Sunday, August 22, 2010

keeping up with the news

Don't we all like to be up-to-date?! This Wednesday, August 25 will mark the 29th anniversary of the birth of my wonderful Richard; it will also be exactly three months since we left the land of the free and the home of the brave. We're about halfway through our first full school term here (everything in New Zealand seems to  revolve around the 4 school terms and the 2-3 week "holidays" that separate them). Here's a brief pictorial overview of the past five weeks in youth ministry!
Tahu girls having "heaps" of fun at the bowling alley
(Bowling is less common here - all the teens bowled with the bumpers down!)

Lighthouse teens enjoying a concert hosted at the parish

Two brave Tahu boys agree to perform a "tack walk" - barefoot & blindfolded
(we REALLY 'walk by faith and not by sight' here!)

Lighthouse teens in a totally spontaneous outburst of joy over the new books 
in the youth library....just a candid shot
Richard's welt-and-marker covered back after another game of 
"sting ping" at Boys' Group

The quieter, gentler joys of Girls' Group

A few other noteworthy & prayer-worthy points: we're giving Lighthouse a weekend-long retreat on the Our Father, starting September 5. In fact, the remainder of the term will be exploring the Fatherhood of God for both Tahu and Lighthouse, a topic that can be as beautiful as it is difficult, depending on so many factors in our lives. We appreciate prayers for the retreat and for our ability to help the youth more fully appreciate the depth of the Father's love for them each.

Last week Richard and I hosted Claire, a pro-life missionary from England. Her presence here was a catalyst for us to start thinking about ways to coax the NZ pro-life movement forward - no easy task in a culture where being easy-going and painstakingly polite (and even a bit passive) is valued so highly! Of course no one should be impolite in being pro-life, but it can be hard to simply stand up and strongly support a cause here, specifically an unpopular or controversial one. Our ideas range from writing letters to praying peacefully outside clinics to trying to start the country's first March for Life. This is a cause particularly close to my heart and I appreciate any prayers or small acts of love that can be offered to increase reverence for life here.

In Girls and God we've been studying Eve, the "Proverbial" Worthy Wife, Susanna, Bathsheba and Mary & Martha. Next we will turn our attention to Mother Teresa, who embodied so many of the virtues we have been exploring in Scripture this term (compassion, prayer, obedience to God, trust in Divine Providence, simplicity and intense love of the Lord). In fact, I would like to encourage the girls to either read books about or  watch films about the saints in the coming term. As football coaches talk to their players about great NFL quarterbacks and hold up these heroes for imitation, so do I want to be able to hold up to the girls those Christians who have run the race of faith with grace, perseverance, passion and admirable success. We have very few such titles in our library. If anyone has films they could lend (movies or documentaries about saints) or books they could donate (biographical or autobiographical) to this end, I know your generosity will bear fruit!

In A Few Good Men, Richard has covered David, the entire book of Tobit and looks forward to introducing Elijah next. Richard has been more specific in his literary requests. He'd like to add a copy of each of the following to the youth library: Wild at Heart, Captivating, House of Gold, Every Young Man's Battle, and lastly, Every Young Woman's Battle. Any book here sells for more than double the cost in the US and bookstores here are more likely to have an extensive "new age" section than any Christian section, so the youth are necessarily quite dependent on the parish library.

That ends the business summary for now. On a personal note, spring is finally approaching and we can't wait to finally enjoy this beach town that we have lived in to so little avail for three months. We both have become pretty confident wrong-side-of-the-road drivers and are aching to explore New Zealand in a few weeks during break. I'm feeling very well - exhausted but not too sick - though quite confused about my cravings for just bread and water - what happened to the girl who daily ate several bowls of ice cream and boxes of Cadbury chocolate during her previous pregnancies? I'm not sure if my baby is destined to be a monk of the most austere variety-  or a future convict - but his humble fare is sesame rolls and cold cold H20. I'm taking Richard out to a Mexican dinner for his birthday (unusual cuisine on this side of the globe) and celebrating with chocolate gelato cake, so maybe this kid will expand his horizons by the week's end. If not, I know two little girls who would be MORE than happy to eat my portion of the birthday cake...


  1. Thanks for the post, Kelly!!

  2. Not sure what Sting Ping is, but I can tell you it will NOT be played in this house! Ouch, Rich!