Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Reformation Day

So while everyone else was in Halloween mood, us Reformed Baptists were celebrating Reformation was on the eve of All Saints Day (31 October) 1517 that Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of Wittenburg University. These theses were largely protestations against the Catholic practice of selling indulgences, along with other heresies he found in the Catholic church. At school, Justus said, "hey, let's post the 95 Theses somewhere..." and so we did. Ta da! Grant found some ridiculous props (what kind of teacher has a blonde wig handy in his school office??) Everyone walking down the corridor to the staffroom had to dodge the long strip of paper - there were many questions asked, to be sure!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nick enters mid-to-late thirties

Happy birthday to my Honey Bear...I woke Nick and the boys up early for the Gift Giving which lasted about five minutes, then the three of them went back to sleep - ha!  We gave Nick a kindle...reading is such a huge part of his work and ministry and although the books are not always necessarily cheaper electronically, he won't have any more bookshelf space issues or aching shoulders from too heavy a bag when he walks between home and church.  It was a fairly normal day otherwise for him - work, then Caleb's basketball, but we got Chinese takeaways for tea.  The poor man didn't even get a birthday cake!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What a FUN day!

The PTA had a Fun Day organized at the school today - after some months of planning and organizing, a very successful day was pulled off. Thank the Lord for the stunner of a day - clear skies and mild breezes. So, there was a sausage sizzle which was where Nick found himself most of the day;
...various wares on sale or on offer for a donation - the kids painted these rocks during their art lessons in school in the week preceding the fun day; many rocks found their homes with their creators!
I contributed coconut ice to the cake stall - Caleb spent his own pocket money to buy a packet, bless him!
Face painting, three-legged races, egg-and-spoon races, tug-of-war, ice-cream sales...
And finally, a three-man catapult came out to. Nick allowed himself to be the target of water-balloon ammo. Sadly no one hit him, despite his best efforts to run into the flying ballons! Well done to all involved and thanks to all who came - what a Fun Day it was!
Had a brief rest at home before popping out to the Warehouse to shop for jeans for Nick's forthcoming birthday; our last arrangement for the day was tea at Andreas and Danielle along with Matt and Adele and the girls. We didn't know tea would be by way of a barbeque - such a treat and the perfect day for a 'braai'! This new bit of gorgeousness is Roxy, the Bothas' SA canine who has finally decided to immigrate to live with them permanently in NZ. She is the loveliest thing!
Enjoying the evening sun before going inside for tea and much laughter around the table!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Feeding body and soul

Things have been super busy in our household since the beginning of Term 4 a week and a half ago.  We're back into all the regular activities - music lessons, basketball, homework - along with the normal weekly meetings and events.  Bible study was at our place again this week so I baked some cookies and a's been ages since I've produced a cake; a photoworthy moment! Nick is teaching through the minor prophets in our mid-week meeting, just finishing off Micah this week and then we'll be onto Nahum next week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Canoe Song

The boys are, as a rule, supposed to practice their instruments before school - it's a good slot to get into it because they have the time, and then we all know that it's getting done.  And generally they are pretty good about it - at least in the sense that they don't grumble, although do need several reminders during the morning (along with the inevitable reminders to brush their teeth and hair, make their beds and so on).  Lately they have been voluntarily, without any prompting or suggestion, playing duets together...they decide which songs they're doing and which parts to play and get on with it, with Caleb helping Aaron when he gets stuck somewhere.  It is awesome to watch the development - not only in their skill, but in their willingness to try new pieces and tolerate one another's mistakes.  Yay boys!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hail the holiday

It was Labour Day today - a public holiday for everyone in NZ except Nick, who works through holidays and special days otherwise his preparations fall behind. The boys and I pottered about at home; Victoria came to play violin in the morning which was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy and overcast day. The weather was pretty weird actually - twice the sun broke through the clouds briefly and we thought it might clear, but both times we had hail within two minutes of the sunshine. Not very much hail, and not very big...but just enough to delight Aaron!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fresh new faces

At our recent church camp we renewed fellowship with many of our friends who we only see annually at the camp, and also met some new faces.  A really special family who we met for the first time are Zohar and Tehila and their four children.  Our hearts were instantly bonded and we promised to keep in touch.  They live just over an hour south of Timaru so we knew it wouldn't be impossible to see each other again...we were thrilled that it happened so soon though as they came and spent the day with us - attending morning and afternoon services, and sharing a picnic lunch with several families from church at Centennial Park during the afternoon.  It was a gorgeous day with only a bit of a chill in the air, not unbearable to be outdoors...we had a splendid day with our friends, new and old!  I was sore vexed to arrive at the park and find I had forgotten my camera photos are annoying but better than nothing!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Symptoms of a greater problem

On Monday night we attended a pro-life and ethics discussion and debate. I don't normally post other people's content but Liz Gregory has written such a great write-up it would be silly for me to do another take on it - so, with her permission, here is her take on the evening (photos of the panel discussion which took place after the presentation):

"We hosted Brendan Malone to speak about how to create a Culture of Life in NZ and what the stumbling blocks are. Following that was a panel discussion on ethics represented by a Gynaecologist/Obstetrician, Rest Home Care Manager, Local Minister (who also worked as a Science Teacher and in AgResearch), IVF recipient and a School Guidance Counsellor who also stood for local party elections in 2008. More than 50 lively people turned out for great evening.
I was most struck by a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician who revealed he used to do abortions and vomit afterwards. He spoke passionately about the “lack” of information given to ladies planning an abortion and made it clear that if they simply watched a video of one being performed that would put them off.

He mentioned there is a 300% increased risk of mental illness after an abortion and the long-term effects. Wither permission I revealed that I have a friend who had an abortion 7 years ago and she sits squarely in the “norm” of post-abortive women – still depressed (on a sickness benefit), on-going physical illnesses, regretful, cannot move on and was encouraged to have the abortion by a family member, then not given the required information to make an informed consent and now she’s frightened about the heightened chances of breast cancer and lower chances of getting pregnant again.

Sadly the Doctor noted that in the past girls would come in and be upset about having an abortion – now they come in with their girlfriends almost laughing about it. They use it like contraception. He refuses to do abortions now. He also dispelled the myth that NZ has strict laws around abortion. He says it’s on demand. And that IS illegal.

One of the panel members also noted that they were on the adoption waiting list – and in 2011 there were only approx 160 children available.

Our post-abortive women need a lot of love and care as they are hurting members of our society. With that in mind, I congratulate the Southern Life Group who are involved in peaceful protest and in giving accurate information to women who are contemplating an abortion. Perhaps Close Up might like to do an article on that next week.

We also discussed issues like genetic engineering of animals and is it ethical to apply these advances in technology to humans. Rev Mary-Jane worked in the field of Ag Research for years and told us about some interesting ways of preventing possums having babies by harvesting parasites which act as contraceptives. So we briefly touched on how that would be inappropriate in people (Brendan also touched on unethical Government proposals to prevent some people in our communities having children - eugenics)

We also looked at what makes humans different from animals? Why is it okay to "put down" your pet, but not your Grandma? We were made aware that there is currently a private members bill waiting to be drawn out of the ballot cakked Dignity with Death.... You know that that means. Euthansia. The Care Manager made it clear that we have death with dignity in this country already, with caring staff, excellent medical care and that death is not something we should hide and ignore. She reminded us that wonderful things happen at the end of someone's life - families get restored, grievances get put to rest, people get saved, people get a chance to say goodbye etc and that it's a privilege to be part of that.

Another aspect to the evening was a description of the IVF process from a mum who has successfully conceived through treatment. She outlined her concerns surrounding the destruction of fertilised egg and sperm (embryos) and how they had decided that all their frozen embryos would eventually be put back into her over time if necessary - even if that meant 7 children. None would be thrown in the rubbish bin - as that was destroying life. She also mentioned that she had no issues seeking medical help for infertility. She seeks help for a range of other health issues and fertility is no different.
Finally we heard from a School Guidance Counsellor and asked about his work and how he balances his Christian values with Ministry Guidelines and how he counsels young men.

We had some questions from the floor and there was certainly lively and vibrant discussion over supper.

All up it was a most interesting and entertaining evening. We were informed of how many attacks there are on creating a culture of life - but there is hope if we are prepared to be people of action. We hope you can join us next time we host an event like this. Many thanks to the people involved and the Voice for Life Team in Timaru who organised Brendan to speak."

 -------Liz Gregory-------

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Moores, Victoria, Gregorys, Kempfs, Justus, and more of the Gregorys

All activities back to normal after the two week holidays and Nick not preaching - he was back in the pulpit with a message on of the things that we often overlook is that not only are our sins forgiven and paid for, but we ALSO have Christ's righteousness imputed to us (accounted to us) - as Christians we are not sitting on a zero balance of sin/righteousness with our sin debt paid, but we are actually 100% righteous!  Praise God!  Lunch was at the Moores along with the Gregorys, mainly for us gals to nail down a few more plans for the upcoming Ladies' Retreat next month.  Nyree served a finger-licking array of bun-fillers and salads to go with the cheese and sesame buns.  My mouth is practically watering now just thinking about it. 
Lindsay asked me to take some photographs of his carnivorous plants, which I photographed later at home so I could get the best angles, light and lenses...the plants are amazing and evidence of an infinitely ingenious Creator!
The evening service was largely hijacked by the Holiday Bible Club prize-giving and summary, with the kids doing two songs and Justus doing a quiz-recap, with chocolate being generously handed out to all and sundry. After the service we were treated to tea at the Kempf's place - it was to be a small affair but when Liz and Graham got wind of the guest list they crashed the party with their own soup...we couldn't tell if they were desperate to hang out with us, Rene and Bron, or Justus, but we sure were a jolly crowd around the table.  Thanks Bron for graciously having us all over! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

King of the Castle - Five

Day 5...last day of HBC and we suggested that the kids dress up in some form of castle-themed stuff. We ran a quiz to recap all that had been taught over the week, dishing out points for answers. Seems the kids had retained a lot!
Olive, Cynthia and Shirley were fantastic extra hands over the week, pitching in wherever necessary and possible.  Here they are hard at work stitching up one of the pews which was accidentally slashed with a craft blade :(
The big activity of the morning was sumo wrestling, with hired suits and a mat - boys and girls alike loved it!!!! 
The littler guys were so cute in the suits which reached to their feet - they were ultra fun to watch as they bounced around on the mat with as much weight as they could muster...while the teens took it far more seriously - game on!!
Ran a short craft of preparing invitations to send home for parents to come back on Sunday afternoon for the prize-giving and summary...
...then photographed the teams with their castles....
...before unleashing them on our cleverly-planned 'Trash the Castle' game in which they had to dismantle their castles, drag all the cardboard out to Justus' waiting trailer, and be seated in their clean corner as fast as possible.  Within five minutes the hall was clear of all the rubbish!!
One last game and a final assembly, and then it was all over!  We averaged about 18 kids each day which was a good turnout.  Huge thank-you's will be said on Sunday at the prize-giving, and well done to Justus who put the whole programme together (and who will probably be trashed on Monday for the start of Term 4 - teachers are supposed to spend some time resting during the holidays, so this was a big sacrifice!).  We do pray that the kids who came from non-Christian families would have been reached by the gospel and come to understand their need to be rescued from the kingdom of darkness and be reconciled to the Good King!