Hullo everyone! We have been in Western Australia since Saturday 20th July, two and a half weeks ago.
Firstly, thank you for praying concerning our medevac insurance claims.
Praise the Lord with us! The insurance company agreed to pay for Bill’s medevac although they refused to pay for my medevac. The Lord undertook so that the funds received were sufficient to pay the debt for both flights. We just received the monthly statement from the bookkeeping office in PNG revealing that our account is in the BLACK again after our being in debt to the rest of the field for 6 months. What a relief!
How are our travels going?
We are now staying at the Bethshan Interdenominational Missionary Homes in South Perth in Western Australia and each day we are visiting different ones of you, our partnership team. We are very much enjoying catching up on your lives and sharing about how God has been at work in ours.
Thank you for praying for us during the month of May as we sorted, packed and disposed of, in various ways, the accumulations of the 29 years of our life in PNG. Neither of us were feeling really well for the first two weeks. However, with the help of friends, both missionary and Papua New Guinean, we made it — leaving some items on our verandah for people to help themselves to and our co-workers to tidy up at the end. It felt good to find new homes for so many items such as our bed and the lovely coffee table which Philip made for us when at school and from which we have had about 25 years enjoyment. These items can now be a blessing to others as they press on with the task of enabling the people of PNG to know that the one, true and living God wants them to be reconciled to Him and has provided a way.
We greatly enjoyed our trip on the Tilt Train from Cairns to Brisbane. It is very comfortable. You feel more like you are riding in an aeroplane because the ride is so smooth.
After visiting former co-workers and partnership team members, on 10th July I had my appointment with the urologist who had performed the two surgical procedures on my kidneys at Mater Hospital in March and April. It was an extremely profitable visit. The X-ray showed that there is no debris left in the kidneys from the stones. and Dr Philip answered all my questions so that I have the knowledge to press ahead taking care of my health.
After a brief 3 day visit at our Australian headquarters at Lakewood, we had just two days in Sydney and were able to spend one of those with David and Rita and our three grandsons.
On Wednesday 17th July we boarded the Indian Pacific for the trip right across Australia to Perth. We were greatly relieved to find that the seats in the economy Red Service have lots of leg room and lean back a v-e-r-y long way so that you can sleep lying almost flat. This meant we had quite a restful night’s sleep for the three nights on the train.
It was good to catch up with folk in our old home area in the wheat-belt at Cunderdin, Wyalkatchem and Mukinbudin after leaving the train at Northam. Saturday 27th saw us boarding the Prospector train from Merredin to Perth where we were met by one of Bill’s sisters Norma and her husband John. As well as catching up with family during our first week in Perth, Bill was able to help John with a number of jobs around the place, since John had taken holidays from his work as a plumber.
After we leave Perth, the next trip on our agenda is on the famous GHAN train from Adelaide to Darwin and back. We were able to book this on our rail pass without paying any extra. So we decided to make the trip, which we have longed to be able to make for many years , as a second honeymoon! That will also involve sleeping sitting up just as we have done and will do again on the Indian Pacific. However, since the train is operated by the same company, we trust the seats will lean back just as far.
What plans have we for after we reach Sydney?
We will start looking for somewhere to live, hopefully within two hours of where David and Rita, Jayden, Will and Lucas live in the Sydney suburb of Rydalmere. We will begin our search in the Hunter Valley to the south and east of Cessnock. We will try to find somewhere to rent and then after a suitable length of time to properly assess whether the area really ticks all the boxes [perhaps a year], we will sell our town-house in Dubbo and look for a house to buy in the chosen area.
We are excited about getting involved in “friendship evangelism.” We will seek to get to know folks around us really well and give them the opportunity to grow to trust us and know that we are not “off our rockers.” Then we will invite them to join us in a “Creation to Christ” Bible study using either “By This Name” from Good Seed or “Firm Foundations — Creation to Christ” published by NTM. About three weeks ago we learned that there is a prison at Cessnock. Bill has had a desire for a couple of decades to be involved in Prison Fellowship. Perhaps there will be an opportunity!
Our other heart’s desire is to return to PNG from time to time for a period of two or three months to help the churches in various ways. Bill would also be glad to give the men in Technical Services any further instruction they would like. We are very happy to be able to tell you that just before we left PNG a third family joined Kevin and Renae Kellenberger and Josh and Mel Simmons on the team. Travis and Nikki Ray have been part of the Interface team and now have moved to Sobega. Travis is a skilled builder and so we are excited about the skills he adds to the team.
Here are Travis and Nikki and their two daughters.
Thanking you for your continued partnership,
Bill and Lynette Cottam