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So, Thursday the 21st of June we drove to Melbourne and got there mid afternoon, just in time to settle in, get the kids washed, and have a meeting with two Gateway representatives who had come over to talk to the presenters for the weekend.

Friday the 22nd was the first day of the program. We were at Oakleigh Polish SDA Church – which I might add has a wonderful church facility – all day. Russell, Janelle, Scott, Tanya, Rod and Desley were presenting on parenting and more specifically, the ministry of the family. The rest of the team spent the day, along with a team of young people from Gateway, looking after the kids and trying to keep them entertained all day which is no easy task. We got home late in the evening and then had to rush to at least get our Sabbath clothes presentable for the next day.

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Sabbath School time. After the sermon there was a big pot-luck lunch and then we were rushed off to the nursing home. We got there late – because we had been talking – and Mum already had some people singing to the older folks. We went and joined in and then she sprinkled some special items through the rest of the program. “Wow” I said as we were finishing and just chatting a bit. “It will be weird but nice to get home before 7pm for a change.” And then we heard that there was an afternoon parenting program for the adults. We groaned inwardly. This time there were less of us to look after the kids and we ended up taking them for a walk through the old campground and then reading some stories but they were over it. Finally it was time to go in and close sabbath.

Sunday the 24th – Sunday was another all-dayer at the Oakleigh SDA Polish church. In the kid’s room it was a little bit easier because we took them all letterboxing. That was nice because it took up time and the kids love it! So that was the morning gone and then in the afternoon, some of us took the older kids out again while the rest of the Gateway team looked after the little ones. By this time the kids were totally over it and just wanted their parents so we kinda had to start letting them drift in one by one. Some of the little ones got to their mummies and fell asleep on their laps. It had been a big few days. Finally it was over and we were packing up and saying our last goodbyes. Friendships are made in such a short time and it’s so hard to say goodbye.

Monday the 25th – The Ings had been going to head off today but they decided that it would be better to spend some time together as a team and kinda wind down for  a day. Mark, a past student, offered to show us around a bit on his day off and so we headed up into the hills to “1000 Steps”. 1000 Steps is a walking track (with seven hundred and something steps) that is kinda a bit of a memorial to the Kokoda trail. After some of the team had walked to the top – which “didn’t even have a good view” – we went back into ‘town’ so that we could get something for lunch and then we were gonna head out to some old-style town, kinda like a Timbertown apparently. The Baileys and the boys had a packed lunch but the Ings and Thomas-Tongs had brought nothing so in the end, those with lunch ready to eat went ahead and the rest stayed back to search for something to eat. By the time we had lunch, we got a call from Mum saying that it was pouring rain where they were. So we decided to forgo that part of the day. Instead, we went to one of the shopping centres to look for some gloves for Janelle and then it was time to go to Yuli’s place for tea. We had a great time there, chatting and laughing and enjoying the good food that Yuli had made for us. Another great friendship reinforced.

Tuesday the 26th – The Ings and the Thomas-Tongs left this morning, leaving me to slip back into my real family – the Bailey family. Those of us who remained in the city headed into the middle of the city to visit Leah. Leah had just gotten back into Australia from Taiwan that morning but she was so excited to see us that she came running out onto the street and started jumping up and down! We had a great couple of hours with her, even going out to an amazing chinese restaurant for lunch and hanging out in a park chatting and playing playground chasie. All too soon it was time to head for our next appointment – tea with the Kitevskis. I’ll skip lightly over our evening, just saying that we had a wonderful evening and became great friends with yet another lovely family. Oh, and had a late night too!  [smiley]

Wednesday – we headed back up to Tumburumba and stayed with Grandmaand Grandpa again for one night.

Thursday – made the trip from Tumba, or Humula more accurately, to Woy Woy on the central coast where we were met by past student Josh Corda. Mum had come down with a bug of some kind and so Dad decided to take her home and come back in the morning for the training we were running the next day. So they went and the boys and I went back to Josh’s place for the evening. It was great to catch up with Joshy and his family and his mum is a great cook!

Friday – today was our first day of work with the Woy Woy church. This morning we ran Health Expo Training with the church folk which went way too long but was really good, and then I went back to Josh’s place with the boys again to do some practise and have tea and opening Sabbath.

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Sabbath the 30th – Ran the whole program today! From Sabbath School preliminaries to the afternoon program. But God blessed and it all went really well.

Sunday – today is the day of the health expo. It was in a wonderful spot for size, but not so great for people flow. But God blessed again and we were always busy throughout the whole time we were there. Some great contacts were made and it is always wonderful for us to see the church folk getting involved and mixing with the people of their community.

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Monday – Most of us got home.

What a trip! We got tired, hungry, cold, sick – but it was such a blessing to all of us. We all love it! The kids, the adults, hardly any of us were excited to get home. While you are at home, it’s so easy to become self-centred and just live your own life, but on the road, even with inconveniences and the like, you are in that missionary mode and it does become part of your life.


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