We’re now the owners of a little Toyota Coaster — a little bus that will allow us to visit our friends and family who are scattered across Australia. The bus purchase was only possible through the generosity of over 130 gifts, and we are so grateful to experience the love of our friends in this tangible way.

Our Toyota Coaster, July 2012
This little bus is big enough for the five of us, and with seven seats, we can take friends with us when we drive!

The bus has two rows of seats up the front, including two fold-down “dickie” seats, and then the back is partially fitted out as a housebus. There’s a double bed and a kitchen cabinet with a sink. We’ll need to get some more cupboards fit in it so we can store our clothes and perhaps add some hammock beds and another solar panel, but otherwise the bus is perfect for our requirement.

The girls have been so excited to be back in a vehicle that they’ve been sleeping in the bus every night since it arrived on Friday. They’re accustomed to a nomadic way of life and are already looking forward to visiting their friends again.

Without the kind fundraising efforts of the Sparkling Elijah Rainbow team and the money donated by people around the world, we would not be able to get on the road again. We’re a large family and can only practically visit other families if we bring our own accommodation. Our existing travelling rig was deemed unsuitable by the authorities and yet I have been unable to dispose of it — or any other assets — because of legalities.

For the last month, we’ve been stuck in our shed, and however comfortable it is for a short-term stay, it’s not ideal for full-time living. This bus gives us a new home and returns us to the road — where we like to be!

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.