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Family Photo taken at the 2013 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Festival



Christmas time is here again
When we exchange our news
With all our friends and relatives.
We also share our views.

We pray that God will bless you all
In this New Year to come.
We wonder, though, how many years
Before our work is done.



We have become aware again
That life is a short span.
But what a joy if we are His,
To know God’s future plan.


Personal Notes

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” So we commenced our Personal Notes last year, and still we acknowledge that in all things, including the passing of David John into glory (see "David John McHugh" below), the Lord has His purpose!!

This year we made two trips to Thailand, again preaching and encouraging the young people of the Phrasiri church in Bangkok, especially the young elders who are faithfully continuing on for the Lord. We also made the usual couple of trips to Jomthien preaching on the two Sundays we were there.

We would value your continued prayers for the sale of our condominium in Bangkok. We feel that 2014 may well be the Lord’s time for this sale. The dropping value of the Australian dollar will be very helpful to us if a sale is forthcoming in the New Year. We continue to pray for the Lord’s plans for our lives.


Let us take this opportunity to wish all our dear friends and supporters a very Happy Christmas, and pray God’s blessing for the New Year.

Thailand's Future



These young men shown above with their wives and families are two of the elders of our church in Bangkok. The young man above right is also a full time worker at the church, and his wife is expecting their second child next March.

The elders are well aware that “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it …” The elders, who are all young men, meet every Monday night for prayer, and constantly look to the Lord for His guidance.


Altogether there are about 30 national full time workers, including their wives, serving the Lord in the Christian Brethren Assemblies of Thailand (CBA). Please pray for these young men and women.

For us, as our part in the work winds down with the passing years, it is exciting to see the younger generation take up the baton and continue to run the race with faithfulness and dependence on the Lord.

David John McHugh



A First for us — we farewell the youngest member of our families—David John McHugh


In the Family segment of our Christmas newsletter last year we announced that Ben and Joy were “expecting to increase their family again early March”. After a normal full-term pregnancy, David John arrived “asleep” on Sunday 3rd March this year. Evidently there was a placental separation in the final hours before delivery causing an oxygen starvation. Apart from the colour, his 8½ lbs little body was just perfect, with light ginger hair.

Needless to say, this was a very sad time for all our families, but our loving Lord, who makes no mistakes, has been our comfort and strength throughout. We were reminded of the shortest verse in the Bible—when Jesus was approaching the grave of Lazarus, He wept!! We, too, have felt the pain of grief, but in the words of 1 Thes 4, "we sorrow, but not as those who have no hope." Because of what our precious Lord Jesus has accomplished on the cross, "death is swallowed up in victory!!"

The funeral on 9th March, was a collision of emotions—grief, hope and victory all mixed up together!!


After having six girls, this was to be Ben and Joy’s first and only son, as well as a much anticipated second grandson for us and a first grandson for the McHugh grandparents, Dave and Steph.

The granddads were given the privilege of lowering the coffin to rest



Because we have had a little more time at home this year, we have had some quality time together as families, and that has been very special to us.

Village Avenue Community Church has an excellent annual children’s program during the mid-year school holidays and this is a highlight for our grandchildren. They love any opportunity to get together as cousins.

“Extra curricular” activities such as basketball, tennis, and music keep the children of both young families busy. They have had good results for their music exams, and had successes in sport. Being ex-basketballers themselves, both Ben and Simon are the coaches for their respective kids’ teams.

But the years seem to pass at an ever quickening pace. Natalie will become our first teenager grandchild soon after Christmas. (I know, some will be saying that you are well ahead of us, but we were late starters!!)


It’s “birthday season” for us at the moment and after March, the older seven will range from 13 down to 7 years in one year increments. The twins have just turned three, so they still have another year at home.

The family pictures, at the top of this web page and below, were taken at this year’s Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, which always falls around the time of Melody junior’s birthday.

We have also been able to see a little of the wider family this year. Ruth’s sister, Eva stayed with us while her husband, Ted, had an operation. Then Ted joined us during the few days after the operation. We saw Ross and Tracey briefly mid-year, and we are planning a very special Keanalley family “get-together” for Boxing Day.

We have been reminded of the brevity and fragility of our humanity this year, not only with the passing of David John, but also with the passing of our son-in-law Simon’s dad, Lionel Fawssett, who passed into glory on 13th October at the age of 82 years. We were in Thailand at that time and were not able to attend his memorial service.


Left to right—Jake, Holly, Victoria, Melody, Susan, Rebekah, Philippa, Katelyn, and Natalie

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