SLEEP IS OVER-RATED

I’m not convinced that I totally agree with that heading. As we navigate the maze that begins the journey of parenthood, one thing I love is that there is something that greatly makes up for lack of sleep. Family! The sense of having and being a part of a new family is a wonder, a joy, a privilege, and a massive responsibility.

MARIE’S CORNER

Having Jonny around has been great. We spent almost a week in hospital straight after his birth to treat an infection from which, praise God, he has fully recovered. I went a bit stir crazy being in hospital much longer than I had anticipated and was hugely relieved to come home and settle in to life as a family of three. Jonny is growing loads and just starting to learn how to smile and how to track people and objects with his eyes. It’s fun to see what makes him happy and what sorts of things he’s interested in watching.

We’ve had a good time with Ruth, Jon and Gabby visiting us this last week and are looking forward to a weekend in Brisbane soon just before Jono goes back to school. We know that free time can be hard to find when school starts up again, so please come visit us before your schedule fills up, we would love to see you!

PRAY FOR PEACE – AND UKRAINE

The majority of this JAM has been given to Ukraine and to the company I own and used to manage there. UTSIM is the Ukrainian Centre of Foreign Languages in Rzhyshchiv. Since I left at the end of 2010, Natasha and Sveta have served the town of Rzhyshchiv by providing English lessons in a difficult job market. Thanks to those of you who have continued to provide support for them. Here are the words of Sveta, summing up this year: “Hi, our dear brother Jono!

First of all: My sincere congratulations on the gift God has given you - your precious son!!! I am so very happy for you!!! :) Would be so cool to see you all one day! Jono's family... :) How sweet...

As you asked, here is my update on how we are doing.

This year almost all groups are full, we have a list of students whom we had to say no, because we simply don't have a place for them... I guess nowadays parents just understand more the benefits of knowing English: it's easier for the kids at school, then for the future - it's easier to get a better paying job, perhaps some of them want to go abroad to live... and other reasons. For whatever reason they come to study, I am glad they do so :).

Actually, I am so proud of these parents - most of them do not have very high wages, but they try to give their children what they can and - they trust us, which is nice :).

This year we have quite a few little kids - age 5, 6 and 7, they are very cute, but also hard work at times ;). I see that their progress depends on parents a lot, as they cannot do homework by themselves unless parents work with them and help a bit with writing and memorizing. They also simply need to be reminded of doing it.

With all of the students I realize though: even if they don't work at home memorizing the words I see that they still get something from the lessons -they hear my English, and I see that it 'sticks in their minds'.

So, now holidays have begun! As it is the end of the term I was looking at the tests the children have done and was encouraged to see the progress of some old students, comparing to the last year, significant progress, some of them really worked hard, were diligent in learning and now I, as well as them, am enjoying seeing the fruit of their efforts! I am proud of them all!

Also, was interesting to see some of our first year students come back. Remember our first UTSIM student Katya, she asked me to do some lessons with her - was able to do that in summer. Was nice to spend some time with her. Obviously, she isn't a little girl any more, but still is very sweet! Time, a lot of time passed since we started...

The kids are sweet: they make me laugh, draw pictures for me, bring bunches of flowers that grow on the flowerbeds near the Culture House and Miska Rada (I am sure if the Mayor saw this he wouldn't be very happy about it), but when I ask where they get them: they say, that it isn't from the flowerbeds but from some other places... I sure hope so... :)

I want our lessons to be fun, useful, memorable... I want to put good things into their lives! :)

I love getting to know these special little creatures! :)

Thanks so much Jono!!! For letting me work with you a long time ago, for letting me see you work, give, love...

Happy New Year to your family!

And Merry Christmas!

With much love!

Sveta”

LIFE IN THE BIG SMOKE

We had our first Christmas at home in Sydney. New Years was celebrated with Jon and Ruth and Gabby coming to visit. We were in bed by 9pm but woke for a feeding before midnight and watched the Sydney fireworks on TV. It was great to have a week together with Ruth and Jon and we have enjoyed hanging out with various other friends including a visit from one of Marie’s cousins from the States. It is a blessing to be on holiday from work.

Thanks

To Jonathan Peace for totally changing our lives in a wonderful way.

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