For a quality printable and/or downloadable copy of this webpage click here.


Another Son(-in-law)

Last December, on Saturday the 5th, Russ and Ruth had the joy of welcoming their second son-in-law, Benjamin McHugh, into the family.  After their honeymoon in Bali, Ben and Joy moved to Killarney at the beginning of this year where Ben is now teaching Science and PE at the Killarney State "High Top" School.

Killarney is 20 minutes drive south east of Warwick, as Joy knows only too well - she drives into Warwick every week day for work at a private school.  They rent a school house in Killarney, and attend the Warwick Baptist Church.

The surrounding area is picturesque and peaceful, with

the stunning Killarney waterfalls nearby.  Even when the gently rolling hills become covered with the white, winter frost, they are still very scenic, so Ben and Joy claim.

Russ Retires from Flying

Russ started with China Airlines at the end of May and checked out as an Airbus captain in July. We went to a number of churches during this time to get a general feel for the local Christian scene.  There are many fine Christians there, both Taiwanese and expatriate, and the fellowship was a wonderful experience.
In the August, Russ had a turn just before going on a night flight to Hong Kong.  The company had him undergo a series of medical tests by the Civil Aviation Medical Centre that lingered on for 2 months!!. Although all the head scans, ECGs, EEGs, blood tests, and vascular ultrasound came up normal, the medical centre was very reluctant to give him a medical clearance to fly. (During his 5½ years with Thai Airways International he had just one day off on sick leave!!)
Finally, they found an indication of mild myocardial ischemia - plaque build-up in his Coronary Artery system. We had decided beforehand that if they proposed undergoing an angiogram, we would take it from the Lord that it was His will for us to leave China Airlines.  They did, and we left Taiwan at the end of October last year.

Russ's flying career finished 1 year and 9 months earlier than expected.  We were at peace that our Lord would reveal His alternative plans for our future, and He has!!

As a sequel, Russ underwent a full investigation at Prince Charles hospital in March this year.  The final opinion of Prof Malcolm West (top cardiovascular surgeon) was that he had only slight plaque build up in just one artery, and that not only was an angiogram not warranted, his fitness is well above average for a man his age.

Thai Airbus A300-600

No 23 Sold in 4 Days

Single or married, neither of us had ever lived at the one place as long as we owned 23 Valiant Street. Because of

Russ's early retirement, however, we knew that following Joy's wedding, selling our house was the next priority.

We had also both long felt that when Russ eventually retired, it was the Lord's plan for us to return to Thailand to serve Him there.  With that in view, we bought a condominium in Bangkok during Russ's days flying for Thai.  Following the Asian currency crisis, however, selling the condominium would now be out of the question.

Properties we have sold previously had taken months and even years to sell.  So after tidying the place up, and with some trepidation, we had 3 real estate agents come and give us a realistic price estimate for "No 23".  Within four days of putting the house on the market, it sold for $5,000 more than the highest of those estimates!!

Left - Joy leaves No 23

Rocky News

After nearly two years in Rockhampton, Simon and Melody are well established, in their church fellowship, their jobs and their lovely home.  Last Christmas holidays, together with Steve and Sandra Keen, they came to Bangkok for a three week holiday.  They saw something of the Lord's work here and in Chiang Mai, as well as riding elephants, seeing unique sites and shopping.

Easter this year, all of the Fawssett and Keanalley families had a pleasant time together at the Sunshine Coast.  We also had the pleasure of being in Rockhampton for the annual Eisteddfod and seeing Melody's school choirs perform under her baton.  They did very well indeed.  Melody also took on the daunting task of the music training and preparation for an end-of-year school musical, which was well received by the students, staff and parents of the school.

Simon has taken on part time study, doing his Masters degree in Hospital Information Management.  Recently Simon had a work conference in Tasmania and since it was during the September school holidays, Melody was able to accompany him.  They took a few days off after the conference to see something of Australia's Apple Isle.

We leave on 20th December for 3½ weeks in Australia,

Simon and Melody 10th Jan 98

and are looking forward to spending this Christmas together with Simon and Melody, and Ben and Joy, at Harvey Bay.

Ben and Joy Graduate

Not only did Ben and Joy get married on 5th December last year, they also finished their studies for their university degrees just a few weeks beforehand.  Many university students have their graduation ceremonies in December of their final year.

For Ben and Joy, however, their graduation events were scheduled for April this year.  Although they were graduating from different universities and different faculties, it happened that they both graduated on the same night in adjoining facilities at the Riverside Performing Arts Centre.  This did mean that they couldn't be at each other's ceremonies.  They did, however, have the opportunity to be photographed together.

Ben graduated as Bachelor of Education, majoring in Science and Physical Education.  Joy graduated as Bachelor of Music.

Back to Bangkok

We felt that without a doubt, the sale of our house was a clear confirmation of the Lord's plan for us to move to Thailand and serve Him here.  We still had furniture and personal effects to sell or otherwise dispose of, so we rented for 6 months before moving to Thailand at the beginning of August.

Another practical but important task during those six months was the setting up of a Self Managed Superannuation Fund.  As "self-funded retirees", we are trusting the Lord to be financially independent.  The last of our belongings, including a little furniture, were packed into a container and shipped to Thailand a little over a week before our departure..

Upon arrival, we were initially a little discouraged.  Both our condominium and our car were the worse for lack of use.  White ants had started inside the condo, it needed a major clean-up and the car had many problems including major air conditioning repairs.  All that is behind us now.

When our shipping container arrived, we had an anxious few days dealing with the threat of prohibitive expenses to clear customs.  With the help of local Christians, this finally turned out well.  We now face the ongoing challenge of fitting all our worldly belongings into the one, smaller place.

Soon after our arrival we were pressed into service, taking a church English teaching program on behalf of a missionary who was to be away for a week.  Russ has also accepted a discipleship program with several Thai men on a one to one basis.  This is the most valuable experience for him at the moment to gain regular conversational practice in Thai.  He also continues to study from the Thai Bible, and feels that for the first year at least, he should concentrate on improving his Thai language ability before taking on a more public speaking role.

Ruth has been supporting Russ and doing a commendable job of entertaining many Thai visitors, young and not so young.  Some stay overnight.  Ruth has also made a small start on learning the language, but doesn't feel quite ready to start serious study until we are more settled.  We expect this will be in the new year.  Your prayer support for our efforts would be much appreciated.

The Extended Family