So my journey to Australia started the day after we got back from MTO (Holland). Saturday the 21st was complete with unpacking from camp, washing clothes, and repacking. Sunday we left at 3pm in the afternoon (British Summer Time) and I was still packing 30 mins before we left! But I was very happy as I packed 17 kg for 2 months!! Having said that I looked at my stuff yesterday and thought I could have packed even less… oh well.
Before we left for the airport dad, Esther and I went up to see Mike’s grave. It’s our first trip without him as a family outside the UK; as well as our first time back to Australia without him. His teddy came with us though 🙂 We arrived at Newcastle Airport around 4.30pm and flew down to London Heathrow. Whilst we were waiting at the gate dad turned to mum and tried to tell her he forgot his lip balm (he has a very bad split in his lip from a blister) … only he told her “Kathy I forgot my lipstick“. The two men in front of him turned around and gave him a weird look whilst me and Laura cracked up laughing at the whole thing.
At first we were really frustrated because all five of us (family plus Esther) were split up for the entire trip to Australia in regards to seating. However when we got to the Qantas counter in Heathrow to sort it all out. Not only did they manage to sit us all together… they booked out seats for dad’s birthday! This ment dad and mum and a full row of four seats to themselves; and Laura, Esther and I had a row of four seats to ourselves in front of them! Heathrow airport wasn’t too exciting. Laura and I did shop at Harrods though which was exciting!! I felt rich and famous!
The trip from Heathrow to Singapore started at 10.05pm in the evening local time and was 11 hours 40 mins long. But it went ever so quick. Sadly because we were going forward in time it was night for the whole trip to Singapore. Everyone always wants to know about what movies were watched so here’s my answer, “Valentine’s Day” and “Shrek Four“. Neither of were too exciting. The food was too exciting either. What was exciting was dad’s 50th party at 33,000 feet! We were given champagne by first class and we had a little party between us five. Laura and I worked on a photo album for dad which was a mixture of photos and messages. He cried. Bless him. I also gave him the tie from Harrods. A Real Versace. Or as dad goes, “a real Versace tie to wear with my fake Versace shirt“. Haha. I really wanted to give him something fancy for his 50th as well as something deep and meaningful.
We were in Singapore for a total of one hour… just enough time to get dad a laksa. Gross. Then off we were to Melbourne… the flight was 6 hours 30 mins and again it went pretty quickly. I finished watching Shrek on the next flight and started watching “The Hot Tub Time Machine“… geeeez I really knew how to pick them on these flights didn’t I! None of those films were really worth it. I didn’t finish of the Hot Tub one. Laura, Esther and I worked out a system of who sleeps on whose shoulder during the two flights but Laura and I really didn’t get a lot of sleep on the trip to Melbourne. We were too busy having deep and meaningful conversations.
Finally we landed in Melbourne and went to Macdonald’s for breakfast. By the time I got to Adelaide I had a total of four breakfasts combined from the flights and airports…argh! I felt sick. It was at the airport that mum, dad and I started to notice how expensive Australia became! $75 for a boomerang!! Stuff that I’ll make one! That’s 43 English pounds!!! Actually it was pretty funny in Melbourne airport because Esther and I had a thing of beating each other up which got slightly out of hand and caused people to look and question my age haha… oops.
Finally we got on the flight to Adelaide which was only 1 hour 30 min but it was now 6am local time on TUESDAY and we had been travelling 30 odd hours through 8 different time zones on 3 different planes… just about to get on our 4th. Finally we arrive into Adelaide 8am local time where Mike and Ann Hey (Esther’s parents) saw me beating Esther over the head with a pillow (smooooooth) and it was 12 degrees C!!! Argh!!! Laura and I have colds now as I’m writing this. Whoever said Australia has warmer winters than our summers is lying… I’ve been frozen since I got here! Haha. Thankfully all our bags made it also and actually it was cool to be on land again 🙂
More to write soon!!
The Grassy Road That We Walk Together
A Love Letter from One Sister to Another
I write this because I want you to know how much I love you and care about you. I know that people do not see what we have and at times we may not realise what we share; but I hope to make it clear that no matter what mountain is put in front of us I am here for you and it is an honour to walk hand-in-hand along this grassy road with you and have God as our guide. For every mountain that has come and every mountain still to come, know that I love you ever so much.
A lump in my throat has formed as I type these very words. I want you to know that past all the typical sisterly issues, I love you very much. I never got the chance on Earth to tell Mike just how much I loved him; only in my dreams, now, have I had such a pleasure. Paper may not last forever but words do and therefore I want you to know that I love you and if anything happened to you I truly would be heartbroken, just like I have been with Mike. Akila I love you. I feel the lump in the throat and the tears down my cheek as I express my love for you.
Oh, holding you tightly in my arms as we walked closer to our brother, who lay in a deep sleep in his coffin, was a moment I will never forget. Do not underestimate the power that relationships can have on people. I do not think you realise just how life-changing that moment was, as a sister, when I held you in my arms to physically walk you towards Mike. Akila, it took us 45 minutes to walk 2 meters- keeping my eyes on you for those full 45 minutes and holding you tightly, keeping you safe was something I, as a sister, will cherish till the day I die and may even take with me to place at the feet of our God when we reach the Kingdom of Heaven. I love you and Mike so much. The three of us in that room, together, gave a sense of unity; even though his spirit was not present. His legacy remained.
It was always the three of us… always. All our midnight picnics; our passwords to enter our secret clubs; dressing up as the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty; having Sports Days in the back garden; being on a team to play board games against Mum and Dad- it was always the three of us. So then to have that last moment in that room together, him in a deep sleep and you and me watching over him, was such a beautiful conclusion to a brother-sister relationship. Oh how I love you both.
I get teary when this topic is mentioned because it means so much to me and at times I do not know what to do with the truth… So here it is: I am telling you that I love you and always will!
Akila, our relationship is very unique. No matter what anyone tells you, you are extremely unique. No one will ever go through exactly what we have gone through in exactly the same way. Our love is so special. Your story is matchless. The timing and the emotions we felt at certain times make up who we are. Our experiences we have faced mould us into who God wants us to be. Everything that has happened and will happen in your life has been for a reason. Live wisely and allow God to mould you; then finally, one morning, you will open your eyes and realise that you really are God’s daughter- a princess of the living God. You will see that you are so beautiful because you will have been true to yourself and will have allowed yourself to be YOU… no one else.
Akila, I love you. Never forget what the three of us have written together because you may find that one day you will need those memories to get you through something difficult.
Open your eyes. Look next to you. I am here. Look up. God is even closer! Now, look behind God. He has the gates of Heaven awaiting you. Within those gates, Mike waits for us.
I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday, Akila, and I love you so much!
Love from your sister,
P.S God told me to tell you that Mike loves you too…
Oh my days I have so much to write, for now I’ll update you on my week at MTO and then I’ll write a separate post about Australia!
My journey to Holland started at 12.30am Thursday 12th of August. I had to get the bus down to Manchester Airport and then fly to Brussels with about 10 teens that were also travelling to MTO. After arriving at Brussels (Belgium) around 9am we went to Zaventem which was about 5 mins away from the airport and I hung out with the missionary teens for the morning before we all went to the camp site in the afternoon. It was so cool to meet up with everyone again. Some faces I hadn’t seen for years, and for others, months.
The theme this year was Secrets Revealed which explored our lives with God as (i) His favourite, (ii) through suffering, (iii) Him being our guide, (iv) perseverance through these struggles, (v) choices, and (vi) hope. We were at camp for seven full days and each day we explored one of the above bullet points. One of the days’ in between we went to the theme park.
Life at MTO (missionary teens only) involved getting up. Meeting up before breakfast to make sure everyone was awake. There were about 100 people this year including staff and their families. For those who were late they had to complete “brown squirrel”; a forfeit song to sing in front of everyone. Breakfast. Attending the leaders meeting which was a discussion about the day’s events. Attending the main meeting; which was a fun introduction to the morning’s topics. After the ain meeting we split off into our net groups which I was a leader of to seven other girls. This time was spent as a small group study/discussion/prayer time together. Then there was participating in the “Wild Thing”; a game to break up the morning but was themed according to the morning’s program. A time of worship then a time of silence to speak to God. Express group which was a small group based on age to discuss the morning’s teaching or previous day experiences etc. Lunch. Free time for an hour unless you were on clean up. Required fun for an hour. Then multiple workshops between 4pm-6pm that consisted of swing dance, sports, crafts, nail painting, running 6k etc. Dinner. Issue based discussions. Laura and I led one this year based on “Walking with God through Loss and Change”. Snacks. The night game. Then “Girl Talk” or “Manly Moments” depending on whether you were a guy or girl. Then lights out at midnight. Our days were pretty full!
I have many stories to share about this year’s MTO. Sunday night for the night game we played “House on Fire”. A game where everyone splits into guy/girl partners and have to run and get a chair when the couple’s number is called. Anyways, this time… to cut a long story short… I ended up crashing into Laura and Daniel who were already sitting down and my toes went very hard into the mental bar across the bottom of Laura’s chair. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because it hurt so much. Instead, I hobbled out of the room to the dinning room were I said to Kim, “Um, kim… I need some help, I’m not good”. My toe nails were bent backwards on both feet, I couldn’t move my toes at all on my left foot which were also red and swollen and bruised… we thought I broke my toes. The bad part was we were all going to a theme park the next day and I was determined to go. So after a good night’s sleep, a lot of prayer and being piggy backed by Kim to and from places… I went to the theme park wearing and managed a painful two third’s of the day before going back to the camp 5 hours before everyone else haha. My toes are fine now just bruised and so I like to think God healed them 🙂 However, that did mean my activities for the rest of the week were limited… no running around, no dancing, no playing games… missing out on “Fat Rabbits” was a killer!!
But my birthday which was on the Tuesday was awesome!! The place was decorated and Laura gave me an awesome letter which I will blog in my next post. She had me weeping as I read it because I was so proud of her… for choosing to hold fast to God through Mike’s death; seeing how God reveals secrets to us when we preserve, seeing his grace and love and what that can do to us…. and I was also hurting for those who don’t turn to God when they need to or for turning away from Him because they couldn’t preserve through it. They miss out on so much.
This year was an interesting year. It was my 4th year as a leader and 3rd year as staff but still I learnt so much in relation to leadership. Many things came up this year and many things I would do differently next year. Also, I had an awesome net group again this year. Every year I think to myself that next years group cant be as great but each year I love my group. They are such awesome girls. It was hard I think for me and Hanna to lead 7 girls as it meant there were 9 of us. Usually we have a smaller group and going deep can be done more easily. But I’m hoping I can continue to support the girls through out the year.
It’s always hard to say goodbye. There’s discussion about another MTO reunion which I will look into. What I loved about this year was everyone from day one clicked with at least one other person. Usually there’s also a small handful who are on the edge but this year it was nice to become one big family very quickly. I actually found it very difficult to connect with people to start off with. Since Mike died I have become a lot more reserved in my heart around people and a lot of my out going personality is forced and an act because I so badly want to still be “people” person. I don’t think there’s a problem with that it’s just if I didn’t do that I would be quiet and lonely from the sidelines!
There’s so much more to write about in regards to MTO but I don’t have the time to share it all. In closing however things about the future became clearer and so my time in Australia will involve continuing this exploration. Anyways… that’s it for now about MTO!
Very quick post as I’m leaving for Australia in 25 min!! WOOHOO!!
Holland was amazing and I have much to share!! Future is clearer also!! I turned 22 on Tuesday and had a great birthday with everyone… only I hurt my toes badly on Sunday night and we thought I broke them haha… true story!! It was agony! Was an interesting experience camp this year… I learnt a lot. Which was a surprise actually haha. The theme was “Secrets Revealed“… I felt I could so relate to the teaching and discussions… made great friends and reconnected with old ones. Laura wrote me the most amazing letter for my birthday which had me in tears several times during the day haha…. my birthday I mean.
Anyways… has been a whirlwind day and a half… finally finished unpacking and repacking a couple mins ago… I managed to pack 17 kg for 2 months!! BOOMYAH I’M AWESOME!! Funny cos it’s 1.8 kg lighter than what I took for Holland for one week!
Found out I passed my law!!!! Just waiting for my results for my placement and dissertation! So happy!! Please continue to pray! Ok… I gotta run… actually… fly haha. So I’ll blog again as soon as I can and update you all much more!!
“Forget about what’s happened, don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18-19.
OK… if I don’t write now then it’s just not going to happen!
Update… well, Monday and Tuesday 2nd/3rd I spent doing school work. A Friend of Fitzy’s came to visit on Wednesday 4th and we did a mad tour of Cumbria. Laura came back on the 5th so after Sarah left I had a major catch up with Laura and she told me all about Teenstreet. Friday I finished my school work. Saturday 7th I started packing for Holland and Australia… Oh and I went shopping. That was amazing! I was SO happy with my bargains! Sunday 8th we picked up Esther at the airport and kept her awake by shopping. Monday and today (Tuesday) has been filled with shopping, packing, chores, posting things and much much more…
Dad’s going to India on the 20th of October. It’s a long story so the best would be for you to read it here … “Would you sponsor me?” Anyways, I said I would love to go also… I’ve never been to India and the team they’re going with is just amazing with an awesome ministry vision. But I’ve been plagued with doubt about money… not so much whether God would provide… but how to ask people to support me. Funny isn’t it. I’m forever learning stuff about myself. I’m shy in asking for support.
Tomorrow night I travel to MTO where I’ll be for a week. Would love for you guys to pray for me. Just that I would be able to support others in their journey of life however God intends for me to do so. MTO is a missionary teens camp that the young people from OM come to each year. This year will be my 10th… I feel so old haha. But I would love to meet with God and support others… so yea. That’d be sweet if you could please remember me in your prayers 🙂
My birthday will be at MTO again this year. I’ve bought myself balloons, streamers, and all sorts of party bits and pieces… Okies so I’m turning 22 but I still want a party!! Haha.
We arrive back really late on the 20th and we have one full day before leaving for Australia on the 22nd. Very excited. Would love for you all to pray heaps for me on this trip because I’m going to be really trying to find God’s direction for me during these next two months in terms of the future… don’t worry I’ll keep blogging as I’m travelling so I can keep you all posted 🙂 Oh and on that note whilst I remember, I finished my school work on Friday 😀 All done people!! PLEASE pray I pass!!
Anyways, this is a pretty lame post to leave it at as considering I haven’t written in a while. But I must dash… I probs won’t write before leaving for Holland but yea… I’ll be sure to email once I get back 🙂
Well, I learnt something in the past 24 hours. For a while now I have told people to not walk their journey alone but instead do it with others. However I have come to realise that unfortunately, I thought people would always been there. Truth is… they’re not. I know many of you already know this but I forgot. People don’t always walk the journey with you… or at least, not the way you think.
I really haven’t known what to write today. I feel like if I do write I’m judged and if I don’t write then I’m not being faithful to my blog. Many people have been in touch with my parents to wish them well today, and many have kindly mentioned they were thinking of me too. I am so grateful to those who have been in touch because you actually spoke massively to me. Family members and friends of the family… you guys are just amazing and I will try really hard to personally get in touch to thank.
A fair few people got in touch with me directly too, some of you showed me a lot of love whether you realise it or not and I’m soooooo grateful to you!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me! Sadly though, what surprised me was the majority of people who did personally get in touch gave me the impression I needed to move on and get over it; or didn’t say anything in reply when I explained today was Mike’s first anniversary; and many many many people I thought would be in touch weren’t…
I know this is life. But it’s caused me to question a lot of things. I’ve wondered why I blog and make myself vulnerable. I’ve wondered whether I’ve talked too much about Mike. I’ve wondered if life is about you being there for others and God being there for you. I’ve thought about who are my friends. I’ve wondered a lot of things.
I really don’t know what to write other than I’ve come to realise I put a lot of expectation in those around me. I focus my value and self-worth in others. I let myself down an incredible amount when they don’t act or respond in ways I thought. My motivate for sharing this isn’t for self-pity. It may seem like this and of course I’m sad, it’s actually been a surprisingly hurtful 24hours. No, my reasoning for sharing this is because I promise to commit to sharing my life’s walk with you on here. What I think is that I need to stand back, spend time with God, and work out how to place my self-worth and value in Him. Also, I’ve been convicted more than ever on the importance of being there for others… I know I have failed horribly at this myself and really need to work on it.
So guys thank you. As always I’m learning lots…. I know this is a rather strange blog to read. Like I said I didn’t know what to write… I know in time when I have explored this with God things will be a lot clearer. Especially my thoughts and emotions haha. Don’t take it as self-pity. It’s just a realisation of walking with others and a conviction of my own behaviour…
But on a much happier note… for all those who were wondering, God is faithful, I got my cake 🙂 Thank you for walking the jounrey with me. Speak soon xx