American store

This post is long overdue, but when we were up in Auckland, we found the American store!! A whole store full of American brand foods that you can't buy in kiwi grocery stores. Fun things, like Jell-o!
Betty Crocker, Bisquick...

RANCH DRESSING! (yes, that is $8.50 a bottle...)


and Macaroni & Cheese...

It was fun to walk through and see all of the things we can't really buy on normal grocery trips. Not that these were staples in our house, but it's nice to have the option :) After much deliberation, we settled on these:

And we ended our adventure with a trip to Wendy's! They have a few up in Auckland, but aren't lucky enough to have one in Wellington.

Anyway, yay for American food!



Last week, I had the opportunity to take a few students down to Dunedin for a vision trip. Dunedin, is pretty far south, on the south island:

And it is cold there! Ha, it actually made me appreciate Wellington weather. Anyway, we are all about supporting student initiative and ownership, so some of our students thought it would be a great idea to check out what has been going on down at Otago University and see what we could apply back in Wellington. So Max and I boarded a plane with our best and brightest, and set out to learn all that we could.

To start, we found the world's steepest street! Yes, it's true. So, to start our epic learning adventure, we all climbed to the top. And the boys ran to the top.

We made it to the top, and celebrated by taking a "we're falling down the world's steepest street photo".
And this is where I didn't take any pictures of us working. But we all had an awesome time with the Student Life students and staff down in Dunedin. They were amazing hosts and were able to show us around campus, share their vision for seeing Dunedin reached for Christ, and show us some of the ways they share the Gospel on campus.

We are all about empowering students to reach their peers for Christ, and it was so encouraging to see how this can be done differently on other campus. I think our students were definitely challenged by some of the student leaders at Otago, and I'm excited to see some of the ideas they bring back!

On our last afternoon we had a little time to kill, and I headed out to take a few photos of the city. Did you know this is the second more photographed building in the southern hemisphere? It's the Dunedin Railway Station. Can you guess the first?

An old telephone booth...

And to end the trip, we ate some of the best burgers. ever.


Saffas and Fijians

The Rugby World Cup is going on right now, and it's being hosted here in New Zealand! They are playing games all throughout the country and it's so fun to see fans from all over the world. Last night I saw several men walking around in kilts, in town to support Scotland. And of course, a million Aussies came over as well. We're really enjoying all of the excitement, and the more and more I watch rugby...the more I start to understand!

Anyway some of our team mates have been volunteering for the World Cup here in Wellington, and Sarah was nice enough to share some of her free tickets with us!!

We ran into Cody, who was volunteering at the game.

We were excited to see South Africa take on Fiji. The South Africans won by a landslide, and it was fun to be surrounded by some very patriotic fans :)

I'm starting to really enjoy rugby. It's really the only sport people get excited about around here, and rightfully so, the New Zealand All Blacks are usually ranked #1 in the world. Everyone is holding their breath to see if they can win it all here at home!


the Opera

Sarah and I went to the Opera this past weekend. I really appreciate living in the "cultural center" of NZ. We enjoyed a nice Italian dinner, some wine, and beautiful Italian singing :)



Sarah and I have been meeting with Sanny every Monday afternoon. She is from Asia, but is studying English and medicine here in Wellington. Sarah met Sanny at an English help session around Easter, and they were able to have a brief conversation about God and His existence. Because Sanny studies medicine, she explained to us that she had found that God must exist because of the complexities of the human body - it is truly amazing to her! Sarah and I have been meeting with Sanny for a few months now to read through Genesis and Mark.

Since our first meeting I have been blown away by Sanny’s desire to learn about God, despite having no background in any sort of faith, and it being banned in her home country. As we looked at Genesis 1, 2, and 3, it was clear to her that the world was not as it was intended to be. That we were created for much more than we experience here on earth, and sin was very easy for her to understand. As we have explained week to week of our need for a Savior in Jesus Christ, Sanny responded, “I really need to think about this, it will change everything. It is a big decision.” We were blessed to see her understand that Jesus is not a band-aid that we stick on our sin, but must truly be the Lord of our lives.

I am overjoyed to tell you that a few weeks ago Sanny said, “Yes, I want to follow Jesus”. It has been obvious to me that God has had His hand on Sanny over the past few months. The depth of her understanding is amazing, and He has worked through language barriers to bring her to Himself. I am so grateful to have witnessed His grace in her life. It is amazing to me that God would bring us all so far from home so Sanny could hear of His love for her through Christ.



The last vacation post! Our last stop on our trip was in Auckland for a Family Life marriage conference. Which was actually the whole reason for the trip in the first place... Anyway, the conference was great, we really learned a lot and would completely recommend it to anyone (they hold conferences all over the world - to find one near you!). This year has been a really different year of marriage for us, having to work together every day and do ministry together. It was nice to have someone else ministering to us and we left feeling refreshed.

On Saturday night they encouraged us to go on a date, so we headed into town to the waterfront. Auckland is also a harbor town (pretty much a theme for most of NZ), and full of boats.

We just caught the sunset before grabbing dinner at another fish and chips shop (a theme for the Sawries?).

We sat and enjoyed the evening on these fun lounge chairs.

And of course we needed to get a photo of us with the sky tower in the background. Auckland is sooo much bigger than Wellington. Almost 25% of the population of NZ lives in Auckland, so we experienced some traffic that we haven't in a while. Either way, it was a fun city, and full of excitement with the Rugby World Cup starting this week!

More on that coming soon :)


Rangakapiti Pa

You might be wondering (probably not) why most of the pictures I use always have Ryan in them. Well, Ryan always looks so great in pictures.

And I usually end up doing some ridiculous, like this...

Anyway, here is the town of Mangonui again. They next day, after doing some kayaking in the morning, we went back to do another hike. This was up to an old Maori village, Rangakapiti. Yes, say that 5 times fast. And when I say hike, I mean we drove up the hill and walked about 10 feet - not quite what we were expecting.

I love how all of the houses are just nestled into the hillside. It was sort of a gloomy day, but it made for great afternoon nap weather :)

Like I said, Ryan always looks so great in pictures :)



While on our holiday, we spent some time in a neighboring town, Mangonui. And if we're being honest, it was mostly so we could eat at a fish and chips shop there. Anyway, Mangonui is a cute little harbor town that has been around for a loooong time.

While we were there we ran into some legal trouble...

But were relieved to find that the fish & chips were just as good as everyone said they were :)

I promise we are almost finished with the vacation updates!


tip tip top

We finally made it, to the tip tip tippity top of New Zealand! Cape Reinga is actually the point you walk out to, and here you can see to the east...

and then to the west...

It was beautiful. And definitely required a selfie. (Ryan has me adding 'ie' to the end of way too many words...)

Cape Reinga is actually a very spiritual place for the Maori people, so the whole area is protected by a national park.

The lighthouse was really cute, and actually still functions.

Right behind me here is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. You can even see swirls in the water from the different currents meeting. Just think...across that water is the good ol' U S of A.

A few last shots of the lighthouse:

What a beautiful day.


Sand dunes

While we were up north, we headed to see 90 mile beach. On the way, we found the Te Puke sand dunes.

Ryan found a sled...

After walking through the dunes, we came to 90 mile beach. 90 miles of untouched beach...

And in the distance you could see "hole in the rock":

It was a nice walk through a stream to get to the beach...

And next we continued to the top to see Cape Reinga!