June JAM 2014

Known First By God!

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Psalm 139)

This is a wonderful description of what is taking place in Marie right now! Yes, we are pregnant. Thanks be to God!

Marie’s Corner

I read an article recently about first time parents. It talked about how these newbies read through baby books together and go to doctor’s appointments together and generally dream about what life will be like when their baby finally arrives. This seems like a pretty apt description of us at the moment!

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May JAM 2014

Pull Out Some More Adjectives!!

This month my class, along with all grade three students across Australia, will sit NAPLAN tests. If you don’t know what I am talking about, consider yourself blessed. One of the tests focuses on writing. We are trying to help the students improve their writing with adjectives. When was the last time you read something and were transported into another realm, not because of the plot or the philosophy, but purely because of the choice of words? Words are powerful. They move us, inspire us, challenge us, motivate us, captivate us, arrest us, embolden us and empower us – and then there are times when the dictionary and the thesaurus combined do not contain enough or the right words to describe how we feel.

Last week I was reading Psalm 145 and realized David is pulling out every descriptor possible to show off his God; to exalt, praise and glorify his God.

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April JAM 2014


If you were a fly on any staffroom wall towards the end of a busy term you would probably hear the word “tired” over and over. But not just in schools. People are tired at work. People are tired at home. People are tired in their pursuits. People are tired in relationships. People are tired serving others. What is the antidote to tiredness? REST! You need rest. We all need more rest. Psalm 62:1 says, “I find rest in God; only he can save me.” Do you need rest? Find it in God. He saves, he gives hope, he is your rock, your defender and your protection. So trust him and tell him all your problems for he is strong and loving (taken from Psalm 62).

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JAM March 2014

The Sun in Scotland?!?

My picture was printed in the Scottish Sun Tabloid last week. I was with my friend Simbo 7 ½ years ago and . . . well he saw it first, so he tells the story.

“They say every picture tells a story. Well what a story this one tells today. It was taken on October 11th 2006, me and Jono Miller soaking up the atmosphere on Independence Square, Kyiv, a few hours before Ukraine beat Scotland 2-0 in Euro2008 qualifying. Kenny Miller missed a glorious chance at 1-0, there was a dive for the penalty that made it 2-0. Anyway, this picture appeared TODAY (88 months later) in a Scottish newspaper as the draw for Euro 2016 was revealed. Today, while thousands in Scotland looked at this picture and thought about football, I was on Independence Square in Kyiv, sharing all kinds of emotions with thousands gathered to remember the 88 people who died here in the last week, fighting for a better future for this country. And today, I added the Saltire you see round Jono's neck, to the many other flags hung from the Independence Square Christmas tree, a few feet from where this picture was taken.”

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JAM February

Six Foot By 2 Foot

How much do you really need?

You can’t have wings and roots!

Recently I have toyed with the idea of putting down roots, choosing a place, saving for a house deposit. Today I was challenged with a story from the Scriptures (Luke 12:13-21). Throughout history mankind has had a love affair with land. They have sought for it, fought for it, bought it, thought about more of it, caught it (inheritance), tried to thwart others from having it.


Miller’s Adventures (through Marie’s eyes)

A recap of our summer trip: We started in the South Island in Christchurch and stayed with some cousins for a day before heading up to “sunny Nelson” where we stayed a week with Jono’s aunty and uncle. We spent one day walking around Lake Rotoiti which was a beautiful hike through beech forests. Another day, we went to the Abel Tasman National Park and saw some beautiful beaches.

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JAM January 2014

Holiday Time

Marie and I are enjoying holidays in NZ and will have reports and photos in our next JAM. For now we would like to thank those who love us and pray for us and encourage us. We have a few requests for prayer. We are thankful that we can bring all things to our heavenly father and that he is in control of everything.

Kids Camp

I am writing this update from Lonsdale Children's Camp. I will again be bringing the Bible talks to the kids each evening. We have a jungle theme and I have written an allegory about a person named Lyudi searching for the Fountain of Life and the true King of the Jungle. Pray for many new children who will hear about Jesus, some possibly for the first time.


UTSIM UPDATE (Sveta's own words)

"Natasha told me that you wanted me to write a few words about how the things are going here. Ok, I'll try..

Holidays are coming! I'm glad there will be a little break, ready for it.. :)

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December JAM 2013

Tis the season to sing carols

Today I sang some Christmas carols and I enjoyed it. In fact I loved it. Those who have endured my rants about the Christmas season may be shocked. A few year ago I wrote “I don’t believe in Christmas”. Recently I have been teaching a few students about Ukraine. One interesting contrast is between Christmas in Australia and Christmas in Ukraine. Ukraine celebrates New Year as a festive fun celebration full of family, friends, food, Father Frost, decorated trees, presents etc. It is great to have fun celebrations. Christmas in Ukraine is on January 7th and celebrates the nativity – the birth of the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. As I sang carols today I was reminded of the awesomeness of the truths of the incarnation and the implications that has for us. We didn’t sing about one-horse sleighs, frosty the snowman, Santa coming to town, or the most wonderful time of the year.

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