Some of you might have seen Ryan and I talk a little about the ministry here in Wellington while we were home in the States.  We used this video at a few churches and I just thought I would share it here for anyone that is interested in watching!  These are students that Ryan and I personally work with, and love dearly.

It was really encouraging for us to hear some of these things and see what the Lord is teaching them through Student Life.




A midwinter Christmas party

So what do you do when Christmas is in the summer, and it leaves you with a really long winter with no holidays?  Throw a midwinter Christmas party obviously!

For FUSE this month we had a Christmas themed party - sugar cookies and all.

And, to make sure the evening was memorable, we had a wrapping paper Santa costume model-off.  Hilarious.  Finding Christmas paper in July wasn't easy, but thank goodness we were able to hunt some down.

All of the contestants:

And the judges...

Ping's stuffed belly was a nice touch.

And Rachel had a dance!

Anyway, it was great fun.  We also had a great discussion from the Bible prior to this, but photos of that aren't quite as entertaining :)  I'm loving what some of the students are learning right now, it's really encouraging to see.  They want to grow and learn and dig into the Bible.  Praise the Lord for what He is doing!



After conference, Ryan and I were wiped!  We had a pretty busy trip to the States, and conference required some very long, we were glad to take a few days to recover on our way home in Taupo.  Max dropped us off as he drove home from conference to Wellington, and we stayed with our friends, Brandon and Jen.

Taupo is right next to Lake Taupo, which is really beautiful.

We joke that somehow we always end up eating at Burger Fuel whenever we are in Taupo.  It's delicious.

On the next day Ryan and I rode bikes over to 'Spa Park', where you can sit in a hot spring!  Ryan has been dreaming about this for a few months now, so it was time to make it happen.  The water is so hot, it actually takes a while before you can get all the way in.

The hot spring is right along the edge of the Waikato River - which is freezing.  So you have to find a happy balance.

We had a nice, chilly bike ride back to Brandon and Jen's.

We happened to be in town at the same time as Jen's mom, so we joined, and celebrated her birthday!  Brandon and Jenn were so wonderful to let us stay with them for the weekend.  We had a great time with them, and learned that Brandon and I actually went to the same elementary school, just a few years apart - isn't that nuts!?

The next morning we woke up nice and early and drove up to the Waitomo glow worm caves.  I've been wanting to make it up there, since it's on all of the "to-do" New Zealand lists.  Anyway, it was really beautiful.  We weren't allowed to take any photos, but it was amazing to see the caves covered in little blue lights from the glow worms.

We rode in these little boats through the cave into the grotto with the glow worms.  I couldn't help but think how creative is our God that would think to create these pretty little worms to live in a cave - maybe never to be seen.

The next day we were intended to fly home bright and early in the morning...but the propeller on our plane wouldn't start!  Not good.  So, we got to stay another day!

The lake in the morning...

And the mountains in the distance.

The sunset that night was so beautiful.

We finally made our flight the next morning, and look at our plane!  It was so tiny.  It felt like a private little tour down the north island.  But we made it safe and sound to windy Wellington :)

**Sorry, I feel like Instagram has hijacked my blog posts, so I apologize if you follow me there :)


Winter Conference

Soon after returning from the States, Ryan and I were headed straight off to our student winter conference.  It was held up in Ngarauwahia (middle of nowhere), just north of Hamilton.  Conferences are always fun, and, well, quite long.  We were there for almost 6 days with students.  The main theme of the conference came from Philippians 3,
“...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
We learned about the goal towards which we are striving - understanding and experiencing the treasure of the Gospel.   What does it mean to strive, and where does our power and strength to strive come from.

Our flight to Hamilton was absolutely beautiful.  I took this quick photo out the window as we were taking off.  This is a view up the coast outside of Wellington.

Once we arrived in Hamilton, it was quite cold.  There was a frost on the ground each morning which was a little new.  We don't usually see a frost in Wellington so close to the ocean.

Set up for conference.  Cherie, Sarah, and I hung loads of bunting.

Wellington staff and students were in charge of the worship band, so it was fun to see them really go for it.  We also had a little bit of a sports theme with the Olympics coming up.

On one of the days we spend some time training students on how to share their faith with others.  I'm sure you've noticed that in Student Life we really value being able to share the Gospel with others, and how important it is that every Christian and communicate what it is they believe and why.

Later that night we had a dance party - Geek themed!  It was a lot of fun, and the costumes were hilarious.

Including my husbands....ghetto geek.

There were a lot of geek glasses floating around, and suspenders...

On the last night we had a nice banquet for the students, where the staff actually serve the meals.  Here are most of the Wellington girls:

And Ms Sarah and Joane:

And lastly, a group shot of all the Wellington students!

It really was a great conference, and I'm thankful for some really encouraging and challenging conversations with students.  I know they were challenged and trying to process things they were learning.  And conference is a great time for that :) 


Stateside III

Our last stop in the States was Cincinnati to see my family!  It was the first time I'd seen my family in 18 months, which is for-ev-er!  Molly, my sister, was home the whole time we were there so we got to spend a lot of quality time with her. 

And, for one last recap, here are some photos from the iphone...

Ryan's fav Cincinnati hotspot
 outlet shopping

my dad's pina coladas, yum.

 the local dairy whip, my favorite, the 'little league'

 a new vintage store in town! 

 lots of cornhole

 we even made it to Kings Island!

 yay for no lines!

 we were able to see more college friends that live in Cincy

 family boat cruise

 my family in town before the Reds game

 the Reds game!

I miss baseball

and fireworks after the game

and, on our last night, we celebrated my birthday!  27!


Stateside II

So, the main event, the reason we were in the States - the wedding!  It was so fun and I think everyone had a blast.  Sara and Travis got married on the 16th, and it was a beautiful and hot day.  Everything was beautiful, and we were so thrilled to be part of their day!  And so thankful to be able to come home!

Again, a few pics from my iphone...

 the barn reception.

 Jenae and I 

 some family dancing...

and a nice rainbow to end the day!