit of advice: every 15 minutes on the flight, ankle circles and pump the legs (both!) up and down like stepping on the gas or brake. And get up and walk up the aisle if possible every hour or half hour. Love, hugs and prayers!

  3. Mary says:

    Your blog is so inspiring and uplifting. I needed it today. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Love you.

  4. Kathy Chrystal says:

    This self portrait is so powerful and inspirational. I can see adapting this technique by utilizing nursery rhymes, a favorite song or poem to express yourself or other people. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you will share this technique with us.

  5. Ang says:

    WOW! Your page is inspirational! I want to do one…

  6. KatieK. says:

    Thanks for update. Love how you visually showed how your faith is part of you, your life, your world. Enjoy the excursions out west.

  7. junegauntley says:

    Inspiring and beautiful story, Justine! Blessings on you all! 🙂

  8. Carolyn says:

    I’m doing this TODAY! Awesome idea!

  9. Sue Thoenes says:

    I want to do one of those pages – how did you do it? You Pixies are so amazing!!!

  10. Anne says:

    Have loved hearing about your journey and know the next weeks and months will be even more incredible. Thrilled that you are getting to see Yellowstone and more of the US before heading to Africa. There will be stories to tell about that too!! The page is incredibly powerful – do I see a challenge coming up soon? Hope so! Hugs to all!

  11. sistersunshine says:

    PLEASE tell me this is going to be the focus of a future Start2Finish Video… LOVE it… and right now can’t even begin to imagine how it was done… keeping you & your family in my daily prayers as you prepare for this big adventure. *U* Kathleen

  12. Deanna Emmert says:

    HOW FABULOUS AND AWESOME IS THIS!!!!!!!!! 🙂 In prayer for you as your journey continues! May He bless all of you abundantly!

  13. Liz Propst says:

    Oh Juzzie….perfect!! God Bless You.

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