On Tuesday this week I headed up to Auckland for a campus visit. Sarah and I were going to go visit the women staff for a little vision trip and then head down to the Waikato campus to visit the ladies there as well. What was going to be a quick 3 day trip turned into quite the adventure (maybe a theme of our time in NZ in general...??).
We arrived at the airport Tuesday morning ready to go, only to find out our flight had been delayed a bit. Finally we boarded the plane and as we were about half way into our hour long flight the pilot informed us that we couldn't land in Auckland. We were instructed to stay in a "holding pattern"...pilot slang for fly around the whole island in circles for an hour and a half due to fog. Yes, I literally saw Mt. Ruapehu through my window about 5 times as we circled in the air. Then the pilot announced we were clear to land so put on your seat belts, blah blah blah. As we started to descend, he came back on said "just kidding!" (not really) but that we were headed back to Wellington. Three hours and we were back where we started! Pretty funny actually, we had an entire tour of the north island. After an hour we re-boarded the same plane and tried again...successfully!
It was great to visit with our Auckland staff friends and chat with them about ministry this year (even though we were very delayed in arriving). Early the next morning we drove down to Waikato University.
We went to visit the staff team in Waikato to encourage them as well as get an idea for how ministry is similar and different on another campus. It can be extremely helpful to gather ideas since we all face very similar challenges, and it's just fun to help think through some of those challenges together. Outside of staff conference in January, and winter conference in July, we don't usually get to catch up with other staff that often.
Another reason for us going to Waikato was to try out a new evangelism tool they are using to see what we think. The "tool" consists of several cards, kind of like a deck of cards, that show different perspectives on God, purpose, Jesus, morality, human nature, that kind of thing. Then people can share their perspective. It's an easy way for them to identify with, or put words to their perspective on these topics. It was actually a great conversation starter!
After doing a little sharing on campus we headed over to a staff couples home for a bit, and then to dinner. And flew back to Welly the next morning! It was a quick trip, but really good to connect with fellow New Zealand Student Life staff.