September 2011

Jon in his St John uniform
Its been awhile since we last sent an update & photos!  It has also been a year since we left Ukraine.  It seems longer than that & we often think about Ukraine & miss our friends & house there.  Things have been plodding away here with not a lot happening except for the normal weekly routines. 
Our weeks are pretty much the same consisting of…

Teaching – Jon has 4 days as a Music teacher, I have 2 permanent days at a couple of schools, but tend to pick up at least another day each week.  
Youth groups – We have one for 11-12yrs on Wednesday afternoons & one for 13yrs onwards on Friday nights. 
Church – Jon leads the singing & I teach Sunday school every 2nd month.
Lessons – I am still learning drums – slowly but getting there.  Jon is continuing with his part-time Bible College & enjoying that. 
Tutoring – I have a few students who I help after-school in their homework or other subjects they are struggling in.  Jon teaches music lessons to a few people. 
A really old Kauri tree & our nephews
Volunteer work – Jon has completed all the courses to become a St John ambulance officer & I am a Girl Guides leader which is every Tuesday afternoon. 
Sport -- during the winter this has consisted of us watching our nephews play soccer most Saturdays.  Now the weather has started to warm we are playing touch every Sunday afternoon & hope to put a youth team into the local tournament next term.

Camps – we had a great camp in April (see for the report) and are in the middle of planning one for these coming holidays in October.  These are definitely what we enjoy doing although a lot of hard work!

Jon's mate Joey
School Holidays -- Last holidays we enjoyed a NZ bush walk with our nephews & saw some mighty Kauri trees.  We also flew to Australia for a week or so.  It was good to catch up with Jono in Sydney & Gaven in Tasmania & see where they live etc.

Family -- Jon’s parents live just across the road & his sister 10 mins down the road on a diary farm, so we see each other often.  It is really nice to be a tangible part of our nephews growing up & developing a good relationship with them.  Our oldest nephew has just left home & joined the army so we miss him.  Every Sunday afternoon I help milk the cows on the farm which I really enjoy. 

Nickolas with our lamb
Recreation -- We have watched a few good movies lately (& some dumb ones!) enjoying some good books, (esp. the cookbooks!) keeping the vege garden going, watching the rugby, fishing (&surfing) has been on the back burner since the water went cold, but we should be looking to get the kayak back into the water very soon & some more snapper in our freezer!

Pets – Talking about the freezer…we have bought a pet lamb which we are feeding on the bottle.  The idea is to fatten her up J 
The chickens, cat & dog are yet to come…

We are in the process of purchasing a house in Kaitaia (we are currently living 30 mins north of Kaitaia) which we intend to shift into in about 3 weeks time.  It does require quite a lot of work, but will be a great project for us.  It is a huge house with potentially 4 bedrooms, so lots of room for you to come & stay & paint a section while you are here! You can see more house pics here.

Future plans?
Driving Gaven's tractor in Tasmania 
Jon has been offered a permanent job starting next year at the school he has been working in which we have accepted.  IVF starts next March, so we wait & see…

Autumn 2011

Jon's office
The mornings & evenings are cooler, the feijoas are ripe, and we are selling Girl Guide biscuits, all of this must mean it is Autumn & nearly Easter! 
The school year has started with a roar, and it’s unbelievable to realise that we are already half-way through our term.  We have lots of things to keep us more than busy and life is very full. 

Here is what a typical week for us looks like. 

Monday is school for both of us, then I head over to Kerikeri for drum lessons (getting home about 9pm) and every second week Jon meets with St Johns as he is training to be an ambulance officer. 
Tuesday is Jon’s day off which normally consists of playing bowls in the morning, Bible College study in the afternoon & cooking dinner – which is normally Borsch.
I go off to school, and then in the afternoon I am a leader at Girl Guides, then after doing the groceries head home for dinner which Jon has made!  In the evening we are both doing (with our nephew) a Te Reo (Maori language) course together. 
Wednesday is my day off which consists of catching up with stuff & planning for camps, youth group etc.  Jon heads off to school, and then in the afternoon we run a club for Year 7&8 students from our local area.  Wednesday night is free J
Thursday we both are off to school, then in the evening Jon is running a community guitar group lesson in the local school. 
Friday is also school for both of us, then in the evening we run a youth group for the youth in our community. 
Saturday seems full of things like fishing, music, gardening, catching up on things, going to different events or spending time with the family. 
Sunday we head off to church – Jon plays in the music team, & I teach Sunday school every other month.

We feel like we have a lot on our plates and are constantly busy, but we are coping well with it at the moment & feel like the time is right to be doing all of these things. 

Youth group game
As we come to realise more & more that this is our vision and passion, we have stepped out in faith and have approached a campsite about an hour away from where we live about running Children’s Holiday camps there.  They were very supportive and interested and so we are planning on running 3 this year.  There is a lot to think about, including the possibility of starting a charitable trust, so we can jump through some legal hoops & access government funding for both the running of the camps, and so parents can get assistance to send their children.
Our first camp is in April, we have advertised it far & wide, but still waiting for a response.  We also still need helpers & leaders, but as we wait our faith is building & we are waiting for God to work, rather than running in our own strength.   You can check out our website at

Not much news on this front yet, except that we have received a date for our IVF, which is March 2012.  We have still not decided if we will be going through with this, but the option is there if we decide to.  It is all government funded, hence the long wait.  Until then, we continue with our healthy, natural diet & keeping the weight off, and other herbal & natural remedies. 

Future Plans
At this stage we don’t have any, we just keep on doing what we are doing, enjoying life & wondering what is around the next corner.  We have many, many things to be thankful for and as both Christchurch & Japan struggle to recover we realise again how much we take for granted each day.  By the way, for those people overseas, Christchurch is a long way from us, we didn’t feel a thing, but thankfully all of our family & friends from down there are safe & well. My brother-in-law has been working there since last September in an engineering role & will continue to do so, but he & his family were thankfully not there that day in February. 

Thanks for your prayers, & keeping in touch