Thursday, December 14, 2006

Anna-Marie's 12th Birthday

Before we left for Mississippi we had an early party for Anna-Marie's birthday. She had some friends around for games and cake. It was a fun evening. She is now officially taller than her Mum and likes to stand next to me in photos so that everyone can see that. Her and Rachel have been able to join a study with four other girls their age on a Monday night. It has been nice for them to be able to join this. She also spends lots of time with her new friends at the Village Manor basketball court.

It was Anna-Marie's actual birthday in Lakeshore. Pastor Scott from the Oregon team, which we had served with that week, surprised Anna-Marie with two big cakes for everyone to share and she was asked to stand for everyone to sing happy birthday. Continuing family tradition Mark took her out to breakfast but instead of the normal McDonald's she chose Waffle House.

Missions Trip to Lakeshore, Mississippi

We thought that we may not see the ocean for a very long time but here we are at the Gulf of Mexico, Lakeshore Mississippi. We went with 5 others from the church we are fellowshipping at, Immanuel Baptist Church, as part of a missions team. Lakeshore was devastated by Hurricane Katrina over a year ago but there is still so much to be done. Lakeshore Baptist Church has become a distribution center for food to the community and they are still rebuilding peoples homes. The church building was lost and it is all now temporary buildings that house the many volunteers that God keeps providing. The church, which is about a mile from the shore, was left 42 feet under water. To find out more about the rebuilding that we were involved in look at or It was a wonderful experience for the whole family to be serving together in such a way. I'm sorry it has taken so long to place updates on this blog but I have unfortunately injured my back (we think on the 11 hour trip down) and have been unable to sit. I see a chiropractor tomorrow due to the generosity of some friends as I am still very uncomfortable. It has been a blessing that this has happened now as Mark has been able to take over the schooling with semester finished but your prayers would be appreciated.
This was such a common sight. The foundation of someones home. Lots of people are now living on their land in trailers. There are still lots of fallen trees and rusting cars that have been thrown amongst the trees or just bits of homes laying around, still needing to be cleaned up.

Rachel and Joel are standing on an old pier that was demolished in the storm.

The shipping containers which are now bunk rooms, where we slept.

Rachel and Matthew helping unload supplies for the distribution center.

Joel and Anna-Marie helping Andrew clean up someones section.

Mark preparing a wall for painting at one of the homes that was being rebuilt.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


We spent our first thanksgiving with two families from Village Manor. We were blessed with a beautiful day which enabled us to eat outside (this was great because it would have been cramped in any of our apartments). We had begun reading a book about thanksgiving to the children earlier in the week and had been learning about the Pilgrims and their travels. Thanksgiving is about God's provision of the harvest, something we forget with the ease of supermarket shopping. We finished the story on thanksgiving evening and each listed five things we are thankful for. Here are a some of them:

Dad working hard to provide for us

Being given winter coats

A safe trip to America

Our new friends

Jesus dying on the cross for us

Getting a new house

The Fleeners renting our house in Hastings

Carol and Viki's group sponsoring us

Free art lessons from Mandy

Village Manor

Being able to go to the Recreation Center

Keith and Julie Parker being good friends and helping us

Good health

Family nights

The provision of finances so that we could come here

Praying friends and family back in New Zealand

Friday, November 17, 2006

Prayer Needs

First we want to say thank you for taking the time to read the updates on this blog. We appreciate your interest in our lives. Some of you have asked to be made aware of prayer needs that we may have so this is an update to make you aware of some.

Mark is in his last two weeks of this semester. He has one paper to finish and three exams. He has a hermeneutics exam on Monday 27th at 11a.m.(US time), a Greek exam Tuesday 28th, at 8a.m, and a NT exam at 11a.m. You could also pray for more work, as the holidays afford an opportunity to work full time, and at present Mark only has about 15 hours per week. If you have any extra time to pray we have one more need. We are privileged to be going to Mississippi (Yes, the birth place of Elvis), for 5 days, to help with the disaster relief effort. We are going as a family with a team from our new church, Immanuel Baptist from Dec.2-7th. This is a little bit of an unknown so please pray that we would be able to faithfully serve, and that it would create in our children's hearts a greater desire for Christ and His ways. Under "links," you will find information on the church we are going to, Lakeshore Baptist Church. Thank you so much for your faithful support. Christmas may get a bit lonely so please keep up your correspondence, you don't know how precious your e-mails are. God Bless

Kids Fit

Kid Fit and Motor Skills has come to an end. Matthew enjoyed showing me all that he had learnt at his last Motor Skills and the others ended Kids Fit with a few games of dodgeball against the parents.

Rachel received this special award signed by President Mohler for being one of the two most fit children in the class.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Locust Grove Fair

Last weekend we went to this 18th Century Market Fair at Locust Grove. It was at a beautifully restored 1790 Georgian mansion with huge grounds that are very pretty this time of year. A large group of people dress, act and live for the weekend like they did in the 18th Century. They also re-enacted a battle from the War of Independence. It was a really interesting, enjoyable day.

Our Little American

We have been blessed with many hand me downs for Matthew for the winter and also some lovely new outfits (thank you Fleeners). They make Matthew fit right in and we feel like he is our little American. He loves the way that they speak differently and often says "Yes Ma'am" to me now, although I'm not sure that it is with the respect that it should be with. He also calls me "mom" and tells me that he needs to use the "potty"(which is what the toilet is called). This photo was taken as we arrived home from our first African American Church experience. The church that we are attending walked down the road and joined them for a wonderful time of praise and worship. They put on a wonderful meal for us. They certainly sing and interact during the preaching with great enthusiasm, charisma, yet humility and sobriety. As Anna-Marie said, "We have never heard so many 'Amens' during a message."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chapel Services at Southern

Mark has been enjoying the chapel services at the seminary. Last week C.J Mahaney was the guest speaker and this week it was Dr John MacArthur. The whole family went to their first service to hear Dr MacArthur preach on Thursday. It is a wonderful atmosphere where the Word of God is much revered. We enjoy the way that the Southern Baptist Churches have you stand during the reading of the Word.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Colours of Fall

We are enjoying the beauty of the autumn here. It seems that every tree is losing its leaves and there is such a range of beautiful colours. As you can see from the last photo Halloween is very big here and there is a street near us where nearly every house is decorated. I took quite a few photos but most of them are just too gross to put on this blog. It is hard to understand why you would celebrate and decorate in such a way. We are looking forward to celebrating our first Thanksgiving though, which celebrates God's provision in the harvest.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Louisville Half Marathon

This weekend Mark ran in the Louisville Half Marathon (21 km). It was a good opportunity for us to wear our New Zealand gear and support. He did really well and completed it in 1:37:33. He came 28th out of over 200. Matthew loved showing off the New Zealand flag. As you can see it is pretty cold here already. We had a high of only 9 oC today.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kentucky Drivers License

Yah, we passed our driving exam today and are both now proud owners of a Kentucky License.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kentucky State Horse Park

We have just had Mid Term break because we are half way through the semester already. It is hard to believe in some ways that we have been here 9 weeks already but it also seems like such a long time since we last saw you all. The children and I had a nice break from school and even had the opportunity to go to the Louisville Science museum. I managed to drive into town safely and make it home, thanks to Yahoo Driving Directions!
Mark did not really have a break with work, study, papers to write and two midterms to do on the web at home before the break ended. We did spend the usual Friday together and went on a day trip to this horse park in Lexington. We had a beautiful day, although quite cold. Matthew was able to have his first pony ride but the others had to settle on a plastic horse. It was another good day though, we even just enjoyed the drive through the countryside which was very picturesque.
We are all back into school now. Mark is managing to pick up a few more hours at the recreation center which is a blessing. The children continue to be settled, slowly making more new friends and learning to speak the lingo. I get corrected all the time now, even at home, when I speak "Kiwi" and not "American" and tell them that tea is ready and not dinner. We are trying to make the most of the last of the warm autumn days as winter is fast approaching.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Air Balloon Festival

We spent Friday night with the Tieman family at this Air Balloon Festival held just down the road from where we live. Early in the day they had a race so we jumped in the car and went air balloon chasing and even made it back home without getting lost-quite a feat for me.
The cow is a mascot for a fast food chain called 'Chick Fillet'. It is a Christian company that we have already visited that only sells chicken and has a very good reputation with its employees and customers. Something that really impressed us it that it is never open on a Sunday.
With our family is Mike Withers the international advisor from the seminary wearing his New Zealand jacket that Mark brought him earlier in March. Mike and Patti have been very good to us in many ways.
The children had a great time and as you can see were able to get into a basket and experience the flame above.
I have to confess that I have cheated and the last photo is from the web of last years glow. As all the balloons set up and began to glow it also began to rain. Our photos did not come out and we had to pack up and head home. It was still a great evening.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ohio River Trip

When we first got to Louisville we had a visit from two lovely ladies, Vicky and Carol, who represented a group of women who wish to sponsor us as an international family at the seminary. They blessed us with gifts and Target gift cards for the children. We had mentioned to them how surprised the children had been at the size of the river and the bridges so Carol and her husband, Bill, organized this trip on their boat. Vicky and her husband Dick, Vicky's mother Ruth and another couple Charles and Dianne also came.
It was a wonderful evening. The children had such a good time sitting up the front of the boat, helping pass out snacks and eating dinner on the boat. The river is huge compared to anything we have in New Zealand and we saw the Bell of Louisville pass, which is an old paddle boat that we hope to go on in the future. The other piece of history that we passed was the crest line of the 1937 flood.
God blessed us with a beautiful evening and with these lovely, giving families who gave of their time and resources for our enjoyment.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Louisville Zoo

On Sunday afternoon we took advantage of a $1 entry fee at the Zoo. It was a one day special that only seems to happen once a year so we couldn't resist. We went with the Smith family, who we have met through seminary. Brian and Amy have four lovely children; Grace, Ferris, Daniel and Joshua. They are also a home schooling family and this is also their first semester. We love going to the Zoo and being reminded of the vastness of God's creation. There were several animals there that we had not seen before. We were amazed at some of the native animals like the horned owl, bald eagle and the mountain lion. They were all much larger than we had imagined. It was a really hot day, as you may tell from Matthew's pose in the photo. All of our family were there but some escaped the photos.

"It was a great afternoon. I really liked seeing the mountain lion and the tapir. It was the first time I had seen a tapir and they were kind of weird."Anna-Marie

We had a really good time at the Zoo and my favourite animal was the big, huge gorilla. I also liked the tapir, it is related to the horse and the rhinoceros."Rachel

"I liked all the cat species. The lions, tigers, mountain lions, lynxs, snow leopard, and the jaguar. I also liked being with the Smith family."Joel

"I liked the seals and the sea lions. The funniest was the orangutan and the coolest was the gorilla."Matthew

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Bass Pro Shop

For our Friday Family night this week we went to this three story sports store, the 'Bass Pro Shop'. We went with a family who are our neighbor's at Village Manor, the 'Manly Family'. It was a lovely evening just looking around this amazing store. It even had a restaurant in it where you could eat wild game. There were taxidermy bears, raccoons, deer, wolves and a pond with many different live fish. We had some shooting competitions and Dad will be proud to hear that his daughter cleaned up. We really enjoyed being with T-Ray, Dawn, Anne-Marie, Victoria and Madison.