Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's the Haps - Aug 08

Well, Winter ‘08 in New Zealand has continued the trend of weather extremes so far this year. After a crushing drought all Summer, we’ve had so much rain in the last couple of months, that we’ve had roads in the area “subside” as they like to call it. In layman’s terms, this means running down the side of the nearest mountain, embankment, cliff, or whatever is handy at the time. No loss of life or vehicle, but the road foundations are really just about floating away! We’ve given our farmer friends (and there are many) a hard time about their fervent prayers for rain over the summer. Now, I know that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective, but sheesh! Maybe we should get them to pray for cash to start falling from the sky to round out our church building fund (I’ll let you know if that happens, so you can drop by with an extra suitcase). At any rate, the days are finally getting longer and warmer, and life is good.

A hole in the road where the road base has simply floated up through the asphalt:

Hmmm, that's not too good, considering the forecast for heavy rain for the forseeable future...

Chad’s photography endeavors are going well: he recently sold his first print – matted, framed, and the whole nine yards. We also did a beautiful family photo shoot last month that yielded some great portfolio material, and the words “best portraits ever” were bandied about by our clients. Thanks to the ad space he gets in the local paper for his journalistic work, Chad landed his first commercial gig doing the advertising shots for a new luxury lodge in Raglan. It went extremely well, which is saying something considering that the client has a master’s degree in fine arts.

I’m keeping busy these days working for our church. One of my main activities is team-leading the “mommy n’ me” style sing-along called Mainly Music twice a week. So I’m up to my eyeballs (literally, I’m like their own personal jungle gym) in cute babies and toddlers - and loving it! I also pitch in at the Raglan Food Bank. Let me tell you, folks, meeting people’s practical needs opens doors in hearts faster than anything I’ve ever seen – we’ve seen amazing blessing and receptivity even from staunch non-Christians when dealing with local government and members of the community in general. So chuck the flashy worship team budget, or the mega-building, folks! Community service is where it’s at!

We’ve also stayed heaps healthier this year – I guess we’re acclimated to Southern Hemisphere germs at last. It’s definitely good for our morale - nothing like a raging, migrating (head to chest to throat to ears, etc. etc.) cold bug for 6 solid weeks to make you doubt your sanity in moving to the chilly drip-fest that is winter in New Zealand.

The Backstory

It occurs to me that some of you may not know exactly what prompted us to move down here in the first place, so here’s the story as told in third person format (bear with me; it’s a bit convoluted):

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Heather. Heather grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, and decided to go to New Zealand to round out her studies. While there, she met a young kiwi fellow named Jacob, and after a reasonable course of time (and getting to know each other) they decided to get married. The wedding took place in Fort Collins and Jacob’s family flew over to attend - including one of his brothers, Tim, along with Tim's lovely wife Gina.

Tim and Gina, circa a few months ago with our nephew-in-Christ Jobe

Now Tim and Gina were contemplating what Kiwis call an OE and this stands for Overseas Experience, where you travel abroad and see the world for a length of time, usually around a year (and as New Zealand is a small island nation, going anywhere at all means crossing some large body of water, hence the “Overseas” part). They found that they enjoyed Fort Collins SO much, they wanted to come back and spend the better part of their OE there.

When they got to Colorado, they found that they were a bit lonely, so they decided to do the healthy, well-adjusted thing and get out there and make some friends. To that end, they called a number of local recreational soccer teams to join up. They were getting well down the list alphabetically before a team organizer (from the Yellowjackets) finally got back to them, and they signed on and started attending practices and games. While on the team, they noticed one talented player named Chad, who was so kind and gentlemanly, that they were just sure he must be a Christian. They got to know Chad a little bit, and found that this capital fellow, WAS in fact a Christian (as are they), and he invited them to come to church with him so they could meet his lovely wife (who had just returned from traveling around Europe) and start attending if they liked. They took him up on his offer, and they got to be good friends with Chad, his lovely wife Charity, and many of their friends.

Even after they moved into the mountains to work at a ski resort, Chad and Charity continued to visit them, snowboarding, hanging out, and having an amazing Christmas in the snow. Then one evening while they were all gathered with several friends for New Years, Chad remarked to Charity that they should/would move to New Zealand themselves once Tim & Gina moved home. Charity said to him, “Well, why not?” And so it was, 11 months later, that they flew off into the sunset to the wilds of the South Pacific, where they remain to this day. And all because of a girl named Heather…