Thursday, February 07, 2008

End of the Holidays

The Edwin Fox is apparently the 9th oldest ship in the world. It transported troops to the Crimean War and brought immigrants from Europe to Australia and to New Zealand. It finished its working life as a cold storage facility in Picton Harbour and when that finished was left to languish as a derelict hulk.

A group of local enthusiasts overcame huge obstacles to be able to sail it back to Picton and it is now on display to the public. I like this kind of history that you can experience. Being able to see the craft and imagine the past.

The hull was covered in copper to protect it from a voracious mite on its voyages from Europe to India when it plied the trade routes. It had to be re-coppered after two return journeys of that kind. You can see that this was a ship that was built with care, sailed with pride, earned a good profit for its owners, was "home" for many in transit but finally its day was over. Now preserved as a relic of a different era by a few hardy enthusiasts. I guess some people see the church like that.

We went camping for a few nights at Pelorus Bridge on the South Island. Camping and tramping are iconic kiwi experiences so we are trying to enter into the spirit of things.

The weather was great and we were able to explore some tracks and throw stones and swim in the river.

We enjoyed doing a bit of people watching, we seemed to be in the middle of the spectrum. At one end were people with mobile palaces that looked like the base camps for major mountain assaults. At the other extreme were couples with what looked more like oversized cocoons or the kind of thing a well organised homeless person could knock up in suburbia.

We begin to become conscious of the passing of time with the boys and want to make the most of the family holidays we have left.

We moved on to Staff and Families Conference near Nelson. We had 50 people there which felt very different from the first staff conference we went to. We welcomed 5 new staff; Scott Mackay to Christchurch, Gina Wong to Wellington, Ben Carswell to Wellington and our National Evangelism, Anna Seaton to Projects and Personnel and Gillian Wildgoose to Auckland. TSCF being able to appoint some Kiwi Staff for the first time in 5 years is terrific.

There are growing pains which show sometimes and the complexities of our multi cultural community are sometimes creative and sometimes just tense. We have decided to focus on Acts this year. I hope that studying a messy community, experiencing growth, sometimes being pushed well out side their comfort zones but seeing God at work in and through them in remarkable ways may have some things to teach us. Josh Pelz may also have something to teach us as he fearlessly embraces the challenge of the water slide.

The site was great and had lots of fun things for the kids to do. Kayaking or tubing were relaxing in the sun as Hannah demonstrates.

Luke enjoyed the high ropes course while Jamie, of course, was most enthusiastic about generating some speed.

Ailsa also felt the need for speed and succesfully performed the flying fox - in both directions.

Overall it was a great week and there are signs of some team spirit finally starting to come together. Then it was back to school.

Luke is especially excited to have started at Wellington College and his first couple of days have gone well. He is getting involved in athletics, choir and orchestra and enjoying the bigger school. He is wearing his 4th different school uniform in 4 years but hopefully this one will last a bit longer.

On the subject of uniforms, it should be noted that this is NOT Jamie's new school uniform.

He went as a Scottish Smurf to the Wellington 7s which has become another of our annual traditions. Which you can read more reflections on at:

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