Monday, August 25, 2014

$50.31

$50.31

It's a number I will never forget because it represents God's provision and a dear child of His obediently caring for our family.
My friend called me up one day while our family was raising support to come to Australia and work with the indigenous church developing resources in Kriol, and distributing the Kriol Baibul.  She told me that she had spoken with her husband about supporting our family in the work God had called us to do, even though she had just lost her job (and 1/3 of their family's income!).  She asked her husband, "Couldn't we just support the Mullets?"  But he was realistic (being an engineer--a generous engineer), "You just lost your job!  We should be cutting our support of missionaries, not adding another one."

My friend persisted.  "Couldn't we just live carefully, spend wisely this month, and see what we have left, and give THAT to the Mullets?"  Her husband graciously agreed.

When she called on the phone she said, "We usually support our missionaries with $50 per month.  But I wasn't sure what we would be able to support your family with...But God provided, and at the end of the month we had $50.31 left over after all of our expenses!  So, we are going to support the Mullets at $50.31 per month.  And I won't leave off the .31 on our checks to you, because it's a reminder to me of God's faithfulness."

Our whole family was blessed through this family's kindness toward us, and my friend's desire to give all she could.  She consistently remembered our family in prayer as well.  She would use landmarks or objects to remember to pray for people.  She told us that whenever she drove down a certain street she prayed for "so and so" because she had done something with her there.  Then she said, "And I remember to pray for your family every time I look at the word "Precept" because I first met Cheri at (Bible) Precepts class.  And since I'm a Precepts leader, you can guess how often I see that word!"

When our son went through kidney failure and dialysis, Tina was one who regularly read our blog and continued to pray for our son.  She was a blessing from the word go.

Tina Downey will be dearly and truly loved and missed.  Each time she is remembered, she will be remembered with love and honor.  She was a blessing in life and I am truly saddened by her passing.  However, she has blessed and inspired me and our family to trust the Lord, and give it all you've got!  May God bless and keep her family during this time of sadness and mourning.  We will be praying for you all and are so grateful for the chance we had to get to know Tina and your family.  We are looking forward to the day when we will meet again.    

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ministry & Family Update

Since my visit to the US for my brother's wedding a lot has happened, and I'd love to share with you all about it.

As you know, God has blessed us with a house in Katherine.  Only about a week after returning from my trip to the States, we were given the opportunity to host our first guests!  I(Jared) recieved a call from my indigenous dad, and he was looking for a place to stay during the Katherine Show.  When I asked him how many people would need to stay with us, he began listing more than just him and his wife...I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised at all, as that's the way it usually works.  We ended up hosting 7 people at our house, on couches, beds and on the floor.  You know, that's one of the reasons we asked for this larger house in the first place, and God answered our prayer.  It was an encouraging visit with my dedi and his wife, and we're getting to know their family better each time.  One of the people who came with them introduced himself and said, "Remember me?  You came and visited me in the hospital."  That made my heart glad because we had a chance to serve, and God used us!

When I first started to work at Mission Australia, I was told I would be stationed as a teacher out in Beswick (Wugularr), an indigenous community about 100km from Katherine.  Well, I've been working for MA for a year now, officially, and this week I will be heading out to Beswick to begin the process of starting the SEE Program(Skills for Education and Employment) out there!  FINALLY!! :)  And the most exciting part for me is the exciting news I recieved from my boss: "I want you to teach it in Kriol."  YES!!!  I was SO EXCITED!  I can't wait to start out there, and I started to translate our materials into Kriol last week.  I will use my notes to teach from, but also use the English "road rules" book so my students will be learning English reading/writing/numeracy as they study road rules to get their drivers' licences.  

On the church front, our family was involved this year in doing a VBS (Vacation Bible School) with our church.  It's the first one our church has ever done, and it went pretty well.  I was the emcee and the teacher for the 5-8 year old class.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm praying the Scriptures we looked at with the kids will stay with them, especially the ones concerning salvation.

Another exciting note:  the pastor and his family we have been waiting for has finally arrived!  We're really excited to have them after 2 years of waiting(on our half... the church has actually been waiting for about 4).  You can pray for them as they begin the ministry the Lord has called them to in our church.  Their names are Justin, Jessica, Colin, Elijah, and Aiden.  Cam has already made friends with Colin who is the same age as him.  Please pray for our church as we continue to minister in Katherine and share the gospel.

After much prayer and consideration, Cheri has decided to put her studies aside in order to focus more on our family and our home.  Perhaps she will return at a later date, but that hasn't been decided as of yet.  As a family we are seriously looking into becoming foster parents, and Cheri will be going to their office tomorrow morning to get more information.    There will be a special training over my birthday weekend(beginning of August) to learn more and prepare.  You can pray for us in this area as well, as it may be that we take on long-term care of some children.

On that note, please also pray for the Lord's provision of a 7-seater vehicle we can use both in town and community. Our landcruiser has seen it's last days, and our only other small car fits the 5 of us, with no room for extra children. 

Thank you to all who have been praying for our family and who have asked for an update on what we're doing.  We are so thankful for your prayers and I'm personally encouraged when I think of each of you.  God bless, yumob!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

God's House

-->
We had not been seeking to purchase a house. Yes, in the past we had. Yes, it was a dream of mine to settle down and own our own home.  BUT all of the doors had closed when we tried to purchase a home. God said “NO… now is not the time.” We thought He might be saying “Never is the time.” We have always trusted in the Lord’s provision for living places, and as our journey with Him has taken us on a bit of a roller-coaster ride in regards to housing, we have learned that He will ALWAYS provide… He is our Father.  We looked to the verses “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) We had some in savings, but decided against using it for a house downpayment, as we have been commanded to “lay your treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). We had given up on the idea of ever owning a house in this life.

BUT then a Christian brother came up to us and said, “you need a house. God can do anything, and He can provide a house for you! This is a basic need, providing for your family.” Long story short, this was the spark that got us thinking again about purchasing a home. We thought, “okay, God, are you telling us now is the time to buy?” I thought we couldn’t afford it, and I have to pay for school as well. Jared said “If we’re going to buy a house it needs to be 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom, for guests.” I said, “yeah, right… do you know how much 4-bedroom houses cost? We can’t even hardly afford a 3-bedroom house!” BUT we looked at the market, and there happened to be a 4-bdr/2-bath house in a “lower” price range, with an open visitation that very weekend. So we went to check it out… we thought, “this would fit the bill.”

 I called a lender to see about a house loan… it didn’t look very good, however most of the “boxes” I had to have ticked, were.  After one disappointing night when I thought we couldn’t do it, and God was closing the door, I thought, “Why God, would that man say something to us, if this wasn’t your will? Why did we have to try this again, only to be denied again?”… I drove to the house and prayed. “Lord, this is Your house. I can’t do anything about it. I’d love it if you gave it to us, but if not, Thank you for the house you’ve already provided for us to live in…”  That very night we had a meeting with a broker who said, “Yes! You can do this! I’ll apply for a loan for you.” 5 minutes AFTER speaking with her, the real estate lady called: “What do you think about their counter-offer?” Prior to the broker’s meeting, I would have replied that we couldn’t do it.  However, I told her what the broker said, and she responded, “Great! I’ll start you on a contract on Monday!” I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe it. God was giving us this house, I knew it.

The verses that God gave me were “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33), but more than that, was this verse: “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11) I kept these verses in my heart.

-->
Our loan application was DENIED by the bank. I almost thought God was going back on His Word to me. I thought, “Lord, didn’t you promise me this house through those verses? Am I doing something wrong?  Are You going back on Your promise?!” The broker appealed the bank’s decision. DENIED yet again. By this time I had real peace about it. I knew that if God wanted to provide this house for us, HE COULD DO IT. HE IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL CREATION. I didn’t need to fret just because of the bank people. So I didn’t. The mortgage broker apologized for getting our hopes up and counseled that if I worked part time for a few months, we could reapply… I informed her that I had previously had a part time job, but took a break during the school semester to focus on my studies, and was welcome back to work whenever I wanted to. She told me to get two payslips and a letter from the workplace stating that I had been an employee there, and she could reapply…. We asked the vendors selling the house if they were willing to extend the contract for this finance to be worked out… they agreed! Lo and Behold, I went back to work just a few days, the loan was approved, and now we’re moving into the house that God provided for us.

I am still blown away by the LORD’s provision. It’s a great house, but one that definitely needs some work.  We are not even worthy of anything in this life, and yet God is faithful to His children and provides their “daily bread.” He has done this time and again in our lives.  May we use this house He has provided for His glory, and may we worship Him in it. God be praised!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What's it all about, really?

Why did we stay here in Australia after finishing up with Wycliffe?  Why have we continued to stay when our entire family is still in the US?  Are we anti-social?  Do we want to avoid our family and friends in America?  Why have we decided to remain here, hopefully buy a house, and be in Australia a long time?
  Well, simply, we feel this is where God has called us to be at this time.  As he has proven time and time again in my own(Jared) life, I'll make plans, but God ultimately directs my steps...That sounds Biblical, eh?  So, though I don't know the future, it seems for now that we are called to remain here in Australia.  God has provided a job for me here, a place to stay, and a town where there are still many people who have not come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  AND He continues to bring them across our path.
  Many of those people have  been disillusioned by the traditional religion of Christianity, or rather the plain old meaningless dead ritual of Christianity they were exposed to.  They don't understand that it's not about a "religion" but a relationship with a Father who loves them, and longs for them to come to Him.  I realize I'm completely powerless to change anyone's heart or make them believe something, but God can.  I can and will pray for Katherine.  I will pray for the people God brings across my path.  We can see so much hurt here, because of alcohol, drugs, poor choices, ... basically, sin taking its course in people's lives.  Brings sadness to my heart, and we have the One they need.  But without the Holy Spirit moving in their lives, it's not going to happen.  Please pray with us for the town of Katherine and surrounding communities to come to the Lord;  and please pray for us as we endeavor to reach out to those who are seeking.  Pray for discernment, wisdom, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's leading.
   We know this world isn't all there is.  There is life after death, and that is either an eternal blessing and joy, or an eternal torment.  People are crying out for something, and there are all kinds of organisations doing good things and helping meet immediate needs, but leaving out Christ.  Without Jesus Christ, the best laid behavior management plan will fail... and even if it does change a person's actions for the rest of their lives, the world can't save anyone from hell because the world is powerless to do so.
  The only one who gives anyone true hope and peace, true joy and unfailing love is Jesus.  I wish people understood this.  I wish we didn't all choose to run away from God because we've done wrong.  But God continually reaches out for us, and waits for us to come, expectantly.  Christianity is not simply a list of "do's" and "don't"s... It is so much more than a set of rules.  It is about a living, loving relationship with the Creator of the universe, who as Christians, we can call Father.    Our relationship with God is the most important thing ever--and that isn't true only for Christians.
   Where do you stand with God?  The thing separating us from God is our sin.  The things we have done which are against what God has commanded us not to do in His Word.  Because of our sin we are eternally condemned and set apart from God, the consequence of our sin is death.  We are helpless to save ourselves, and God knew that.  So in His great love, He sent Jesus, his son, to take our place.  He lived a perfect life, died for us(defeating sin FOREVER) and then rose again from the dead 3 days after dying.  Through Him we are made righteous and acceptable in God's sight if we confess with our mouths and believe that Jesus is the Christ.  Perhaps you've known this before, eh?
  This is the message of the gospel.  As a believer, I need to share this message with as many people as God brings me into contact with.  He is the only one who truly saves, and we live in a world in need of saving.  And yet, I'm still powerless to change any hearts or MAKE people believe.  God must bring them, so I just have to pray.
  I know there are so many people all over the world that don't know Jesus Christ.  Perhaps you're in the US reading this.  God has put people in your life who need Him that I'll never meet.  God has put you there for the express purpose of spreading the gospel.  Tell them!  Pray for the them!  God will change their hearts, and He wants us to be involved.   

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Priorities.

In a life that can be crazy busy, and everything is yelling out for attention or action, what stops us from going completely insane and running down the street screaming?  Priorities.

Currently, we are a busy family.  School is in session again, Cheri's  been studying hard for her classes and worked at McDonald's to pay for the schooling.  I'm working as a teacher at Mission Australia still, and really enjoying it.  By God's grace, my class has grown from 1 regular student to 7, and there are more coming.  In fact, my boss informed me that my class has reached it's full enrollment (15).  I was blessed with that.  By God's grace, work is going well.  He has given me favour with my bosses.  I was blessed to hear that people like, "That Yank who speaks Kriol with a funny accent." :)

As well as work is going, if left unchecked, it could take over a TON of time.  Except for priorities.  At the end of the day, (literally and figuratively) I leave work behind.  I come home.  Sometimes I worry about work and what I will teach the next day.  I wonder, "Should I quickly make up another resource for the lesson tomorrow?"...and just as I'm thinking I will do it, a small voice says, "Daddy?  Can we take a bike ride?"  Or, "Daddy, look at me!  Watch this!"  And then a small child does something hilarious, ridiculous, adorable, or all of the above.  I stop and think, "Before I know it, this small child won't be small anymore.  Before I know it, I'll be looking back wondering where the time has already gone."

I know my time on this earth is limited.  Jesus could come back at any moment.  Will I be found doing what He has given me to do?  Am I using my gifts and abilities to serve Him with all my heart?  God has blessed our family, and I know we want to be a blessing to others as well.

Priorities...  I've noticed that there are two ways of interacting with people, ignore them, keep your head down and just go through your own life, or look up, greet people, and get to know them a bit!

Cheri and I were taking a walk on the trail/sidewalk behind our house while her parents were here watching our kids.  As we walked down the path, I noticed that there was a group of about 6 indigenous folks, mostly men, ahead of us.  For a moment I asked myself, "Should we just turn around? Nah!"  So, we kept walking, and when we got to them, I greeted them all, and started talking with them in Kriol. :)  It turns out they are from Ngukurr (4 1/2 hours drive away out bush and across a large river that sometimes floods at this time of year), and we know some folks who live out there.  So, when I mentioned our friends, they said, "You with the church mob, eh?"  I said, "We lived in Barunga for 2 1/2 years, and we worked with the church there, and met the Ngukurr folks, too."  One of the men said to me, "Yeah, my girlfriend went to church, and she changed her life, but I haven't changed my life.  I'm still drinking.  BUT I listened to a beautiful Christian song by an African singer."

When I first greeted their group, one man (the oldest of the group) was sitting on the ground.  As I talked with them in Kriol, he asked me basic questions, "Where did you learn to speak Kriol?" "The old ladies in Barunga taught me." "Where are you from?"...all the time sitting.  As we chatted more, he stood up, and shook my hand.  I told him we needed to go, but thanks for the chat, and God bless.  The younger fellow who "hadn't changed his life yet" told me if he sees me in town, he'll show me that song by the African.  I hope he sees me in town.

We chatted a bit more, and then Cheri and I continued on our date.  I'm really glad we didn't choose to turn around before talking with that group.  Since Katherine is a small-ish town, and people get stuck here in the wet, I don't know when I'll see those folks again, but perhaps it will be sooner rather than later. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful?

Looking back over this past year (and even over the past couple of months) causes me to be extremely thankful.  Often in the midst of blessings, I don't take time to reflect on those blessings and thank the Lord.  We truly have so much to be thankful for.  We are living in a wonderful country where my son was easily taken care of when his kidneys failed.  That's what's been on my mind lately.  Praise the Lord for his kindness.

I've also noticed that God has blessed me at work.  It has been a bit stressful from time to time, but I really enjoy it, and I work with some really neat people.  I'm thankful for each of my coworkers, and the opportunities I'm having to build a friendship with them.

Cheri Dear and I have been married for nearly 9 1/2 years, and it feels like we just got married yesterday.  I'm also thankful for my excellent wife.  She has truly been my biggest blessing.  God has been kind and generous to me.

The kids are growing up fast, and they have adjusted easily to life in Australia.  Bethany can put on an Aussie accent in the blink of an eye, or drop it, depending on who she's talking to!  She is a sweetheart.  Alice is becoming a little lady and she is a very hard worker.  If she wants something, she works hard for it (and usually gets it!).  She's also a bit of a clown and likes making people laugh.  She's a blessing.  Cam is a little boy growing up.  He loves me, and I love him.  God has blessed me with 3 wonderful children.

Sometimes  I really miss our family in the States, and I wish they weren't so far away from us.  But even though I miss them, I know this is where God wants our family.  Even though missing them makes me sad, I'm thankful I have someone to miss.

Tonight for Thanksgiving dinner we had some friends of ours and their children over, as well as my mum and dedi from Weemol.  It was nice to have some "family" close by on a holiday they had never heard of or celebrated.  It almost made me wish every day was Thanksgiving, just so we could help people to see how much they have to be thankful for, and show them Who to be thankful to... 
 
I am thankful to the Lord for each one of you who has prayed for our family, for Cameron, each time God brought us to your mind.  God is good, and each of you are a blessing to be thankful for.  May God bless you as you continue to serve Him, and remind you to take a break and reflect on things He has given you to be thankful for.

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Ephesians 1:15-16.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Update from the Mullets!

Well, it's been a month since I blogged last.  That's encouraging because it means nothing earth shattering has happened.  Cam is completely off his medications, but is still on a special renal diet.  Other than watching out  for what he can't eat, he's back to his normal self! :)  He is learning to read a bit, and enjoys trying out his skills when we're doing devotions.  "Dad!  Can I read the key verse?" :)

Bethany is doing well; she is a joy to have as my daughter.  She's so affectionate and compassionate.  She also has a new good friend here in Katherine!  She and her friend play together at school, and have also made it a habit to ask if they can play together. :)  Bethany is very outgoing, but it's good for her to have a special friend.

Alice is doing well in school, and she has been a big help at home as well.  She helps with the dishes, and the other night she mopped of her own volition!  What a sweetheart.  As this school year is coming to a close for all the kids, Alice is really looking forward to 3rd grade.  :)

We have been blessed with three children, who aren't too small anymore. :')

Cheri Dear is still studying to become a nurse, since it's the summer semester she is only taking one class.  She has also taken a part-time job at McD's.(should start any day now...)  She is a blessing to me. 

I've been back in work, becoming a "certified" teacher.  That has been an interesting time.  Nearly there, though!  Then, back to teaching, teaching, teaching! :)  It has been a huge blessing to work for Mission Australia.  Each of the folks I work with has been very kind and understanding, specifically my 2 bosses.  God has blessed me wonderfully.  He has truly blessed our family.  I'm so thankful for so many things.  We are spoiled.  HOWEVER, if we were to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving it would be $60!  So, count your blessings, all you American friends! :)  We'll probably have a roast this year.  We will be having another family join us for Thanksgiving, and that's going to be a lot of fun!

I have stopped using FB, so if you want to contact me, please e-mail us, or write a message to Cheri's FB page.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and love.  There's some exciting stuff on the horizon, but I'll share it when it happens! :)  God bless, yumob!!  And Happy Thanksgiving!