We’re staying in what’s considered to be a lower socio-economic part of inner-city Sydney. However, we have been blessed many times over as locals bring presents to us at the truck and we gratefully receive whatever is given.

We have been given so many wonderful things that it’s hard to keep track of it all! Clothes, shoes, toiletries, even a new mattress — all these have been brought to us as people have responded out of the generosity of their hearts.

Lauren, Elijah and Mingo (Ned), January 2012
It's lovely to wake up to an offering like this! One morning, as I was giving Elijah his first feed of the day, a gentle tap on the trailer brought me out. Mingo stood there with a shopping trolley full of toys that he had brought for our girls. One of his neighbours was clearing out their unit, and he grabbed all the things he thought were appropriate for our children!

Mingo (also called “Ned”) has been coming around regularly with bottles of cold water from his fridge. This is one thing that I really miss while we’re on the road — cold water! It’s such a simple offering, and yet it satisfies a yearning that words cannot adequately express.

Tracey bringing gifts, January 2012
Tracey brings bags of toys and books for the girls. She loves to buy things that are great bargains and has a whole room full of children's clothes, shoes and toys. She's generously loaded us up with brand-new, quality brand-name clothes, sticker-books and many different odds and ends.

It seems that every time we see Tracey, she’s bringing gifts for us. We’ve come back to the truck to find a passionfruit soft drink and plastic cups waiting for us because she stopped by while we were out. How is it that we park our truck in what is considered a “bad part of town” and instead of having things taken from it, we arrive home to find presents waiting?

Mingo was determined to take us to a particular Salvation Army centre in a nearby suburb, and he accompanied us the whole way so we would get the right buses. He even gave us pre-paid bus tickets so we didn’t have to pay for the trips! Later we discovered that he had gotten up early to walk his dog so that he would be free to accompany us all day.

Lauren with Mingo at the Salvos, January 2012
Mingo took us to the Salvation Army centre at Surrey Hills. It has a small café, a drop-in centre, toilets and showers, plus an op shop out the front. We were able to get some new bedding and a red bouncinette for Elijah.

Mingo, January 2012
Now we know what a righteous man looks like.

Mingo demonstrated loving patience with our girls. He waited for hours with us at the centre while we took care of some business and had showers— he said he was keeping an eye on our stuff. Mingo knows so many people and introduces us to everyone. I haven’t heard anyone say a negative word about him.

Delaney gets cuddles, January 2012
So many people enjoy interacting with our children! When Delaney fell over while exiting the building, this woman was on hand to comfort her and both relaxed into the cuddle.

Lauren chatting on the bus, January 2012
The ladies on the bus try to count up our children and work out their genders. It always leads to a fun conversation, and I hear about the sizes of their families and those who are close to them.

Waiting for the bus, January 2012
Because we have so many goodies to lug home (on two buses) from our trip to the Salvos, we're grateful for Mingo's patient assistance!

Back at the apartment, everyone seems to know that we’re living in our truck. People stop by to chat and hear our story. Many express how they, too, would like to start travelling and we encourage everyone to follow their dreams.

Leah and Rick with David, January 2012
Leah and Rick stop by to give us some warm clothes for the girls. With all the rain, the temperature has dropped below Sydney summer norms, and the girls adore the new hats and mittens! Leah has been holding on to some special clothes, waiting to pass them onto the right person, and we gratefully receive her offerings.

Looking at the stroller with Bob Byrnes, January 2012
Bob keeps a workshop near where we park. In it, we discover a layback stroller — perfect for city outings with Elijah as well as Delaney!

Our girls, too, have learned from our examples. Although they’re most comfortable with each other, they interact with the children who play around them. We’re happy to bring these other children into our lives — giving them attention and offering them unconditional love — although sometimes it’s a stretching exercise!

Max holds Elijah, January 2012
Max and his Auntie — his foster mother — stop by to visit and goo and gah over Elijah.

Our girls playing with Max, January 2012
Max identifies a series of Pokemon cards from among the toys the girls were given and starts to explain the different personalities to Brioni and Aisha.

Brioni playing, January 2012
Brioni has started making friends easily and starts conversations with the other children who come to the playground.

This time has been a great one for our family — although our truck is now overflowing at the seams with extra clothes and toys. I’ve been sorting through them to put some into storage when we reach Brisbane again. Although we aren’t making use of everything now, there will come a day when we remember the friendships we made here in Redfern as we pull out the clothes or items donated to us while we were in this parking lot!