Thursday, November 12, 2009


20 days until we step on US soil.  How insane is that?  I cannot believe we've been down under for a year!  Time flies...  However, we've been crazy busy and have LOTS to do before we make it home for our visit.  I think its time for one of my infamous lists...

1.  We had a Hillsong Album recording on Sunday.  It was one of the most incredible worship experiences I've ever been apart of.  I am constantly blessed by such a phenomenal church.  Be looking for the new album around July.  It will NOT disappoint!

2.  Brian only has 3 weeks of class.  I can't believe he's nearly done with his first year.  Its been an amazing ride for me to watch the Lord mold Brian into an incredible leader, musician, singer, and husband.  I'm such a blessed wife.

3.  I'm extremely psyched for Brian's Graduation Ball.  Each year of completion, there is a Graduation Dinner & Dance for the students and their dates.  Its a formal occasion.  Fancy dinner, dancing, and most important FORMAL ATTIRE!  I'm on the hunt for the perfect dress to wear at the perfect price (cheap)!  Ha!  Brian has a, how do I put it, unique style on the dance floor and I'm thrilled for all his fellow classmates, instructors, and Hillsong staff to experience it!  Don't worry, we'll post heaps of pics.  Oh, and its on Thanksgiving!  So while you're eating Turkey, think of us as we'll be boogying down!

4.  I haven't started listening to Christmas music-yet.  And for those of you nearest and dearest to my heart, I know you are shocked.  But its hard to listen to Winter Wonderland when you are sweating from 100 degree heat!  I'm not complaining, I love my weekends at the beach but its not looking a lot like Christmas.  But I'm gonna give it a go next week.  I love me some Christmas music!

5.  I love my job.  I know heaps of people say this, but I really mean it.  We had a boy come to us who could not read and he was in 5th grade.  At the end of 4 weeks he is reading at a 1st grade level.  How amazing is that?  Not to mention, his confidence has gone through the roof.  Don't get me wrong, its a lot of hard work but so worth it!  And kids say the darndest things.  For instance a boy today did not like my curly hair, "Erika did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?"  "No, why do you say that?"  "Your hair looks like you did!"  Heehee.  Okay men, you can ONLY get away with this if you are 9.  After that, you WILL get slapped.

6.  Jillian Michaels is kicking my butt.  Into shape that is.  As most of you know, I am a fitness nazi (as my sis affectionately calls me).  I've really gotten into fitness and working out the past 5 years or so.  Its my stress relief!  And normally I HATE workout dvds.  I normally view them as "sissy".  Until now.  Jillian Michael's, she is the trainer for Biggest Loser, is one of the HARDEST workouts I've ever done.  She does a circuit workout and I'm feeling it!!!

Thats about all for the Opperman household.  We are so looking forward to our visit home, and reacquainting ourselves with all things "American"!  



Saturday, October 17, 2009

face-lift and eats

Our blog got a new look! I have a habit of picking the girliest, well, anything. All things pink, leopard print, frills-I LOVE it all. However, the mister does not appreciate a girlie blog. So it was time for something new. This is the product of a two hour compromise! Ha! My pick that I designed was pink and cheetah print. Brian gagged. So we changed it. And this is what we came up with...not too shabby. I like it.

In other news, Brian and I are trying to eat extremely healthy. We ate at a Christian owned Organic Restaurant and learned a lot about our bodies, how they were created, and how & what we were intended to eat. It was very interesting. So we immediately went home and did some research. No, we are not on a diet. And no we are not doing this for weight loss. Just to make wise choices when we eat in order to live an even richer life! We are eating according to our blood type. Each body is different and needs more and less of certain foods-this is based on the chemistry make up of your body. Pretty much we've adjusted certain foods and increased our veges and fruit intake. We have been doing this for 3 weeks, and we have both noticed a huge difference. We have more energy, don't suffer from bloating, and feel better all around. On top of that, we've found some yummy healthy alternatives to our naughty favs! This afternoon, I baked banana carrot bread-wheat and gluten free! Seriously, it was AMAZING. I was concerned B wasn't going to like it-but it got two thumbs up!!

Well, that is about it! Not too much to report, but I'm trying to get into a routine of blogging so this is what ya get this week! This coming week is quite full, so we'll have more for next week. We have a birthday party of one of our dearest friends here, Gemma, on Tuesday; Connect Group on Wednesday; and I have an Open House at work on Thursday! Geesh, I'm tired just talking about it! On that note, I'm off to relax for the remaining of my Sunday evening.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

**the BIG 2-6 in photos**

My sweet hubby and friends threw me a mexican fiesta party!

Gem & I

Brian & Corey are REALLY excited for my party!

The ever popular jumping photos

All of us girlies at the party

I don't know why that number is on my cookie cake. I'm not THAT old.

Brian & I being silly on my special day!

Brian took me for a day of shopping and dinner-PERFECT-O.

It down-poured, but that didn't stop us from having fun!

As you can see, I was extremely blessed on my big day! I also was showered with birthday love from friends and family back home! My parents, sis, and soon to be bro-in-law sent me a package and I got to open it with them on Skype! How fun is technology?! A big thank you to you ALL who made me feel so loved. I'm a blessed girl!



Thursday, October 1, 2009


The Market

Centennial Park

Its absolutely embarrassing how long its been since we've updated. Life has been a whirlwind since July, and I feel like Brian and I are finally sitting down and catching our breath a bit. Through all of the events of the past several months, I feel like I've learned even more to TRUST. Maybe when it doesn't make sense. Or when it doesn't seem possible. I feel like a cliche or like we say this a lot, but God has done some incredible, mind blowing, phenomenal things in our life! I know its not the most personal, but to catch up on the highlights during our absence in blog world!

1. I GOT MY VISA!!! thank you, thank you, thank, you for all your prayers. Nothing short of a miracle. I am working full time. And I've never been so thankful to be at work from 8:30-5:30! I truly love what I do, my boss, and coworkers-it really is a pleasure to go to work each day!

2. WE HAVE OUR OWN PLACE! Yep, that is right, Brian and I are in our 3rd place since we've moved to Sydney in January. But this time its just he and I. And its so beautiful. Each time I walk in from a full day at work (yippee), I feel so blessed. I cannot begin to express how wonderful it is! Its domestic BLISS!!! Pictures to follow:) We just are just putting some finishing touches on the decor!

3. Brian is getting some incredible opportunities at church. He has started playing/singing in the worship band at church for ALL church events. He's like a kid in a candy shop. He's learning so much. Its so amazing, as his wife, to see him achieve his dreams and get to do worship from some the people he looks up to most! I can't begin to tell you how much Brian has grown, not just as a musician, but as a leader. I'm so proud of him.

4. Spring has arrived in Sydney. Its time to get out the swim suits and hit the beach! I'm so excited! For the first time in my life, I get to celebrate my birthday in the Spring. On that note, Brian has something up his sleeve and, for the first time, I can't crack him. I'm clueless as to what he has planned for my birthday. I'm ridiculous. I'm giddier than a kid before Christmas! We will have pictures of our celebration next week, I pinky promise:)

**Above**I couldn't figure out how to get our pictures below. And its late. And I need to go to bed. So the pictures win. They stay at the top. They are pics of Brian and I on a lovely Spring Saturday! We went out to brekky at one of our favourite cafes, went to the park, and then hit the markets. It was a GREAT day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

pity. party.

well, this week is probably the biggest week in the life of our church. hillsong church. its hillsong conference. some of the world's best and well known leaders, pastors, and worship artists gather for one week in acer arena. its huge. i mean a REALLY BIG deal. everyone who is anyone is there. as apart of the college's requirements, the students are required to serve. so brian and all of the other students are there. serving. experiencing. and loving every second. our housemates are there. experiencing and loving it. and where am i, you ask? i am sitting on our couch with a blanket watching tv. not at conference. and feeling sorry for myself. and why am i not there? well, i am blessed with an incredible job. i really do LOVE my job and feel so blessed. however, we are in the midst of an extremely busy season/translation: i work until 5:30pm-6pm. the evening session of conference begin at 6pm...just in time...right? well, its an hour and a half train ride. i would get there as it was wrapping up. boo. so that is why i'm on the couch during the biggest week in church life. okay, enough with debbie downer. as i was sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself i realized how much i have to be thankful for...
*time to relax after an insanely busy day
*an incredible job that keeps me insanely busy
*amazing housemates who i love living life with
*incredible friends who will fill me in on every detail of conference
*a PHENOMENAL husband who puts up with my pity parties and loves me through them and teaches me what true serving is
*an incredible heavenly father who i get extra alone time with this week
so thank you for allowing me to get all that out. i feel much better. you never thought you would be my therapist, did you?!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

life in photos.

Hey everybody, we just wanted to share these with you so you could be a part of our day out in the city. We love you all so much and hope that you have a great fathers day in the U.S.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Driving in Australia and other things!!!

Hey everybody it has been a bit since I have blogged so I am here to tell you a little bit of what has been going on here.  I got to drive yesterday for the first time in 6 months.  It was so nice to be in a car and driving around, that is until I pulled out onto the street and cars were coming at me!!! Oh yes out of such habit I started driving down the right side of the road, and good thing it was on a side street.  There was no danger and I quickly went to the left side of the road, and had no trouble the rest of the time.  I was quickly reminded of all the comforts of having just a mode of transportation and how nice it is to just get in the car and go.  Most of the time we are waiting on busses and trains.  While it wasn't our car and we are back to the public transport which is really good here, I had so much fun driving!  Can I just start this post out by saying God is so good.  I am learning so much through him and all the classes that I am taking. 

I am learning in songwriting that when you get the most cliche thoughts, write them down, then go back and figure out new and fresh ways to say that same thing.  I have learned so much about leadership and communication as well.  I could write a whole wall posting on just what i have learned this semester, but will spare you a really long post.  

Erika and I are doing really well.  We are loving the new place and love our new flat mates.  They are such a huge blessing in our lives and really enjoy having a friendship with people that are our age and in a similar place and situation that we are.  

I have just about finished a song that i have been working on since we arrived here.  I know that it's a really long time to work on a song, but I heard some of the best advice and wisdom about that from someone i just met today.  He said "It's funny how you can spend months and months writing a song, and then there are the times where a song comes to you in about 3 minutes.  The really frustrating part is when people like the song that took 3 minutes better than the one that took months.  The good thing is that the 3 minute songs come through the learning and frustrations that come from a song that takes months and months to write."  That was such a great revelation and help to me.

I hope everything is going well at home.  I hear and see on the news that things are difficult in a lot of the country.  I want to leave you with this verse John 14:27, which was also a great inspiration to the song that I am writing.  Jesus says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."  

We love you all and thank you for your support through prayers and finance.  You are such a blessing to us and we are forever grateful.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

sick day with a sunny sky

So...I  (Erika) am home sick.  For clarification, I am at home and sick not to be confused with being home-sick.  Like clockwork, every time the season changes I get sick-boo.  June 1 brought winter to the southern hemisphere and 11 days later...I am sick.  Icky cold and allergies.  Sore throat and cough combined with no sleep left me with no choice but to call in sick to work.  Blah.  When I was a kid I LOVED sick days.  Sick days meant [fun and relaxation.  Now I just pace around the whole place thinking about what I should be doing instead of relaxing and trying to get better.  You should have see me at Brians parents house.  I paced around their house from 8 am to 3 am the next day.  He finally told me to shut up and go to bed.  I think he was tired and frustrated.  Oh and if my taster ever goes out.  God help us all I really freak out then.  If you can't tell by the writing style, Brian started writing where it says now I just pace.  Isn't he a riot]  Brian thinks he is SO funny.  As much as I would like to say the above is NOT TRUE...alas, I cannot.  Sorry for the imposter.  As I was saying, when I was a kid sick days meant TV (in large doses that were not usually allowed), reading, soup, and my mom at my every beck and call.  Ladies and Gents, it doesn't get any better than that.  But today didn't look like that.  I was home-alone.  Brian at school and then work.  So I got very bored.  And thought about EVERYTHING I should have been doing.  And wishing I was at work.  Some people play hookie from work and love sick days, but I LOVE MY JOB.  I hated missing it today.  Not because I would be behind or I felt guilty, but because I truly missed being there.  I did ALL of that but all I wanted to do was relax...ugghhh.  So frustrating.  But then came my silver lining...I had a mother/daughter date with my amazing mom over Skype.  Praise Jesus for Skype when you are 10,000 miles from home.  And I got to talk to her for two hours.  So in a way, I got my childhood sick day-my mom.   And then my awesome, amazing, phenomenal, HOT, and compassionate hubby came home from work and tended to my beck and call for the rest of the night.  Folks, it doesn't get any better than that!  After all was said and done and as much as I HATE being sick, it turned out to be an A-OKAY day!!!! 

Monday, June 8, 2009

And the award goes to...

I definately think that Brian and I should get the slacker award for blogging.  In our defense the past month and a half has been a whirlwind!  Since I know you all are dying to know what we've been up to the past month (ha!), I will give you snip-its into our life...

1.  We MOVED!  Thats right for the 3rd time since August we packed up our things and moved.  We are becoming professional packers and movers!  We are no longer in the college housing.  We've moved to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney near the bay.  Its a BEAUTIFUL area.  And we are able to save heaps of money by living here.  We are so blessed.

2.  I'm applying for my 2nd Visa in 6 months!  Yeppers, thats right, I'm back to the Visa process.  But its for a wonderful cause.  My company, Lindamood Bell, promoted me and with the promotion I need to be able to work full time.  However, on my current visa that is not possible.  So they have agreed to sponsor me so that I can be full time status!  Again, we are so blessed.  However, we NEED your prayer.  This is a very vigorous process.  We (my work and I) are finishing up the application and submitting it this week.  The business sponsorship is a hard visa to get approved.  So we need your prayers!  Please join us in praying and believing for my visa to come through, so I can begin full time work by July 3rd!  We are believing for a miracle!

3. Brian is playing in Hillsong College Chapels!  Brian has the honor and privilege of being one of the few worship students to play in the chapel worship band at college.  If you know Brian, you know he is LOVING it!  Anytime he has an opportunity to engage others in life changing worship, he is stoked.  God is really raising him up in leadership. 

4. KEYBOARD!  God is a God who provides.  And we've seen this to be true through this whole journey.  God keeps showing himself as our provider...even in our wants.  We've been praying for Brian a keyboard.  As most of you know, Brian isn't just passionate about playing and singing but he is passionate about writing music.  In order for him to practice and write he really needed a keyboard at the house.  So we began praying.  And in about 2 weeks we had a keyboard GIVEN to us.  Thats right-given.  For free.  Amazing.

5. Brrr...As you all in the northern hemisphere are in full swing of summer, June 1 marked the first day of winter for all of us southern hemisphere residents.  I am so confused.  Each time I write the date, this messes with my mind.  My internal clock is WHACKED.  Winter in Sydney isn't too bad.  Winters primarily consist of sunny and crisp days. Today it was about 60 degrees and sunny...I can handle that!  And on Saturday we went to the beach...I'm not complaining!  However, this was after about 2 weeks of rain...ick.  Autumn is rainy season, so I was welcoming winter!  

6.  MEGA PRAYER.  We got to experience our first Mega Prayer Night at Hillsong.  This is a service the church gathers all campuses and has a 2 hour service of worship and prayer.  Unbelievable.  This was the BEST and most POWERFUL service I've ever attended.  I felt like I had a glimpse into heaven.  I can't begin to put into words.  But the Spirit was thick.  

7.  Across the Earth...Hillsong United released another album May 26 in the USA.  It hit #1 on iTunes beating crazy is that?!  If you haven't listened to it-YOU MUST!  This is my favorite United Album.  Unreal.

Well, that about catches you up.  I promise not to take such a long absence.  At the suggestion of a friend, I'm gonna start carrying my camera EVERYWHERE and take pictures of our experiences so we can keep blog-land updated more frequently and with more pictures.  Again, we are blog slackers.

b & erika

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If i have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If there is one thing in this world that I am thankful for, it is the life that I have been graciously and undeservingly given. I was hit today with a very harsh reality that was very amazing to me. On this website is a calculator where you put in your annual income and it shows you where you are on the worlds "Richness Scale." I put in on that scale what Erika and I were making when we first got married, and I was slapped in the face, when I saw in relation to the rest of the world, how well off we are. 
I have been getting involved with I Heart Revolution, and I am so excited about this movement.  I really think that it is going to be something that impacts this world in an incredible and mighty way.  As I see and work with these issues, I am realizing more and more that we as Christians are supposed to have an attitude of love and generosity, and really to the point that we think is crazy or makes us uneasy.    We weren't blessed with the money or the things that we have so that we could hoard those things and keep them all to ourselves.  Thats not what it is about at all.   I love 1 Cor 13, most people know it, but I really like where it says in verse 6 where it says' "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth."  I know that with a lot of homeless people in the states that the mentality is to just say that those people made the choices that led them to where they are, and they are just draining our society.  Well I would venture to say that most people haven't gone up to a homeless person and really sat down with them to ask them their story.  I would encourage everyone to do that,  I think that many people will be surprised what they find out.  
That goes with the rest of the world to, not just the homeless people in the States.  There is so much going on all over the world that we don't see in the news, or media.  There is so much injustice in this world, and it is so easy for us to get into a rut and ignore the strife of this world just so we don't have to leave the comfort of our routine lives.  I encourage you to do things to make a difference in this world starting with just stepping out of your comfort zone and talking to the people that you wouldn't normally talk to, or help the person that helping them might be an inconvenience. 
I thank you for reading what God is doing in us, please let us know what is going on in your lives, we love the feedback and hearing how people are doing.   

I will leave you with this,  If you haven't read 1 Cor 13 in a while, sit down and read it slowly and really chew on what it is saying.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Colour Your World.

A couple of weeks ago Hillsong Church hosted their women's conference, Colour Your World, where literally thousands of women come from all over the world.  I was able to be one of 20,000 other women who had their life changed and turned upside down by what the Lord did at Colour.  Here I am two weeks after the conference and I am still processing and journaling all I experienced.  I have NEVER been so empowered as a female in leadership and woman of God.  I am blessed to be apart of a church who places value and worth on womanhood and empowering us as leaders.  Not in a feminist way, but in the way the Lord intended.  At Hillsong, we have a ministry called "Sisterhood" and it shatters every stereotype you have of women's ministry.  It is more than just a group of women at Hillsong doing a bible study during the week and bring a casserole to those in need every now and then.  It is a company of women uniting in friendship and cause changing their world and the world around them.   The hear of sisterhood is in this, "The Sisterhood is a company of women united in heart, using time and energy, strength and influence for the betterment of others...A company of women united in friendship, gathering their world, raising awareness, venturing into the realms of responsibility...A company of women united in cause, seeing the fruit, feeling the joy, knowing that they are making a difference." And Sisterhood isn't just for those at Hillsong.  We do have a local group that meets at church, but there are women all over the world apart of this amazing movement of women.  You can check it out at and then click on "sisterhood".   Once a year the "sisters" from all over the world gather for the Colour conference uniting us in spirit and body for 3 days.  And the result is nothing short of life changing.  There is no way I can share with you everything the Lord wrote on my heart, but I would like to share some highlights.    

We were blessed with amazing worship and phenomenal speakers (Lisa Bevere and Sy Rogers), wonderful entertainment, and had the opportunity to make friendships with women all over the world.  However, the life changing part of the conference was the challenges and need presented to us that are all around us and the globe.  The whole conference we were reminded that We are to be the Change because the "Spirit of the Lord is upon us...."  It is so easy to go through life only serving ourselves.  And this was not how the Lord intended life.  We were not created to live for ourselves.  The Lord really spoke to my heart about how I live my life.  My heart broke as I heard the need all around the world and right where I am.  And I get so caught up in me that I don't see the need right under my nose.  I'd heard the need so many times before.  And I walked away wanting to make a difference.  But then just several days later, I returned living life for myself.  But this time was different.  The Lord whispered into the depths of my soul, "My daughter, love.  Love in my name."  And the quiet intimate whisper in my soul, joined together with 20,000 other whispers has become a SHOUT!!  If we, as a company of sister joined together with Christ, can be the change in our world.  The way I live my life today looks different than it did two weeks ago.  Not only were we presented with a need, but practical ways we can be the change in our world and globe.  My service is not coming out of a place of obligation or legalism.  But love.  The Lord has placed such a burden on my soul that my life be a reflection of love and service.  And all who see my life can't help but see the love of my Saviour.  So, I extend the challenge and mandate to you...the Spirit of the Lord is upon YOU, my sister.  Won't you be the change in your world and globe?  

Before I close this ridiculously LONG post, which if you've made it this far, you are special to us, I want to open your eyes to a need that grabbed my heart.  Human trafficking.  For those of you who are not familiar with this, human trafficking is modern day sex slavery and exploitation of women sexually.  Roughly 2-4 MILLION girls are trafficked across borders each year.  These precious girls and women are expected to service up to 20 men a day.  99% are NEVER rescued.  How does this happen?  Some women are violently forced.  Others are given a promise of a good job overseas and then taken in trafficking.  These victims are from all parts of the world and happen to all races of women.  These women are subject to many abuses such as: malnutrition, sleep deprivation, emotional abuse, beatings, lack of healthcare and forced abortions. Many contract STD's and hepatitis A & B.  And children are deprived of basic education and any sort of parental upbringing, and are completely dependent on their captors for food and shelter.  Although this seems like a HOPELESS situation there is so much we can do RIGHT where we are.  There is an organization called A21 that is seeking to abolish this injustice.  You can join them in praying daily with guided prayers, financially support a victim of this crime, donate, etc.  Please visit to find out how YOU can be the CHANGE!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter.

Happy Easter!  We are sending a big Aussie shout out to all our easter peeps in the US (get it, easter-peeps...hee, gosh I'm a dork).   We are on easter hang over.  Its now officially the day after easter and we've got withdrawals.  On a more serious note, we wish you fruitful easter egg hunts, many yummy cadbury mini and cream filled eggs, memorable family easter dinners, but most of all reflections on your freedom that was paid over 2,000 years ago.  
Freedom.  I found myself reflecting on that one thought over and over this Easter Sunday.  Because of a sacrifice I don't deserve or couldn't earn I'm free from bondage.  Free from the chains of performance.  And that is such freedom.  I struggle with performance.  You see, I'm a perfectionist at heart and I base a lot of my worth on what I can do.  But none of that matters to Christ.  I don't have to earn his love or approval.  You see, that is quite an elementary thought, but I would dare to say that very few actually live like they believe it.  I think the world would be a much different place if we did.  You see if we truly understood freedom not only would we not need to try to impress God with what we can do, but we would stop trying to SCREAM for attention from others as well.  I find that there aren't a lot people in the body of Christ who labour (or serve) out of love.  They labour to be loved.  By God.  And others.  And this is in direct conflict with 1 Thessalonians 1:3.  When members of the body (church) are striving to be noticed this only breeds disunity.  This comes from a performance based mindset.  Believing if we serve, serve, serve, someone will notice us and be impressed with what we can do.  BUT, unity comes from a mindset of KNOWING we are loved.  Realising we don't need to obtain love.  Its already been done.  Its vital as the body we live from a place of being loved not striving for attention or to be noticed.  A relationship with Christ gives us the FREEDOM to LIVE from a place of already being loved.  No performance needed.  Its already been paid.  There is nothing more I can do.  What a freeing thought!  I've heard so much on freedom over the years, especially at Easter, but for some reason it clicked today.  I've been learning so much about freedom and experiencing freedom like I never have and I'm changed.  I will never be the same.  And I don't have to prove it.  Its been done.  So on this Easter, I hope you realise your freedom.  Live out of your freedom.  It will change your life.

ps.  sorry it took so long to blog.  its been crazy lately.  but we've learned so much.  and experienced so much.  look for another blog in the next week to play catch up! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Here are some pics of the city finally enjoy!!!

Hope you all enjoy these and hope they can give you a little glimpse of what the city looks like. We will continue taking pics and posting them.  Thank you all so much for all your prayers and your love.  I hear it is getting warm in hometown Missouri.  Pretty soon it will be lake season.  ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

God is awesome!!!!

Hello to all who read our blog.  I first just want to say thank you so much for all your prayers and support that you give us.  
School is going really well and finally our intensives have calmed down and we are in a regular schedule.  Intensives were two weeks of brain exploding information about church, communication, God, and you name it.  I have really enjoyed school so far, and God has taught me so much in the first few weeks. I have learned a lot about myself and have learned that in order to minister effectively to others, I first must understand why I am the way I am.  I have a past, just like everybody has a past, and if that is not dealt with, if I can't figure out how to deal with my own stuff, then I can't help anybody else or be as effective in ministry as I could be if I deal with myself.  There are things that God has shown me about myself, that I never saw as a big deal, and to most anybody it wouldn't be, but to God, It is a very big deal.  So I have been working through those things, and it has been absolutely freeing and amazing.  I am learning that God made me the way I am for a reason, and I shouldn't try to be anybody else except myself. Everybody is unique and should love that they are that way, because they are that way for a reason.  A simple concept that we hear from the time we are kids, but not until I actually took the time and thought about it and understood it and applied it to my life did it really sink in.  God is showing me what it is like to live in freedom and I am loving it.  It will be a long journey, but I know it will be incredible.
I am also taking a songwriting class this semester and am learning so much about it that I had no idea about before.  I am also taking an old testament class, and may I say I never spent very much time in the old testament before, but looking at it while in this class, I can see that I have been missing so much.  So all of you out there that think the old testament is no longer important, I encourage you to get back in it.  Its all there for a reason.  
Thank you all so much again for your prayer and support.  We have posted more pictures on facebook, we will keep trying here as well, but it is difficult to post them on this sight.  If you have a facebook go see them on our sight and add us as your friends if you need too.  I will try to do better about posting more. We love you all so much


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guess who's joining the work force?

You guessed it I (erika) have a J-O-B!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your faithful prayers. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. I am so excited to start this new chapter in my working life. This isn't just a job to pay the bills. It isn't mundane or boring. Not a job I had to settle on out of desperation. This is a job I can wake up each morning excited about work and passionate about what I'm doing. God is so good. I'm just in awe each day of what he has up his sleeve.

As of Thursday February 19, I will be working for Lindamood-Bell. The organization is actually based in the US and has 40 offices there. There is also a office in London and the Sydney office just opened in February. This organization helps individuals with learning and developmental dissablities (dislexia, hyperdislexia, autism, ADD/ADHD). They use a cutting edge learning method which uses visualization and verbalization to increase the learning capacity for each of their students. I will be working as a clinician with kids and teens on a one-on-one basis. Their world renown learning method had been published in respected psychological journals, and the organization has done research for some of the world's top universities. I'm so excited to mesh my education in psychology and experience with teens in this position. Check out !

I begin the 40 hours of training tomorrow (Thursday) and continue through the end of next week. Apparently its a pretty intense training where they will teach me their methods. Ready or not, training here I come! Have I mentioned how excited I am???? Heehee. I will post an update after my first couple of days of training and fill all you faithful readers in on my progress!

Love Ya:)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty"

So here it goes. I am going to attempt to put into words my experience as a member of Hillsong Church. Just as a little disclaimer, words will never due our experiences justice.

When you think of Hillsong Church, what comes to mind? "Shout to the Lord"? Darlene Zschech? Or maybe Brian Houston? Or even "that mega charismatic church in Australia". It is true Hillsong is known for all of these things. I would dare to say, that in the past 3 Sundays we've sat under some of the world's best preaching, teaching, and worship. I've heard preaching like I've never heard before. Scriptures come to light like I've never known. *Side note, if you've never heard Christine Cain preach you must log onto the Hillsong website and take a listen. She is one sista who can bring it!* And the worship...I can't find a word powerful enough to describe Hillsong worship. We've seen some of the world's best lead the congregation in raw and authentic worship. But the one think I've discovered, its not the speakers or the world renown worship leaders that make Hillsong. Its the body as a whole. The body of believers who truly flesh out the body of Christ. As I was worshipping on Sunday, I realized for the first time I wasn't focused on the great music or the awesome band, but I was fully enveloped in the presence of God. I experienced the Holy Spirit in a corprate setting like never before. I was surrounded by a body of believers, of all cultures and races, yearning and thirsty for the Lord. I've never seen such a group of believers so excited to worship the Lord. I've never seen a body of believers so humbled to worship the Lord. And I've never seen believers so thirsty for the Lord. And its authentic. I have to admit, that was the most suprising thing. Its easy to walk in and see a bunch of crazy people jumping around and dancing and it may appear that on stage and in the congregation its all for show. But then as you linger and experience more, you see that these people are just truly excited to be in the presence of God! I think as Christians sometimes worshipping becomes so routine that when we are surrounded by those who are truly excited and thrilled to worship the Lord, its easy to dismiss it as show (this isn't always the case). At least that was my case. As I surveyed the congregation on Sunday, I was convinced I was experiencing an itsy bitsy taste of what it will be like in heaven. Raw, unashamed, humble, JOYOUS worship to the King. And Iwas surrounded by people from all over the world. Europeans, Africans, Indonesians, Asians, Indians, Canadians, Americans, Australians, and so many more in one room lifting high the name of Christ. Indescribable.

Aside from great worship services, we've been welcomed like a King and Queen. People go out of their way to greet us and actually sit down and check on us. Hillsong has a coffee bar for people to mingle after the services. Each Sunday we've been we've had numerous people ask us if we'd like to sit down for a coffee. Now this is after morning service at like 12:30pm, when most families and people want to rush home or out to a restraunt. How guilty I was of that! After a hard Sundays work all I wanted to do was rush home. Gulp. However, so many people have sat down and had meaningful conversation with us. No hurry. No rush. Complete strangers spending an hour of their time after church just chatting with us. Once people find out we're a married couple from overseas, they go out of their way to make us feel at home. There isn't a day gone by without a friend or stranger call, text, stop by, or have us over for dinner. I've never felt so welcomed in my life. Going so far from home is hard at times, but when I'm having a hard time the phone always seems to ring, at the perfect time, with a friend calling to check up on us. The sense of community from such a HUGE church is simply unbelievable. I am so thankful and can't ever repay these people for the sense of belonging they've given.

This post is SO long and I haven't even gotten to "Vision Sunday" we had last week. But I'm going to leave you in suspense! I want to leave you with thank you. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragment. You have no idea how much it means being so far away from home!

We love you!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back To School!

Yes, that is correct! Today is Brian's first day at Hillsong Leadership College! He was so excited! And so was I. I think I got a glimpse at motherhood today. I felt as if I was sending my firstborn off to school for the first time. I made him a hearty breakfast, packed him a sack lunch, and got him on his way! I was so PROUD! I even shed some tears after he left. I can't wait to see what the Lord has for my Bri. Here are some other goings on in our world...
*We celebrated our first holiday, Australia Day, in Sydney! Australia Day is the day the country was founded. However, Australia is NOT a completely independent country. They are a commonwealth of England. We had a great weekend of celebration complete with: a great dinner at a quaint cafe, trip to downtown Sydney, a trip to Darling Harbour (AMAZING), BBQ with friends, pool time, and movies! A great weekend.
*Internet. Still don't have it in the flat. Getting frustrated...grr! We rely on quaint cafe's and internet cafes near our place to get connected.
*There is a hole in the ozone above Sydney. I've been told this by heaps of people. However, I am now experiencing it, first-hand, with the burn I got laying out.
*Coffee. Coffee is divine. No exaggeration. I've never experienced coffee like it is here. However, there is NO such thing as "drip coffee" its all specialty. Just a note on how good it is...Brian has become a coffee drinker! And if you know Brian, you know just how great the coffee is here!
*J-O-B. I've applied to heaps and heaps of jobs. I'm an expert at the whole application/resume process now! There are lots of great opportunities out there. Please pray that I find a job that I enjoy soon! Brian cannot begin work until he has his school schedule which will be after Wednesday.
* much to say on this subject. In the short time we've attended Hillsong, I've learned SO much. As a matter of fact, I'm STILL processing. I am going to devote a WHOLE post on this later this week. Lets just say, God is at work in this place!
So good to be in blog world today. We love you all heaps and heaps!

Australian Dictionary:
I reckon-I believe, I think
Tomato Sauce-Ketchup
Take Away-To go

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Taste of Sydney

Sorry our posts are few and far between since we've arrived, but we don't have internet in our flat yet.  Internet service is very different here.  You must pay by download and not a flat fee each month.  Crazy.  So we're trying to find the best package for us.  In addition, we are waiting on our debit cards to arrive, and can't set up internet until they do.  So we're crossing our fingers to get wireless by the end of the week.  So bare with us till then!!!  However, we do have some pictures of the city.  And can I say its beautiful here?  Since we've arrived we've spent most of our time finding appliances and furniture for our flat.  So we haven't had lots of time to explore the city yet.  Most of these pics were taken at Rose Bay.  Tomorrow we are FINALLY going to the beach, so we'll have heaps more pics later.  So start the is Sydney:
This is us next to Rose Bay on our way to our friends' place.  We had so much fun with them!!!

This is the view from our balcony in our room.  Unbelievable!

Well, that is going to have to do for now.  We'll post more after we visit the lovely beach tomorrow.  Words can't express how much we appreciate your prayers.  We love you all SO much.  And miss you heaps!!!

Australian Dictionary:
*Thought you might need this, so you can learn the Aussie way too!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

G'day from Sydney!

Hello All!

We arrived safe, sound, and with all our luggage here in Sydney on Thursday (our time). While I'd love to tell you about our journey so far, we don't have phone or internet hookup yet. It is one of our top priorities so we can start communicating regularly. Just wanted to say we're here safe, LOVE IT, and will be up and running with internet soon!

Thanks so much for all of your prayers of safe travel over us! We felt them. It was such a smooth travel.

More soon!!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Tomorrow is the day!  The day we've known about for 9 months!  This journey leading up to tomorrow has had the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  Nothing has stretched my faith like this process.  Through all of the laughter and tears, God's hand has been evident in it all.  I've witnessed miracles.  Like I've never before.  And I can't wait to see what he has in store.  I know there will be more laughter and tears.  But I know we'll see our faithful heavenly Father through it all. And for that I'm excited.  I'm excited to see even bigger miracles than I've witnessed already.  

As we travel, we'd love & appreciate all the prayer we can get!  Those of you who have ever gotten on a plane and experienced delays know what I'm talking about!  Here are a couple of requests:  
*Weather-It is supposed to snow a considerable amount in Chicago, and unfortunately we are flying through O'Hare.  Please pray that we will not experience any delays and arrive to Sydney as planned.
*Luggage-On a mission trip to India my luggage was separated from the plane.  I went 2 days without anything but the clothes on my back.  Terrible.  However, this time we are traveling with ALL our belongings.  Please pray that our luggage arrives at the Sydney Airport WITH us.  
*Smooth Travel-Alert Pilot, safe travel conditions, etc.  A gracious friend in Sydney has agreed to pick us up from the airport when we arrive.  We also have a "welcoming team" waiting at the church for us.  I would HATE to miss this due to a delay.  Please pray that we won't experience any significant delays that would push our arrival in Sydney back. 
*Sleep-I don't sleep much on airplanes.  Our total travel time is 31 hours.  Enough said. 
*Health-No sleep.  Close quarters.  Winter.  Time change.  Again, enough said.
*Arrival-Pray that despite all the LONG hours traveling we won't be so overwhelmed when we arrive that we miss out on enjoying our first day in Sydney!

Thanks so much for your prayers.  There are no words to describe our gratitude for you all.  We truly have felt such a blanket of prayer over us.  We couldn't have done it without 'em.  

Last, but not least, travel details.  We will leave KCI at 9:55am tomorrow morning and fly to Chicago, LA, Fiji, and then arrive in Sydney Wednesday night at 7:30pm (your time).  It will be 12:30 pm Sydney time.  FYI, we are 17 hours ahead in Sydney.

Next time we blog we'll be in the land "down under"!!!!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

9 Days

Bandy/Opperman Family Christmas'

Bandy Family

Opperman Family

 9 Days, oh my goodness it is so close.  It has been a long time coming, but has gone so fast.  We have had so much fun through this whole process so far.  We are so so so very grateful for all of your prayers and support.  We have heard from so many of you, words of encouragement and that you are praying for us, and believe me we can definitely tell.  God is blessing us so much with everything that we need.  We have made contacts there and people that we are so excited to meet in person.  
We had such a fun Christmas and last few weeks with our families.  Please pray for us in this area.  Erika and I are very family oriented and will miss our families very much.  We had the Opperman side of the family Christmas on the 23rd, and we had the Bandy side of the family Christmas on Christmas Day.  Attached are some pictures of the fun that we have had with our families.   Thank you all so much again for being a part of our lives and investing in us.  I cant wait to take a lot of pictures when we first get there, and share them with you.