Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 26-September 1

It's hard believe it's already September! For the Southern Hemisphere, we celebrated the first day of Spring today (September 1) and what a beautiful day of spring it was! The sunshine was strong with a slight breeze and a few clouds in an otherwise blue sky! We decided to do some spring cleaning today and so went through all our clothes to get rid of things we don't wear often or things that have gotten pretty old and ratty. It felt good to get things cleaned out. Then we cleaned the entire house and pretty much all the laundry washed and dried! Jen and Sam left today for Europe for their six week trip, so we took them to the airport and then ran some errands around town. We enjoyed a "chili dog" for lunch - it was more like sweet chili sauce than American-style chili, but it was still delicious. I also got a gift card to a store called Max from Jen for my birthday (not until the 10th) so we did a little birthday shopping as well!

Back to the rest of the week: Tuesday evening Pauline and I taught the Bible study course at St. Luke's covering the last two signs in John: the man born blind and raising Lazarus. We had 21 people attend! I had a great time teaching an adult Bible study for the first time! Everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was a lot of positive feedback for Pauline and I.

Wednesday I went to Ken's class at the Bible college. It was neat to see him in action teaching his students all about Biblical exegesis - we learned about the early church fathers (100-300ish AD). Everyone seemed very engaged with his teaching and there was a lot of discussion/questions throughout the lesson which was neat to listen to. It was also Pepper's 3rd birthday, so we gave her a new toy and some yummy treats (they fit inside the toy and she has to shake the toy to get them to fall out). Fun times!

Pep can smell a treat

Just playing around

Friday youth was a fun night - the youth were supposed to be having play practice for the next three Friday nights, but no one showed up to the first practice so the woman leading the practices cancelled them. So, Ken thought it would be good to have a fun game night this Friday and invited me to come along. We played "broomball" (indoor hockey but using a large ball and broom sticks!) and it was a blast! Unfortunately however, that family we've been having issues with for the past year put a damper to the event by not playing and enticing two other youth to not play. So rather than have a split youth group, Ken decided to end the game early and just the youth all hang out together in the supper room. Please continue to keep this issue in your prayers - we've been talking to some of the church leaders about this family and how they need to address how involved and controlling they are in the church because it isn't healthy and will be just as difficult for the next youth leader as it was for Ken and as it was for the youth leader before Ken! Ugh...

Saturday the sunshine came out and we decided to go to the beach. But after driving through Longburn (about ten minutes outside of town) we realized our engine was overheating and we couldn't drive over 50kms! So we turned around and mozied our way back home at a slow pace. We decided to take Pepper to the park instead and after that got ready to go to the Turbo's game! Once there, the computers were all down so we couldn't buy tickets!!! However, a lady walked up to us and asked if we wanted her tickets. We said no because we didn't have any cash, but she said that she just wanted to give them to us! Awesome! So we enjoyed a free game shouted by a random lady! Thanks whoever you are, wherever you are! Unfortunately, the Turbos lost, but that didn't surprise us too much. Haha...We ended the night having dinner with Sam and Jen and a bunch of their friends to celebrate Sam's 30th birthday! It was an awkward dinner as he had three totally separate groups of friends there who didn't all mix very well together. But we had a good time regardless.

True green-eyed Turbo fans!

Turbo Man

Sunday we took the slow route out to Feilding going about 35-40kms (took us about 40 mins to get there, double the normal driving time) but we were thankful we made it in one piece! Ken was worship leading and preaching - everything went really well! It was great to be back at Trinity - I hadn't been there for about a month and half. Ken and I love going there for church.

After Trinity we went back to St. Luke's where Ken prepared for confirmation. Again, he ran into problems with that family and again we found ourselves frustrated that although the leadership knows that this family must be dealt with, no one wants to do anything about it!! It is very frustrating and makes it hard for Ken to have energy to do much with or for the youth because he knows that no matter what he does or offers, this family will have make it as difficult as possible for him to do any type of ministry! But we're thankful that we have learned one thing: we want to be transparent with our feelings. So, Ken is going to make it clear to the PLT this coming Thursday how we feel and our frustrations with this family. That way, on our side of things, we're being honest and straightforward.

After church and confirmation, Ken went on a 10k "Human Race" run that Nike sponsored for runners all around the world on the 31st of August! All the runners are linked together through Nike's website (Ken bought the Nike Plus sports band for runners and it links him up to Nike's online community of runners). It was a pretty fun experience for him. The rest of Sunday was spent basking in the sun (literally) and reading. Ken is working his way through a 600+ page book on New Zealand's history (yuck - but he seems to be enjoying it). I'm reading a new book entitled: The Shack by William P Young. So far, 60 pages in, it's really good.

The Human Race runner!

Enjoying the sunshine in our front yard

Pep playing in the grass

And that now brings us to Monday, which is where this blog began! We're looking forward this week to meeting our next interim pastor, Pastor Rob Strelan, and possibly a few more days of sunshine!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 19-25

Two funerals in one week! Yes, Mrs. Crawford our landlady, passed away and her funeral was Tuesday. Then Friday we had a funeral for Nolan, a man from share and care that everyone in Palmy knew (or at least could recognize - he had the brightest orange hair you'll ever see on an old man!) They were both beautiful funerals. Mrs. Crawford's was at the Anglican church down the road and was very nice spare one tribute that seemed more about the man who was speaking than about Mrs. Crawford, and a song that the Filipino women were going to sing for her (The Rose), but whoever was on sound didn't turn on their microphones. That would have been fine, but then he turned the cd on so loud that you could feel the bass beating in your chest! Needless to say, it looked comical, being in this huge ancient church with the deepest bass beating down on you, unable to hear the words being sung! I think Mrs. Crawford was up there laughing too. :) Ken and I were asked to help in Nolan's funeral. I played the music and Ken gave the address. Pastor Max was supposed to have done the address, however he was taken ill and had to go to the hospital! He's alright now, but it did give everyone quite the scare. But Ken did a great job and Pastor Trevor came to officiate.

Tuesday evening was the last Bible study Ken will be teaching on John's signs - Pauline and I will be teaching next weeks! Yikes! We met on Wednesday to discuss exactly what we will do, and decided that I will teach the first sign (the man born blind) and she will teach the second one (Lazarus coming to life). It should be good - after meeting with her I felt I had a great outline and direction for how to teach it.

Wednesday Ken began teaching on early Jewish Exegesis - sounds Greek to me, but apparently it's not. Haha...He is really excited to be moving on from cannon formation and said that this class was one his best so far!

Thursday morning Ken went out to Lawrence's farm again for the first time in ages! It was good for him to be back as a farm-hand for the morning. It's calving season again, so he enjoyed driving the ute around moving calves around, teaching them how to drink, and the like (coming home smelly and dirty - the true sign of a farm-hand)! That evening was PLT and Directors. I was a bit hurt that they forgot to ask for my report (until I hinted at it) but got over it. Sometimes I don't think they understand what I do at the church, but I guess that's OK. Since we've been pastor-less for the past eight months I've planned all the services and arranged all the little things that otherwise would have fallen through the cracks. Hopefully before we leave we'll have a pastor to take over all the planning and preparation I do.

Following the meeting was a presentation by Ken Benn for the children's ministry volunteers to learn more about storytelling. It was quite fascinating to listen to Ken Benn share his stories - he definitely has a way of pulling you into them! I think everyone learned a few new ideas to use for Sunday School, and if nothing else, at least for the readings on Sunday morning. Ken Benn encouraged us to not just read off the Bible, but to read it instead as you read a story, giving life to the characters and bringing the listeners actually into the story.

Ken was excited that this week he was asked to do two things: speak at the Bach Cantata Vespers following Segue in October, and lead a Fair Trade Coffee evening at a local church in Palmy similar to the one he did at St. Luke's. The youth worked from the Salvation Army came to our Fair Trade evening and really liked it, so asked if Ken would be willing to do it again for the youth at Salvation Army!

Other exciting news: I finally heard back from Themba! We still don't know the date we are to begin, but they officially welcomed us. They had their board meeting and everyone is excited to have us there next year. They are also talking to Lutheran World Relief and Human Care to see if we can have an account set up through them for donations for living expenses while serving Themba. Themba will provide us with food and housing, but otherwise, all other expenses getting there, while there, and leaving will be up to us. Please pray that World Relief and Human Care will allow us to have an account through them for people to give funds to us through a non-profit organization.

Sunday was a busy day too - Indonesia Partnership Celebration! We had everyone from Trinity join us at St. Luke's and only had one service at St. Luke's. The place was packed out (not to mention all the boys from boys high came as well) and the energy was high. I planned the service and was so pleased at how everything fit together so beautifully! Jen, Carol and myself sang the hymn O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing in Batak to begin the service, there were prayers for missions and unity where everyone in the congregation held hands with those next to them, the Gospel reading was read in Batak by Ken, and all the songs fit the theme perfectly. It was a great service! It was followed by a lunch with some Indonesian food and then a presentation of the trip by the team. The church decided to partner with Hephatha, a ministry in BLANK that specializes in caring for the disabled. They have a strong desire to learn more about agriculture and hand crafts, things which people in our congregation do for a living! So the partnership should be a great fit. It was a little discouraging to see how negative those who stayed to learn about the partnership seemed. But we trust that no matter what, God's will is done and will keep the church in prayer as they proceed with this mission.

Lois sharing a bit of an overview of the trip

Ken showing some pictures

Ken presenting the Ulos from the Lutheran Church in Indonesia to the church

The Chair of the PLT with the Ulos (a gift extended to those in the family)

We ended the evening with a meal at Butch and Chrissie's with their children (who are close in age to us as well). It was a great time of fellowship and Butch's roast was real yummy, plus the Americans won two gold medals, one in basketball the other in volleyball while we were there! woohoo!

Monday we went to the airport to say goodbye to Pastor Max and Rosemary as they head off to Australia. Our next interim comes on the 31st and will begin preaching on the 7th of September. We will miss Pastor Max and Rosemary a lot though - they were such fun people and full of life and energy for mission! Blessings to them as they go home. Please keep Pastor Max's health in your prayers as well. They will be taking some time off, real retirement as he puts it, to play with the grandkids. :) We enjoyed the afternoon with some sunshine and a walk to the pet store with Pepper to get her some birthday presents - she turns three on wednesday!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers - we thank you for them!

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 13 - 18

This week was all about getting back to work! We came back Tuesday afternoon and went full throttle beginning Tuesday evening with the John Bible Study that Ken is leading. So far the average has been 13 people, which is really great! We're looking at two signs/miracles at a time and watching them on the Gospel of John movie which is word-for-word the book of John.

Wednesday Ken wrapped up teaching his class about the cannon. It wasn't his favorite topic and so he is looking forward to beginning more exegesis next week with them! So far though, he enjoys the students. They seem to have a lot more to say and Ken often finds that he has to cut back the involvement so that they can get through all the material they need to get through! I guess that's a good problem though, eh?

Wednesday I had my third meeting with Mark W, Guy J, and Pauline S to do the finishing touches to the Segue brochure I created. It was a great meeting - we nailed down all the little things we have to get done before the music conference (Segue) in October. The brochure and poster were great - now I have to get them printed and mailed (300...ugh!) but it's awesome that's it's actually happening! Our goal is to have 60 people attend (our limit), however, we'd be happy with 20. Please pray that the mailing and advertising will have a good impact on the Church here in NZ and that musicians, lay preachers, and other church volunteers will come.

Wednesday through Friday Ken had one of the youth, Amanda, shadowing him. It was a project for school, where she had to experience a work environment of her choice for three days, and she choose to see what a DCE does! That was really exciting for Ken, and she seemed to have a great time. Some of her jobs included: re-creating the youth ministry note board, spending time in prayer/Bible study, helping create the scavenger hunt for Friday night youth, folding/mailing brochures for the 5 Love Languages Seminar in September, and wrote an article for the Olive Tree. Ken sure enjoyed the extra help, especially for the brochure folding and mailing. Another thing to keep in prayer: the 5 Love Languages Seminar that Pastor/President Rob Erickson will be leading. It's open to all the LCNZ and also to the other local churches around Palmerston North. Hopefully there will be a good showing, it's sure to be a rewarding day ending with a nice dinner.

Friday night youth went well, although Ken was disappointed that some kids torn down some of the new poster that Amanda created (although, they didn't realize Amanda had done it - they thought it was Ken's work.) After youth, Jude Nelson, a youth parent, talked to Ken and said that she and some others were praying for the youth group and would continue to pray harder for the negativity that seems to come from a certain family and youth towards Ken and all he does. She did mention that eventually need to be approached - hopefully the PLT or our next pastor will do that.

Saturday evening we had Jen and Sam over for pizza and a movie - it was wonderful to hang out with them before they head off to Europe! They leave at the beginning of September for 6 weeks to travel Europe, see Sam's Dad, and stop in to the States to visit Jen's family. Should be a great time for them, although we will miss their company.

This whole week has been filled with rain rain rain, although it did stop long enough on Sunday afternoon for Ken, Pep and I to head over to the beach with some coffee and cookies. It was a great way to take a break and enjoy God' creation. The countryside here is just so beautiful! We can't get over it...and Pepper loved chasing the bird (her favorite pastime) - although at the beach this time they seemed to be chasing her! Seriously, they were circling over her and diving down towards her...silly dog. :) Sunday night we went back to church for the call meeting - we are extending another call to an Aussie named Geoffrey. I'm very much hoping he will accept it, but we won't know for a fortnight (two weeks). Ah, the suspense!!

Monday Ken began training for his marathon. He's decided to do the Marathon in CA next March and so the training begins now! Phew! Good thing he enjoys all this running.

Well, that about sums up the week. No pictures, I think we took enough of those last week during the conference and ski trip! Hope this finds you in good health and spirits. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 5-12

This week was soooo awesome! We found someone to watch Pepper (actually it worked out perfect - a young adult who still lives at home in our congregation who liked the idea of having her own place for a few days with a dog) and packed out bags up late Wednesday. Thursday morning we got on the road by 10am and headed the long route up to Auckland. Our first stop was in Sansen for the BEST coffee this side of the equator. We made quite a few more stops for pictures (see below) - it was great weather with sunshine, although Mt. Taranaki hid itself in clouds. After going through New Plymouth on the west coast we drove up to White Cliffs Brewery where we stopped for some delicious brew at the smallest brewhouse in NZ. The owners were South African, so that was neat to learn a bit more about where we're off to next! We had dinner in Hamilton at a place called Coyote which was a Tex-Mex fusion restaurant. It was really yummy and we enjoyed seeing kokopelli's and Maori designs intermingled on the menu! Talk about multicultural! We got to Auckland at about 8pm, after ten wonderful hours enjoying the countryside. We were both very excited for Faith Inkubators to begin Friday so we hit the sack early.

Talk about All Blacks Supporters!

West coast beauty

Fuji has a timer!

We really enjoyed the Mountain Lager

Dinner in Hamilton - can you see the Kokapelli and the Maori designs?

Friday morning we picked up Kerri from the airport and met up with the other four members from our church that were attending the conference. We were pleasantly surprised to see eight other Lutheran pastors/leaders from around the country (including the President) - great support! The conference itself was amazing - hard to describe in a blog spot, but to sum it up nicely: Sunday school was created for those outside of the church who had no parents to teach them about the faith. However, today we've enabled the parents to drop off their children and have no say in their faith development, expecting the youth workers and pastors to bring up their children in the faith with 20 minutes a week. Ridiculous! Faith Inkubators is focused on getting pastors and youth workers to work together with parents to encourage faith development in the home, which is part of a parent's responsibility. We learned sooooo much and I think the Manawatu left with quite a vision for youth ministry in the parish. I know Ken and I are very keen on this method of faith development and will incorporate it into whatever church we end up working full time at (or at least incorporating it into our own family).

One of the premises of Faith Ink is the Faith 5 that you do each night with your family

Rich BLANK teaching us

Friday night we ended it by going ice skating at the rink in Auckland (there isn't one in Palmy). It was super fun, although we were the oldest people there. I guess Friday nights at the rink is for all the junior high students and there was a live DJ with stobe lights and fog. Crazy, but fun.

Sky Tower


Saturday finished the conference and then Kerri, Ken and myself went to Sky City (NZ Las Vegas) to have a little fun - we all walked away richer than we were walking in! Sunday we dropped Kerri off at the airport and began our way to Whakapapa, the ski village at Mt. Ruhapehu! The drive down was eventful - we saw an elephant! In the countryside of New Zealand! WHAT??!! On closer look, it belonged to a circus, but still, it was pretty crazy!

A New Zealand elephant?!

The Chateau blew our minds - we had one of the nicest rooms, with heated floors in the bathroom and a perfect view of the mountain! We took a nice walk to see some waterfalls while it was spritzing with romantic! It was a perfect start to celebrating our first year anniversary (a bit late, but we planned it that way because we wanted to ski, but the season isn't good until August).

The Chateau with Ruhapehu behind it

It's snowing!

The waterfalls we took a walk in the snow to see

Monday we got up nice and early to hit the slopes - sooooo much fun! We picked up skiing pretty quick and were on blue slopes before you knew it! That night we had a wonderful three course dinner at the hotel (part of the room package) and enjoyed a bottle of champagne and chocolates back in the room. It was picture perfect.

Tuesday we began the trek home, getting back in the early afternoon. It was back to work after we said hello to the Pepper. What a wonderful week - it was very refreshing and a much needed positive uplifting time of learning and playing!

Friday, August 1, 2008

July 29-August 4

This week was a great week! Filled with the Spirit, productivity, and love! Where to begin?
Tuesday through Thursday we were at church workers conference in Otaki. It was a great conference - in house training from Delta Ministries on team building and leadership. That means there were lots of fun leadership "games" and also some great debriefing sessions! It was awesome to have Shannon teaching us throughout the day, while his partner Michael was downstairs praying for us and our ministries in New Zealand.
I was excited to learn more about my leadership style: pioneering. That means I like setting a vision and working towards it, however, often I get "bored" with implementing it, so instead move on to a new challenge. My other two high scores were management and strategic planning. Ken found out he was also those three, but in a different order! No wonder we work so well together! :)
It was also a great week for the pastors to be lifted up in prayer and re-energize. During the conference, it really dawned on Ken and I how much we love New Zealand and the people who are working in the Lutheran Church. The LCNZ has been under such attack lately...we realized that it seems that there is not a single parish that hasn't been filled with pain - and lots of it! And being such a small body doesn't help the pain, but instead makes you feel isolated from the rest of the world. However, we believe that God has different plans in store for the LCNZ! Please keep the pastors and lay workers of the LCNZ in your prayers - they need support, energy, hope and protection from the negativity and obstacles that are constantly hitting them.

The lake outside the lodge (pictured above)

The view from our room

Monday night's sunset
Another beautiful area on the grounds

Church workers isn't all work...bowls with the LCNZ President Rob!

Pastor/President Rob

Saving "Sandy" one of the team-work "games"

Pastor Max (our interim for the Manawatu)

Ken's team had 30 minutes to make some sort of art work, and made this using the flax bush, weaving it in the paper, representing New Zealand, and the eucalyptus flower, representing Australia, both connected through Christ, the cross.

Training sessions with Shannon (one of the Delta Ministries team leaders)

On Wednesday Ken had to drive back to Palmy to teach his BCNZ course - however the drive back to Otaki was horrific! A huge storm was coming across the island, with hurricane force winds! He ended up parking on the side of the highway behind a jack-knifed truck for safety (especially seeing as how a large tree fell down in the road in front of where he was driving!!) He made it back to the conference safely (phew). But at 3pm that day we lost power and it never came back on. So we enjoyed cooking our lasagna on the barbie and having dinner by candle light!

We got back home Thursday afternoon and went back in to the office to catch up on some work after unpacking and picking up Pepper. She overstayed her welcome at Lois and Roy's - she seemed to get into a tuff with the cat, so they asked if we wouldn't drop her there anymore! Pepper pepper...

Friday morning Ken had a dentist appointment for cavities...luckily it was a quick, fairly painless (well, not financially! haha) procedure. Youth went really well that evening. He got to connect with the student who wanted a Bible since his dad was late to pick him up. However, please continue to keep a certain student in your prayers as she is so negative, has no desire to be at youth, and is quite disruptive in Bible studies.

Saturday Ken and I made it another Starbucks-day, enjoying a cup of coffee while reading. I was especially caught by 1 Chronicles 29:18, my new prayer, "O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thought sin the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you." I really felt that after the CWC and the burden Ken and I felt for the ministry of the Lutheran church in NZ, this verse spoke right into that!
That night Judi and Lawrence invited us over to watch the All Blacks play the Wallabies, and Anna (their daughter) and her boyfriend Robbie came over too. It was a really good game (we creamed those Aussies)!

Sunday Ken and I were both super busy - I helped the youth as they led worship (they did a wonderful job too!), Ken had a confirmation event that afternoon (the youth went to the Islamic center to compare our faith to theirs since they just finished the Apostles Creed, the basic tenants of the Christian faith) and that afternoon we spent in the office getting things done for this week since we leave on Thursday and won't be back until next Tuesday (we are going to Faith Incubators in Auckland and then spending the weekend skiing on the volcanic Mount Ruhapehu). However, it was awesome that although we did so much work on the "Lord's day," He made Himself the forefront of everything we did, thought, worked on, talked was really special! We both went to bed Sunday night feeling as though we had just spent the entire day worshiping the Lord - and it was a good thing!

Monday morning I went to get my hair cut! I felt I was beginning to look like a hippie, so went to the hairdressing college to get the chop! I really like it and am glad I did it. We took Pepper to the park in the afternoon and got caught in some "sun showers" again! I don't like this new habit of getting soaked taking the dog for a walk! That evening we enjoyed a nice dinner at the Grand with Kate and Damien. They are leaving next week for Australia for a few months before heading over to England to work for the next few years! We will really miss them, but understand their "travel lust" :)

The hippie


So, it was an eventful, joy filled week! We feel so invigorated to ministry here in Aeotearoa for these next six months.

July 22-28

Ken started his course this week and really enjoyed his first day. He has one returning student, and the others are all new. There are 9 students in this course, which is less than his last one. Although this course is an "upper division" course, while his last one wasn't. He feels like this course will be more challenging to him to teach. The original course was an online course, so the teacher was able to pack more in than he can fit into an 1.5 hour live session. But he's up for the challenge!

Wednesday our car broke down AGAIN! It's been breaking down every Wednesday fortnightly...unfortunately, our mechanic doesn't know what's the problem so returned it to us saying next time it breaks down he'll hopefully know what to do! We're planning for that breakdown to be on August 6 (a fortnight from now!) haha...hope not!

Thursday we had lunch with the old administrator, Judith. She is moving to England soon and wanted to catch up with us before she leaves. When she returns, we will be back in the states. Ken had his children's ministry meeting that evening - that team is such a dynamic group! Ken feels like that will be the best thing he leaves behind: a group of dedicated children's minsters who are interested in growing, learning, have a kind heart, and a desire to serve. Getting them together monthly for these communication meetings lead to vibrant growth. Most of the leaders are attending Faith Incubators next week in Auckland as well, which is awesome!

Friday morning was the fortnightly prayer morning for the church. I haven’t been able to make it in the past, so it was nice to be back in prayer for an hour with the Lord and other leaders in the church, praying for things on our hearts, but also for whatever the Spirit directed us to pray about.

Friday night youth went really great - the students were digging into why we read the Bible, it's validity, etc. and one student mentioned he doesn't have a Bible and would like one. Another student asked if Ken would take time during the week to dig deeper into it together! Wow, it is soooo cool to see God move in these kids hearts like that! The youth also decided on a t-shirt design for the youth group, so Ken will be looking into getting the shirts made so the Manawatu have a shirt to sport for their youth.

We both found this week to be a whirlwind as we prepare to leave next week for church workers conference. So we spent Saturday at Starbucks doing quite a bit of extra work (while still enjoying a nice cup of coffee!)

Sunday our team led and we introduced a new song I wrote (Facedown) during communion and it was a great success! Everyone enjoyed hearing and asked who it was by – they would like to learn it as a congregation and another team has volunteered to learn it as well! This is so exciting!

Ken had a confirmation meeting in the afternoon on Sunday as well – please continue to keep the students in your prayers. Some of the students are really blooming in their faith development and desire to learn more, so Ken will be working with the one-on-one during the coming months to do deeper Bible digging. However, there is one student in particular who does not put forth any time or work into confirmation. Ken doesn't want anyone to be forced into the process, since this is a choice that each student should make for themselves. If it's not a priority right now, then maybe they should consider waiting a few more years. However, please keep this one student in your prayers that their disruptive and negative attitude and behaviour would be challenged by the Spirit.

We also decided to buy a new camera - there are huge winter sales going on right now, so we thought we'd use our Christmas funds now for ourselves to get "Fuji" (yes, we've named our new camera!) It's an amazing little thing!

Meet Fuji

A close up of Ken's jeans!

Fuji's text capabilities

Pep in the office with us

Sunday evening we finally decided to cook Ken's duck that he shot and cleaned a few months ago! The duck itself was amazing and Ken was super excited to be able to say he killed, cleaned, and cooked our food! Fuji was able to capture some great shots to!
Ken cooking his duck

Fugi even captures the steam!

Our nice candle-lit duck dinner

Pepper in her new sweater, wishing she could have some duck too (doesn't she have bad seating posture?!)

Monday we packed up, dropped Pepper off at Lois and Roy's home, dropped off a song I wrote about the Manawatu into a competition to win a $1500 keyboard (if I win it, I'd like to bring it to South Africa with me to teach the children piano and leave it there with them), and picked up Cheryl from the airport to head down to Otaki for the church workers conference. Delta Ministries will be training us this week on leadership and team building -should be a great week to catch up with other LCNZ workers, as well as grow more as church leaders through the training.

A storm front moving in near Opiki on our way to Otaki