Hi from the Rowe’s,

Hi from the Rowe’s,
Head’s up – this isn’t a nice fluffy letter from our family – it’s the real deal. 2021 didn’t begin with a bang for us – it started with pain, heartache and sadness. I found myself preparing to conduct my first ever funeral for a young 17-year-old Streetlight youth with Leukaemia called Clare, taken suddenly just a few days before New Year’s. …

Over the past 3 years we have known Clare well and are still journeying alongside her
single father as he grapples with losing his only child. I attended appointments with him and assisted him through funeral arrangements, selecting his child’s coffin and journeying through the tears between writing his only child’s eulogy. We also got to meet her mother
and learn more about Clare’s journey in these days leading up to the funeral.

Anni and I have appreciated your many prayers for our family over this time – we really needed it. We weren’t expecting to be grieving. However, God has not been distant, instead he’s been refining, drawing us close, teaching us so much about his heart, about grief, sadness and shining his light to those around us even in these times. We had a supporter over
for dinner recently, the night before the funeral. I broke down as we said grace before our meal – I was reminded of Anni’s and my heart to share these intimate moments, of both happiness and sadness with people around us – just like Jesus did.

Leading up to Christmas, Anni’s morning sickness (3rd child due June 2021) was starting to lift – thankyou again to those who brought meals, cleaned our house, did our washing and prayed for our children in those crazy months! Just as we were ready to start to see some sunlight, I found myself sick in bed on Christmas Day with a head cold. Anni took the kids to church & Christmas lunch while I went off to have the recommended COVID test. The next few days improved as we spent some quality days at my parents’ farm. We enjoyed gator rides, tractor rides, feeding chickens & bunnies – Obi and Zahra love running around there.

My brother and his wife have moved down from Northern Territory with their 1-year-old daughter too so it was lovely to have lots of family catch-ups. We continued our regular gatherings at the skate park over the Christmas break which was much needed for the young people. On the week of Clare’s funeral most of you know I was also in my best mates wedding and Anni & I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. The
pendulum swung as best it could as we rode the emotional roller coaster that week. Anni, the kids and I checked into a caravan park this past weekend (taking a lot of your advice to rest) and Anni kicked off homeschool (kindy) this past week with Zahra. She’s converted the side room into a guest bedroom/school room as Obi & Zahra share a bedroom.

She’s excited to be journeying alongside a good group of other homeschool mums & their kids regularly this year and is helping organise many of the catch ups. Zahra was very excited to start! As for Obi, well he just goes along for the ride. And loves his trucks and tools as he ‘works’ around the house.
I’m not really sure how to finish this but I will with a passage I’ve been meditating on over this season from Romans 15:13. “I pray that God the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

We’re not asking you to pray for a ‘better year’ than what we’ve already had so far, because we believe God has shaped and refined us so much in these past weeks. But I will ask you to pray for our family to continue to seek him, his guidance and his closeness as we continue in this role as urban missionaries. A council social worker asked me the other day how I cope in
this role. I shared with him my faith in God and the support I have around me in volunteers, in supporters, in prayer. We love you all and thank you for loving and supporting our family as we continue on the front line. 

Love Ben & Anni Rowe