We enjoyed a treat this weekend when we were able to catch up with some old Leeton friends (old friends, of course, not old people!).

Brioni, 2yo, Trish, Barry, David, Aisha, 4yo, Lauren, August 2009
It was wonderful to have Trish and Barry in our home. We've been here almost nine years, and these are the first Leeton friends to actually see it! (Calista is missing from the photo because she was having her siesta.)

Barry and Trish Tiffen have always been welcoming and warm to us from our first courtship in Leeton and later after we married and returned from our round-the-world adventure. We’ve seen them a couple of times when they’ve come up to the Gold Coast for holidays, and we were able to introduce them to our [two] children in June 2007 when we visited Leeton again.

The Tiffens now live about 1500km away, on the border between NSW and Victoria, so they’d made a big trip north to visit their son and his wife, who recently had a new baby. Having the Tiffens in our house was a special treat, and it was wonderful to catch up with them and share our plans and hopes for the future.

On Sunday, we drove down to a Tweed Heads church to worship with the Tiffens who were, in turn, visiting the church their own son and daughter-in-law have made their home. It was interesting to visit another church — this one had a nightclub feel and served donuts to visitors after the service (yum!). Although it represented a very different culture from the one I’m used to, I’m sure others would feel uncomfortable too if I took them to a mud-brick church where the worshippers wave white hankies in the air as they shuffle around in the dust.

After church, the Tiffens took their two grandsons [the beautifully-named] Rainier and Jasper with them and we all met up in a park close to the beach for a picnic lunch.

Jasper, August 2009
A cheeky lorikeet came and tried to take the food from our hands. The boys each had it on their shoulders for a while. We later discovered that our park was adjacent to a wildlife sanctuary where semi-tame birds are fed daily by tourists.

Aisha, 4yo, + Brioni, 2yo, August 2009
The girls loved being at a playground again. We kept looking around, counting for three girls and two boys.

Currumbin Beach, August 2009
I took the camera down to the surf to practice some of my newly-acquired photography skills.

Calista, 16 months old, + Barry, August 2009
Barry is the grandfather of all good dreams, and loved taking Calista around the playground.

Calista, 16 months old, + Barry, August 2009
She loved going down the slide again and again, and Barry obliged.

It was an immense privilege to be around this godly couple for two days. David and I keep repeating to each other parts of the conversations we shared with Barry and Trish, and we treasure their sound, Biblical advice. We hope that this won’t be the last time we see the Tiffens in Australia — hopefully we’ll be able to catch up again in November when they’re up this way again!