Monday, June 30, 2008

June 24-30

Well, this blog will only encapsulate one half of the Chitwood's, as Ken has been gone in Indonesia this whole week. I did receive one email from him updating me that everything is going well, the weather's hot, the food is good, the people are amazing, but the poverty is astounding. I'm sure he will have a lot more to inform us of when he gets back this Thursday - so stay tuned in for a special "Indonesia Blog"!!

Tuesday-Thursday I spent working hard in the office getting all the services finished for Sunday. I also met with some of the powerpoint operators (I guess last Sunday when we were in Wellington there was a large malfunction with the system - it's been over two years and still they always seem to have powerpoint issues!! I say go back to paper bulletins.) I then retyped the directions for the powerpoint operators and held a quick review of running powerpoint after church on Sunday. For some reason this church + technology does not go hand in hand.

Wednesday morning my car wouldn't start! Turned out I had a flat battery. So the church's mechanic had it towed to his shop where he replaced the battery. By the afternoon, I had my car back! Yeay! So, that afternoon I went to Feilding to record some songs that I've written - my friend Tony has a system on his computer to record, so we did three of them! That was really fun, and I'm hoping to go back soon to do some more! That evening I went to Kate and Damien's for dinner. I was going to spend the night, but it was storming really bad outside and they wanted Pepper to sleep out there...I just couldn't do that, so we drove back home to sleep together all snuggled up in our bed! :)

Friday I was supposed to go to Taupo with Jen, but with the bad weather conditions (snow and ice closed the desert road up north), plus Jen coming down with cold, we cancelled. I was slightly bored since I had completed all the work that needed to be done for Sunday, but that evening was invited to dinner at Pastor Max's house. It was a great time with a couple from Wanganui (a Danish family) and Pastor Max and Rosemary (Aussies) and myself (American, represent!)

Saturday was another rainy/stormy day, so I decided to do some reading for my online course (New Testament) at Starbucks and get some coffee. That was a really good idea, and I was able to get a head start on a paper that isn't due until late July.

Sunday church went smoothly and the powerpoint meeting was quick. That afternoon I went to Lawrence and Judi's for tea. It was nice to visit with them, and then end the evening back home watching TV2's movie, Poseidon! What a nail biter!

Monday I went to Bulls with Judi - and it was sunny! UnbelievaBULL! :) We had a nice time window shopping (although I bought a hat and necklace) and had some lunch together. Monday night I played netball with Jen and actually did really good!

Yes, I'm standing by a large bull

My new hat!

And necklace!

So that was my week. It's been pretty slow at times. I never realized how far away from home I am until I've been completely alone. But God is good and He's been there for me in amazing ways (I like to call them God-winks!) Thanks for your thoughts and prayers - keep Roy and Lois and Ken in them until they arrive safely back home Thursday afternoon!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 17-23

Tuesday evening marked the last of the Habakkuk Bible studies! Overall, the study was a success and the 20-some people who attended are keen on doing another study. We will be taking a break over July (well, there will be one movie night/tea and discussion about it in July), and then in August we'll be starting the next month-long study. What will it be? Everyone voted out of a list of ten choices, so later this week Ken will be working through the votes to see what we study next.
Thursday night we put our apologies in for the PLT/Directors meeting and instead went to the Regent theatre to listen to a debate between a well known Christian apologist/philosopher William Lane Craig from California and the vice president (although former president) of the rationalist/freethinkers society of New Zealand, Bill Cooke. Follow this link to see some clips of the debate on utube:

These clips are from his debate in Auckland (we heard the same/similar debate here in Palmerston North a few nights later). Overall, the debate was not what we expected. The title was "The God Delusion" so we assumed that meant the Christian would state proofs that God is not a delusion and the atheist would state proofs that he is. Well, the Christian made 5 very good proofs for the fact that belief in God is rational but the atheist really only said that it's great if you want to believe in God, but he's just in your head. However, he gave no proofs as to how he could claim this, and he did not counter-argue any of the 5 proofs for God's existence. He took the ignore-the-Christian route and pretty much said by not saying that the debate was a waste of his time. He was however, very adamant that we stop arguing and instead work together to end human suffering. Ken was interested in this as he is always advocating Christians to work to help the poor, buy fairtrade, etc. After the debate he asked Bill Cooke what he means by working together to end human suffering, but was disappointed to hear Bill simply say to just put some money into an organization, any organization. Ken's been doing so much research in this area and has learned that to just throw money into an organization, any organization, actually does more harm than good. But this will lead into a long drawn-out sermon that you should ask Ken about if you are interested in learning more. :)
Friday youth went well, and Ken had a long conversation with one of the youth regarding some tuff life questions/and how God fits into all the evil and suffering we so often see around us. It was a great time for him to delve deeper into the Christian faith with this student who doesn't often come to our youth group! What a cool thing!
Saturday was a very very busy day - I was up early making muffins before heading over to see how radio talk-show hosts run live events at a store that was having a huge sale. It was an interesting experience, although I was disappointed that the host himself didn't seem too interested in having me tag along to see how he "did his thing" so instead I ended up flipping sausages. Then I went to Trinity in the afternoon to learn to knit with the women's group (it's mostly older women and they've been asking me to come and learn the art of knitting). I picked it up fast and have a goal to make a scarf! They meet fortnightly, so maybe in a few weeks I'll have one done. Ken was doing last minute jobs that needed to be done at church before the next two big days: Sunday we were in Wellington most of the day for his first half-marathon! He came in 1 hour and 40 minutes, exactly his goal! woohooo! Enjoy some pics below that his cheerleader/paparazzi took (moi). That evening we had dinner at Judi and Lawrence's before heading home for him to pack pack pack for Indonesia. He left monday afternoon with Roy and Lois Price. Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts in preparation for this journey - they finally got some emails back regarding who would be picking them up, where they would be staying, and other nominal, but important, details!

Ken stretching before the big run!
Number 3476 is ready
The start line

GO!!! (I think that's Ken, the blur on the far right)

Pep and I searching for Ken to get some pictures of him in the race!

Running by the waterfront...
...running in the city


Monday night I went out to Trinity for a meeting regarding the two winter holiday programs in July for children ages 5-12. I will be leading the music sessions at them and teaching the other leaders the songs later next week. I'm looking forward to that! It's always fun doing these "vbs-like" programs.
Other than that, it's going to be a long ten days holding down the fort while Ken is away. I'm a little jealous that I was unable to go too, especially with my passion for multicultural missions (and the music in Indonesia is amazing!) Please keep me in your prayers that I won't be too bored but find stuff to keep myself busy with for the next few weeks (ahh - that sounds so looooooong!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 10-16

The week began late - as we left Paraparaumu Tuesday morning, we were 30 minutes from home when we realized we forgot to turn off the hot water heater and turn on the alarm! So we turned around and drove back down to take care of those items, getting back to Palmy and work at 4pm! As soon as we got back, Ken got to work on the 4th Habakkuk Bible study. There is only one more study left!

Wednesday was super busy for me -it was my only day to get all the services ready for Sunday, finish the June edition of the Olive Tree, and prepare for the monthly music team meeting. I was slightly disappointed that only one team was represented at the meeting. The point of these monthly meets is so that all the teams can have open communication as well as grow as a church musician (we will begin going through a devotional music/worship book for the next 6 months), but if no one puts the time in for communication, how can there be any? That night I packed for my trip to Auckland for the Noise conference. Noise is a Christian musician conference with speakers such as Darlene Zschech from Hillsong, and Paul Coleman from Newsboys. It was a great weekend which really reinvigorated my passion for music ministry and songwriting. I went with four other musicians from St. Luke's, so it was also an awesome opportunity to grow closer with them. We got back early Sunday morning (1:30am) in time for a short snooze before church. Sunday was the youth service, which was completely run by the youth. It was awesome to see them playing the keys, guitars, singing, doing drama and readings, everything youth! Even the PowerPoint was created by them! I thank Ken for helping run their final practice Friday night while I was away at Noise!

Mt. Ruhapehu on the drive up to Auckland

Holy Trinity Cathedral where Noise was held - 1000 people attended!

Inside the cathedral

The group from St. Luke's

Darlene and myself

After church we tried to go on a hike with Sam and Jen, however were unsuccessful at finding the trailhead! So instead we went to see the Turbines up close - it was fun (although very windy). Although in the process of driving we almost lost Pepper. She jumped out of the car and was dangling outside!!! Luckily I was quick and flipped her back into the car. We tried to recapture the moment below in a posed picture, but it does not justice!

Our car ride adventure

Pepper's near-death experience!

The Turbines

Ken's last BCNZ course was Wednesday. He held it at a local cafe to talk about everyone final project that was due. He said it was a great way to end as everyone really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and round-table discussion about their papers. He also kept himself busy with work over the weekend (hoping it would make time go faster so we could be together again!) And of course there was some good bonding for Pepper and him as they went on a 1.5 hour walk together on Saturday at the park. He also began creating an adult education newsletter for the congregation with short articles and a calender of events. The Habakkuk study is getting good reviews and so he is planning other future adult education events. July will have a movie/discussion night for a break and then in August another 4-week study will begin, although he's not sure what it will be yet (he will be asking the 20-some Bible study attendees to choose their top ideas from a list on Tuesday).

Overall, it was a stretching week. It was the first time Ken and I have been separated for a few days (right after our 1st anniversary!) yet a growing opportunity for both of us as we were out of our comfort zone and without distractions. We both came to realize how thankful we are for each other and the team we make in our work.

June 3-9

Can you believe it's been one year??!!! Yes, on June 9th we celebrated our first year of marriage! We enjoyed the whole weeked, starting with Saturday afternoon in Wellington for our first-ever All Blacks game versus was wet and cold, but we won! We stayed Sunday/Monday in Paraparaumu at the Price's apartment beach house. The monday was absolutely perfect - the weather was warm and sunny (almost like an "indian summer" as we are in the end of fall/beginning of winter down here) and was great for shell-searching on the beach! We went back to Wellington for dinner at a Maori restaurant called Kai (which is Maori for "food"). It was a quaint place, with room enough for possibly 10-15 people, one cook and one waitresses. But their hospitality was warm and they were so excited about our anniversary - look at what they made us for dessert!! (Ken called a florist for the rose ahead of time to come out with dessert!)

Ken with the cake tin behind him where the All Blacks are warming up!
TRY!!!! (it's a type of score in rubgy)

Some crazy uni-student we met cheering for the All Blacks

The Tasman Sea outside the Price's apartment

Having breakfast

Getting ready to go to Wellington - my new dress

Dinner at Kai

Cozy, Maori feel

Happy Anniversary! First year!

Other exciting news this past week:

Trinity celebrated the opening of their new kitchen six months after the arson. It was such a fun celebration - a lot of people from St. Luke's showed up to support them and be part of the dedication. I led the music team that night - Ken and I love to play at Trinity. We all play so well together and it feels like it's for the right reason. It was a special night.

On Saturday Ken led the youth in a service event. Unfortunately only two youth came, but they had a great time playing in dirt! They did a street and garden clean-up and got done just before the rain came. The two youth that came were given donations by the owners of the garden/street for the mission trip coming up this labor weekend (in October). Hopefully other youth will take advantage of these opportunities to fundraise for the trips and activities of youth!