Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 21-27

A week in Wellington! Tuesday morning we left Palmerston North and headed off for our last church workers conference. This time it was in Wellington. These conferences are always a great time of relaxation, learning, devotion, and growth. Ken and I find them very unique - a time to meet with LCNZ Pastors, church workers, and LSM leaders as well as the LCNZ President for three days. We stayed at Our Lady's Home of Compassion - it is run by nuns and had gorgeous grounds, including a grotto! It used to be a hospital but was shut down a few years ago and now is used for conferences, prayer retreats, healing retreats, etc. On Wednesday night we had the "pilgrimage" (we all go out to a pub of some sorts) at the Back Bencher, a pub next to Parliament that was themed off all the politicians! It was really fun.
Our Lady's Home of Compassion main building
Our Lady's grounds
The Chapel
Inside the chapel

The grotto
Mary and Jesus

Looking out the widow at Back Bencher you can see Parliament!
The one on the left is supposed to be Helen Clark, New Zealand's Prime Minister!
The Church Workers of the LCNZ!
Thursday the conference was over, so Ken and I took the afternoon to enjoy Wellington - we love it there, plus we found a new favorite hang-out spot (we over-did going to Mac's brew bar): The Malthouse. Really good food and great selection of beer on tap from all over the north and south islands!

Friday I worked with Mark Whitfield and Guy Jansen to set up for Segue, the first ever LCNZ worship and music conference. It was such an honor to be a part of the planning committee for that event! Set up was a bit shaky (the tv blew up, the LCNZ projector was still in Palmerston North, but the cd player worked just fine!) I also spent a bit of time practicing for Sunday morning worship - Mark asked me to play piano for the entire service (a traditional liturgical setting by David Haas). It was really fun to have something challenging to play - I was quite glad that Mark asked me. During all this time, Ken was busy preparing his devotional message for Sunday evening's Bach Cantata (we'll touch more on this in a few paragraphs).
Practicing practicing practicing!
Friday afternoon Ken and I went down to the Bee Hive (Parliament) for a tour. It was very informational, but by the end of the hour I was ready to be done. We ended up talking to a Canadian fellow who was also on the tour - he sounded pretty homesick for North America. Ken and I are happy that we are finally beginning to feel at home here in New Zealand - not that we don't miss the states (trust me, we definitely went through the homesick stage!!!) but we're just finally feeling like we know New Zealand enough to feel completely comfortable. It's a neat feeling. That night we babysat Mark and Leanne's children (we stayed at Mark and Leanne's home after the church workers conference through the Segue Conference). We love Mark's house - it's right behind the church up a small flight of stairs! How convenient is that?!
Ken and I at the Bee Hive (picture courtesy of our Canadian friend)
The church from Mark's backyard
The inside of the church
Babysitting the kids

Having fun too!

Segue began at 9.30am Saturday. There were about 20 people total (a good turn-out for the first one). The programme began with a Taize service that I played the piano for. Then we had Guy Jansen's keynote address on "What is Worship?" before breaking up into practical sessions (ie worship band, organ, speech, etc...). Ken really enjoyed learning more about speaking and communicating - Wendy Bruge, who was the presenter for that breakout session, told him that he is a natural at speaking in front of people and gave him a few tips at how to perfect his art! I was a presenter for a break out session on Scripture Songwriting. I really enjoyed sharing with others some things I learned from other songwriters (at the Noise Conference I went to a few months back) as well as some hints I've learned as I write music. The evening ended at Fisherman's Table for some fellowship time together. Ken and I both went to bed with highs from the day - it was so wonderful to meet new people from around the LCNZ (as well as some Anglican attendees) and to see the conference go wonderfully! It was quite the success! Thank you Lord!
Guy Jansen's opening session (Pauline introducing him)
The "Essentials of a worship band" break-out session

Sunday morning service was beautiful - it was Reformation Sunday (so festive colour of red) so of course we sang A Mighty Fortress by Luther. I really enjoyed playing with the pre-service worship band (a team formed on Saturday as one of the break out sessions for Segue that had a member from Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North! The new LCNZ worship band??) as well as playing all the liturgical music. It was a challenge, but an enjoyable one at that! That afternoon we had our closing Segue session which was poorly attended. But those who came found it very beneficial as they had a chance to talk to Guy Jansen and pick his brain on worship, as well as speak with the Segue planning team about improvements for next year. Everyone agreed that the weekend was phenomenal and needs to happen again...soon! I will keep you up to date as the Segue team meets to debrief and see what the vision for the LCNZ is. Exciting times! Sunday evening was the Bach Cantata - Ken did a wonderful job on his devotional message (using some new breathing techniques he learned from Wendy on Saturday!) The Cantata was based on the Matthew passage about paying taxes to Cesar, but giving to God what is God's. The Cantata itself was beautiful and afterwards there was champagne and cake to celebrate the St. Paul's Bach Cantata's 1st birthday! This music ministry in the Wellington has been just wonderful this past year (cheers to many more to come!) - in fact, it has been done so well with the use of many professional baroque musicians that the services are advertised on the radio as well! There were well over 100 people there that evening to celebrate. We went to dinner with Pasty and Mark, a Taiwanese couple our age from Botany (Auckland) that came to the Segue worship conference. We hit it off really well and had a great time - they took us to a Chinese restaurant and ordered all our food for us! It was really yum (even the squid!) and we had a great time getting to know each other and learn more about Taiwanese culture. We look forward to hanging out with them again in January when we travel to Northland.
Ken after his devotional
Yummy cake!
Guy Jansen and Mark Whitfield
Pauline and myself

So we didn't get home until 12:30am Monday morning. Lucky that it's our day off! It also happens to be Labour Day for New Zealand although Ken did labour on some work he
needed to catch up on, as well as a looooong run (preparation for that marathon coming up this march). I cleaned the house and did laundry since it was a sunny, but windy day (means fast drying clothes!) We had such a wonderful time in Wellington this past week! It was a blessing to be energized and refreshed from both conferences. is good!
(A Wellington frog sending you greetings!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 14-20

Have you seen Wall-E yet? If not, go see it! Tuesday night Ken led a movie Bible study this month on the film...although only three people attended so instead of actually have the study, he is giving them copies of the study for them to do in their small home groups (the study was going to be interactive needing at least a small group to work through all the questions together.) But it was a very thought-provoking movie; a sci-fi for kids basically. But I won't give any more away so that you can go watch it for yourself!

Wednesday Ken went back to teaching after a two week holiday break - it was good to be back in the classroom and he is sad that there is only six more weeks of teaching left! I went to the last Segue Music Conference meeting in Paraparamu. Looks like registration numbers are low, but that's to be expected as this is the first time the Lutheran church has put on a national music conference. Hopefully those that attend will benefit from the weekend (the 25-26th Oct) and maybe in two years when they re-launch another Segue weekend, more will come. I am part of planting the seed and pray that God's will be done.

Thursday at the PLT and Directors meeting we talked a lot about the pros and cons of going ahead and hiring another youth worker next year since we are pastor-less at the moment. We have decided to go ahead and put out notices in Australia and New Zealand for youth workers (Luther or not) and see what happens next month re: the pastor. Currently, the LCNZ President, Rob Erickson, is in Australia meeting graduates from the Lutheran University there to see if there are any eligible for New Zeland. IF one would come, it would be in Jan/Feb 09. We will know sometime next month what will happen with this and if it is affirmative that we have a pastor coming, then for sure we will go ahead and hire a new youth worker. If we don't have a pastor coming, then I think the church will re-talk about the pros and cons of getting a youth worker in the absence of a pastor. Please keep all this in your prayers.

This weekend Ken took five youth on a confirmation retreat to Riversdale. There are seven youth being confirmed on November 2, but only five could attend. It turned out to be a great group though - I went along as a cook and Sharolyn Mollet came along as a prayer intercessor. The youth who came great exponentially over the weekend. Ken taught three basic faith expressions: the faith we confess (the mouth), the faith we are confirming (the heart), and the calling that this faith places on our lives for us to live out in action (the hands). It was a great way to teach the kids an overview wrap up of the year's study, as well as teach them that confirmation is not graduation, but instead is simply the beginning of our faith journey as we tell the congregation our faith that we believe in our hearts, and then begin to live out that faith by getting involved in our church community in service. We were very blessed to have a sunny Saturday so that the kids were able to go swimming and hang out on the beach for free time - check out the "prayer station" that one of the youth made!

Confirmation retreat at Riversdale!

The Bach

Sharolyn and Pepper looking at the "prayer window"

A cute little church in Riversdale that meets monthly for worship

The prayer station on the beach the youth made

Game time!

Not baseball - that's a cricket bat!

Some pretty spring scenes

The leaders of the retreat

The whole gang

We got back Sunday evening from the retreat. Monday we went into the office to get some odd jobs done as we will be gone Tuesday-Sunday at Church Workers Conference and Segue. We're looking forward to relaxing come Labour Day on the 27th!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

October 7-13

This week was quite relaxed. We got back Tuesday evening from the bach, and went in to work bright and early Wednesday morning. Ken is excited that the theatre will be playing Wall-e next Tuesday evening (super saver evening) so the family Bible study will be happening next week and began to prepare for that study. I met with Sharolyn from Summerhill about the holiday school programme Turbo Time she put on this past week - she wanted to incorporate some of it in Sunday worship at St. Luke's.
Thursday Ken went to the children's ministry meeting and was excited to hear everyone that attended Faith Inkubators last month share with the others all they had learned. Everyone decided to give Faith Ink a trial shot so next year they will begin to implement the "program" - I hesitate to call it that because the premise of Faith Ink is to get away from programs, and instead encourage families to be involved in their child's faith development. But they do have a set of materials you can purchase and use for your Sunday mornings at church as well as materials that families can take home to work on together throughout the week that reinforce the theme from Sunday.
Friday morning Ken and I met with Rachel (one of the youth) for a smoothie/hang out time- she won it in confirmation for memorizing the Apostle's Creed. That was fun and while we were hanging out at the plaza, John Key (running for NZ Prime Minster this Nov on the National party ticket) was walking around and shook our hands! We were video taped and photographed and had a chance to talk with him about NZ and American politics! Who knows but we may have spoke to the next NZ Prime Minister! We'll let you know after the elections next month. Speaking of elections, I voted! My ballot arrived last week but it cost me $5 to vote! (the cost of the stamp to mail it back!)

Friday evening we went to dinner at President Erickson’s with Pastor Rob and Irene Strelan (our interim pastor). It was a really good time - no earthquakes though (last time we ate there we experienced quite the shake!)
Saturday my sister called me up out of the blue, which was really nice! It was good to catch up and hear about life at her house (Tiana got on the phone a bit and spelled out her name for me!) Then we met up with Rachel and Tony from Feilding to get some yummy cheesecakes in Woodville. And they were yummy! Then we had Trinity music practice and ended the evening with my home-made pizza.



Sunday was super busy - I was doing powerpoint for the 9am service, Ken and I were leading music at the 1030 service and Ken was on children's message, and then again we led music and Ken did the children's message at the 5pm Trinity service! In the afternoon I was able to call home and have a great talk - guess what???!!! A lady in the neighborhood offered Ken and I stand-by tickets to South Africa!!!! What a blessing! We will be working out the details over the next few weeks on that, but really, we can't get over this gift!
Monday has been another beautiful sunny day (there's been about three in a row now!) and I've got my shorts on for the first time this spring! Yeay! Ken did an hour long run, called home, and worked a bit on his class - it starts back up this Wednesday (there was two week school holiday). In the afternoon we took a walk to the grocery store for some food and got a pretty little gerber plant for our backyard. Pepper enjoyed the afternoon outside as well, as you can see in her pictures below! Oh and Rachel and Tony gave Pepper a new collar and leash that didn't fit their dog. Doesn't she look cute?

Hanging out clothes to dry in the sunshine

Ken potting my new plant
Watering my new plant

Pepper "getting it"

Listening to the birds

Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever, amen!"