Jayawardhana Christmas Letter 2022

Dear Family & Friends,

A lot can happen in one year. But despite this year’s ups and downs we have experienced God’s faithfulness, peace and provision throughout. 

PJ (Giga) continued on in his role as Chairperson for Compass – finances God’s way Australia this year and he continued to see this not-for-profit ministry gather momentum in Australia with more and more individuals and churches taking up the opportunity to grow in their understanding of financial stewardship. PJ also commenced his role as Treasurer in the Diaconate of North-East Baptist Church, Nundah which was a great continued utilization of his skills in all things financial. In terms of the finalisation of PJ’s parents’ estate, this is now tantalizingly close and we are hopeful it will be completed by end of year. He continued to play lawn bowls with Gwenda’s dad at various times throughout the year.

Gwenda continued to enjoy her role at North‐East Baptist Church (NEB Church) and was affirmed by the church congregation in her role by having her call extended for another three years until Jan 2026. She also commenced in the role of Area Pastor, co-sharing this role alongside Ps Andrew Carnell from Bridgeman Baptist Church, to pastorally care for the Associate Pastors of the Metro North region. Gwenda was also endorsed as a fully Registered Minister with Queensland Baptists in November 2022 after her two years of supervision concluded. Her connect group continued to be a great source of support and encouragement to her personally this year and especially for the reason outlined further below. She also continued to enjoy being part of a KYB group for her own personal and spiritual growth. Gwenda continued in her role as one of the Director’s of Compass – finances God’s way Australia and was asked to be part of the Compass USA blog writing team which led her to write nine blogs over the course of the year. You can read them here: https://compass1.org/blog/. Over the Christmas and New Year period she has the privilege of caretaking the church, including preaching Christmas Day, whilst Pss Peter and Tracey are away on six weeks’ leave.

 In October, PJ and Gwenda travelled to Tasmania to enjoy a twelve-day trip visiting various parts of Australia’s island state. This trip was in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary in 2020 which they weren’t able to go away to celebrate due to a COVID lockdown. Whilst they were in Tassie they both walked around 13,000 to 22,000 steps a day enjoying the beautiful surrounds whilst also trying to adapt to the much-cooler-than-Brisbane weather. Gwenda especially enjoyed being able to celebrate her birthday at Cradle Mountain even though it was 4deg C on the day and with constant drizzly rain. However, that didn’t stop them from going out and walking in the rainforest and marvelling at the beautiful moss-covered ground everywhere. Another highlight of their trip was being able to visit the Table Cape Tulip Farm a few days before they closed for the summer season.

Nine days after they returned from their fabulous Tasmania holiday PJ collapsed at home without warning having suffered a stroke. He immediately lost all movement in his left leg and left arm and Gwenda knew immediately that PJ had suffered a stroke. We are thankful that within the hour PJ was up at The Prince Charles Hospital receiving great medical care and treatment which helped enormously in his initial recovery. However, by far his greatest recovery came from the hundreds of people around the world who instantly prayed for PJ’s recovery and continued to pray to our great God for healing. Many of the medical staff were in awe at how quickly PJ recovered and there were many “wow’s” heard in the ward as he walked past the nursing staff when only a few days before he could barely stand up from a wheelchair. We personally want to thank everyone who prayed and/or sent us words of encouragement and/or offered us practical assistance over this period. It truly made a world of difference to us as a family. PJ also used his time in hospital to good effect and he was able to hand out fourteen wooden handheld crosses to both patients and medical staff as he shared with them about his faith and hope in Christ.

Taruna continued to do his CPA studies part-time this year and will continue with them in 2023. He also concluded his role as an accountant at Good Life Accounting in Redcliffe prior to travelling to Singapore in October. He met up with a group of his friends there to attend the DOTA2 Gaming Conference which he enjoyed immensely. Taruna also purchased his parent’s red car this year after his old one became too expensive to fix. This obviously meant that his parents also had to buy another secondhand car in order to sell their old one to Taruna. Bonus! Taruna was of great support and assistance to both his parents during and after the time of PJ’s stroke with his time of not being employed at the end of this year enabling him to be ‘on hand’ at home throughout this whole period.

Rasika completed her UQ Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) Degree this year and finished with a 7 for her thesis whilst Nic also completed his UQ Civil Engineering degree with flying colours. They will both be graduating with First Class Honours. Ras & Nic look forward to commencing full-time work next year with Rasika starting as a Rehab Case Manager for Services Australia as part of their National Graduate Program and Nic moving to full-time employment at Aecom Engienering where he has been working part-time this year. They both took on the role of Director for SU Qld’s Splashout City Camp in September this year which they enjoyed doing very much especially as Splashout Camp is where they both first met each other. Rasika also celebrated her 21st birthday this year with a party at her childhood home in Carseldine. She also had a surprise guest on the day with her mum’s homebirth midwife Melinda being able to come along and meet Rasika (again). It was a special time for us all. Ras & Nic then ended the year by going on a three week holiday to the South Island of New Zealand which they loved in every way.

Prashan finished his Cert IV Cyber Security this year and is hopeful of finding fulfilling work in his chosen field next year. He also utilized and honed his knowledge of cyber security by building two standalone servers and through upgrading the security of everything within our family home. His parents have certainly been brought up to speed on the dangers and perils of social media and all things technology! Prashan was also able to buy a secondhand car this year which gave him greater flexibility in travelling to TAFE and visiting friends. He unfortunately had a few scary incidents this year with people ‘road raging’ and also one lady accidentally crashing into his drivers door and scraping down the whole drivers side of the car. Thankfully insurance covered the full cost of the panels that needed replacing. He also walked out to his car one night only to see a large guy twice his size stealing his number plates. Thankfully he ran and drove off quickly with his mate once they saw Prashan. Both Prashan and Enaya continue to go from strength to strength in their relationship. Enaya commenced the year as a Junior Stylist at Sandgate but then transitioned to a Senior Stylist role in a Chermside salon which enabled her to further grow and develop her hairdressing skills. She is looking to commence a nail course next year as a way of broadening her employment opportunities for the future.

Prashan & Enaya

We continued to play Badminton as a family this year up until our time away in Tasmania. PJ is hopeful of being able to recommence Badminton sometime next year as he regains strength and confidence in being able to play such a fast-paced and skilled sport.

 We’d like to invite you to join us for our church’s Christmas Day service at 8:00am. If you’re in Brisbane come join us at NEB Church, 25 Chapel Street, Nundah on Sunday 25 December at 8:00am or join us online via https://neb.online.church/

How we give thanks that Jesus is Immanuel – ‘God with Us’. We have truly known and experienced His presence, peace and provision in such a powerful and personal way this year. We are also so thankful that you are part of our life.

We wish you a blessed and hope-filled Christmas and New Year and pray that the joy of Jesus’ love, the comfort of His presence, and the strength of His faith will be with you this Christmas and always.

Love and God Bless from The Jayawardhana Family

Giga (PJ), Gwenda, Taruna, Rasika & Nicholas (Grice), Prashan & Enaya