Friday, April 9, 2010

A Glimpse of Heaven

Can you believe that we have been here two months already? Yes, it's true:) Each week seems to be going faster than the one before. Ryan and I have hardly had a chance to relax with all the excitement that has been going on the last two weeks. We are continuing to enjoy our time here and we are so thankful that God brought us to this place. Easter weekend we were reminded of the true reason why we are here in Australia. Ryan and I were able to spend a long weekend in Perth for Easter. I was able to ride on the four hour bus trip with the basketball team and see the guys play two games; one Friday night and one Saturday night. Friday night didn't go as expected and the Buccaneers lost, but Saturday was an exciting game. The Buccs were down by 5-10 points the whole game until the last few minutes. The player you would least expect to take the last shot of the game hit a buzzer beater to win the game. His previous nickname was "Bubbles" but he is now known as "Big Shot Bubbles." The team was ecstatic as well as the fans:) 

Sunday morning the team planned to drive back to Geraldton and Ryan and I decided to stay until Monday since it was my first time experiencing Perth. 

Just to give a little background first.....Last week Ryan's team played the top team in the league from Perth and lost but after the game he was able to meet an opposing player that was involved with Athletes in Action, a Christian basketball organization that plays other teams around the world and shares the Gospel. Because Ryan had connections with Athletes in Action he knew that there were several players in the league involved with AIA. After talking with Ben and telling him we were traveling down to Perth Easter weekend, he exchanged phone numbers and invited us to his church the next weekend. 

....All that to say Ryan and I were able to go to church on Sunday morning for Easter. The sermon that morning was titled "A Glimpse of Heaven."  Ryan and I experienced a glimpse of Heaven this Easter weekend and we became overwhelmed with joy. We are literally halfway around the world and didn't know anyone to begin with. There are times we feel very much on our own and overwhelmed without the friendships of believers. But when you meet a complete stranger that is a believer you have a special bond with that person that you can't have with unbelievers. We shared a common ground with Ben and his church. We were worshipping the same God.  I saw this as a glimpse of heaven. Someday when we get to heaven we will be with believers all over the world worshipping the same God. There may be different styles of worship and different languages we worship in, but we are all worshipping the same God. This was a comforting reminder for Ryan and I and it immediately made us feel right at home at the moment we felt most homesick. The rest of the Sunday Ben and John (another AIA player in the league) carted us around Perth and Fremantle showing us all the great sights. They even took us to their host families for lunch and dinner. Ryan and I were able to experience a real Australian roast! Veggies, fried pumpkin and potatoes, cauliflower with cheese sauce, and meet; either chicken or lamb. Lamb is the traditional Australian roast. All I can say is YUM!

We stayed till Monday morning and left to go back home with Ryan's teammate and girlfriend, who stayed till Monday as well because their families live in Perth. Like I said before the drive to and from Geraldton is a four hour drive so we had a lot of time to chit chat. We talked mostly of basketball, but for the last hour of the trip Ryan and I were able to share our faith. That hour in the car God really reminded Ryan and I of the reason we are here. Yes, Ryan is playing basketball as his career here, but it is a means to further God's kingdom. Australia was the last place Ryan and I expected to be, but now we know exactly why we are here at this place, at this time in our lives. It started putting things in perspective for us. The week before Ryan and I began to feel like we were passing up great opportunities to share the Gospel. They were doors that God kept opening but because at that moment our minds weren't Christ-focused we let those perfect moments pass us by. Thankfully God gave us another chance and gave us the boldness to speak!

Our time in Perth and Fremantle was amazing. We saw some many great sights and we took lots of pictures as well. This weekend we will put pictures of our trip up there so you can have a little taste of what it is like. If we were to compare Perth to a city in America, I think Ryan and I would say it is very similar to San Diego.
Anyways, I hope you all are doing well. We'd love to hear from you so here is our email address if you don't have it:
Although we love it here and we are enjoying our time, we do miss home and we miss seeing our friends and families! Can't wait to see you guys again!

Love Stacy

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