Day 475-477: Ambury Farm RP, New Zealand

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May 18th 2010
Published: May 18th 2010
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Sunday, May 16th

We've decided to start attending church again. Without realizing it we'd become separated from other believers and were starting to have a tough time with our faith. We'd been told by a few people that Doxa Deo had established a campus in Manukau, only 14km from where we're camping. After visiting their website we found that the morning service is in Afrikaans. To be honest, we were a little skeptical about attending an Afrikaans service. We'd not exactly had a good history with Afrikaans churches in SA, but this is a Doxa Deo campus and in the past we've always enjoyed their English services. When we arrived we found that the congregation was fairly small, so there was no chance of slipping in unnoticed. We'd hardly sat down before pastor Karel Botha came and welcomed us. We immediately liked him and felt comfortable chatting with him. He introduced us to AJ, the Young Adult leader and the pastor that runs the english evening service. He was also very open and friendly and a pleasure to talk to. He invited us to their cell group on Wednesday evening and we gladly accepted, looking forward to some much needed fellowship.

It was rather strange being amongst so many Afrikaans people, almost like being back in Pretoria. It's been almost a year and a half since last we attended church and initially we felt a little self-conscious, a little uncomfortable. We didn't know any of the songs, but even so we enjoyed the singing and the service.

After the service, over a cup of tea, we met a few other people, amongst them Marinda and Karinda, Karel and AJ's wives. They immediately "took us in". Because they've all gone through the immigration process they knew how hard it is getting permits and all the other things that go along with it. It was amazing to us how much love and caring total strangers could offer. Pastor Karel made sure that we had enough to eat and a place to stay, offering their help if we needed it. They also have contacts in both our fields of expertise and sprang into action seeing if they could help us in that department. We were reeling with all the input and help.

We feel like all the suffering and doubt and failure over the last few weeks have all been the Lord’s way of getting us to Doxa Deo Auckland. If not for all the setbacks and crisis of faith we wouldn't have gone back to church so soon. Even though we knew about this church and even though we've felt the need to attend church for some time now, the Lord had to "break" us in order for us to hear His words and follow His guidance.

We left the church feeling like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. A large part of our doubt about our purpose here in NZ had disappeared. We felt once more capable of tackling the challenges of the weeks ahead.

At home we realized how self absorbed we as a couple have become since leaving Karamea. It must be because we now live outside of community. Our daily lives revolve around us. Everything in our lives is "us, us, us". It's even hard to pray for others because we're so focused on our own needs. We were in desperate need of perspective, and thank God we found some.

Today's highlights:
1. Visiting Doxa Deo's Auckland campus.
2. Meeting a lot of great people.

Thought for the day:
answers our prayers, sometimes in the strangest ways.

Monday, May 17th

Another sunny day dawned on us, so sunny in fact that we walked around in t-shirts all day. The morning was spent working on the laptop and playing guitar. After lunch we drove to the Pick a Part to give away the three remaining hubcaps from the old set. In exchange they let us in for free and we had a blast scavenging for a few more bits-n-bobs for the Boesman. Of course we forgot the camera in the car, so you'll just have to picture these rows and rows of half dismantled cars; doors, bonnets and boots open, parts and oil littering the ground. It's an ugly scene, but rather useful.

With our "new" bits-n-bobs we drove to Manukau City centre where we did a bunch of printing before driving to Onehunga to visit that awesome second hand bookshop. On the sidewalk we were approached by a young guy fundraising for Greenpeace. His name is James and he's very friendly. We got to chatting and he told us a bit about what Greenpeace NZ is doing and how we could become part of it. We've thought about joining one of these organizations before, but never got to it. Having had such a nice chat and seeing how our own concerns about our world closely relates to their projects we signed on. Now we're officially tree-huggers (also whale-huggers, ocean-huggers and climate-huggers, to mention but a few).

At the bookshop we exchanged two of our old books for a discount on two "new" ones. Back at home Ferdi broke his vow to never ever put a sticker on a car by putting the Greenpeace sticker on Boesman's back window. We hope our contribution help to change some things that really need changing.

Today's highlights:
1. Finding a few unexpected bit-n-bobs for the Boesman.
2. Joining Greenpeace.
3. Visiting the greatest bookshop in NZ.

Thought for the day:
It's a strange moment when you realize that you're not traveling anymore, you're now living in your car. It puts everything in a different perspective.

Tuesday, May 18th

Happy birthday brother Rudi! Hope you have an amazing day and an awesome year. This is a big year for you, your first Comrades Marathon is just around the corner. May God bless you and keep you, and His light shine through your life.

A light layer of mist covered the paddock this morning and it was rather nippy. Soon the sun appeared and banished the cold and the mist.

Leaving Birdsy behind we headed into Auckland. It was interesting to note how much faster and more nimble the Boesman was without 50kg Birdsy on the roof. It had the added benefit that we could actually find parking in Auckland City because no longer were we restricted by a 2.2m height restriction. Talita had a meeting with a recruitment company, but the lady seemed rather apathetic about our chances. On the way out the city, Paddy phoned. He was doing well and Talita mentioned that if things didn't work out for us we'd come down to see our friends in the South Island before we leave NZ. He was very exited to see us again, but encouraged us not to give up yet.

We stopped at a Mitre 10 to pick up few small things, filled up with diesel and bought a ton of groceries that we had trouble getting packed away. By that time it was almost 3pm so we bought Subway and drove to a picnic spot where we enjoyed our lunch and a beer. Back at camp we had a shower and when we came out it was raining. At our camping spot we rigged a tarp to keep our "doorstep" dry, then sat in the van catching up on our blogs while enjoying a strong Australian stout to celebrate Melinda and Rudi’s birthdays.

Today's highlights:
1. Subway lunch.
2. Stout to celebrate our loved ones birthdays.


18th May 2010

I was wondering why you didn't mention in any of your blogs that you had been to church, but didn't mention it as I didn't want to appear judgemental. I'm pleased that you finally were brought to the point where you recognized the need for Christian fellowship; beyond what you have with each other. I always thought with your sense of adventure and musical abilities and now your testimony of how God has met you on your journey that you would make great youth leaders at some church. But I continue to pray that you find a position in your area of expertise. So as with Paddy, I say don't give up.

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