Friday, January 21, 2011

gearing up

It's almost time! Time has flown so quickly that it's very hard to believe that next weekend marks the end of summer break. This week our own gears have been slowly restarting in anticipation of the 2011 school year.

While the youth may not be nearly as excited as Bernadette about getting back to the books, we're looking forward to what will be our first (and most likely only) complete school year cycle with the youth groups. The first task at hand was to determine a theme for the semester. That task was rather easy, as it had suggested itself towards the end of the 2010 school year. We've decided to build the term around the  idea of developing a real friendship with Jesus. This week and next we'll be sitting down with our new partner, Glen, and developing the specifics for that mission.

A second (and perhaps more crucial) task was ensuring that the youth moving into Lighthouse from Tahu will make a smooth transition. Tahu is targeted at youth who average 13 years old, while Lighthouse youth include 17 and 18 year olds.  It can be quite an adjustment to make the leap from the junior youth group to the senior youth group, but it's essential that the leap be made. Last night Richard organized a scavenger hunt at the mall - the first event that will begin this critical blending process. It was a success - the older youth were welcoming and accepting and a good time was had by all.

On Thursday night the Handmaids participated in an overnight "mini-retreat" entitled: The Study of a Handmaid. We pondered the nature of a "handmaid", concentrating on the relationship between the handmaid and the One served.

Tomorrow, after many many requests from many teens, we have finally coordinated a Skype video conference for the youth with Danielle and Kerstin (our predecessors in this ministry). The March for Life has secured the two girls in one geographical location and we look forward to "seeing" them right after Mass in the morning. This Skype call is certain to be a highlight of summer for many youth!

Mother's group has also recommenced after a Christmas hiatus, most recently taking a fresh look at the Church's teachings on "openness to life". Half of the babies in the group were christened over the break and the other half are busily planning their baptisms at present, so we're excited to have so many tiny new Christians among us!

Lastly, the Sealy family has been trying to squeeze in a few last excursions before everything comes to a screeching halt. The upcoming school year is not nearly the impediment to our sightseeing that Freckle's birth will be. We're trying to be intentional with these last 9 weeks before we're a bit more homebound. Today we visited a tiny, fun town called Tirau. Maria was charmed by the engaging architecture on Main Street. Many shops are either shaped like animals or have elaborate signage.  The dog building above contains the public toilets. There's a similar structure shaped like a sheep in which woolen goods are sold. The cafes have whimsical names such as "The Loose Goose" and "The Fine Swine". Even the local house of worship participates in the town's theme (see first photo below).

The Ultimate Summer Event -in Richard's eyes, at least- is the possibility of the Steeler's presence at the Super Bowl (and by "presence", Richard, I of course mean "TRIUMPH"). These final games are being broadcast here in New Zealand, and Rich is working very hard at making converts among the Kiwis. It's a ministry unto itself, but he has not been without his successes. I think on Monday - Kiwi Monday, American Sunday- when the Steelers play the Jets, he may even have two fellow fans to keep watch with him (as in real grown-up men, rather than Maria and Bernadette). If he keeps up the good work, perhaps that number will double by Super Bowl Sunday.


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