Saturday, November 29, 2008
Our house is a bit sick! We had some storm damage to the roof in the lounge and while that was being repaired we asked the builder to fix a hole on the stairs that the boys had made by accident a few months back while having a minor tussle! When he took the gib off there was significant dampness behind. It seems that a number of things in the house were not quite done properly when the house was built and that the two very wet winters we have had possibly combined with earthquake movement have made this worse.
We have had to replace rotten timber in the downstairs cupboards, replace cladding on the outside, replace some bits of roof and waterproof joints in the cladding. It is very frustrating when the builders report was clear when we bought the house. Ailsa has found the disruption and the work an extra hassle. I guess it is better that it came to light now but it is a significant expense for no real added value. We are hoping it will be waterproof before we leave for Christmas.
We have had a General Election in New Zealand. It was around the same time as the US election. In the US people were lining up for hours to vote. We were able to vote in a polling station set up in some ones garage on our street. The polling booths were cardboard, the officials and the voting box on deck chairs. It took 30 seconds to vote. We have a change of government from Labour to National.
The boys are enjoying school. Craig has had a great teacher this year who he has really enjoyed. He recently arranged to interview a zoo keeper at Wellington Zoo for a project he is working on. He has done well throughout the year. He had a great time at school camp at El Rancho.
Jamie is coming to the end of his time at St Marks. It has been a really positive experience for him and he has a good group of friends at school. His year had a week of EOTC (Education Outside The Classroom) including surfing and culminating in an "Amazing Race" in teams around Wellington. Each team had an adult attached and Ailsa just about managed to keep up with the kids. Luke has been sitting his first exams at Wellington College and ran his first steeplechase.
I spoke at the annual Student Leaders Conference at Paraparaumu. It was on "Walk the Talk" and was one of the best SLCs I have been to. We had a group from Fiji there which was a great encouragement. There were also a small group from the Korean Student Fellowship in Auckland who we have a growing relationship with. We have been looking at Acts all year and I finished by doing character studies on some of the significant but less well known people in Acts. Phillip, Barnabus, Priscilla and Aquilla and Silas. We are definately seeing change and growth in the lives of students. Some graduates came to the conference to visit for an evening from Palmerston North and Welington. We had not advertised for them to come but they wanted to come to hear some teaching and connect with the work. This was great to see. Several commented on how much the teaching at TSCF conferences have impacted them over the past few years.
A student from a Taoist background was there. He spent most of Thursday considering the cost to him and his family relationships. On Friday he stood up in the Dining Hall and said "I have spent the last year getting to know Jesus. Today I have decided to follow Him". There was a cheer from his friends. He is involved at AUT in Auckland. AUT is a great little group. It is only 3 years old and is a group that probably would not have existed without staff like Andy helping it get going and Gillian stepping in this year. Elliot who has been one of the leading lights produced this video montage as part of his final course assessment. A number of those quoted have come to faith through the group.
It is great to see a student integrating faith and studies like this. We would love to see more groups like this in New Zealand and around the Pacific. This week I am in Australia at the South Pacific Regional Training Event. There are over 1000 students here including some from PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and NZ as well as a huge Australian contingent. I have been involved in some public discussions and will be speaking on Monday and Tuesday evening.