Saturday, August 02, 2008


It is a good but difficult truth that even after two and half years of being away I still get home sick. Several members of my family are on holiday together at the moment and I would really quite like to be with them. But I am looking forward to the fact that thanks to the help of some generou supporters I will be home for Christmas this year and I am glad that they are having a good time.

The rest of the month that was

So what else has happened? Well some of you will be aware that it saw TSCF’s mid year conference up in Auckland. It was a very positive week and has resulted in much good in the Wellington groups from a men’s accountability group to increased support for a bunch of evangelistic dialogue dinners that have/are being held. There is much more to that can be said and to be given thanks for but there are others who have said well already (here, here and here) so please do go read more.

Somewhat embarrassingly I crashed my car three weeks ago :( Driving round a corner on the way to church I got blinded by the sun shining and reflecting off the wet road (despite wearing sun glasses and having my sun visor down) and clipped a parked car. My car came out far worse from the collision (bumper smashed and hanging off, light completely smashed and wing staved in) than the parked car (scratched, dented, and break light glass broken). No one was hurt and it was my fault but it has been an adjustment being without a car for three weeks (so far). But it has been good for me to get into walking again, if the weather permits I may walk to work two days a week even when I get the car back.

I also completed my assignments from my recent study trip to Vancouver. I really enjoyed it all (apart from the frantic getting all finished and written part at the end) from the set reading, to the thinking, to the writing. It is quite an adjustment writing a theological essay coming from a computer science background. In the final few hours there were a few times that I wished that it was as straight forward as the reports I had to write back in the day. All that was really required was to explain how, what and why I wrote some code. Simple really. But it does make sense that writing assignments for Theological study would be more complex because Theology seeks to engage holistically with God, humanity and redemption (and that’s just for these two papers, theology is obviously a great deal more than just these three things). Writing code is mostly about making computers do something… well I want to say useful but much software has been written that is confusing rather than useful so I’ll settle for moderately helpful. Anyway, I look forward (with a little trepidation if I am honest) to my results and getting some feedback that should restart the cycle of reading and thinking.

Oh and I got a new computer for work, it’s a macbook.

Back and forth

Ben Carswell very kindly invited me on a tour of the North Island with him and his sister Emma's family. It was particularly nice to be able to tag along because I used to work with Emma back at UCCF a few years back so it was great to be able to catch up with her. So on the Monday we drove up via New Plymouth on the West coast because the desert road through the centre of the North Island was closed due to bad weather. My first time on the West Coast and it was really beautiful.

Ben at a bay somewhere near Taranaki Me with Emma, Ollie and baby Seth at Huka falls outside Taupo

We stayed overnight with the Shudalls in Auckland before driving on down to lake Taupo (NZ's biggest lake, said to be larger than the landmass of Singapore) via Rotorua. We stopped off in Rotorua, one of the most geothermically active regions in NZ, where we savoured the sulphury scented air (it's not that bad at all really) and walked around for a bit.

Me at the craters of the moon, just outside Taupo Anglican church sign in the town of Bulls

The following day we drove across to the Hawkes bay on the North Island's East coast where we visited some very nice vineyards (including one where Rod Stewart played a huge open air concert a few years back) before heading back to the bach we had rented in Taupo. The following day we drove down from Taupo to Wellington. We stopped at some famous and well worth a visit tourist spots, the Huka falls (water so wild it is illegal to kayake on) and the craters of the moon. The craters of the moon are bizarre. They are not particularly moon like in my opinion but it amazing to see the ground bubbling, steaming and smoking due to the geothermal activity so close the surface. We also drove through the always entertaining town of Bulls. All credit to them for not taking themselves at all seriously. I was particularly drawn to a sign outside of one of the churches (see above).

Mount Ruapehu, made famous as Mount doom but looking more like a ski field

We were blessed with good weather and were able to see the mountains spectacularly clearly (I am looking forward to going back to ski there later this month). It was great seeing cars pulled over on the side of the road, not due to accidents, but because people had pulled over to have snow ball fights and to make snowmen! We got back into Wellington that night haven driven 1900kms in four days. I had an amazing time so thanks heaps Ben, Emma and Ollie, and little Seth!

The sun setting over lake Rotorua

On turning 30

So on the 4th of July I celebrated my thirtieth birthday! Contrary to what I thought may happen, not all of the muscles in my body failed and I didn’t instantly start saying “it wasn’t like that in my day”. Mostly because that started happening a while ago.

But anyway, turning 30 provided a brilliant excuse to gather friends together and enjoy each other’s company. Someone very kindly made a cake chocolate cake covered with my favourite sour lollies (that means sweets if you are in the UK). It was odd not being able to celebrate this landmark-ish birthday with my UK family, I missed you all that day, but it was great to be able to celebrate it with my extended kiwi family.

So my thanks to all who were there; I had a really nice evening and thanks for being my friends. You are marvellous! Thanks too to those who phoned, texted, emailed, facebooked me and dispatched gifts from a far, much love to you too.

To those of you who have are turning 30 this year, enjoy it!