Hello from the other side….
Sorry.. couldn’t resist.. for those that don’t know the reference….wait a minute.. I forget that I probably am one of the only people in the world who didn’t know who Adele was until 2016… yes that’s right.. don’t worry.. after America even my 2 year old sadly knows “Hello” and adds her own interesting lyrics…
This post was indeed not about that but an update of the WILKENS LATEST GREATEST and hopefully last move. (For awhile at least.)
We arrived here in Perth almost exactly 3 weeks ago. We literally hit the ground running. We landed in the evening and the very next morning Bruce found himself sitting in staff training for the upcoming Medical Discipleship Training School DTS that he is helping to staff. This is one of 5 Discipleship Training Schools this quarter at YWAM Perth. This quarter we welcomed around 180 students! The medical DTS has 39 students from 16 different countries! (If your still wondering what a DTS is click here)We are now entering week 4 of the school and some awesome things have been happening.. here is an excerpt of something Bruce shared:
This is what freedom looks like!! All this week on the DTS (discipleship training school) I am staffing we were learning about repentance and forgiveness; what God’s standard is, where we have transgressed that standard, how to repent, ask for forgiveness and receive it, and how to offer it to others that have hurt us. Yesterday, all 39 students took turns going before the class with lists they had made asking God for forgiveness and releasing forgiveness to others. It took over 12 hours and the whole day was very, very powerful. After each person finished they nailed their lists to a cross in the classroom. There is so much freedom in the forgiveness of God and so many hearts were set free! Surely this is why Jesus came; to bind up the brokenhearted and to set the captives free.
The big kids started their first week of school which was a 3 day week. They did great though it was really overwhelming for them. They are really looking forward to this next week already.
Some are less than thrilled that Big brother and big sister will be gone again all day and she can’t go to school with them.
Our apartment is coming together nicely. The first few weeks were rough as we lived on the floor but after a few exhausting trips to IKEA and some home delivery its starting to feel like home. We are really glad for this especially in the business of life!
Here are a few more pictures!
P.s. Its winter here and we are freezing!! its only in the 50-60F during the day and 40F at night.. yes I realize we are still weather wimps from Africa!!
Oh and Happy Birthday today to one of our favorite babies!!!!
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Ok ok.. so no blogging.. well we have been busy. Traveling and eating and visiting and traveling and visiting and eating.. well you get the point. Whew!! It has been an amazing, overwhelming, fun, lovely and exhausting visit back to the homeland.
We landed end of March in Cali and the first thing we did was eat pancakes! Why you ask? I don’t know.. seemed like the American thing to do.. (I myself had a Cobb Salad that I had been dreaming of over the last few months before we got here.)
Oh and we froze. It was in the 70’s and we were shivering and getting stared at because we were wearing all the warm clothes we could muster while standing next to short and tank top wearing Californians.
So here is a brief blurb of our time home:
California we visited family and spent Easter
Saw a red bridge
ate snow flakes (Northern Cali)
Oregon visited our friend Sarah who we lived with in Tanz.
Saw some BIG Trees
Hugged some Trees
found a wood elf
Portland visited more family
Drove to Seattle saw some Tulips and some old friends
Celebrated getting old
Chicago visited family, went shopping
Ate more pancakes with said family..
Drowned in paperwork..
Celebrated more getting old with back massages and Greek eating.. Opa!
Went to Michigan visited family
Old cars and farms
pretended there was snow
Back to Chicago and tree climbing..
Hot cocoa and grandparent spoiling
3 of us off to Jamaica for sibling wedding fun
back to Chicago for more visits
Beans and Chicago fun
Wisconsin to the cabin for relaxing, fishing and 12 year anniversaries
This is a small sampling of our time home and its been such fun!
PERTH HERE WE COME!!
We arrived in Western Australia about 2 ish weeks ago.. How are we? Hows it going? What are we doing? These are questions we hear a lot and we are so grateful for the love and support we have felt as so many of you have been following our family and our strange life. Haha!
Firstly, The flights were pretty uneventful. The second leg of the trip poor Bruce had a unhappy toddler screaming and kicking his seat almost the whole 10hr flight so he had a bit of trouble sleeping..
we arrived, showed customs our one basket, wooden box and salad tongs.. these things were of great interest.. (not really) We were met by some smiling YWAM Perth faces which was such a blessing. We had jet lag for about the first week.. wasn’t so bad except we were waking up really early and then feeling super tired starting about 4pm… we would then push through the tired feeling and then be awake until about 12am.. but then feel super hungry because 12pm fell right around dinner time in Tanzania.. Haha.. we survived.
The first week we hit the ground running.. we had our 2 most important meetings the first week which probably in hindsight wasn’t so smart but it worked out. One an interview with the kids future school and one with the Healthcare ministry leaders here at YWAM. I think we pressured ourselves a bit after these meetings to figure everything out quickly, but remembering that this is why we have the 5 weeks here we were able to calm down a bit. We have been spending our time listening for confirmation from God that this is what he has for us. There is definitely a place here in the Healthcare Ministry for us and the kids this week were officially accepted to our school of choice, but after thinking we would be in Tanzania longer than we were and coming off of that experience we are treading a little lighter and taking our time.
Our kids have been having the time of their lives. The weather is much nicer here. Josiah is basically off of all of his asthma and allergy meds! Praise the Lord. They have been loving the endless supply of parks and all of the variety of foods and snacks. I feel like they have been eating non-stop since we arrived here. They love taking the public transportation and cruising around in the little car a friend has let us borrow from time to time. It only takes less than 20 mins to get anywhere!! After 2 years of 2-4hr traffic jams the kids are in heaven. (Us as well) We have been homeschooling at the apart
ment we rented and spending a lot of time at the YWAM base. The kids really like the school they will attend and in a week they will go for a half day. Hoping this will allow them to meet their teachers and make a few friends so that when they come back its not a scary experience for them as they will be dropping in mid year. Josiah will be in first grade and Abigail will be in 3rd grade but in a split 3rd&4th class. Lily will start preschool at the base after she turns 3 in Sept.
Returning to this base has been like returning home in many cases. First off we remember it. We remember Perth a bit, how to get around and where things are. That’s a blessing. But, we were also blown away by the number of people that remember us from nearly 4 years ago. Not just recognizing us but remembering our names. This is pretty amazing being that the longest time we spent there was 3 months in 2012. People have been happy to see us and excited at the prospect of us joining staff. Its also exciting that there are so many young families in our stage of life serving God together at the base. Even our shy Lily has been wandering around the base like she owns the place and talking to people!!
Bruce spent the last 2 weeks serving at the YWAM base in the maintenance department. He has been doing all sorts of little odd jobs and has enjoyed working with his hands a bit. Its also been good for him to be around to meet people and get a feel for things. He has been digging holes, filling holes, laying brick, mowing lawns, fixing beds and painting things. He was also asked to teach in the medical missions school on the topic of Tropical Medicine. So we look forward to that.
So about a year ago our good friend John contacted us about wanting to bring a group from his church in Michigan. I (Heather) have known John and his wife Suzie for about 19 years. We were thrilled at the idea. Over the last year we hashed out the details and they decided to come this last August. The really awesome part was that John was going to bring his son Johnny whom I have known since he was born. Such a crazy thing to have someone you knew as a baby be grown up and coming on a mission trip to see you in Africa! We planned for them to do a sports bible camp for the kids in our primary school.
What a high energy week! These guys planned a daily schedule of games, sports, crafts and a bible teaching. The camp only ran about 4 days and its a good thing because these guys gave it their all each day and were bushed by the end of it! They were also joined by two Austrian girls who were volunteering at our base and they made a great addition to the team.
Not only did these guys run a camp but they brought such fun and joy and refreshment to our family! They spoiled us with things like tortilla chips, marshmallows, chocolate chips, puzzles, and more!! They played with our kids and loved on them and it was such a special time for our family!
Did I mention they helped us with chores like dishes, folding clothes, pruning large trees and slashing grass with machetes??
After the busy week was done after camp on the saturday we took them to the beach (Indian Ocean) for some relaxation and sunshine.. because there is never enough of that! haha!
We had a 24 hr break and of course if you come to Africa. You have got to see some Africa. and if you have hosts as crazy as us we will probably make it happen… SO We went to our church in Dar es Salaam on Sunday and immediately after we left for a Safari!!
We drove to a park about 3 hrs North of us. As far as safaris go we didn’t see as much as we had hoped but we saw a mother load of giraffes and monkeys!!
We spent the night in the park and did a morning game drive and didn’t see much and then started heading back to Dar. On the way we made a pit stop in Bagamoyo for a bit of history. Bagamoyo is a coastal town where a lot of the slave trade left from. Bagamoyo loosely translates to “leaving your heart” as slaves knew once they left they would leave their families and land forever. We visited a church that is a famous spot where the church would buy slaves their freedom and hundreds were set free. Its also a spot where the famous David Livingstone had worked from.
AS we were leaving the church……
We had an incident that our family is known for on safari…
After some complications and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we were on our way. next pit stop a souvenir market in Dar, Chinese food and a long drive back to the village. Sometimes I think we are getting to old for this insanity.. and though we were really tired we had so much fun!!
After we got home from the Safari the team had one day left and so decided to bless the kids that live on our base and some local village kids with a bible fun day! Did I mention how amazing these guys are!
This team was just such an amazing blessing to us and we missed them so much when they left. We are thankful for the ministry they did here, their hearts to bless our family and the friendships that were formed!!!
I’m so behind in posts and although I have a few cued and almost ready to go I figured I might as well start with the most recent and work backwards. The electricity has been very unreliable over the last month and now seems to back back and working. We don’t hold our breath around here though. :p
Mid September we were so blessed and excited to have some family visit!!! My (Heather) cousin Jeff and his oldest daughter Casey came to visit for a week. There were only here for 6 days after travel and we really wanted to show them some of Tanzania so we took them on a whirlwind trip! It was hard and tiring at times but, Oh so amazing!
We Picked them up Thurs. night late and then the next day Friday was our oldest daughters birthday. So we went to Dar to celebrate and stay the night so as to be closer to the road we needed to take to drive to Mikumi National Game Park. Driving from the village to the city was an experience and after taking them shopping at a store and out to dinner and frozen yogurt, I think they had a well rounded first day.
The next morning we started the 6 hour long drive to Mikumi. We arrived around 4pm and saw many animals on the road leading up to the entrance which was exciting. It also made us hopeful of seeing a lot of animals because there have been game drives where we have seen very little. The evening game drive did not disappoint. We saw Zebra, Elephants, Giraffe, Monkeys, baboons, loads of antlered animals such as bush buck and kudos, water buffalo, wildebeast, hippos and crocs!!
We have done quite a few game drives at a closer game park to the North of us and this one was much better but the drive was quite brutal for a quick trip. But it was well worth it and we all had an amazing time.
After our drive back to Dar we stayed the night and then took the 8am ferry to Zanzibar. The kids were pretty cashed by then so they just spent 3 hours on a comfy bed in the air-conditioning watching Tom and Jerry episodes with me while the others did some exploring of Stone Town. (kids are so funny, this is by far one of their favorite memories which they repeat again and again.)
We ended the night at the nightly fish market where you can get a selection of a million different grilled sea creatures. Caught a look at the sun setting with the dow sailboats and took in some of the eclectic culture of Zanzibar…
Next day went on a spice tour, bumbled around a bit and then took the ferry home. The following day we hung out a bit at home and then they flew home!! Whew!! What a crazy but amazing trip!!! So happy to have had them to visit.