Monday, December 14, 2009

Presentation Day

Every year Gosford honors all the students and teachers who participate in the Sunday morning bible classes. Everyone who as been a part of the Bible School receives a gift from the congregation. But before the gifts are handed out, the kids do a play. This year was the story of Jesus' birth. Seeing as we only had one practice with the 30 kids and adults in the play, we were not expecting the play to be flawless. But, this year had lots of impromptu moments, include a real baby to play baby Jesus and a Gabrielle who didn't know he was the angel until about 15 minutes before. Either way, the congregation loved it!
King Herod and all his bling.
The whole cast.
The Wisemen bringing gifts to baby Jesus.
The Inn Keepers

Our impromptu Gabriel.

Monday, November 23, 2009


This past week has been crazy! The only way I know to tell you about it is in numbers:
1 Trekkers Basketball game, where they dominated the other team by 20 points and clenched 3rd place in the under-14s division.
2 Performances. One was an elementary school Christmas program, and the other was dance (hip-hop, jazz, tap, modern, and ballet) concert featuring the extremely talented Sara and Sophie.
4 Acts at the November Open Mic Night, including Sunset Riot, the Profit, and Sonic Solo. This time we rented out a local youth center with proper lights and a stage. We had over 45 people there from our youth group and the community!
10 women who came to watch "Secret Life of Bees" on the big screen at the ministry center for Ladies Movie Night.
12 kids who came to "Cupcakes and Kindness" (copyright Brendi Gordon). After decorating cupcakes, we piled all of the kids into the church bus and went to visit some older members of the congregation. We sang at each house and gave them enough cupcakes to put them in a sugar coma!
30 members of Trek youth and their parents who came our summer kick-off BBQ at Terrigal Beach. It was so hot outside most of us swam and played in the ocean. Some of the guys played footy, too.
59 cupcakes decorated and consumed by members of the Gosford congregation this weekend!
70 meals served this past Friday night at Donnison Street Soup kitchen.

Visiting one of the elementary schools to see the Christmas Program. (Amber on the left was in the play. Lauren and Grace go to school there, too) Amber being a duck with her kindergarten class.
Trek Junior Boys playing footy.
Chillin at the beach and the bbq with some gorgeous girls! Trekkers with their 3rd place medals!!! They're kind of a big deal.

The girls table decorating cupcakes at Cupcakes and Kindness.

Singing while visiting and dropping off the cupcakes.
The Trek girls loving Sunset Riot at Open Mic Night.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

Last Saturday, I got to do one of my favorite things: go to a baseball game!!! Baseball is not popular in Australia at all. There used to be a professional teams, but the Australia Baseball League ended about 10 years ago. Now, the only "professional" baseball you can watch is every year at the Claxton Shield. The Claxton Shield is a tournament of the state teams that lasts from November to January, and is played at various locations around Australia. The winning state receives the honor of having the best baseball team and the Claxton Shield, of course. Dan Mowday, a fellow baseball enthuasist, told me about it, and he didn't have to do too much convincing to get me there. We also invited Jamie and Sammie from Warringah to join us. We went and watched the New South Wales Patriots play at their home field (Sydney Olympic Park) against the Queensland Rams (New South Wales' bitter enemy in all sporting events.) Even though the game was played at where Olympic baseball was played, it was a pretty small park. It was liking going to an NCAA college baseball game or a double-A game. The NSW Patriots smashed the Rams in both games of the double header, winning by over 5 runs each time. It was perfect Spring baseball weather--warm in the afternoon, but cooler as the sun began to set. I completely forgot I was in Australia during the game! They started off the game with the national anthem, and played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch. But, the annoucer's accent and the presence of meat pies at the concession stand brought me back to reality. Even though Dan and I didn't make it back to Gosford until almost midnight, it was a great way to spend a Saturday night. I definitley plan to go again next year!

Jamie, Sammie, and I loving baseball at the Claxton Shield.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Grove

I've finally moved into my own place: The Grove. It is located in Woy Woy (which means big lagoon), which is just 15 minutes south of Gosford. It is on a penninsula, surrounded by Brisbane Water, which leads out to the ocean. The apartment is attached to a main house that is owned by one of the members of the Gosford congregation. I have 2 bedrooms, kitchen, dining area, living room, and a bathroom, where the washer and dryer are located. It is very roomy and comfortable! Just the right size for me. The great part is there is a dock in the backyard of the main house that I can use at any time. It has a gorgeous view of the bay. I'm still working on settling in and making it home, but I am so thankful that God blessed me with this place!



Living Room

Dining Room and Kitchen.

My Room

Happy Halloween

I have experienced my first Halloween in Australia! Halloween is not a widely celebrated holiday in Australia. Not nearly as many kids dress up and go trick-or-treating, and finding a carving pumpkin is almost impossible. I went over to Amanda and Dean Edginton’s house for dinner and to hang out. (Dean is the coordinator for the Short Term Australian Missions Program (STAMP) that is run out of the Gosford Church of Christ.) He and Amanda moved here in June. Since I’ve been here, they have become great friends.
I somehow managed to find a big orange pumpkin to carve. Neither Dean or Amanda had ever carved one before! I, as the expert, showed them the proper techniques. We first each submitted possible designs. We voted on the best one, and then got to work. An hour later, we had created a very spooky jack-o-lantern. Dean and Amanda loved the pumpkin so much that I left our finished product with them. I think I have won 2 Aussies over to my pumpkin-carving ways!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I just couldn't be bothered...

I just couldn't be bothered is my favorite Australian phrase. You can use it for anything you don't want to do, and it's okay! Why didn't you clean the house? I couldn't be bothered. Why didn't you hang the washing on the line? I just couldn't be bothered. Why didn't you go to work today? I just couldn't be bothered. Okay, well, sometimes it's not okay, but you can get away with a lot using this one little phrase. So, in answer to your question, "Jenny, why haven't you updated your blog in 2 weeks?" I answer, "I just couldn't be bothered until now!"

Two Saturdays ago, some of the young adults in the Sydney area put on a Teen Only Event, called Only Jesus (OJ). In Australia, most youth groups include students in jr. high, high school, as well as young adults. Camps, area-wide youth worships, and youth activities are for anyone from ages 12 to 30. But every other month, the young adults like to give the teens an opportunity to have an event that is just for them, which is where OJ comes in. The theme of OJ this year has been purity. This particular OJ took place at Marubra Beach in Sydney. It started with soccer and ultimate frisbee on the beach. Then, we joined together for singing and a short talk about purity. The teens, then were divided into boys and girls for discussion groups. We finished the activity off with a sausage sizzle. We had about 8 teens from Gosford, along with 4 young adults to drive and chaperone.

Everyone getting ready to play soccer.

Micah, Me, Jamie, and Amanda spectating.

A good game of ultimate frisbee on a very windy day.

This past weekend, we had another youth event in Warringah (a suburb of Sydney) called Youth and Young at Heart (YAYAH). All the youth, young adults, and not so young adults get together the last Sunday of the month for a worship time led by young Christians. After worship, we have a meal together and a time of fellowship. The church that hosts this event each month has 2 HIM workers working there, also--Jamie and Sammie. Sunday night after YAYAH, I stayed with these girls instead of going back with the Gosford group. We spent the evening chatting about anything and everything, and just catching up on each others' lives and work. The next day Jamie and Sammie showed me around Manly (even though it was rainy and cold) and we went to an aquarium, called OceanWorld. We got to see lots of fish and sharks that are found in the waters of Australia. OceanWorld also has some reptiles and insects. While we were there, we watched a show about lizards, and were able to touch a blue-tongued lizard, a dragon lizard, a turtle, and a snake! We finished the afternoon off with coffee before I caught the train back to Gosford. Spending a night and a day with Jamie and Sammie really encouraged and re-energized me to start another week. I am so blessed to have them so close by!

Holding a boa constrictor at OceanWorld

Shark attack!
Manly Wharf

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saturday Adventures

This past week I had the pleasure of staying with another family from the church--the Moads. I met the Moads when I was on campaign 3 years ago, so I knew them already. Staying with them was such a blessing! Last Saturday, they gave me tour of the Central Coast and showed me some great spots. We started the morning with a HUGE breakfast of eggs, bacon (really ham), English muffins, and hashbrowns. Then we set off north to Norah Head, where there is a gorgeous lighthouse. There, we walked along the beach and watched the waves crash into the rocks. The next stop Crackneck, which is a cliff that over looks the ocean. We also took a 3 km bushwalk along a trail to the top to get another view of the ocean. Along the walk, we say a blue-tongued lizard and tons of beautiful Australian wildflowers. We were starving after all of our walking, so went to a bakery and got meat pies for lunch. Meat pies are exactly what they sound like--little mini pies with different kinds of meat like beef, sausage, or lamb. I had a sausage roll with bacon and cheese with diet coke of course. We dropped everyone else back at home and Sallie Anne and I went for coffee at Terrigal Beach. We ended up at great cafe looking right over the water. We had delicious coffee and split a lime tart, which was similar to key lime pie, so it made my day. I had a wonderful day spending time with the Moad family and getting more acquainted with my new home!

View from the top of Crackneck.

Moad family in front of the light house at Norah Head.

Tim, me, Sallie Anne, and Sara in front of the lighthouse.

Jay, Tim, Me and Sara at Norah Head.

Sara and I

The lighthouse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Goodbye September

I have been so bad about blogging the last few weeks, please forgive me. But somewhere between going to Camp Revive and housesitting and surviving a dust storm, September ended and October came!

I was fortunate to attend Camp Revive in Melbourne. Camps in Australia are not just for teens, but also for young adults, so I was a participant at the camp. Because students here go to school all year long and summer is only about 6 weeks in December and January, lots of camps happen throughout the year on weekends. Five of us went to this camp from the Gosford—three young adults and two teens. We drove down to Melbourne in a massive road trip of two 10-seater buses and a minivan filled with 25 teens and young adults from the Sydney area. We arrived at the camp after spending 12 hours in the car on Friday evening. The camp was extremely uplifting and encouraging, even though it rained all weekend long. The theme was “Here I am to Worship,” which focused on how we can worship God with our every day lives and not just on Sunday mornings. There were excellent speakers, times of singing, and lots of fellowship. I was fortunate to meet and get to know many teens and young adults from all over Australia. I also was able to spend time with Jamie Canham and Sammie Marshall, two HIM workers in Sydney who also went to OC. The camp lasted until Sunday afternoon, then we got back in the bus and headed home. We arrived back to Gosford at 2 am Monday morning. Despite the long drive and the bad weather, I really enjoyed Revive and learned how to better worship God on a daily basis.

Spending 24 hours in a bus and loving it.

Me, Cam, and Emma representing Trek Youth.

My new Melbourne best friend, Amber.

Craft time with Jen, Allison, and Jamie (another HIM worker from Sydney).

A few weeks go, I woke up to very red and hazy sky. A freak dust storm had blown In the night before. Everything was coated in dust and the sky was foggy until late afternoon. I have been told I this never happens and it won’t happen again while I am here! Even after the air cleared, a fine layer of red dust covered everything including my freshly washed clothes! I ended up washing them twice and just using the dryer. The good thing was I felt right at home seeing all that red dirt along the street and on my car—just like being in Oklahoma!

I'll leave you with some of the signs that Spring is in full swing here on the Central Coast! These are all in my backyard!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Night Hike

Monday, I was invited to go on a night hike by the Krause family. The hike was organized by the Cub Scouts, which Jacque (Cub) and Sebastian (Joey) are both members of. So, Mel and I loaded up the two boys (ages 10 and 6), Tanesha (4), and baby Phoenix (4 months) to hike from Rumbalara across town to the Ridgeway in the dark! The kids were so excited to bundle up in their jumpers (jackets) and bring their own torches (flashlights). We also packed a back pack of fruit and water to for the long journey. The group of about 50 kids and parents departed at 7:00 and finished the hike 2 hours later. The kids did great, even little Phoenix who stayed awake almost the whole time enjoying the ride on his Mum's tummy. Tanesha made it almost the whole way on her own, and only had to be carried the last 15 or 20 minutes. By the time we got in the van to head home, all the food was gone and half the kids were asleep! It was a great way to spend time with some of my favorite kids!

Sebby, Tanesha, and I excited to start hiking!

The Jrs.

The whole Krause crew--Tanesha, Seb, Mum Mel, baby Phoenix, and Jacques

Monday, September 14, 2009

Open-Mic Night

Every other month, the Trek (the Gosford Youth Group) hosts an open-mic night at the ministry center. Evan, the youth minister, advertises it in coffee shops and has the teens take fliers to school to pass out. The purpose of the event is for the teens to invite their friends and bring in people from the community. Local musicans and the musicans within our group are invited to play at this event. Usually there are also skits, comedy acts, and videos. Last Saturday was the open-mic night for September. It started at 6:30 pm with a bbq dinner, and the music kicked off about 7:30. This open-mic night was mainly a hip-hop/rap music, featuring music preformed by 4 different Christian rappers, including the youth minister Evan. The evening wrapped up with Evan giving a short devo on Hope and concert ended at 9:30 pm. The teens really love these nights because it's a cool event to invite their friends to and a fun atmosphere to hang out in. The best part is that the music is uplifting and has Christian messages. We had over 50 teens/young adults there from our group, other congregations in the area, and the community. I can't wait to see how many more people we have in November!

Claire, Amanda, me, Tim and Hannah enjoying the music.

Jamming out.

Hanging out with the adults at the back.
Tim, Me, and Amanda

The audience.

Two of the rappers performing.
The one on the left is the Profit, aka Evan the youth minister.

Cameron, Chloe, Hannah, and Laura enjoying the bbq before the show.