Victoria, Canada. May 1st 2003


 We are finally back at home in Victoria, Canada, after nearly six months away in Brazil (Gareth), Australia and New Zealand. That was a good time with many opportunities for ministry amidst the wonderful times of fellowship with old and new friends. 

Since our last newsletter at the beginning of March, we spent two weeks in Brisbane ministering at Alliance churches with Bill and Ann Armstrong and Ken and Merle Graham. Several meetings were teachings on the tactics of Satan and we were blessed with good reception. We are always so encouraged whenever we visit that beautiful part of the world. Knowing my interest in all things cultural, Ken had prepared a gift for me - a CD disc containing 100 Goon shows of BBC 1950s vintage!! 

On our way north, we stopped off to visit Rob and Carol Jansen and their lovely daughter Lucy who live on the Gold Coast.  Rob is Canadian and we first met when Gareth taught at Capernwray, OZ in 1995. Good fellowship and warm swimming!

While in Brisbane, we took the opportunity to visit Gareth's nephew, Julian and his wife. Gareth's sister, Barbara and family emigrated from Wales to Brisbane in 1968 so the times of contact have been very few. Barbara was away in China when we visited this time so we were not able to see her at her home (though we had spent Christmas together in Canberra). We also spent another day with Gareth's cousin Harold and wife Janet who live in Brisbane. They drove us to Harold's sister Beres - of course, another cousin - previously unknown. It was there that we were greatly blessed to meet Linda, their daughter, a fellow believer and worshipper of the Lord. Gareth was particularly excited as this was the first close relative he has met who has an active walk with the Lord Jesus.  

On returning from Brisbane to Canberra, we were greeted by our second daughter, Andrea, who had come to visit her sister and family for three weeks. Sadly she was not able to see Canberra in its usual beauty due to the ravaging fires that had swept through just weeks earlier, destroying much flora and fauna. However, she had a good time, including a girls' weekend in Sydney the following weekend with Lynette, another friend and mum (of course!) 

While they were living it up, I (Gareth) was once again at Jindabine in the Snowy Mountains, this time with the family camp of Woden Valley Alliance Church, Canberra. Over 100 of us had a wonderful time together and I taught three sessions on the walk of faith. On the Saturday afternoon, under a beautiful sky and with cool weather, accompanied by two friends, I finally walked to the top of Mt Kosciusko, Australia's highest mountain. The round trip was 19 km and it took us just under four hours. I had promised myself so often that I would do this but had previously been thwarted by bad weather and the fires earlier in the year.  The view from the top was stunning though, sadly, dominated by burnt out forests as far as the eye could see.

My last ministry in Australia was three Sundays and four midweek meetings with the Tuggeranong Alliance Church, Canberra, on the theme of the deeper life. These times were very encouraging as we saw many develop a hunger for a deeper experience of the Lord. The pastor there, John Coman is a dear friend of mine and we have ministered together often, previously in Melbourne. John also teaches at Trinity Christian School in Canberra, so I had two opportunities to speak to the staff there before leaving.

We left Australia on April 16th, traveling via New Zealand en route to Victoria.  In New Zealand, we first visited Masterton, in the southern part of North Island. That was a new place for us but we were soon made to feel at home by Nancy McBride who had arranged for me to speak at her New Life church over the Easter weekend. What a lovely fellowship we enjoyed there with Pastor Peter and Debbie Hampson and their warm, friendly congregation!

From Masterton we journeyed on to Tauranga to see the Brignall family, stopping off 'en route' for one night with their younger daughter Nichola, husband Andrew and two sons. Engineer John and his wife Marian, with their four children, were on the M/V Anastasis when it spent fourteen months in Victoria in 1985.  They were active members of my church during that time and our friendship grew deep. John is now actively involved in developing a mercy ministry among the islands of the south Pacific through the YWAM ship ministry, Marine Reach.  Many of my readers will have very fond memories of this special family. Like his father, son David is an engineer while Richard is chief instructor for a flying school. Eldest daughter, Alison is now mother to three while her husband Simon is on the pastoral team at a local Presbyterian church. It was he who arranged my last meeting before we returned to Canada.  I spoke to about 30 small-group leaders on the subject of anointing - God's equipping for meaningful ministry. It was an exciting end to a very satisfying six months away from home.

Time now to relax and to welcome many of you who have said you'd be coming this way on vacation this year.  To the rest, Keep in touch on line!

Anne joins me in sending our love to all of you around the world.


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