Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Month: December 2017

10 Signs it’s Christmastime (in New Zealand)

By Elizabeth

 

This week, we’re savoring this season of Christmas, the sunshine, the celebrations, and the slow-paced days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. All around us (and on our social media feeds), there are reminders that we’re deep into the season of Christmas. These are 10 signs it’s Christmastime in New Zealand. And, while some of these are slightly belated because the days leading up to Christmas are full-on in every first world country, we’re not finished with our Christmas celebrations just yet. My parents are coming next week, and we can hardly wait!

So, in the spirit of the season…

You know it’s Christmas in the Southern hemisphere when…
  1. Santa-types are wearing fake beards, black boots, a red, red coat and matching pants rugby shorts, and a cut off t-shirt.

    Also, if rugby shorts and cut off sleeves are not your thing, rest assured. They sell Santa costumes like this one with shorts and short sleeves.

  2. Families are watching ‘The Grinch’ and ‘Frosty’ in Christmas jammies short-sleeved pjs.
  3. Every event has mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows water with ice.
  4. There’s an explosion of red baubles, stockings, wreaths and heavily decorated Christmas trees strawberries, cherries, and heavily flowered Pohutakawa trees.

    This picture was taken on a trip over to the Coromandel Peninsula last month when the Pohutakawa trees were just turning. Now the coastlines are filled with the vibrant red blooms of the “kiwi Christmas tree.” This one has a stunning view of the marine reserve.

  5. The oven BBQ grill has been working non-stop in preparation for Christmas dinner. (We had a fresh caught snapper served grill-side for our Christmas dinner.)
  6. Dining tables Picnic tables are laden with festive foods of every kind.

    We celebrated Christmas with our dear friends. Precious people, great fun (and nerf wars), delectable foods, and the most stunning setting makes for a wonderful celebration. (P.S. There really is brown on those hills. Can you believe it? After an exceptionally wet start to the year, we have been unusually warm and dry for over a month.)

  7. Worshipers gather for Christmas Eve candlelight services Christmas morning daylight services. (There’s just something odd about a candlelight service when you’ve just had the longest day of the year. That said, we still had a Christmas Eve candlelight service. We joined our friends at an Anglican/Methodist/Presbyterian Cooperating Church for Christmas morning.)
  8. Cities Beaches are bustling.
  9. Flipping the calendar to January means going back to work summer holiday, church camps, and 3 consecutive weeks off work for many. (We don’t have a three-week holiday coming up anytime soon, but we are making the most of summer vacation and looking forward to a few days at youth camp in a couple of weeks!

  10. Life gets back to normal January February 2. (Actually, Q will be back to school and our mums’ groups will resume February 7. There’s a new year to ring in and plenty of fun to be had between now and then!)

Merry Christmas from the Southern Hemisphere. We hope you are warm (by the sun or the fireplace), well fed (with fresh fruit or comfort foods), and enjoying family and friends who are like family!

 

5 Things I Love About Our District Assembly

By Elizabeth

Here we are (or were last week) enjoying a bit of sunshine on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula.

 

Things have been especially quiet around Adventure Graham of late because life has been especially full. As we wrap up the last of the Christmas parties and end-of-the-school-year activities over the next week (think northern hemisphere May + December all rolled into one), but here we are! We’re jumping back on the blog for a #throwbackthursday post.

We’re throwing it back to this time last month when we were gathering in Auckland for District Assembly, the annual gathering of all of the Nazarene churches in New Zealand. It’s a highlight of every year, but this year was especially fantastic—an experience I won’t soon forget.

With no further ado, here are 5 things I love about NZ District Assembly.

Our district has it’s own Parade of Nations. A huge thank you to Cathy Detalo, Pam Kili, and David Tonga Harris for taking the best pictures of district Assembly. I didn’t take a single one, but I am thankful for those who capture special moments like this on camera!

1. We are a multicultural snapshot of the Kingdom!

Our district is made up of about 900 Nazarenes, which is a relatively small group of people, but we represent at least 30 different countries, and even more cultures if you account for language variations, religious backgrounds, and food preferences. For example, someone who grew up Hindu, speaks Hindi as a first language and is from Northern India is culturally quite different from someone who grew up Christian, speaks Telugu and is from Southern India. Our district does a great job of celebrating, sharing, and inviting others in to each of our diverse cultures. We affirm our differences, celebrate our strengths, acknowledge our own cultural weaknesses, and laugh all along the way!

2. Our kids play hard!

Kids are the best at effortlessly bridging cultural gaps. Q loves any excuse to spend time with his friends from across the district. District Assembly was no different. In a matter of minutes, he was part of a circle of kids, mostly four to seven-year-old boys (which there seemed to be a lot of), all playing with the superheroes he’d brought along. I wish I had a picture of this. Little blond, black, brown, curly, straight, long, and short-haired kiddos crouched over Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man. Their parents come from Samoa, India, America, and New Zealand, but these kids are far more concerned about what brings them together (defeating imaginary bad guys with outlandish super powers) than what makes them different. It’s the best sort of life-formation for a kid.

3. We have the best music!

Our worship is led by representatives of all of those cultures and a variety of ages—people whose foremost desire is to worship God. It makes for a rich worship experience—one that reflects the relaxed, un-stuffy vibe of island life.

4. There might be a bit of dancing!

With the mishmash of Pacific Island, African, South American, and Indian influences, there comes a bit of movement with one’s worship. Some might call it dancing. It’s good for us white westerners who lack the cultural formation of rhythm and movement that is ingrained from birth in many other cultures. It’s also very joy-filled and worshipful.

5. We know how to celebrate!

This year, we were celebrating the retirement of our district leaders, Neville and Joyce Bartle. They have served and led faithfully for 13 years. As a result of their deep and intentional investment, they are extremely well-loved. As a district, we got to work together to celebrate Joyce and Neville, their years of service, and all that God is doing on our district. It was one of a kind.

Check out this clip taken from a Facebook Live video of the celebration. I’m guessing that the last retirement party you attended didn’t exactly look like this!

 

Parting Shot

Cathedral Cove, NZ. Doesn’t this look an awful lot like that standard screen image on Windows?

P.S. Did you know that we just celebrated our two-year anniversary of life in New Zealand last week? You can take a look back at our one-year anniversary post and our very first arrival post here and here.

 

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