Greetings Friends and Family, I have been in New Zealand for one month now, and have found everyone to be so kind and welcoming! I was very blessed to be provided a place to stay with a family on staff at the church where I am serving. I enjoyed being so close to the church which allowed me an easy walk to work each day. Tomorrow (Feb 2), I will be moving in with a different church member for my next 7 months here in Auckland. I am looking forward to making more memories with my new Kiwi friends, and maybe spending some time at the beach too, since I will be living about a two-minute walk from a nice local beach. One of the many fun things that I have gotten to do so far while in New Zealand, is to serve as a camp leader for WYCamp. It reminded me a lot of Camp Wesley Woods, the United Methodist Camp in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, where I attended each summer while growing up. The enthusiasm of each youth was exciting, and seeing the youth grow closer to Christ was amazing. It was also fun to see that youth on the other side of the world enjoy a good mudslide just like we do in Tennessee! This experience also reminded me of an important topic that I learned about during my time at Emory and Henry College, which is that we all have our own stories. The theme of WYCamp was titled “Story”, and the speaker, Wilson, did a great job of grabbing the youth’s attention by telling his own story and connecting it to events in our world today. After each talk, we had a discussion time where the youth and leaders got to debrief about the talks connected to their own stories. I really enjoyed my time at camp, and love how Christ intertwines our stories together in his image.
Thanks so much to all of you that are praying for my mission work in New Zealand. I can feel God’s presence surrounding me each and every day!