The Schumacher cousins playing in the snow at our house.

The Schumacher cousins playing in the snow at our house.

The Schumacher cousins playing in the snow at our house.

The Schumacher cousins playing in the snow at our house.

The Schumacher cousins playing in the snow at our house.

The Schumacher cousins playing in the snow at our house.

As Karl needed to learn the Australian National Anthem for his class' lead role in the Junior School assembly this week, all of us have been working at picking up the lyrics and the tune.  The anthem "Advance Australia Fair" is rather new to Aussies as it replaced "God Save the Queen" only in 1984.  So, even the typical Aussie doesn't do well at singing along, especially if they go beyond the first of four verses.

Here's the video from Karl's class leading the singing at the assembly this week.


Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"

We've been using every extra minute of the day to prepare for the shipping of some of our furnishings and belongings to Australia. The packers came today and we were ready for them, but very exhausted!  With most of the packing done today, tomorrow (Friday) they will load the 20-foot shipping container and then it will be on its way for a 45-60 day journey by truck, rail, ship, and then truck again.  I'm tired and have caught a cold, so I had some much needed "couch" time tonight during which I was finally able to add some content to this website.  I added some photos and videos from the last two weeks of some very wonderful family time on the farm in Illinois and then here in Minnesota.

We've had such a perfect winter so far (at least, IMHO).  Just a few days above freezing since late November (perfect!) and lots of snow cover on the ground (perfect, again!). The kids will really miss the snow and the great backyard hill we've had for sledding.  While the temp was in the teens and twenties (°F) during the week of Christmas, it was 111°F in our future home of Perth.  The nearly 100 degree swing is almost incomprehensible!

Still waiting for word on the progress of the visa application and how long we'll have to wait for it. 

There actually is good news to share on the visa process.  On my side of the water, I need to be preparing the attachments that go along with my application which will be sent in once we get word that the sponsor's app is accepted.  Today we received our FBI background checks (no arrest record - whew!).  When we requested these about 2 weeks ago we were warned that sometimes they take 12-16 weeks.  We also received an extra copy of our marriage license today that we had been waiting for.

The good news continued today as I also received my new mobile SIM chip, so my Australian mobile number will be 04 0524 3813 (won't be activated until we hit Sydney).  And I'm excited that my new camera will arrive here on Wednesday.

Yes, the good news is countered with the slow pace of the sponsor application approval.  But the deputy principal at Living Waters informed me that he faxed in copies of the originals, so hopefully that process will be jump started again.   We are waiting patiently, though a bit of anxiety persists.

Our oldest son, Peter, was confirmed on Sunday and the congregation had an overwhelming and warm "sending" ceremony for me.  To understand why we are so willing to come to be a part of Living Waters, you have to understand how this congregation equips and prepares people for being witnesses wherever God has placed them.  The sermon from Sunday is well worth a listen if you've got a few spare minutes (click here to listen).  You can also read or listen to Peter's testimony.
We're making plans for staying connected with family and friends. Thanks to the Internet, there are so many great options becoming available. We have our webcams and are intending to use Skype for live voice and webcam conversations back home. It's a free sign up at Skype. Tim's Skype contact is "tjschu" and Lanette's is "lmschu". I've got links gathered for some other live conferencing options (more than 2 connecting) in our links area.
house soldThis is actually rather amazing news... After only about 5 weeks on the market, our house sold this week (pending the closing which is slated for Friday, 25 Jan.). In the currently bad sellers' market and in the middle of winter, this was huge news for us this week. We did take a little hit on the price but felt that after several rounds of counter offers we got the best that we'd be able to fetch either now or in the coming weeks and months (the economic outlook here remains rather negative). Our departure for Australia was not contingent on the sale of our house, but to have this business done before leaving is a big relief.

On the same day we agreed to an offer on our house, we later heard from the principal at Living Waters, Mark Rathjen, that the outlook on receiving the visa soon was not good... in fact, is likely to be 8 weeks out (mid-March). While that wasn't the news we were hoping for, we aren't in a mood to complain much. We've got plenty to do here in Minnesota so we count this as bonus time. Peter was disappointed because he now has to catch up on school projects that he thought he would be excused from due to an earlier departure.

This past Wednesday night, I lectured at Cross View on St. Paul's speech to the Areopagus in Athens (Acts 17:22-31). I read a passage from that speech that I don't remember noting before that had great meaning for us this week: "From one man [God] made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:25). This (Minnesota) is where God has placed us for the moment for His purposes. We will get to Australia eventually.