Saturday, July 24, 2010
The writing in the sand
It still seems very strange having winter in July. Having had a bit of a cold and wet spell the four days holiday we had as a family after conference was fantastic. It was hard to believe that it was winter.
We hired a holiday house in Foxton, which is in Horowhenua, another 30 minutes north of the Kapiti coast.
Foxton is most famous for having a windmill. It looks quite rustic and is a working replica of a 17th century Dutch windmill but this was only opened in 2003 and was imported as a kit from Holland. It celebrates the Dutch heritage in New Zealand and (like many things in this nation) has no real business being here. But maybe that is the point.
Jamie managed to kick a ball through the bedroom window within 20 minutes of our arriving. This would have been a great feat of skill if the window had been open at the time. The emergency glazier was very helpful.
The first night we walked through the sand dunes to the beach. We have spent hours on this coast watching the sun go down. I often think that as it sinks over the horizon it is rising off the east coast of Scotland.
We seem to spend more time during the term on different activities in our weekly schedules. It was good to have time together without the pressure of things to do.
We are becoming conscious that Luke is in his second last year at college and we probably have more family holidays behind us than we have ahead!
He is starting to think about where to apply to university and considering a year out between school and study. He did a three day barista training course in the holidays for which he got City and Guilds, NCEA, and Hospitality New Zealand credits. He had to make 7 drinks as part of his assessment and did it in under 8 minutes to achieve excellence. This may prove a useful skill in the months ahead.
Ailsa has not managed to get any relief teaching yet and is wondering about approaching a couple of other schools. I was given a night in an Auckland hotel by Air New Zealand and we hope to use that to celebrate our anniversary next month. We are also discussing how to celebrate both of our parents golden weddings in 2011 and how that meshes with school exams and other commitments.
The boys enjoyed some extended dune jumping.
And some dune climbing.
Enjoyed the patterns woven in the sky and the sand.
And made some patterns ourselves.
I am still the tallest but Jamie is catching up with Ailsa and Craig is catching up with Jamie. From the beach we could see Taranaki and Ruapehu.
The road at Foxton is part of the State Highway system. Nearer the tideline the speed limit may be relevant but it seems a little optimistic at this point.
Anyone with a modicum of common sense would know not to try to drive a saloon car down the access road when faced with a reasonable amount of sand. But common sense is not the route to adventure, digging and rescue by nice local man with large ute. Still it was another nice sunset and I did have fun.
Which is probably why this sign (taken through the gym door at conference) does have some abiding relevance.
We were able to join Ben and Jen to celebrate Sam's first birthday.
The boys are all very fond of him and friends become more important when family is far away.
Ben's dad Roger was able to be at the party having been here for a few weeks including speaking at the National Conference and visiting Vanuatu. Ben was slightly miffed that a number of people thought they were brothers. Roger made a great contribution and was a real encouragement while he was here.
He was also very encouraging about Ben's work and seeing the value of what we are trying to do in NZ and around the Pacific.
We continue to build partnerships and look for ways to develop student and graduate ministry in these islands and beyond. There are a growing number of opportunities. Next week for example I am recording 5 three minute radio slots for the E100 series of 100 Essential Bible readings. I am doing Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. I have also been asked to coordinate the Lausanne World Student Initiative which I will write more about next time but which is starting to build some interesting relationships.
Luke was invited to the St Orans school ball. This is a presbtyerian girls school near the church which a number of girls in the youth group go to. We were able to acquire a great suit on Trade Me for around the cost of hiring one.
He looked really smart and is there as I am typing this. I sometimes catch myself wondering "who is that man that Ailsa is talking to?" and then I realise that it is Luke.
Craig was doing a project on role models at school and decided to write to John Key, the Prime Minister, to ask who his role models were. He was pretty pleased to get a reply.
A few weeks later John Key came to visit the school and although he was scheduled to visit a different year group was introduced to Craig because of the previous email.
I like that in NZ an 11 year old can write to the prime minister of his own bat and that the Prime Minister remembers the letter and will spend time looking at your work in your classroom. I would love to see more politicians who had this kind of heart.
We continue to be grateful for all who care for our family and support our work in prayer, finance and practical encouragement. Ailsa also commented that my writing in the sand is much better than on paper, which the people in the office would probably agree with.