Carlucci Land

So, there's a putt-putt course in town made entirely of rubbish. Ryan has been eying this place since we arrived!

They take metal from the nearby landfill and turn it into art. Pretty amazing actually.

Ha, it's a bug!



Ryan and I have been in Christchurch the past few days for end-of-the-year trainings. One of the "activities" planned today was to visit the central business district of Christchurch, which is still closed to the public due to the earthquake damage. We met with a pastor of St. John's church (above), one of the oldest churches in Christchurch, that was destroyed in the Feb 22nd earthquake. We heard about his heart for his city, and he feels like his role is in the new Christchurch.

And here is St. John's today.

Here is a view down towards the city. It's not a very good picture, but the city which should be bustling is now completely silent. Except for bulldozers.

It was a very sobering experience. Buildings and houses crumbling everywhere, but there is hope that the aftershocks are slowing.


staff time at the beach

For the end of the year, our staff team headed to the beach. The Kapiti Coast, which was beautiful, and windy :)

Surfers catching the evening waves...

The wind on the waves was so pretty. The sea breeze blowing in the wind...



After our last FUSE meeting with students, we headed down to Fidels for milkshakes!

Seriously they are huge! And I felt very sick afterward :)



This weekend Ryan's men's group decided to take their wives out to the Symphony!

One of the soloists is in Ryan's group, so that's why we chose that particular show. Our seats were neat, right behind the orchestra. It was lovely, and made for a great, and cultured, Saturday afternoon :)


Cults on campus

Something we've unfortunately had to deal with a lot lately has been a few groups on campus that have false teachings. I can't be too specific right now as we're waiting for some new information to be published in the next few months which will help students to identify the differences between the Bible and what some of the groups teach. I realize I'm being really vague, but I hope to know more soon! We've met a few students that have made the big decision to leave one of these groups and it has been eye opening to hear about their stories. They genuinely wanted to get involved with Christian community on campus and were pulled into unhealthy relationships and teaching.

As the future leaders in their respective countries, University students are a strategic audience for us as Christians to reach with the Gospel. Unfortunately, many other religious groups have the same vision. Lately we have been encountering different groups who disguise themselves as Christian Clubs, but teach things contrary to God’s Word. Please pray for us as we interact with these groups and pray for the people involved with them - that they would come to know the truth.

I share this mostly for anyone reading this that might know students headed off to college this year. There are many groups in the US even that are well disguised, and can pull well-meaning students in the wrong direction. For those close to students new to college, or close to graduating, encourage them be watchful and to join established churches and groups at their universities.


the Haka

Have you heard of the haka? Take a look...

The All Blacks perform the haka at the beginning of their rugby matches. It's a Moari war dance, and I'm pretty sure it is meant to intimidate the opposition. It's really pretty awesome to watch.

This weekend we were at Te Papa, the national museum here in Wellington, and saw a haka demonstration.

Ryan and Zoe learning the haka...

And lastly, Richie McCaw, one of the All Blacks, is being fashioned out of toast :)

Why not? Everyone's going a little crazy with rugby fever...


I like big boats

Wellington is going crazy with Rugby World Cup spirit. This past Saturday, the harbor was filled with Navy ships. There were tons of people in uniform filling up the waterfront. The All Blacks were playing in Welly this weekend, so I think that was part of the celebration.

And showing their loyalty...

For some reason I've never noticed this bathroom sign before. Ha, the man really has to go!

And look what else we found! An ice skating rink. They really set up a temporary rink just for the festivities, how fun!

It was pretty crowded, so we didn't give it a go, but maybe next time!

Anyway, those were our Rugby World Cup adventures this weekend :)


Somes Island

On a nice Saturday afternoon, we took the ferry over to Somes Island, which is in the middle of the Wellington harbor. The island has an interesting history, including a human and animal quarantine station, an internment camp, and a military defence position.

When they decided to use Somes Island as a military base, a few bunkers were built...but by the time they were built, the war was over :)

The island is really beautiful, and even though it is very close to the city, it is considered a wildlife refuge. There are a few species that are extinct from the mainland of New Zealand, but can still be found on Somes Island.

And there's a lighthouse...

Here's Wellington.

It was a little windy on the ferry! I have seriously never seen wind like we have in this city...pretty incredible :)


Autumn Advance

This weekend was Autumn Advance! Our spring retreat to start planning for next fall. It's seems to crazy to be planning for fall when we haven't even enjoyed summer, but we've found that this is the best time to gather students' ideas before they break for the year. We had about 15 of our students come to talk about leadership and what we are all about with Student Life. We shared our vision of winning students to Christ, building them up in the foundations of the Christian faith, and seeing them sent into the world to fulfill the calling God has for each one of them.

Of course we had to play a little the church auditorium...

Lovely girls.
And boys.

Rugby World Cup!

Wellington is in full-on rugby world cup mode. There's even a mini rugby field in the middle of Civic Square.

The All Blacks beat Canada today, so we're headed to the quarter finals!


Global Cafe: China

In an attempt to get to know and build relationships with international students, we’ve started the “Global Cafe”. There is a huge population of international students here in Wellington, and we’ve partnered with International Student Ministries to try and create opportunities to get to know them and make friends. It can be hard and lonely moving to a new country, knowing no one, and also trying to learn a new language. Once a month we host a themed get-together to talk about different cultures, faiths within different cultures, and of course enjoy some food! So far we’ve highlighted Christmas as part of Western culture, the New Zealand culture and rugby, and China. One of our students, Adam, who is from China shared some of his experiences growing up as well as his experience with religion in China.

Next up, South Africa!