Sunday, November 27, 2011

You Are More - Hillsong Live

I have GOOD NEWS to share!
Good News #1
Back in April, I wrote a blog about my time at Easter Camp with Ignite Sport. I wrote about four girls that God led me to pray with. Two of those girls signed up for soccer at Naenae College, and I got to coach them for 3 months.
Last night, I went to a church service where one of them was baptized! It was beautiful.
The Good News? God desires to be in relationship with us! Praise God!

Good News #2
I have told you about Jo and Isaac, but I’m not sure that I’ve told you about Rob. He is Isaac’s dad, and a regular attendee of our small group. One day at church we had this conversation:
Rob: Pua, I want to quit smoking.
Pua: Ok Rob, Let’s pray about it.
Rob: That’s ok, I guess.
Pua: God, I know that you desire wholeness and healing for Rob’s body. In the past, Rob has been addicted to nicotine. In the name of Jesus, we break Rob’s addiction to nicotine. I ask that you would restore his body to full health, and I pray that Rob’s desire for cigarettes would disappear.
Rob had been a smoker for over 20 years. It’s been 4 months since that day in church, and he hasn’t smoked, nor has he had a desire to smoke, since we prayed together!
The Good News? God breaks addictions! Praise God!
Good News #3
Since I danced at a church concert in September, I have had pain in my lower back. It felt like a nerve was pinched, and there would be moments when I would bend down and my whole leg would collapse from the sudden sharp, severe pain. It was occasional at first, but a few weeks ago I began to be in regular pain. The pain then spread to my left side, and I would be in pain every morning when I woke  up.
Two weeks ago at church, Derek (a leader at the church) was leading the service. He got to the church very early and rearranged all the seats, putting some pews backwards and forming 5 stations of prayer. I was a greeter that morning, and I LOVED seeing people’s reactions as they walked in. Not many people were impressed with the new arrangement. Several would walk in, stop mid-step, and scowl. Then they would look around awkwardly and find a seat near the back of the church.

Derek, however, had rearranged the seats for a purpose. Once people were settled in the church he asked, “How many of you expect God to do something new on a Sunday morning? Do you come to church with exciting expectations that new things will happen, or do you come to church out of routine?”

Good Question.

Derek explained that we would not be having a usual service, but that the time set aside for preaching would be used for the prayer stations.
As I entered the first prayer station, I knelt down and was keenly aware of the pain in my lower back. I thought back to the time when the pain started- the night I danced at the church concert. God brought to mind the title of the song- “Cripple Me”
A line from the chorus of the song is, “please cripple me, so I cannot keep running away”
I had danced it as a prayer to God, but I was reminded as I knelt in pain the power of those words. Was I in pain because I had prayed to be crippled?
I decided then and there to break any agreement I had made to be crippled. I prayed, “God, I do not desire to be crippled. I desire wholeness and health. I break any agreement I made with the song “cripple me” and I ask for your Spirit to come heal my lower back.”
I stood up and there was no pain in my back, and I haven’t had any pain in my back since that Sunday.

The Good News? God is a Healer! Praise God!
Good News #4This is painful news, yet also good news. In exactly three weeks, I will be flying on a plane from Wellington to Australia, and then from Australia to Los Angeles.
I am coming home.
God has orchestrated a fantastic year- where I have wept and rejoiced and been given much. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. I can’t wait to see what HE HAS IN STORE for the next 21 days! (and I can't wait to hug my family when I get home!)
The Good News? God is able to do above and beyond all that we can hope or imagine. God is for us, and not against us! God is able!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Glorious - Christy Nockels

The sun is warm and the breeze is constant. It’s a beautiful spring morning in New Zealand, and experience tells me that it’s a perfect day for laundry! So that is what I’m doing, sitting on the back porch, preparing for youth group, and hanging/taking down our washing.
I’ve sat down to start writing an update four times since my last one, but I could never find words to really tell you what’s going on. I still don’t know if I have the words, but it’s been almost a month, so here I am, writing you an update.
Thank you for your faithfulness in reading my blogs. I’ve felt you all celebrating with me when I’m happy and sympathizing when I’ve been sad. I can’t tell you how significant your support and encouragement has been for me and my time in New Zealand.
Youth Group
We are entering the last term of the school year, and our focus for our students is Worship: a lifestyle, not just singing in church. We will conclude the term with a weekend camp. What do you do with students who can’t afford an expensive camp? You camp out in the backyard! We are meeting tonight to finalize our weekend schedule. I’m so excited!
Ignite Sport
We just returned from a trip to Hastings (on the right side of New Zealand’s northern island) to debrief our camp with the Porirua boys and help set up a branch of Ignite in the Hastings area. The couple who plan to head this new branch are Vicki and Craig McDougall. Please pray for them and their family. They are magnificently passionate about Jesus and the work of Ignite Sport. I love them!
Liz and I traveled to Auckland for 5 days so I could see the big city and also meet some of my extended Samoan family. My conclusion? I love my extended family, and I am so glad that I live in Wellington, not Auckland. I mean, I loved my time in Auckland, and I felt so taken care of by Jesus while we were there (from parking spots to great food, from great experiences to learning more about God) but I prefer the weather and atmosphere of Wellington.
Gabrielle and Liz and I took a trip through the Rimutaka Ranges to visit Masterton. While we were there, we came upon a Technical Tree Climbing/Rescue Competition. I didn’t even know anything like that existed. (be honest, you didn’t either) so that was fun to watch!
I am hoping to get to the south island one more time before I leave New Zealand, but I’m just trusting my schedule to God, knowing that he has the best schedule for me.
God is really challenging me and teaching me a lot about myself and my fears and a lot about His kingdom and His heart for me. Recently God has been teaching me about the American culture, and how things I grew up thinking were Truth were actually Cultural Values, not Truths of God’s Kingdom. This has been really challenging, as I analyze things like how I spend my money, the clothing I wear, the food I eat, the way I want to use my future house/space/talents/passions for God and for others. I guess to sum up what I’ve been learning: It’s not just about living simply; it’s about living generously.
If that means buying fair trade bananas and cocoa and clothing instead of the cheaper/easier choices, then so be it.
If that means giving away my possessions and wardrobe and jewelry, why not?
If that means spontaneously buying dinner for all my friends, even though it means I won’t be able to afford lunch tomorrow, then that’s ok too.
I’m discovering deep freedom and deep joy as I seek to surrender everything to Jesus (and give it to anyone who needs it) and be released from my attachments to my possessions.
If I’m honest with you, I’m not very good at doing this. I’m kind of hoping it gets easier. Here’s what frequently happens:
 Jesus invites me to give away X
I hesitate, and then think of all the reasons why living without X would be hard
I bargain for X, suggesting that I could give away Y instead.
Then I’m reminded of this simple sentence:
If you’re still measuring out your offerings, you haven’t seen His worth.  –Klaus
Then I’m struck by what Christ has surrendered for me, overcome by his worthiness, and sorry for my greed.
So I finally surrender X, trusting that God knows what is better than I do.
And sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m a bit annoyed, but you know what? A week later, I’m thanking Jesus for the way X blessed someone else, and I’m feeling freedom and joy at being obedient and living generously.
So, that’s my update! I am loving life in New Zealand, and I am also eager to get home to my friends and family. God is good, all the time, and I sit in amazement frequently about the gift He’s given to me.  Love to you all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Slumber - NeedToBreathe

It was Chili night tonight, and it was the first time our Bible study group had met as a whole group in almost 2 months. We were celebrating the addition of two new members: 6 week old Alicia and 4 week old Nathan! Ruth and Jo are proud mothers of two very beautiful babies. I made chili (using the best chili recipe ever, seriously, thanks mom!) and we ate it with corn chips and delicious fresh bread. It was such a gift to spend time with everyone again. Our evening ended perfectly when we took time to intentionally pray for Nathan and Alicia.

The births of these babies come at a time when many other beautiful things have been happening, too. In my family, my sister-in-law, Marvie, just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ella Langley Coffman. And my sister just announced that she’ll be giving birth to a baby girl in February! So many babies! So many blessings!
<---------------------Baby Ella

(I know, cutest baby ever, right?)

Also, SO many Weddings and Engagements! I’m so happy for my many friends! But, I feel limited in my ability to celebrate with my friends because I’m in New Zealand, so I struggle with that. I’m very aware of the heaviness that resides in my heart because of the things I’m missing at home, but God is faithful in reminding me that He saw what I would miss, and still thought that being in New Zealand was the best way to spend 2011.
The last few weeks I have been praying that God would teach me how to remain present in New Zealand while also preparing my heart to go home. He has been so faithful in answering that prayer! The morning after I spoke those words, my dear friend Ginny sent this to me in an email, unaware of my prayers:

Some of life's richest treasures come at the end.  Endings break our hearts with sadness and beauty.  They are opportunities to speak words to one another that can have lasting impact.  We can choose to take the risk to end well for the fruit it can be in our lives and others, or we can let the pain of goodbye keep us safe, guarded, nonchalant, and avoidant.
WOW on the timing of her words! As I follow God and keep extending my roots and going deeper, He is blessing me with so many beautiful conversations. Rita, Pieter, Mari, Edith, Gabrielle, Alastair, Rob, Steve, Casie, Kevin, BJ:
All people that I’ve had life-impacting conversations with in the last month.  
All people that God is using to bless me.
All people that will make leaving New Zealand much harder.
I know I am not finished in New Zealand. In fact, I still have 2 months and 1 week. AND I intend to make the most of my time left! But, as I start my final lap around the track, I am keenly aware that each step takes me closer to the finish line, and if I’m honest, I’m a little apprehensive about the emotional upheaval I’ll experience when I cross that line. Oh Jesus, help me.
I have some prayer requests! Yay for intercession!
1. The boys of Porirua College. We took them on a 3 day camp, and for those boys it was life-giving. Affirming. Encouraging. Covered in prayer and intentionally scheduled. Several of the boys asked if we could stay just one more day at camp. I know that they were not asking to stay because they didn’t want to leave the excitement of camp, but because they did not want to return to the situations waiting for them at home. Please pray for the boys…the young MEN of Porirua College. They are so dear to my heart.

2. Adam and Damien. They are two brothers who were attending our youth group. This month they were sent to live with their father several hours away because their mother was deemed unfit to care for them after several bad situations. Please pray for their adjustments, and please pray that God would place positive role models in their lives.
3. Liz and I are traveling to Auckland from Friday to Wednesday! Yay for Vacation! Let there be REST!
4. Please pray that God would bring teams to sign up for Ignite’s Sports Camp in November. And please pray that God sends quality referees who would like to volunteer their time at our camp.  Seriously, please pray for those things.

I love you all, thank you for your prayers! I cannot tell you how much I value them- they are eternally significant!
Please know that I cannot wait to hug each of you when I get back to the beautiful U.S. of A!
This is Pieter and Mari... I just love them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Star-Spangled Banner- Francis Scott Key

There is a little sporting event called the Rugby World Cup taking place in New Zealand at the moment. I know it’s football season in the states, but here, there is SO much zeal for rugby. It’s everywhere, and it’s a huge deal.
Fans from around the world have come to cheer their team on. I didn’t realize that rugby had such a dedicated following. Think about it this way: New Zealand is to Rugby as USA is to Football… although Rugby might have a more dedicated following here. Seriously.
Anyway, the USA has a rugby team! (who knew?) They are called the Eagles, and I had the privilege of watching them play in Wellington! Last Friday night, I met Gabrielle and several of her friends downtown to cheer on the Eagles! I'd been looking forward to this game for weeks. We had inflatable USA noisemakers, American flags, facepaint, red-white-blue clothes: the works. And the best part? We weren’t alone.
THOUSANDS of people were dressed in red white and blue. American flags could be seen in most bars and restaurants as we walked to the stadium. People would sporadically start chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

The reason for such widespread support?
The US was playing New Zealand’s rival team: Australia. I would say that 60% of the US supporters had nothing to do with the USA before this game, but a common saying in New Zealand is, “I support two teams, the All Blacks and anyone playing Australia.” Needless to say, there was widespread support for the US Eagles.
I was so excited for the game, and my emotions came spilling out when our national anthem was played before the game. It’s a rare experience: living in a foreign land, seeing thousands of US flags flying, and hearing your national anthem played before a global audience.
I typically don’t sing along to the national anthem, but that night was different. I was different. I sang it as loudly as I could, and I didn't care that I wasn't hitting all the notes!  Since being in New Zealand, what I have missed most are the people that I love, but that night, under the stadium lights, I missed AMERICA. and I was so proud to be American.

I wish I could end the story there, and believe me, I am tempted to...
but sadly, the Americans lost to the Australians 67-5… ie We got Killed.
I learned a good lesson in humility that night, haha, but more importantly I was reminded that there’s no place like home.
America, I love you!
U.S.A!   U.S.A!   U.S.A!  :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

When the Saints -- Sarah Groves

For such a time as this…
That’s what Queen Esther was told when her people were facing persecution. You, Queen Esther, are placed where you are for such a time as this, because you can offer something unique. And you, Pua, are placed in New Zealand for such a time as this.
How can it be that the author of all truth, creator of the universe, has arranged for me to spend 10 months in New Zealand (7 of those months already gone)? I am here because there is something unique about who God has made me to be that invites life and encourages growth during this season in New Zealand. God has brought me here to fully be who he’s making me. For this 10 month period, I have something super valuable to offer. Learning this has been so freeing!
BUT I feel like a tree that is about to be transported to new soil. I’ve grown roots, my leaves have unfurled, buds are peeking open with the first sign of spring… and I’m about to be uprooted, placed in one of those bags that keep dirt around roots, and put in a new place.  
I imagine that being uprooted in three months won’t feel good. In fact, I’m sure saying goodbye to New Zealand and her people will hurt like hell. Knowing this, I’m tempted to start pulling up my roots now so that it will be less painful in a few months. As I asked God about easing my way out of relationships and pulling out of commitments here, I think God smiled. As I explained all the “practical reasons” for uprooting early, God said “actually, princess, I want you to keep going deeper, keep pouring yourself for these people, keep loving those around you as much as you can.”
Of course you do.
OK, God, I’ll keep going deeper, reaching new depths, and following you.
Part of me going deeper is the gift of sharing all that God is teaching me. God has brought me to New Zealand, and he has not only uniquely placed me, but you as well! This update goes to people in different states and different countries, some even embarking on new journeys to foreign countries this week! And know this: God has you exactly where you are supposed to be. He is aware of the intricate details of your life, and he is working to teach you how to offer your gifts, love, and abilities to those around you. Simply put, you are uniquely placed and uniquely gifted. Be all you are, because God has made you beautifully! And you can make a difference!
Here are some things going on in my life:
Ignite Sport:  Still working with Porirua College boys. We took them sailing last week! (It was my first time sailing too!) -We are hosting a 7k walk/15k bike ride on Oct 2 to help women “jump-start” their fitness levels. -Nov 25-27 We are hosting a Sports Camp Weekend for adults at El Rancho Camp.
St. Columba:  We have started small groups with the students. My girls names are: noella, enatha, Rebecca, Emily, and Katie. -We are learning about spiritual warfare in the youth group
-God is doing incredible things at the church: people are being healed, people are sharing their gifts (like encouragement, prophecy, teaching) with the rest of the church, and it has having SUCH an incredible impact on us as a church and on the local community. Praise God!
Love to you all,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When You Come- Lisa Gungor

     I said goodbye to my mother, auntie, and cousin six hours ago. And I'm exhausted. Saying Goodbye is really hard. And in the midst of realizing I was saying goodbye to my mother, my heart noticed that in a short time I will be saying goodbye, not to three people who I will see again in a few months, but to a nation that i have grown to love. and friends that have forever marked my heart.
     It was in the midst of all of these wonderings that this update emerged. Sometimes it's easier for me to write this way, as opposed to a formal letter. So, forgive me if you hate to read poetry. Know that my week with my family was such a beautiful and eternally signifcant time for my heart. We enjoyed museums, coastlines, wildlife, and of course, delicious food. It was difficult to come back to the Pa'us after dropping them off at the airport because it looked like my mom should still be here: the cake we baked together on the counter, her favorite crumpets in the fridge, the last bit of perfume still lingering in my room...
Goodbyes are so difficult! So this is what I'm sharing with you all now. i love you!

Standing on the Brink of Goodbye
Like a handsome cliff that descends into beauty
How can I leave?
The perils and preparation that led me up this mountain,
have all been reimbursed
by the giver of every good and perfect thing.
Atop this place I have learned new heights
and seen new understandings,
and even a new river has been formed
from my heart’s bursts of joy
and cries of sorrow.
I have walked new soil,
breathed new wind,
and heard new songs carried from afar.
Yet, How can I not go back?
This Land of the Long White Cloud is not my home,
nor was it intended to be.
I’ve known this was just a season

Why were we created with so much capacity for longing?
More strain on each beat,
as I keep giving pieces through tears, laughs, and sharing stories.
My heart no longer resides in me, but in the people of
Bolivia. Kenya. USA. New Zealand.
Given life to share it,
Your love poured out so that  we may pour ours out.
Help me, Jesus.

Standing on the Brink of Goodbye
able to see
what I am leaving
what lies ahead.
God, will you show me where to tread?
This life before Eternity, these transitional phases, these moments of Goodbye-
Make me hungry
for the day
of Eternal Hello’s
and the reunion of souls.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

40:19 (feat. Monica Allison)

I have to confess something: I love clothing.
And I love accessories.

    And one of the most satisfying ways to de-stress is spending the day assembling an outfit after sifting through racks of clothes. Beautiful designs, flowing skirts, high heels, flattering trousers, floral scarves, headbands, fitted tops, necklaces and matching bracelets… I love being a girl and getting excited about expressing my creativity and beauty through clothing.
     A few years ago, however, I started assessing the way I spent my money. I realized that after paying whatever small bills I had, most of my money went to a) clothes and b) food. Then this thought emerged as I was analyzing my spending habits: whatever I spend my money on, I am supporting. Even though I may not verbally support it, I am financially backing this company and whatever they stand for.
    Upon this realization, I started treating my spending habits more seriously. As I researched the clothing companies I was wearing/buying, I started to learn things that challenged my comfortable shopping lifestyle.
     Almost all of the clothes in my closet are made in sweatshops. (Target, Wal-Mart, H&M, Banana Republic, Gap, Forever 21, Adidas, and Nike to name a few) Shoes/sports wear/ scarves/ shirts/ pants/ dresses… all of them made in distant countries by women, men and children I’ll never meet in working conditions I’ll never experience. (verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, dirty factories, unsafe and unhealthy working areas, working 7 days a week, families living on less than $2 a day)  Does my distance from them give me the right to ignore their abuse or financially support their employer?
    Recently, I have discovered several companies that have begun making fair-trade clothing appropriate for all occasions! I was so thrilled at my discovery, and in the last week, I have decided to change my consumerist habits.
     From now on, I will only buy fair-trade or second hand clothing. When I leave New Zealand, I will be leaving most of my clothes behind, only bringing home those items that are fair-trade or second hand. In two years, I hope to only have fair-trade/second-hand clothing in my closet! I know this will be difficult for me, or anyone for that matter, because fair-trade clothing is often times more expensive than clothing made in sweatshops. I think that means I will just have to have LESS clothes. But, is LESS clothes really that much of a sacrifice?

“Purging my closet will not be easy, Jesus. Help this all be fueled by a love for you and your people, and please replace any legalism or judgmentalism with your love, mercy and grace. Keep teaching me how to follow you, Father. Teach me what it looks like to love you and to love my neighbor.”
Here’s a list of a few available fair-trade stores online:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Lost Are Found- Hillsong Live

Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
   It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands. (Isaiah 43:19, The Message)
HALF-TIME. It’s a time to catch your breath. A time to recover. A time to review and a time to plan for the last half of the game.
Or, in my case:
A time to plan for the next five months of my life.
I have spent the last five months in New Zealand, and (as far as I know) the next five months of my life will be spent here. It is hard to believe that my journey is half completed. My heart is getting quite a work-out as I process this: half the time my heart quickens with joy at the thought of being home in 5 months, while the other half of the time it slows to a near stop as I realize that HALF my time is gone. WOW.
My last two weeks in New Zealand, what I categorize as my half-time talk, have been really full. Here is a rundown of my days:
Monday: Left with the IGNITE crew for Hamilton, which is a beautiful 6 hour drive away. (It is located in the northern middle part of the north island)

Tuesday: We began work early in the morning with the Hamilton Refugee Center. We led a program for 30 refugee students about health and goal setting. We played lots of games, and we got to play soccer together! During the game, it appears that my wallet was stolen. So, I got to go to the Hamilton Police Station- they were very nice : )
Wednesday: Day 2 with the Refugee students. We held a sports tournament between the refugee students and some students from a local Christian Camp. The students intermingled and formed good relationships, which was beautiful to witness. Working with the refugee students has really sparked an interest in my heart to work with refugees back home!

Thursday: We traveled back to Wellington, stopping by Lake Taupo to watch some people bungee jump! We got back around 4. I showered, unpacked my bag and then repacked my bag for my next trip! Around 8 PM, my good friends Matt and Jessica Christian came to pick me up, and then we headed to Wanganui. (a 3 hour drive north of Wellington)
Friday: After spending the previous night at Jessica’s parents house, Matt and Jess showed me the sights of Wanganui.
Saturday: Snowboarding on Mt. Ruapehu. It. Was. Awesome. It was a beautiful clear day, and the mountain was perfect.

Sunday: Snowboarding on Mt. Ruapehu. It. Was. Freezing. It looked like pea soup because a snow storm was closing in, and by the time we left the mountain our car had to be fitted with chains to get down the mountain. But I loved getting to snowboard for 2 days in a row!
Monday: We traveled back to Wellington. I loved spending time with matt, jess, and Jess’ whole family. It was such a full and exhausting week!

     Since last Monday, I’ve had a pretty relaxing week. We had a movie night with the youth group (we watched TANGLED, which is one of my favorite movies) and I did a few things around the Ignite office to help prepare us for the next Term. Liz, Doug, and I had a great meeting where we reviewed the last 5 months of youth group work. It was a really valuable meeting that gave shape to the upcoming months.
In the last two weeks, God has given me lots of opportunities to explore new parts of New Zealand, process the things he has been teaching me, and prepare me for what is coming next. I am SO excited about the next 5 months. God is definitely moving, uprooting, building, and replanting things in New Zealand, and I’m so thankful he asked me to be a part of it! And I’m so thankful for your support, love, emails, and prayers! They are all so valuable! May God bless you and open your eyes to the things he is doing around YOU!
Prayer requests:
1. Please pray for my health. I’m usually a pretty healthy person, but since I’ve been in New Zealand my body has acted like I have a very poor immune system. Please pray for healing over my entire digestive track.
2. Praise God for my friends here. He is using them to take really good care of me.
3. Please pray that the leadership of St. Columba (including me) would have discerning ears and willing hearts as we follow God into the new things he is preparing in Naenae.
4. Please pray health over these four pregnant women: Marvie, Mary, Jo, Ruth. They are all very dear to me.
5. Please pray for the students of St. Columba. Pray that they would be ENGAGED by the spirit, ENTHRALLED with the King, and ENAMOURED with our savior.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hookers and Robbers- Charlie Hall

Around here, there’s graffiti on the playground equipment. Any surface with a few flat inches gets marked by some local teenager. When I’ve noticed the graffiti in the past I’ve said “typical” with a deep sigh and an accompanying eye roll. Not anymore.
Last Sunday afternoon I went for a run. Ok, I’ll be honest—I went for a jog/walk. As I was jogging down a neighborhood street, I saw her. I saw Fey. She was a woman about 100 yards ahead of me. She looked about 70, and she was hobbling with a cane. As we came closer I wondered, “should I stop and ask if she needs help? Should I pray for her legs?” and as I kept on jogging past her I sort of shrugged my shoulders and decided that because she didn’t make eye-contact with me, she must not need any help.
Which, I guess, was an OK decision… but I couldn’t stop thinking about her! At the next intersection I made a U-turn and headed back down the street where I first her. After a few minutes I saw Fey again, waiting at a crosswalk. Even though cars were stopping for her to cross, she kept waving them on. And then, without even looking to her left (where I happened to be jogging at an ever-slowing pace) she reached out her arm towards me, motioning for me to come to her side. She quietly said, “come, come.”
So I went. And I got to help Fey cross the street. In our 30 second walk across the road I learned that Fey had spent a few months in the hospital and had recently been released. When we were safely across the street I asked if I could pray for her, but she wasn’t interested. She was interested, however, in knowing my name. We exchanged names, and parted ways.
After I crossed the street again, I noticed two tough-looking men coming my way. I thought to myself, “ugh, I shouldn’t have crossed the street yet. Oh well, I just won’t make eye contact.” That’s when God said, “actually, I WANT you to make eye-contact”
cool, God. real cool.
So as the men got closer, I smiled and nodded. And then one of the men said, “what you just did for her was awesome.” I was taken aback, way WAY back. I managed an “oh, um, thanks” and kept walking. WHAT just happened?
I processed a lot of things as I walked home. Here is a sample of my inner monologue:
Wow God, way to teach me a lesson about those two guys who I placed in the “do not approach” category. He noticed what I did, not only noticed, but said something. I mean, I was prepared to ignore those guys, walk by without even looking at them, let alone actually seeing them as people, as humans, as your children… and what about Fey? I thought I was being all bold and Jesus-like by asking “can I pray for you” and then she’s just like, “no thanks.” What? I assumed she would want to get away quickly after telling me she didn’t want prayer, but she stayed around to ask my name. She wanted to know who I was… Did I really care to know who she was? Thank you God, because I mean, who ACTUALLY gets to walk old ladies across the street nowadays?
Then the last question hit me and stopped my forward motion-
When do I take time to purposefully be in situations with people who are needy, who might actually need help crossing the street? Or need help feeding their children? or need help paying the bus fare?
It’s this last question that has changed the way I see graffiti. You don’t typically find graffiti in affluent neighborhoods, well-to-do parts of the city, or communities with in-tact families. Just like the two men, I quickly categorized the graffiti as something to be avoided, as something to turn my eyes from. I now interpret the graffiti on our playground equipment differently. It is the outcry of a needy soul, who lives on a needy street, which sits in a needy neighborhood. This soul says, “Please don’t turn your eyes away from my neediness.”
And when I take time to hear that plea, I recognize it as the plea of my own heart. When my heart is exposed, as it has been here in New Zealand, I recognize that at the core of my being I am in desperate need of the Love, Truth and GRACE so freely poured out from Heaven. I am almost embarrassed by my absolute need for God. My need is all-consuming.
and how perfect that we know a God who knows our needs before we know how to describe them, and who delights in supplying his perfect provision for all that we lack.
It is ok to be needy, and hungry for deeper life. Everything apart from God’s truth will tell you differently. Be strong, the world says. Be in control, the world says. Don’t stop striving, the world says. But the WORD says, “My Grace is sufficient for you, because my POWER is made PERFECT in WEAKNESS.”
to which our response should be
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the Power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I am weak! And I need Jesus!
p.s. if you haven't heard the song which is the title of this post, you DEFINITELY need to hear it. :) 
Exciting things coming up:
--Tomorrow Morning at church I will be dancing with 4 other girls to the song “Beautiful” by Bethany Dillon. Our ages are 23, 23, 16, 14, and 11. I am so eager to dance with them!
--I am spending Monday-Thursday in Hamilton working with Columbian refugees! Then I am spending Friday-Monday snowboarding at Mt. Ruapeha!
--Please pray for the work of Ignite. Pray that God will provide clear direction—we are making some big decisions about the upcoming year!
--Please pray for Abby Pa’u. She just had surgery- everything went REALLY well, but she is still quite sore.
--Please pray for St. Columba’s youth group. Pray that God would stir up passion in their hearts!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

All My Fountains- Chris Tomlin

Hello all!
I hope you enjoy this small view of beautiful New Zealand! Here's some Important/Just So You Know Information:
     Firstly, in the video, when I'm talking about the road, I meant to say that it's the road to the Northern part of the NORTH island, not the south island. Talking about a road to the south island is just plain silly.
     Secondly, the island is called Kapiti Island.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Take Heart- Hillsong

Joe, Marvie, Pua, Dave, Mary
So, my family came. They came to New Zealand. and I got to see familiar faces and hear familiar laughs and hug familiar frames for 10 days. Is there anything better than being with people who know you and love you exactly as you are?
     The days leading up to their arrival were splattered with my tears of joyful anticipation at the thought of greeting them at the airport. Who would walk through the archway first? Who should I hug first? And once I started hugging them, would I be able to let go?
     They arrived on May 30th at 9:35 AM. My brother Joe walked through the doors, and I ran towards him. Then came Marvie, his beautiful pregnant wife with her beautiful baby bump. Mary came next, and I must have held onto her the longest. I started crying as I held her. I can’t even begin to describe the way anxiety/stress/homesickness/sadness fell off my shoulders as I clutched my sister. And finally I made my way to Dave, the best brother-in-law in the world.
    All day I just kept tearing up and looking at heaven and saying thank you, thank you, thank you God for your goodness. Their first day in New Zealand was SO full: Breakfast at a local bakery, a quick shower and clean-up, lunch at a New Zealand Brewery, an afternoon spent at New Zealand’s national museum in downtown Wellington (Te Papa), a walk along the Wellington harbor, a quick introduction to my soccer team as we made our way back to the house, a hotel check-in, and then dinner at the Pa’u residence with almost all of the Pa’u family. My two families, sharing a meal together. My four sisters, laughing and passing each other roasted vegetables. Could this be real? I just couldn’t believe that I could receive such blessing, such abundant blessing.
     The next morning we flew to Christchurch, a city on New Zealand’s southern island. We spent three days at the most wonderful bed & breakfast, Tangley on Clyde, and toured nature centers, the Antarctic Center, Akaroa, and the southern island’s eastern coast. We drank New Zealand wine and ate delicious food. After our time down south, we took the Ferry from Picton to Wellington, and enjoyed a delicious meal at BurgerFuel for dinner. The next day we took a Lord of the Rings Tour, shopped at the market downtown, and then we went to a rugby game to support the Wellington Hurricanes!
     Our time together was life-giving. We laughed. We talked. We planked. We walked a LOT. We cried. We were honest. In short, we were delighting in being real with one another. And (I’m always amazed by this) the more time I spend with my family, the more I love them. I don’t understand it, because I’m sure that I love my family as much as I possibly can, and then we spend more time together, and my love for them multiplies.
     I understand that my experience with my family is a rare and precious gift, and I thank God for that gift. As I said goodbye to Mary and Dave, and then Joe and Marvie a few days later, it was really difficult to convey how much their visit comforted and encouraged my heart. I know that my family is not perfect, but I thank God that He sees our imperfections as a family and works among us to bring about friendship, to bring about love, and to bring about grace. God used my family to care for my heart in a very tangible way, and I’m in tears writing about our time together. Thank you God for my family!
Joe, Marvie, Mary, Dave- I love you. I can’t wait to hug you again.
Mom and Dad- thanks for having me so I can be part of this family : ) Please come to New Zealand so I can share this place with you.
I’m praying for the families of every person who reads this! May you grow in intimacy and truth and light and love. May the God of peace bless you with rest, reconciliation, and renewal, and may you grow in your relationship with God as you grow in your relationships with each other.
Love to you all,
This is Dave and I "planking" in Christchurch 
Me, Mary, and Marvie on a boat in Akaroa, the first and only French settlement in New Zealand. We saw dolphins while on the boat!

New Zealand Coastline = always beautiful 
Lord of the Rings Tour

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unwritten (Live) - Natasha Bedingfield

Did you know that Natasha Bedingfield is from New Zealand? I did not know that until I came here. Some of you will have no idea who natasha bedingfield is, and that's ok.
Anyway, I wanted to share some glimpses of my recent life through some videos.

This first clip is viewed from the harbour in downtown Wellington. It was a beautiful day that Liz, Gabrielle, and I spent downtown. We had just enjoyed a delicious Yum-Cha meal (a chinese restaurant where the servers walk around with different platters/appetizers/entree's and you say YES or NO to whatever you want on your table. It is delicious) and we were headed to the market downtown. It was at the market that a bought a few gifts for friends back home :)

This next video is a clip from my siblings FIRST moments in New Zealand. Before they showered, changed, or did anything they wanted to eat some breakfast. We stopped at a local bakery, grabbed some pies (imagine a less healthy version of a quiche) and then headed to the Pa'u kitchen to eat our goodies. I love my family.

This final clip is a glimpse of my AWESOME soccer team. We only had 5 girls at practice on monday, so I figured we should have a little bit of fun at the end of practice. The girls, in order of appearance, are Alicia, Hicenta, Lydia, Danielle, and Jess. I love them!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It is Well - The Bridge Fellowship

     In a few short days my family will be congregating to mourn the passing of a beautiful woman. My grandmother passed away three days ago, and I’m just now allowing myself to fully grieve the death of the woman who took such delight in calling me PuaNani. I will miss helping her buckle her seat belt; I will miss seeing her bobby pins scattered along the bathroom counter; I will miss hugging her ever-diminishing frame. And I am heartbroken that distance is forcing me to miss the gift of shedding tears and grieving with my entire family.
It has been many years since my heart has been this broken. Three years ago I was trapped in the emotional brokenness of a hard break-up, and the heartache was so thick that I learned a new method to manage the pain—I went numb. For the first time in my life I had managed to turn off my emotions. My sadness was too great, and the weight upon my heart too heavy, so I learned to live detached from pain. This came at great cost. I was not simply detached from the pain, but indeed I had managed to detach myself from all of my emotions. I became superficial in most of my relationships, especially in my relationship with God.
I knew that in order for healing to take place, I would have to return to the place I last felt emotion- which was the hardest and most broken place in my heart. I couldn’t go back there. I had made an agreement in my head that if following God was going to be that painful, then I didn’t really want to keep walking with Him. I lived like this for several months until I heard a particular sentence one Sunday in church.
“Jesus understands your heartache.”
Something so simple, but so monumentally significant for my heart. How many times had I heard that sentence before? Only then, when I was in the midst of pain, did those words come alive. Jesus understood my heartache.
Jesus understands what it’s like to want to stop following God because the road ahead seems too painful. Jesus understands, because he experienced that desire too. He prayed in the Garden before he was crucified to be delivered from His cup, ie His coming crucifixion. But in the midst of that pain his prayer continued, “not my will be done, but yours.”
          I followed God to New Zealand, and I’ve cried more in the last 4 months than in the last year combined. I have come to believe that when my friends and family are hurting back home, the distance between our hearts multiplies the pain I feel for/with them. It is here, in my brokenness, that I’m re-learning truths I learned three years ago. God knew that I’d be missing weddings, pregnancies, miscarriages, and funerals when he invited me to follow him to New Zealand. And I am finding comfort in this: that as he reviewed all that I’d be missing, he still said IT IS GOOD for you to be with me in New Zealand. God thought it was better for me to come to New Zealand than for me to stay at home. Wow.
          I must confess that several times I’ve looked to the sky and questioned, “Why did you bring me here? Why am I in New Zealand? Why did you give me this invitation? Why did you give me this gift? This gift is too hard.”

Can following God lead to brokenness? Yes.
Can brokenness be a gift? Yes.

It is by the Grace of God that I am able to receive this gift of brokenness, that I am able to say, “not my will be done, but yours.” And it is by the Grace of God that we can declare:
Jesus, I will follow you into deeper waters even when I don’t know how to swim.
Why is it that we can wade into deeper waters, even when it is painful? Because Our God enables us to walk on water as He calls to us from the beautiful and terrifying unknown.
“If you do not cut the moorings, God will have to break them by a storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of his purpose, and you will get your eyes open. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the smooth waters just inside the harbor bar, full of delight, but always moored; you have to get out through the harbor bar into the great deeps of God…Beware of harking back to what you were once when God wants you to be something you have never been.” Oswald Chambers, June 8th, My Utmost for His Highest
It is in brokenness and victory, pain and joy that I write to you,

Monday, May 23, 2011

"You Will Find Me" Andrew Ripp

     Whenever I start writing an update, I’m never entirely sure what I’m going to be writing. So much of what I am experiencing in New Zealand is God working in my own heart, uprooting weeds and planting new seeds. I feel like my heart is in a constant construction zone.
And for the most part, I love it.
But a lot of the construction is hard to communicate through words, so to make things easy, let me give you a several details about life at the moment.

1.The Pa’us and I are finishing off the last of the Easter candy my mom sent me a few weeks ago. We are all grateful for the delicious Knoxville chocolates!
2. I spent this past weekend at the beach with the Pa’us to celebrate mother’s day. Spending some time out of Naenae was very refreshing. I got to swim in the pacific ocean twice! (yes, it was cold)
3. Mary, Dave, Joe, and Marvie (my sister, her husband, my brother, his wife) are coming to visit me in 16 days. YAAAAAAAY!
4. I coached my first soccer game last week- 9 players showed up. It was ok though, because only 9 players showed up from the other team : ) We tied 0-0. Yesterday we had our second game. I had 11 players! We tied the best team in the league 0-0. I guess we’ll be working on some more shooting at practice…. I absolutely adore my team. I see how they are starting to respond to me, their coach. They haven’t had a coach that cared about teaching them soccer skills or cared about them as individuals in years. They are so hungry for someone to notice them, and I love noticing them and loving on them! Thank you God for this soccer team!
5. I am coordinating and leading a program (in New Zealand, program is spelled programme, just so you know) for a local middle school: Naenae Intermediate’s Venture Class. We met the students for the first time today- they were really attentive, mostly polite, and eager to participate in all our activities. In this course, we will be teaching the students a range of things: how to play badminton, first aid, coordination activities, Character vs. Reputation themes, how to kayak… Basically, it’s one of the coolest classes you can take as a middle school student.
6. Some of my favorite people in the whole world graduated from King College last weekend. I’m so proud of them and all of their accomplishments!
7. On Monday morning at the Ignite Sport Office we received an email from a teacher at Porirua College (the high school we worked with about a month ago). As a result of Ignite’s On-Track Program, teachers and coaches have reported an overall attendance increase in classrooms and practices from the 40 students who attended On-Track. Most of the students have reported that they have a better sense of purpose in their life, and that they are eager to keep working with Ignite Sport. One student in particular has given up cigarettes as a direct result of our lessons about health, nutrition, and commitment to sport.  The email also said that the 40 students we worked with have shown a desire to succeed in life and reach their full potential in and out of the classroom. We were celebrating this email at the Ignite Office this morning! Thank you Jesus!
8. I am growing closer to the Pa’u family and to my friends here. I love the community God has placed around me.
9. I am going to an Andrew Lloyd Webber Concert tomorrow (Saturday) with Gabrielle!
10. My 92-year-old grandmother had hip surgery on Wednesday after she accidentally fell down the stairs. Please pray for her recovery!
In the midst of heart issues, here is where you can find me:
Struggling in my prayer life.
     Sometimes it can be SO hard to spend time with God in prayer and reflection, while other times I feel like it is as natural and necessary as breathing. The last few weeks I’ve been walking in the “hard to stay focused, easily distracted, hesitant to enter into prayer and God’s presence” lane. Why does that lane even exist? Why is there this back-and-forth, harder-then-easier rhythm in our relationships with God? Shouldn’t I always want to spend time with Jesus, the lover of my soul, creator of my being, giver of life?
     God gave me an insight into this over the weekend on Saturday morning. Friday night I had sat outside on the back deck that overlooked the ocean. It was so cloudy that the night and ocean looked black- I couldn’t tell where one started and the other one ended. But I could hear the ocean, and the sound of its relentless waves called forth pictures and memories from past shoreline adventures. What is it about the beauty of the ocean that makes us content to gaze upon its surface, listen to the mighty chorus of galloping waves, and submerge ourselves in the cool, salty water for hours at a time?
     That’s when I made up my mind: I am going to go running on the beach tomorrow morning! I set my alarm for 7:10 AM that night, and when the alarm went off Saturday morning I sat upright, threw off my warm covers, skipped over to my running clothes, tied my sneakers and ran out the door to feel the ocean’s wind roll off my face and flirt with my hair!
…not exactly…
     When the alarm went off at 7:10 AM, I hit snooze. 7:20 AM: snooze. 7:30 AM: snooze. Finally at 7:40 AM I just turned my alarm off. It wasn’t until 7:50 AM when Gabrielle’s alarm went off that I actually thought about getting out of bed. At 7:55 I was tempted enough by the thought of food to get out of bed. I grabbed my Bible and journal (so it would look like I at least TRIED to have some early morning prayer time) and headed up the stairs. I sat down in a chair that faces the ocean, and then something strange happened.
     Gazing out at the ocean below I remembered what had tempted me to set my alarm for 7:10 AM. There is something about pure beauty that makes you want to enter into it, be near to it. The sun was rising to my right, and the waves were inviting me to join their beauty. This time I really did put my sneakers on and run out the door with delight.
     The fresh air! The sound of the constant waves! The beautiful shells and treasures along the sand! It was such a beautiful moment! As I was running down the shoreline, embracing all this beauty, my pace slowed to a walk as I realized something: encountering God is like running along the ocean.
     There is always the temptation to say, “I can’t be bothered right now” and to hit the snooze button. But hitting snooze means to willingly choose to ignore the beauty that is beckoning. The ocean did not have a schedule to keep, or a quota of early morning runners to meet. The ocean was simply offering her beauty for me to enjoy. Her beauty is constant and yet ever-changing. I could run on the shore every morning, but the landscape would always change: the color of the clouds, the warmth of the sun, the shade of blue in the water, the bits of shell and marine life washed up along the shore…
  And the same is true for our prayer life. No matter how many times we come to the Father, there is always new beauty, new lessons, and new discoveries awaiting us. The Father does not have a schedule to maintain or a quota of early morning prayers to meet. God unswervingly and boldly offers his beauty for us to experience, and spending time with him is simply accepting his invitation.
    Father, Son and Holy Spirit, give us the strength and desire to experience more of your beauty

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Everything Moves But You" by Christa Wells

I had some unexpected time come my way, and i had an unexpected desire to be a storyteller tonight, so you get another update! wooo! You don't have to wait! (sometimes, when it's late at night and I'm by myself I get hyper, and it's in these moments that I REALLY miss living in a college dorm)
"Everything Moves But You" by Christa Wells
“When I was a child I held to my mother tightly
then I grew taller and left to follow my dreams.
I went after my dreams and some of them brought me delight
but they didn’t bring me everything I hoped they might…
All the things I pursue, well they stay for a season
But everything moves, everything moves.
My towers fall, but you aren’t leaving me.
Everything moves but You.”
These lyrics seem so appropriate to all the things that I am processing. I’m so grateful when artists have the ability to convey what my heart has been strumming on its strings. So thank you, Christa Wells, for writing good lyrics that actually mean something. : )
     I’ve been in New Zealand for over two months. The honeymoon phase is over, the shock has mostly been worn away by the relentless waves of experience, and I’m getting accustomed to looking Right, Left, Right every time I cross the road. God is using this newly settled time in my heart to teach me some hard things about my own heart while revealing new parts of His own self to me.
     While at Easter Camp, God gave me such a beautiful picture of how He works in the small things, and why it is so important to be obedient and faithful in mundane tasks of life…

She was crying, and I was holding her.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started praying over her, but I had felt the nudge from God to step forward and pray over students. Then I saw her and her friends, and I knew why God had told me to go forward.
The speaker at Easter Camp had just asked for those students who wanted more of God, who wanted to be prayed over, who wanted healing and freedom from bondage, to step forward in the small arena and stand right below the stage. It was a small trickle of students at first, maybe ten or twenty. And then, it was like the starving souls of students caught the aroma of the feast being set before them, and they started gathering in the dozens. But it didn’t stop, students KEPT getting up out of their seats and KEPT walking forward. By the time the flow of students stopped, there were about 250 students hungering for more of God; 250 students wanted more food from the banqueting table.
I think the speaker was taken aback. He stuttered, “ummm, if there are any extra youth leaders out there who would be willing to help us pray over these students, now would be a good time to come forward.” I stayed in my chair.
I was not a youth leader this weekend. I was just a volunteer helping Ignite Sport with the recreation events for these 1,000 students.
…Yea, like God was gonna let me use that excuse.
I really felt like I was supposed to go stand in one particular area and pray for students there. So after five minutes of pretending not to hear God’s instructions, I got out of my seat and went down to pray with some students. When I got to the place I was supposed to stand, I saw her.
I have known Bekah for several weeks now. She is one of the students at Naenae College that I’ve worked with through Ignite Sport and our On-Track Program. I had seen her and her three other friends, Dani, Ally, and Rachel earlier that day at camp. I also know Dani and Ally from On-Track. (It was SO cool to meet students that I already knew at camp).
As I was thanking God for my pre-existing relationship with Bekah, I walked towards her and finally said, “May I pray for you?”
She said yes, and so I started praying for her. Not knowing anything about her could have been seen as a handicap as I prayed over her, but it turned into a gift. Instead of searching my mind for something to pray about, I just listened to the Spirit and prayed whatever words and phrases came to mind. I don’t really remember all that I prayed for, but I remember praying that God would open her eyes to see the opportunities at Naenae College. And I prayed for her friendships. And at the end of the prayer I pulled away from her and looked into her eyes. There were tears streaming from her lashes to her chin, so I embraced her again until she was ready to let go.
Then I progressed to Dani,
and Rachel,
and finally Ally.
Each prayer ended with long embraces and sometimes tears. The prayers felt especially passionate because by the time I was praying over Rachel the music was so loud that I was literally shouting prayers into Rachel’s ear. (I kind of loved shouting TRUTH and GRACE and LOVE into the hearts and ears of these beautiful young women.)
As I left the crowd of students, I went to the side of the arena and began to weep. I was crying without tears; my body was almost paralyzed by God’s faithfulness in building bridges.
Wasn’t it I who had scorned in my heart the work of On-Track just a few weeks ago? As I sat discussing nutrition with the Naenae college girls, wasn’t it I who had cried out to you silently but passionately, “what is the point of this?! I’m not passionate about teaching people new sports, or developing young athletes, or teaching people proper hydration techniques! Why am I sitting here in this classroom for On-Track?! I want to know these girls, I want to pray with these girls, I want to love on them and speak truth to their hearts! But Jesus, I’m not! This feels pointless!”
And as God listened to my questions and watched me shake my fist at Him four weeks ago, he smiled because he knew that those conversations about nutrition would lead to an afternoon of hanging out, which in turn would lead to an evening of crying and praying together, which has led to a decision for the five of us to meet up once the school term has started again.

     Two months ago I left home, and I chased my dream of following God to New Zealand. Sometimes, it is not all that I hoped it would be… But then there are moments like the one I had at Easter Camp. Easter Camp was such a valuable reminder that God frequently uses the “pointless” moments to prepare my heart and to build bridges which enable me to walk into “praying for Bekah” moments.
     What I’m also realizing about my time in New Zealand is that New Zealand is good. Home is good. What makes either of these places joyful and lively is my willingness to tap into what God is doing and join Him in His work. Places change, people graduate, things get moved around. But God stays the same. He stays with me, and He stays with you.
     I encourage you to keep being faithful in moments/conversations/events that seem pointless. Nothing is pointless, nothing is wasted. There is a banquet being held all around you. Will you step forward and notice the feast? Will you find the purpose in the mundane? I’m telling you from experience: it’s the only way to really live.
I love you all! PuaNani
Prayer Requests:
1. please pray for my budding relationships with my naenae college girls
2. Soccer games start next week, and I feel a little unprepared as a coach. actually, REALLY unprepared. Please pray for my team.
3. My siblings arrive in New Zealand in 32 days! Please pray for their travels to Wellington, and our preparations and planning!
4. Please pray that I continue to look around and see the banquet, the feast, and the Host of the meal.
5. Please pray that I CHOOSE TO PROCESS things that God is showing me/teaching me/telling me.
This is me and the other Ignite interns peeking out of our tent at Easter Camp! Zara, Kiri, Amanda, and David.

 This is one of my favorite pictures from Easter Camp. An artist came and painted an image of Jesus on the cross -----> in four minutes. It was amazing to watch. During the next main session they put the painting at the bottom of the stage, and one student walked up to it and stood there for about five minutes. From the moment I took this photo I've called it "The Reckoning"

"Love Love Love" by Avalanche City

Here are some New Zealand phrases translated into English phrases! I'm learning more everyday!

Sweet as = that’s cool
yea nah bro = yes, I understand what you’re saying, but no, friend.
“as” = added onto the end of a word for emphasis, instead of putting the word ‘very’ or ‘so’ in front of a word (examples: 1) that house is big as! = That is a very big house! 2) I’m hungry as! = I’m so hungry!
best mate = best friend
oi! = hey! (when you’re trying to get someone’s attention)
tomato sauce = ketchup
capsicum = bell pepper
pepper = jalapeño pepper
icing sugar = powdered sugar
grid iron = Football
i’m going to toilet = I’m going to go to the bathroom
serviette = napkin
napkin = toilet paper
I’m gutted! = I’m really upset about it/I’m really torn up about it
muesli = granola/trailmix
petrol = gasoline
takeaways = fast food
ta = thank you
hotdog = corndog
American hotdog = hotdog on a piece of white bread with some ketchup
chips= French fries
chippies = potato chips/cheese balls
I’m going to the dairy to get lollies and top up = I’m running to the gas station/corner store to buy some candy and add some money to my phone credit.
fizzy drink = any kind of soda (I get teased for calling it soda)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"baby" by Justin Bieber

This update is a bit long and tedious, so please don’t feel you have to read it all. I know some of you are eager to hear things that I am processing, and I think this update will clue you in on how best to pray for me. I love you all!
The last 10 days have been an emotional rollercoaster. Some days I am literally skipping down the street praising God for my life in New Zealand. Other mornings I’ve woken up in bed not wanting to leave my room. I feel like I have more questions than answers about all the things I am processing. Here is a rundown of things I’ve been thinking about
     Friday: Drove 40 minutes to Porirua with the Ignite team to work in a predominantly PI (Pacific Islander) school, Porirua College. At the end of the day, as I was purchasing cake mix to bake a cake for the Porirua students, I realized that a very large sum of money had been stolen from my wallet. Awesome.
     Saturday: After feeling victimized, sorry for myself, angry at myself for being so naïve, angry that someone would steal from me, God asked me some hard questions. “Pua, are you going to withhold love from the Porirua students because one person took advantage of you? If you met the thief, would you withhold love from them? Are you only going to love people that love you back? Are you only going to love people that are easy to love?” So, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and ended up praising God that ONLY money was stolen, not my entire wallet, because replacing debit cards, credit cards, and licenses would have been SO hard. I’m learning about the value of money.
     Sunday: We talked about St. Columba, who apparently, did some similar things as St. Patrick (ie drove out snakes from a village). He is reported to have done many other signs and wonders, including healing the sick, raising the dead, turning water to wine… and if I’m honest it made me uncomfortable. People coming back from the dead? I was journaling about how this made me uncomfortable when God continued his recent habit of asking me hard questions, “Pua, are you passionate about my Kingdom? Or are you only passionate about the things YOU’ve experienced and are comfortable with?”
     Monday: Back to Porirua. I found a new love for those students. Afterwards I had soccer practice at Naenae College (seven players showed up) and walked the long way home in order to take time to praise God because I was so filled with joy about my soccer girls that I already love. I went for a run and was overwhelmed with the beautiful sunset and the flowers protruding from garden fences along the path where I run. I went to Jo and Isaac’s house for dinner and laughed for almost two hours straight. I haven’t laughed that hard since I was in Bristol. It felt so good to laugh until my abs and cheeks hurt.
     Tuesday: Back to Porirua. The program was an overall success, and Porirua College is interested in maintaining contact with Ignite. Got back to the house around 4 and went to Bible study around 7 PM. We talked about Shalom: the idea of a whole person being at peace, and how sin is the opposite of that, how sin is missing the mark of righteousness and peace. Yea, a real light topic…
     Wednesday: A day when I felt really homesick. I received some really good news (in the form of facebook messages/emails) from the states as well as some really disconcerting news and heavy news. I’m missing so many things back home: babies growing up, proms, weddings, graduations. But I know I’ve been called to New Zealand for this time. And it’s obvious that God is teaching me heaps about himself and his kingdom. I just really love and miss home.
     Thursday: I went into the Ignite office in the afternoon and had a Vision Planning meeting with the two leaders of Ignite Sport, Kevin and Steve. After an 1 ½ of talking about possibilities for Ignite’s future, we realized that we had barely scratched the surface. We decided to meet again on Tuesday. I came home and prepared for my lesson and dance on Sunday…. Seriously thought about giving up the dance because I was struggling to choreograph for over an hour.
     Friday: Woke up with choreography playing in my head, so I worked on my danced and praised God    : ) Then I met with Alastair McColl, who has agreed to spend time with the St. Columba youth group as a small group leader. This is such an answer to prayer! Alastair has been such a good friend to me, and I can’t wait to see how the students are impacted by his presence and faith over the next few months!
     Saturday: Basically I spent the whole day finishing up preparations for my dance and my message. My message was on the topic “Wait. And Hope.” This was the message I heard constantly from God when I was waiting for 12 months to hear about New Zealand.
     Sunday: Delivered my message. Performed my Dance to “Shine” by David Crowder. Then I sang with all my heart as we sang, “Desert Song” by Hillsong. After the service, several small girls from the church asked if we could all dance together. So I got out my laptop and danced on the stage with 6 beautiful princesses. The song of choice? “Baby” by Justin Bieber : )
The rest of the day I rested in obedience. I had spoken just what the Lord wanted, and had danced in His power... I don’t really know another way to describe that. You can see the video Here:

<object width="400" height="224" ><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="movie" value="" /><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="224"></embed></object>
The last two days have sort of been catch-up days, and tomorrow will serve that same purpose. On Thursday I leave for Easter Camp with Ignite Sport. We will be with 900 high school students for 5 days over the Easter weekend, running the sport tournaments and providing recreational activities for the students as well. Please pray for the Ignite Team:
Kevin, Steve, David, Kiri, Amanda, Zara, and Me as we work together. Please pray that we DELIGHT in serving the students and one another. Please pray for our bodies and the weather, because we will be sleeping in tents for four nights.

I spent the evening with my Bible study friends at a place in downtown Wellington called Strawberry Fare, and this restaurant is famous for their desserts.
“Pua… it’s like, your super power is eating dessert!” The fork paused halfway between the plate and my lips as I looked down quickly to keep brownie bits from exiting my mouth as I started laughing. This isn’t the first time someone has said this to me… sigh. What can I say? I LOVE desserts.
After I had finished my key lime pie, I moved onto to finish Gabrielle’s Banoffee Pie. When that was finished, I ate the last of Alastair’s brownie and chocolate ice cream. And as I finished the last bite of brownie, I looked up and down my table of friends and was thankful to be in New Zealand, surrounded by people who I love, and who love me.