Aussie Loh Family
  April 2009

Time has flown by so quickly since Black Saturday. The first term of the school year is over and we are now on a two-week break. Sigh of relief! It has been very chaotic and hectic at the same time for me, trying to juggle so many things. Let me share with you what I have been going through.

Graduate Diploma in Education:
I began the year a week after Black Saturday when we were still stranded in Melbourne. So the beginning of my course was not particularly good as I was still worrying about finding a place to stay. The workload of the course took me by surprise. I was expecting a practical course with a light load. Boy, was I surprised when I looked at all the assignments I had to do before the end of term. Thus far I have handed in 6 assignments. In addition to these, I have ten days of observation to complete and have so far only found time to complete 3. Two of them were at the Rs' school, ie Alexandra Secondary College. My ESL teching method which I thought was only 1 day of the week increased to 2 when I found myself in a mentoring program with ESL students in a local TAFE as part of my assessment. With all these things happening, I found it very difficult to concentrate on my assignments. In the end I had to resort to sleeping as early as possible when I get home from Melbourne and getting up at 2am when I can find peace and quiet to do my work. Right after that, I would get in the car and head off for my lectures. This drastic action really wiped me out and I am still feeling the after-effects namely, exhaustion. There has been many times when I felt like quitting. Maybe it's not the right time. Maybe I should wait a year when things settle down a bit more. But the Lord decided otherwise. So the only thing left to do is to obey and persevere in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for me. Your prayers were the only thing keeping me awake at the wheel and in lectures, not to mention whilst I was struggling with my assignments.

The Lord provided us a 2-bedroom house with a big backyard for our two dogs at a very cheap rate. So cheap that I have problems locating my landlord in order to sign the lease and pay my rent. They don't seem to be worried about it. The Dept of Human Services just rang me a few days ago to inform me that I was eligible for the Temporary Housing Grant. All I need to access that is my lease! Don't really know what that covers but everything helps. The DHS is going to pay for my bond too. Incidentally, my former landlord just sent me a form to apply for a refund on my bond with him. That was great news. Friends have also contributed towards our household by donating kitchen utensils, laptops, tv and we received all our beds, washing machine and dining table from our landlord. So we are sort of set up for a while. However, we are only planning to stay here for a year. When I complete my teaching diploma, I will be looking for a posting in Melbourne and the Rs wish to move back there anyway. So would appreciate your prayers that we will be able to find a 3-bedroom house to rent that we can afford as well as me finding a job in a school where both Rs can also attend. 

Rachelle & Raphael:
They have been catching the school bus every morning without my help. Thus far they have only missed the bus twice. Praise God there is a teacher's aide, Vicki, who live in Eildon who was more than happy to run them in. As you would have guessed, I was not around because I usually leave the house around 7am on Mondays to Wednesdays and 5am on Fridays. I only have my mentoring sessions on Thursday afternoons, which means I usually give them a lift to school. On the other days, they have to get up when I leave. Otherwise they will have no one to wake them up in time for the bus. They have to leave the house by 8am to catch the bus at the shopping centre, a 10 min walk away. 

Both of them are doing well in school. Raph received three commendations from his teachers for good performance in work as well as in class. He has also taken up the tenor saxophone. Rach has decided to concentrate only on flute this year, giving up her French Horn. With the loss of her electric piano in the fire, we are presently looking around for another one. We are waiting for a sale of course.

We went back two weeks ago to see if we could salvage anything from our ruined house. We are rather shocked at the level of destruction that had swept through the township and our house. The heat must have been very intense because there was hardly any ash around. Just powder! Rach found $9.00 worth of burnt out coins which Raph promptly and generously gave away much to his sister's disgust! Not that we could have used them anyway. However, the experience at the house must have taken a toll on both of them because they opted to move back to Melbourne next year. They were in total agreement that they did not want to move back to Marysville even if it was rebuilt. I asked another victim of a past bushfire which she went through as a child and she said that the main fear she harboured was that it would happen again. I guess living out here in the bush does expose us to the mercy of nature. So it would seem that our adventure in Victorian countryside is about over. Please pray for them that they would find security in the Lord as well as in being with me and the TLC we are currently receiving from friends.

That is it for the time being. May the Lord bless you all for your continued love and support for us here Down Under.

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