Our Family Travel


By on August 2, 2020

We have just arrived in Sydney, Australia after spending the last 5 months in Pemba, Mozambique during the pandemic and terrorism.

Getting back into Australia was extremely challenging with so many roadblocks along the way! In no way was it an easy task but by the grace of God we fought through all the barriers and miracle after miracle, made it just in time before the international cut off date you can fly while pregnant.

To give you some insight to how mad it was, here is an overview of the journey:
(You could see It as a list of awful circumstances, but I like to look at it as a list of incredible breakthroughs in the middle of ridiculously hard situations)

  • Mozambique went into complete lockdown in March, only weeks after we arrived, Making it impossible to leave even if you wanted to. Because we weren’t there on a holiday and knew our work would be extremely vital, we had peace to stay and could only hope the restrictions would ease in 2-3 months time.
  • Months went by, and we finally received an email saying our original return flight was cancelled. We knew that meant we would have to pursue a repatriation flight if we were to leave Africa before the baby was born, however the first three flights we tried to get booked up before we could even reserve a ticket!
  • We finally booked a flight, to find out days before its departure it was also cancelled.
  • After much research, we found another repatriation flight organised by the German embassy. To get the flight we would have to drive over the land border into South Africa the same morning and onward to Johannesburg airport. A 7hr drive In total and then a 10hr flight to Germany. South Africa was in strict lock down, so to do this you needed approval and a lot of paperwork…
    There was no guarantee they would approve your entry either, and to apply you had to book the non-refundable flights first – in faith!
  • So, that’s what we did. Praying every step of the way, we blindly booked another flight as well as the flight from Germany to Dubai, Dubai to Sydney, which was an additional 24hr route.
  • To start the journey, we flew from Pemba to the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. From there we would cross the border. But even this original flight out of Pemba wouldn’t let us board, due to a booking error online – so we had to wait 2 extra days! Thank God we had planned on leaving 10 days before our international flight and had time to reschedule this domestic ticket.
  • In Maputo we stayed at our iris machava base for a week, with our amazing iris family! On the 4th day, we received news Australia was introducing a fee that would cost us $4000 to mandatory quarantine 14 days in a Sydney hotel. And not only that, but they were restricting the amount of international flights and passengers… resulting in our Germany to Sydney flight being cancelled!
  • The only other flight from Germany to Sydney was a $9000 business class ticket. This expense was crazy for a family who volunteer doing humanitarian aid work majority of the year… And this was on top of the $3000 to Germany. Not to mention all the other cancelled flights! We prayed and just surrendered everything to God. If we were to go back to Australia for this baby, we needed $9000 that day!
  • And of course, God came through! We received a phone call within hours, and we were gifted $9000 for the flight… we were blown away and in shock!
  • The morning before the flight, we still didn’t have a confirmation if we could cross the border. The stress was crazy, we had to lean into Jesus even more! Being 32 weeks pregnant, having a 23 month old and all these challenges – we were put in a beautiful place of dependency and trust more than ever… we had so many people praying, making calls for us and helping. It was humbling and beautiful. The support and love really helped us to stay positive. It was as though God brought in the Calvary to help!
  • It wasn’t until 4pm that day we finally found out we could leave Mozambique and cross the border into South Africa the following day.
  • The morning of the flight we woke up at 3:30am, thinking the hardest hurdles were behind us! Little did we know how much more faith we would need to get through the day!
  • At 6am we arrive at the border crossing only to be told we were missing documents and need to turn around and drive back 1.5hrs into the city. There we would need to request a document that can take 5 days to get, which we would need in 5hrs. So we turned around, making calls as we drove.
  • Finally we get a call to say, go back to the border, the paperwork will be emailed to you. But 1.5hrs later we arrived at the border still without the email!
  • After waiting, for what felt like a lifetime, we received the email and they let us pass into South Africa…! But the worst was yet to come.
  • We left Mozambique into the entrance of South Africa. But the South African officers said we didn’t have permission to enter, only permission to leave Mozambique. So we are literally sitting in no man’s land, neither in Mozambique nor South Africa!
  • An officer leads us into an office where the superior manager begins to yell and interrogate us. We try to give her the phone to talk to our embassy but she refuses saying, I don’t deal with those people. Grace is on my knee and totally unaware of what is happening… she is happy and cheerful. She jumps off to play on the floor and the manager warms up and offers her paper and pens to draw with. But her stubbornness doesn’t change. She is convinced we don’t have approval to enter and won’t even let us talk. We were treated like criminals. Was this how refugees felt like? I thought.
  • Under my covid19 mask, all I could do was whisper God help, God help! I was able to remain really positive all week but something about being interrogated and yelled at brought tears to my eyes. However, I knew God hadn’t let us down so far – so my heart was still hopeful in the midst of it. The sweet baby in my tummy would give me reassuring kicks, as if to cheer me up.
  • Then her phone rings.
    It must have been her superior. She is corrected on the phone and her face drops. She hangs up and says “you can pass”. We had the approval all along…
  • It took 8 HOURS to get through, and we finally entered South Africa at 2pm with 3.5hrs before we were meant to meet at a critical escort point to be taken to the airport which is completely closed to other flights… The drive is 6hrs!!
  • But we had another miracle! Our flight was delayed buying us more time, giving us hope. Our embassy called and requested special permission for us to go to the airport without an escort in order to make our flight in time… Without anything in writing we are told to go straight to the airport and bypass the security roadblocks. Apparently we have approval.
  • For 6hrs we don’t stop driving. And 30mins to the airport we hit a huge traffic jam. All we can do is laugh at this point. And strangely a peace just keeps us together. We came this far, whatever gets in the way now just has to move!
  • We get through the traffic with no time to spare and are let through security into the airport. We have made it! Exhausted but full of gratitude, we load our luggage at the service desk and receive our tickets!
  • In Frankfurt we only had two small challenges: They informed us our luggage was lost and our pram tested positive for explosives. Hahaha. Our province in Mozambique is experiencing Terrorism with Isis attacking. We live near a military base, where they train, So we are guessing bomb residue must have landed on the pram when it was outside. Thankfully we weren’t interrogated for the false explosive reading so that was a bonus! and again miraculously they found our bags at the last minute.

So now I sit in a hotel room in Sydney, while Grace sleeps. It’s day 13 of quarantine and our release date is Grace’s 2nd birthday!

When we arrive back into Tasmania on the 7th we will have to do another 14 days Quarantine, and also set up our new rental before the baby arrives. I’ll be 37-38 weeks by then.

We are so grateful and happy to have made it back. We are enjoying family time, hot showers, quiet and time to reflect and mentally prepared for baby number 2.

We don’t regret having the last 5 months in Mozambique. And are determined not to be discouraged by challenges… You see, it wasn’t a season of hardships but a time where we faced impossible situations, all of which God revealed his love, mercy, faithfulness and capability to move any mountain in our lives that tried to get in the way. It was a time of blessings and miracles, where the red sea felt like it was parted over and over. Every hurdle we saw victory and you can’t be victorious without a hurdle.

The last 5 months has really grown our patients, character and hearts. In ways that tested our limits but also encouraged us to remain strong and mature. Times we wanted to respond in anger or frustration we surprisingly found ourselves laughing through, praying, crying, forgiving and choosing to love. Even the mean lady at the South African border!

Needless to say, we are happy to have some rest now and drama free days!
We are continuing to trust God for everything and can’t wait to introduce you to our newest member of the family early September.

After baby is born, the next 6 months we will be volunteering from Australia for Iris.
We will use this time to edit 3 different mini documentaries, a teaching series we shot in Israel and a few other awareness campaigns.
We definitely have a lot of work to do, that’s for sure!

I’ll also be taking photography booking to help support us and save for the next 6months-8month on the mission field in 2021. It’s hard to plan for the future with all the global changes and restrictions, but we are grateful we can always volunteer at another base of Iris’s if we can’t get back to Africa sooner than anticipated.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, sent their love and helped us over the last few months and days.

You are our heroes!

Much love,