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Aussie trip 2009-2010

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Catching up...

Ingleburn, Australia

We are soo sorry that we havent been able to update lately. We have been so busy, having a great time and havent had much access to the internet!
Over the past couple of weeks...

1. Camping

We went camping with about 50 other brothers and sisters and had the BEST time! And guess what?! We ran into a brother that we knew from the States!! A brother that used to live in Arizona and attend Nikki's congregation! It was the CRAZIEST thing. Not only are we in Australia but we were in the middle of the Australian Bush(forest) hours away from civilization and we run into someone we know! Jehovahs organization is soooo big, yet So small. But camping itself was amaxing! It was so beautiful out there. We spent most days swimming in the dam, hiking, walking, 4wheeling and exploring the bush. Most nights were spent around the campfire telling jokes, we even had a dance party!!

2. Bethel

Wow, the highlight of our trip. We spent 9nights at Bethel and it completely changed our lives. Being in that environment, surronded by Jehovahs people night and day really highlights that the way the world is today, the way people are today, is not how we were meant to live. Jehovahs people and his organization are so loving, so organized and just flat out amazing, we were truely touched and feel like we got to experience a bit of what we have to look forward to in the new system. It was honestly the greatest experience yet. Wish I could go into more detail but time is running out....

3. Jarad &food

A friend of ours from Dubai came down to Sydney to spend time with us(he is a flight attendant originally from AZ, he travels to Syd for work frequently)! We loved having Jarad around as he is like a big brother to us. He took us to all his favorite spots around the City. We had the most amazing food during our week with him! Korean BBQ, Malaysian, Thai...we basically covered evey Asian Pacific type of food!! It was AMAZING!! I didnt know food could taste so good!!

ANyways, thats all the time I have for now...I plan to write a big update when we get back to the States...complete with pictures and everything.
We leave in 6 DAYS!!!! sooooo crazy!

Missing you all!
Look forward to seeing most of you really soon!

permalink written by  lisanikki on January 12, 2010 from Ingleburn, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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You never know who you"ll meet...

Strathfield, Australia

You know Brother O'Brian and his wife that we blogged about previously?! Well if you look in the November 2009 issue of The Watchtower you'll see his life story! Cool, right?!

Tonight was Chester Hill's Theocratic School and having just now arrived home from the meeting I can't even explain how excited Nikki and I are... so much happened tonight!

The brothers and sisters in the Congregation were SO sweet and super happy to see us at their meeting! The brothers announced mine and Nikki's names and our congregations so that was awesome! They sent their love back as well! After the meeting heaps of people came up to meet us. We meet Brother Patrick Cootsee (the Coordinator and the brother who had been setting everything up for us) he was super nice and encouraged us to keep in contact with him and his wife about our travels and any good experiences we have along the way. We have plans to go to the Assembly Hall cleaning with his wife and baby boy tomorrow morning!
Brother Graham Martin approached us and said "So your Lisa and Nikki?! I came across your letters of recommendation, I work on the Service commitee at Bethel. It's nice to see you girs here, the letters from your bothers were so nice!" Crazy right?! He was unaware that we had been assigned to his congregation but he was haappy to meet us and said we had to make sure to come for a "cuppa" (cup of tea) with him and his wife when we visit Bethel! Awesome! We also met a young brother that we had previously heard about (we met his relatives in Coffs) that is assigned to Chester Hill and serves at Bethel as well! He was super nice and invited us to dinner after the meeting! We also ran in to a contact that we had previously made while still the States that we hadnt been able to get in contact with. He was attending the meeting at the Hall adjacent to us! We made plans to see him in the next couple of weeks!
We ended the night at "Mackas" (McDonalds) with about 30 brothers from the Hall and 3 young Bethelite brothers! We grilled them with questions about the procedures at the Australia Branch. They put us at ease about alot of things. They were such nice brothers, we were super happy to meet them and get a taste of what to expect (like a gameroom, outdoor pool and SingStar in the dorms!! haha)

It was a lovely night!

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 17, 2009 from Strathfield, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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2nd day out

Strathfield, Australia

We went out preaching again today! We got to meet some more of the brothers from the Hall so that was super nice. Although the brothers come into contact with alot of opposition, because most people are bound to a religion by their culture, the territory is very fertile. I preached to a young woman dressed in her native garb from Afghanistan and was surprised by her attentiveness to the versus I was reading from the Bible. She commented that she didnt know whether or not there was hope for the future. I showed her the pictures in the Bible Teach book comparing the world we live in today and the hope that the bible holds out for us. She accepted the book! It made me feel really good because prior to that i wasnt feeling like i was being as effective as the other brothers and Sisters (and Nikki!) so it was nice. I hope to return to her before leaving.
We were invited over to Sister Saad's House along with a few others for dinner tonight! She made a typical Leboniese meal for us and it was so amazing!! We did the Bible reading with her family and then sat around and talked about our backgrounds and about different aspects of the Truth. It really was an enjoyable evening, we instantly felt right at home with this sister and her family, she treated us like we were her own children.

I think what Nikki and I have appreciated and enjoyed most about this trip is the love of the broherhood. Jehovah's people come in all different shapes and sizes but the love among us is unmistakable, its quite amazing to experience it on an international scale.

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 15, 2009 from Strathfield, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Our first day in the field!

Strathfield, Australia

We made arrangements with a sister Gladis Saad to pick us up for service today! She is a Leboniese sister with a young son and daughter who just got baptized this past Saturday. What a lovely Sister! She instantly connected with Nikki, consisdering their Leboniese backgroud in common. She taught us many Arabic words and was super excited to be able to meet "the Sisters from America"! The Chester Hill teriitory has been quite a shock to Nikki and I. Every door is someone from a different part of the world. Chinese, Islamic, Arabic and Leboniese people are behind every door so its been extremely interesting speaking with them. We found it difficult at first (in the States we dont commonly come across many that arent either Christian or Cathlolic) but with all the help from the local brothers and Sisters we've brushed up on our knowlegde of differing religions and have thus been able to establish common ground and feel comfortable with the householders in the territory. Our first day out Nikki was able to place a book and a couple of magazines so it was really nice way to start the week!

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 14, 2009 from Strathfield, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Back to Sydney!

Strathfield, Australia

Today we embarked on the 7hour train ride to a suburb outside of Sydney, Strathfield NSW to start our assingment from The Branch with the Chesterfield Congregation. We arrived around 4pm and after another bus and taxi ride pulled into the driveway of Brother Jim and Sister Jessica Sing, a super nice older Asian couple. We were excitedly welcommed into their home and they instantly started to prepare fried rice and vegetables for us. Sweet! Although the room they prepared for us is rather small, equipped with one single-size bed, we instantly felt right at home. Brother Sing showed us the Watchtower and Awake in all the different languages they use in the territory (Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Vietnamese) so we're excited to begin working with those! We made a few phone calls to the local pioneers and made service arrangements for tomorrow morning.
We're looking forward to a fun and activity-filled week!

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 13, 2009 from Strathfield, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Special Assembly Day

Coffs Harbour, Australia

We attended the Special Assembly Day in Coffs Harbour this past Saturday, it was super nice! The friends from Woolgoolga were all really excited to see us again so we enjoyed that. The program itsellf was super encouraging and a couple of the young ones we made friends with had parts, so that was awesome to see them up there. It was kind of funny becuse nikki and I were noticing that alot of the friends were looking at us during lunch and come to find out that it had been circulating around the assembly that there were 2 Amercian girls among them(like we're aliens or something!). One brother came up to us after having given one of the closing parts and said "I heard through the grapevine that there were 2 American sisters here and once I saw you I knew, I just knew it had to be you!" It was really funny! There was a brother visiting the Circuit from the Australia Branch, we were eager to meet him since we'll be there next month. We searched all during lunch but could never find him. Finally at the end of the progam we asked one of the Elders from the Woolgoolga Cong. if he had spotted him and he led us directly to them! Brother Terry and Margeret O'Brian were their names and they were super sweet! We told them we'd be visiting soon and Bro. O'Brian wrote our names down in his calender and said theyd have to invite us over for a cup of tea!! They also knew Bro Carlos and Joetta Hose from Grand Prairie South!
Before we left the assembly one of the Elders from the Woologoolga cong pulled us aside and said he really wanted to thank us for being such an encouragent to the hall. He said that we had really shown the young people in the hall that you can pioneer and travel the world and have the best time doing it! That really touched Nikki and I because it was out of the blue and really sincere!
We finished off the evening at a restaurant with a group of young people from the assembly. All the young ones are so nice and eager to hear stories about America.
It was a really great day:)

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 12, 2009 from Coffs Harbour, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Back in Coffs!

Coffs Harbour, Australia

Happy to be back in Coffs Harbour and awaiting the Special Assembly day tomorrow! The C.O and his wife were visiting the congregation this week so we were able to do service with them yesterday! They were a really nice couople, the wife especially was super funny and quirky! We spent the whole day out, sight-seeing, preaching and getting to know each other! It was wonderful!
One of the older Pioneer Sisters really connected with Nikki and I and shes been looking after us alot. She invited us to her House for lunch yesterday and the 3 of us just sat around talking and laughing! So many brothers and Sisters have been so sweet to us while we've been in Australia. Its so amazing to see Jehovahs people in another country, not only are they nice and welcoming but they genuinely want to look after you! Its been so great!
We'll be packing up our things tonight in preperation for travel to our assignment in Sydney! We're really looking forward to it!

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 11, 2009 from Coffs Harbour, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Passing the 2 week mark...

Brisbane, Australia

Its interesting that after about 2 weeks on "holiday"(Australian for vacation) it starts to feel less like your on vacation and more like this is your life now...

All is well in Brisbane! The congregation we are at has about 50 publishers and 2 regular pioneers so its been quite a shock! The friends are really loving though and happy to have had us at their meetings. We recieved a really nice card from one sister saying that we had been an encouragement to her and her family so that made us feel really great! We had another contact in Brisbane, a young pioneer sister that came to the States for the International Convention this year and met some friends of ours, so we have really enjoyed spending time with her and her family. Went to a congregation BBQ(thats the Australian thing to do on the weekends, we've been to about 4 bbq's so far!) so that was super nice. We got to meet alot of nice people from a neighboring congregation.

We are looking forward to a busy week in service and then also to our assignment from The Branch in Sydney next week. From our travels thus far we've really learned to lean on Jehovah and let him guide and direct us in all matters...and its only been 2 1/2 weeks!!

Side note: We've been trying tons of new foods since we've arrived in Oz! I especially(as many of you probably know) am a terribly picky eater, but lately i've been eating whatever is put in front of me! And im loving it! From simple things like onions(yes, i usually dont touch onions) and pesto to beetroot, curry and PRAWNS!! Its been soo amazing, and has opened my eyes to so many amazing foods I had been missing out on! Im eternally grateful! :)

Also, my camera broke(of course!) so picture uploads will be less frequent...

Thats all for now, cheers!

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 7, 2009 from Brisbane, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Road trip!

Coffs Harbour, Australia

We took a road trip this weekend, traveled north up the Coast. We stopped in Byron Bay which is a nice beach town. We also stopped in Brisbane and Surfers Paradise. Nicole knew some friends that lived in Brisbane so we were able to meet up with them for a bit.They invited some friends over to there House and we had a nice barbeque! It was super nice to get together with some other young people.
We arrived back in Coffs on Monday and went to the Koala Zoo with sister Canney. That was really nice! We got to see Kangaroos, Koalas and all sorts of native Australia animals!
Our last meeting in Coffs was tonight so that was sad, but we plan to come back on the 12th for their Special Assembly Day so we hope to see the brothers and Sisters again!

We will head to Brisbane late tomorrow afternoon to begin our assignment with the Creastmead Congregation! The brothers seem super excited for us to come and they are eager to meet and get to know us so we cant wait to arrive there! We are a little nervous about fulfilling our first assignment but with Jehovahs help we're sure everything will work out and go smoothly.

permalink written by  lisanikki on December 1, 2009 from Coffs Harbour, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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Another assignment??

Coffs Harbour, Australia

Woke up for early morning service with a really nice young pioneer sister...she showed us around a bunch and was really fun to be around.
We talked with a couple nice people in service and was able to get another placement. Australians are very laid-back and willing to talk so that has been so great in the ministry.
There was quite a big service group out and we all met up at THE BEACH for our mid-morning break. It was so great, the brothers brought out coffee and bisquits and we all sat around a picnic table and chatted.

We recieved an email from the Australia Branch offices informing us that we had recieved another assignment to serve a congregation, this one in Sydney central!! So we're super excited about that! In addition to us helping out in Brisbane we'll be able to visit the Sydney brothers for a bit and then we also have been approved for the priviledge of staying at Bethel for about a week and a half! Just an amazing opportunity! We still kind of dont believe it....but we have lots to look forward to over the next month or so.

The sister from this morning offered to take us out surfing and we gladly accepted! There ended up being more tanning than surfing happening but we had a great time nonetheless. We all got pretty burned up...some of us turned red, others black(finally!)

The mid-week meeting was tonight and we really enjoyed that!! The brother are very expresive in their comments do that makes things really interesting/encouraging. Nikki made cards for ua that included our information, a picture of us and a cute farewell('Catch ya on the flip side!') so we handed those out to a few sisters that had been super sweet to us...we gave those out along with handmade bookmarks and bracelets from mum! The sisters couldnt believe what we were giving them! You wouldve thought we gave them a million dollars or something! They were so appreciative of a little act of kindness, they couldnt stop hugging and kissing us, some almost giving way to tears! Thanks mum!

We came home to a homemade dessert from Lloydie and then off to chat and a good nights rest!

Missing all of you reading this, hope all is well:)

permalink written by  lisanikki on November 24, 2009 from Coffs Harbour, Australia
from the travel blog: Aussie trip 2009-2010
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