Wednesday, July 18, 2007

To Auckland, With Love

7:03 PM

This is a trip report that Julie and I wrote for the AIM website.

We had another exciting ministry experience in Auckland today. Julie, Jessie, Joy and Rebecca traveled by train into the busyness to take the city by love. We began our journey by looking for our homeless friends, Paul and Vickie, but they were nowhere to be found. Instead of being disappointed, we looked for other opportunities to spread the love. We walked up to the University of Auckland campus and chose a well-traveled piece of sidewalk to chalk Bible verses on for all to see. This allowed us a chance to talk to passerby's about what we were writing and why we were there. We had several people stop and look, some with smiles, others with judgment, and a few with questions. One really cool thing was the Christians that stopped by and thanked us for our encouragement. After chalking for awhile, Joy made a sign that said "Free Prayer" and stood smiling waiting for people to respond. Ironically, someone did want prayer! A guy named Mana walked up and eagerly requested to be prayed for. What a cool opportunity! Rebecca proceeded to make a "Free Hugs" sign and was bombarded with people aching to be loved. We took this enthusiasm down to Victoria Park Market, a touristy shopping area (a good 20 minute walk!), and were a little disappointed by the lack of people. As we were leaving, we were stopped by a Frenchman named Greg who saw the "Free Hugs" sign. He eagerly hugged each of us and we got to chat with him for awhile. So perhaps the walk was worth it! We ended our time back on Queen Street, the busiest street in Auckland, by wrapping our arms around lonely people once again. What is so unique about this kind of ministry is that we may never know the impact we are having. But God does.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prayer of the Homeless

4:02 PM

I was hungry and you formed a humanitarian group to discuss my hunger.

I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.

I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.

I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.

I was homeless and you preached to me the spiritual shelter of the love of God.

I was lonely and you left me alone to pray.

You appear so holy, so close to God, but I am still very hungry and very lonely and cold.

--This poem was written by a homeless woman who went to a priest for help and got only a promise for prayer, but no material help.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Week PACT-ed Full of Fun!

2:01 PM
Our week at PACT (Papatoetoe Adolescent Christian Trust has been a blast! PACT) is a Christian organization that puts together fun-filled for kids ages 8 -12 during the school holidays. AIM teams have been helping out with PACT for quite awhile. This holiday, our team was given the opportunity to plan all the God Moments for the week. We decided to use the theme "Unique" for the week in an effort to teach the kids how we are each unique to God. Every day we told them different ways we were unique and encouraged them to think of ways they were unique too! Monday we talked about being Uniquely Formed and told them the story of Adam and Eve. The highlight of Monday was dressing in crazy clothes to show off our uniqueness and I wore my lime green pajama pants! Tuesday we talked about being Uniquely Loved and told them the story of Jesus loving and forgiving the woman caught in sin. We also introduced a review game show, in which I got to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a game show host! Wednesday we talked about being Uniquely Chosen and did a skit for the story David and Goliath. We then did the same skit over and over again as a western, musical, really fast, really slow, kung-fu action movie, and ghetto. The kids loved it! Thursday we talked about being Uniquely Directed and told them the story of Jesus and just how Jesus was directed by God here on earth, we too are directed. These God Moments have been great and have opened up doors with the kids for relationships. One little boy, Jordan, made me a card that thanked us for the Bible stories and how he really enjoyed them. He hasn't left my side. Rebecca has been sowing into this little guy, Shaun, who is practically begging to know Jesus. (Link to update). We each have stories about kids whose lives we have touched and those who have touched ours. It was really an awesome week just to be open and available to what God will do through ping pong and video games, bowling and rock climbing. We may never see the result of the seeds we have sown, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God showed up and used us this week.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

YFC Whangarei

2:01 AM

Day 1 - Today began our holiday camp with Youth For Christ. We had about 7 kids show up, which means there was more leaders than kids, but hey, it works! We had some really cool opportunities to get to know them one on one and start some fun conversations. I spent most of the day talking to this girl Laura, who is 13, and came to know Christ at a previous YFC camp with my leader Michelle. This girl can talk your ear off and may be able to quote movies better than I can, but we had a good time. Scottie took us up to some sand dunes north of Whangarei so we could spend the afternoon sand duning. All sand duning really is is sledding on sand. It was actually a lot of fun. The view from the top of the dunes was breathtaking, and we had some great moments with the kids to soak it all in. I have some great pictures and even a video I will try to get up of me and Rebecca sliding and then busting at the bottom. It's awesome! Enjoy!

Day 2 -Today Scottie took us to the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The coast of New Zealand is absolutely breathtaking. He started out taking us and our favorite middle schoolers to a harbor that some really good dive spots are at. Then he had us pick up an object along the shore that represented God or how we relate to God. It was really neat to hear the kids who may or may not know God relate to Him. It opened the door for some conversations later. We then drove over to Whale Bay Beach, which was even more incredible than I could have imagined! We climbed up a large rock for a bird's eye view of the beaches. Then we walked over to Mermaid Cove, which was part of Whale's Bay that had these crazy black rocks for sand. Then we hiked through mud and mountains over to the other side of Whale's Bay where we had lunch and played some beach games. The water was way too cold to swim in, but the weather was absolutely perfect for a day lounging around the beach! Check out these pics!

Day 3 - The third and final day of our YFC Holiday Program was by far the most popular. We had about 20 kids show up! We drove down to SnowPlanet, which is an indoor snowboarding and skiing arena. It was about a 2 hour drive, so once again, we got to know these kids so much more. SnowPlanet was pretty sweet, and even though I didn't ski or snowboard, it was a lot of fun to watch. The kids had a really great time too. After finishing in the freezing temperatures, we headed over to the hot pools. The Hot Pools were basically a water park with warm water. Once again, the kids had a blast! Pretty much what I learned through this crazy week of middle school youth camp was that God works in the little things as much as He works in the big things. He doesn't need a fancy youth program to draw kids to Himself. He can take 7 kids and some leaders and do something amazing. I would like to think that these kids will remember us after this week. Laura gave me her email address and I would love to keep in touch with her and continue to pour into her life. So now we look ahead to finishing here in Whangarei with some manual labor around the office, and back to Auckland on Saturday! Enjoy the pics!


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What Did You Say?

5:56 PM

So, I've been living here in New Zealand for a month now, and I've really started to pick up on the vocabulary differences here. Sometimes it's at my embarrassment, and other times it's just plain funny. Here are a few that have stood out…

In America we say…. In New Zealand we say…

Pavement Tarmac

Swimsuit Togs

Cookies Biscuit

Highway/Interstate Motorway

Garbage Rubbish

Cotton Candy Candy Floss

Rain Boots Gum Boots

Dessert Pudding

Trunk Boot

Elevator Lift

Flip Flops Jandals

Tank Top Singlet

Lollipops Lollies

Hot Dogs American Hot Dogs

Pixie Sticks Sherbert

Yield (as a street sign) Give Way

Carry Out Take Away

Convenience Store Dairy

Hard Core/Really into something Hard out

Napkin Serviette Pacifier Dummy

Diapers Nappies

Coolers (for food or drinks) Chilly Bins

So there's a quick word glimpse into my life here in the New Zealand. It's really fun!


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Whangarei Falls

1:55 AM
Today we did a bit of sightseeing with Scottie, the guy who runs YFC up here. He wanted to take us out and show us the highlights of this beautiful city. He took us down to the marina, and then up into the mountains to Whangarei Falls. It was super cool!