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,