Matthew 5 14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Today was another tank cleaning day and I am surprised at how much fun this hard work actually is. Anjali and David are having a harder time getting involved in this process. They are not quite strong enough to clean the tanks at the same level as the adults, but they are trying. Today Lucia realized that cleaning the tanks is just not something that she is able to do, so she took it upon herself to seek out another job. She found herself working alongside Madu (one of the staff at the project) feeding the turtles. Madu will cut up the fish and then tell Lucia where to take the pieces of fish and which turtle to feed. She is such a joy to watch as she scampers about the hatchery thrilled that she has the important job of feeding the turtles. Her joy is infectious and I can’t help but be happy amidst being covered in green algae and turtle poop!
It brings me so much joy to see her being a light amongst all this “dirty” work. She allows her light to shine through all the raw fish, the algae, the sand, the turtle poop, etc and leads us all by example. Our job is to help protect and care for these turtles, for all of God’s creatures, and even if the work is “dirty work” we should still be joyous and happy; we should allow God’s light to shine through the dirt and muck and be a witness to His creation.
I can’t even count how many times I was leading a tour and folks were just amazed to see my children doing work around the hatchery. Children can be seen as unable to do work and I think it surprises people to see them so happy caring for these turtles. Both Jeff and I had many people ask about our mission and the work we were doing and I loved telling them about our various volunteer projects and how much our family has loved showing God’s love around the world. It is not about us, it is about God and His love for all of us. It is about being a light to shine on those in need, to show them that they are loved by a stranger from the other side of the world, to show them that they are loved by God.
Daniel 2:23 To you, O God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and power,
We got up this morning and did a very small bit of school with the kids and then headed out to Fremantle about 35-40 minutes away. I was very much looking forward to seeing this old port town. We did some shopping and enjoyed walking up and down the beach and touristy shops. I found a new pair of sandals that I was desperately needing and we all found some fun souvenirs from Perth. We enjoyed a nice lunch right in the bay with a beautiful ocean view and then finished our day with a tour of the shipwreck museum and some ice cream. We headed home for some showers and dinner. It really was a wonderful afternoon with only a few arguments and tantrums. I thoroughly enjoyed the day today and loved the town of Fremantle, though I am still grateful that we are staying outside of the city in our quiet little town of Ocean Reef.
Driving home the kids were so wound up, yelling and playing loudly in the car, and after about 20 minutes I couldn’t take it any more and asked them to quiet down, but as soon as I did I could feel an immediate shift in the atmosphere. You could actually taste the tension in the car and I instantly regretted saying anything at all. They really were not doing anything bad, just being loud and obnoxious kids (basically they were being irritating). Had I just kept my irritation to myself, the mood of the car would have stayed the playful and happy atmosphere. I kicked myself for my lack of patience and vowed to try harder to allow my kids to just be kids.
My poor choice in the car was quickly forgotten when we arrived at the beach with the boogie board and this time we brought the phones for pictures!
1 Peter 5:2-5
So far this vacation has been a total beach vacation, which has been great. We have been waking up and doing a small bit of school work before having lunch and then heading off to the beach. It really has been relaxing, but for the most part, at least one of the kids ends up off their rocker each day. It would just be really nice to have all them happy one day. But I will take what I can get. Anjali has been doing a great job going to bed and not getting involved in altercations with David and Lucia. She has been working so hard on improving her attitude and behavior and it is such a wonderful sight.
Psalm 35:5 Let them be like chaff before the wind,
Job 27:2-6 “As God lives, who has taken away my right, as long as my breath is in me my lips will not speak falsehood, Far be it from me to say that you are right; I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let it go;
Isaiah 66:13 As a mother comforts her child,
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Our kids were very tired today and boy Jeff and I had to bear their burdens : ). LOL. We took the kids on a bit of an excursion today into town. Now Jeff had gone into town the other day by himself to hit up the ATM and found that he was basically accosted by women offering massages to him. Today’s experience was quite different, according to Jeff that is. There were still women offering massages and shop owners trying to engage you and get you into their shop; however, it was not as aggressive at Jeff’s description. No one was pulling on our arms to get us inside their shop and offering countless “types” of massages! We made our way to the main shopping mall where we found some fun souvenirs and a dress for me and Lucia. We had a lot of fun touring through the shops and market in the middle.
Tonight, we had dinner again at the poolside restaurant. Every night the buffet menu changes, as does their theme/entertainment. Tonight we had Aussie BBQ and a magic show. The kids really enjoyed magic show and Lucia even got to be an active participant. She was thrilled and was a great assistant. I have the video on my Instagram page (@sarassimplelife)
Towards the end of our dinner we had a nice surprise phone call from the Farm. We got to talk with so many of the kids via video call and it was so beautiful to see their faces again. I miss that place and the people so much. I can’t believe how much that place has changed my life and I can’t wait to go back and spend more time with them. When we got off the phone I experienced so many different emotions; happiness for getting to talk with them, sadness that we aren’t there, longing to see them again soon, and the joy that their smiling faces brought me were all overwhelming. Walking back to our room I was both happy and sad.
Matthew 26:39-42 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
I woke up this morning and enjoyed a peaceful yoga practice while all three kids played in the pool. I was able to do my yoga in the shade on the side of the pool while Jeff took advantage of the gym. After that we all just hung out poolside, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, endless cocktails while our children played in the pool. We finally pulled the kids out of the pool so we could get cleaned up and head to dinner. We enjoyed this peaceful meal while a band made their rounds and eventually ended up at our table. The kids thought this was the best!
We all enjoyed the day today and I think we all took full advantage of the relaxing day today. It has been wonderful to watch our children play together and have fun with each other. Trust me, there are still fighting and bickering, but in the grand scheme of things, they really are getting along well and we are all having a great time as a family. I can’t help but be a little sad knowing that we are the back end of this journey. I have never before felt so alive and truly “lived” life. My challenge over the coming months is going to be figuring out how to “live” after this year is done. I will continue to pray for God’s wisdom and guidance and I know He will show me the way when the time is right and when He is ready.
James 1:17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
We arrived in Singapore early this morning and as soon as we walked outside the first thing out of Anjali’s mouth was “holy cow it is clean here! Even the streets are clean!” It was a nice change to drive in a car without hearing the blaring horns and without seeing tons of motorbikes and cars (granted, it was 7:00 am on a Sunday). This moment of our year marks the halfway point. We have been volunteering for the last 6 months and while we didn’t plan for this long of a vacation, here we are. Just as a recap, our hope was to stay in India until we had to be in Sri Lanka on Feb 17, but we could not get our Visa for more than 60 days. So here we are, ready to enjoy a long vacation. I keep reminding myself that this whole journey is God’s plan, not mine and as much as I would rather be serving and working, this may be what our family needs; a bit of reconnection and focus before we begin the back-end of this year.
Before leaving Germany, when we realized that we were not going to be able to stay in India until Feb 15, we gave the kids a project–plan our vacation. They unanimously decided on Australia (actually New Zealand initially, but we couldn’t make that happen), so we are headed to Perth. But as we were looking at airline tickets we quickly realized that the flights were long, the layovers long, and just all-around not conducive to traveling with kids. So we decided to make use of the layovers and break up the travel to Australia into sections. Singapore is our first stop, with main focus being Universal Studios on Sentosa Island. We are only here for 2 nights; long enough to get some rest before and after Universal Studios and to see a bit of Singapore. While we got rest, we did not get to see much of Singapore since we pretty much stayed on Sentosa Island.
Today we made a grievous error, we broke the number one rule when traveling overnight–do NOT take a nap that first day. You should stay awake and go to bed as close to a reasonable hour as possible in order to help your body adjust. But I guess we were all so tired and needed some rest. After our rest we ventured into Sentosa for some beachside lunch. After eating, the kids played in the surf while Jeff and I enjoyed a drink beachside! It was superb.
The kids, especially Lucia, got completely soaked playing in the surf. Thankfully it was warm
outside so she was able to dry quickly. They had so much fun playing together and just being kids.
It was a beautiful sight!
Here are some pretty pictures exploring Sentosa Island.
After some exploring we let the kids do some swimming at the hotel before heading out for some dinner and wrapping up our first day here.
It was a great day, though Jeff and I learned that everything on Sentosa Island closes at 9:00 pm. It’s like the whole island shuts down-no bars, no restaurants, and no people. It was almost eerie to be walking around the island with no one else around you.
Sentosa Island is beautiful and clean with tons of shopping opportunities. This place reminds me a lot of Vegas, but the difference is that Vegas doesn’t sleep and Sentosa has a 9:00 bedtime! This place is perfect for the family, just be ready to spend some money-everything is expensive!