I will forgo the formalities of apologizing that I have not updated in some time. But, unfortunately,it would seem that a three or more month rotation of updates is going to be all I can handle.
This does not mean that we do not appreciate the support we have received from those we have left in the States and those who have been so kind and generous here in New Zealand. It was before the Christmas season that I posted my last blog and when I think back to Christmas I need to thank all the people that gave us cards and gifts. We continue to feel truly blessed by all of you. We are constantly reminded that we are in your prayers,which is very encouraging to us.
On Christmas day, we left for the north island to go to the RCNZ Family Camp. The Reformed Churches of New Zealand have been hosting this for over 50 years. Most members of the RCNZ have attended at least one of these. A highlight for me and the kids, though, was the ferry ride across the Cook Straight which separates the two islands.
The Family camp was a very enjoyable time. We also were able to catch up with the Albert Couperus family for the first time since we got came to New Zealand.Albert was there as a guest speaker. I was also able to meet and hear Murray Capill. He is the president of the Reformed Theological College located in Geelong, Australia. It is the primary reformed seminary for the RCNZ. As a family we were blessed by both speakers.
But of course, Josiah, needed to keep things exciting by placing himself underneath a teeter totter. The result of this was large gash above his eyebrow, several stitches, and a very light- headed father who had to hold him down as he was being stitched up. As an accident prone child he is acquiring some pretty good battle scars to go along with the narrative to his life.
We came home for about a week, and we left again for a family reunion. Of course this was not our biological family, but we have been adopted into the Couperus family. We met with everyone in Nelson, which is located toward the top of the south island. With all the families together, there was a total of 20 kids. You can imagine the potential for chaos. Overall, though, the children kept themselves pretty well entertained. We all had a good time of going to the beach, hiking, and challenging each other in games.
The camp for us was a real joy in learning and meeting new people. But our time with the Couperus’s was more a time of relaxation and refreshment, despite Josiah getting the flu and Albert volunteering me to preach at the church.
In our travels, we were amazed by the beauty and diversity of New Zealand. We enjoyed seeing the shores of Kaikora, the very tropical feel of Wellington, the desert road and mountains of Tongariro, and the waves of Rabbit Island.
Finally, I need to give a special thanks to my Grandma Dovekot. She gave the children some money for Christmas. Since the boys had already received their fair amount of toys, we decided to use the money she gave us to buy a family pass to the local zoo.
This pass gives us access to the zoo for the rest of the time we are here in Christchurch. We have been able to use this pass several times. We saw our first Kiwi, have fed giraffes, seen lions get fed , seen Tasmanian devils, and Abby even had a Kea bird try to steal her jandal (flip-flop in American). This pass has been a real joy for our family and a time of excitement for the kids. Now I know many of you will be saying, “Aren’t you missing another great big event?” But I end here to leave you in suspense. But the picture below shows Audra only 4 hours before she gave birth so I think this is a fitting end to this summery of what has happened since the last blog.