Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone!
Hope you all had a great Christmas season, enjoying time with friends and family and spending time remembering Emmanuel and all it means that Jesus made Himself nothing, took on the form of a human, and became like us.
Christmas for us has been very different this year. Being away from family and friends back home has made things feel different. Not doing all the usual traditions and things we usually do at Christmas has made things feel very different. Being in the southern hemisphere and the weather being warm and sunny over Christmas has made things feel different. But despite all the differences it has still been a good Christmas!
During the week leading up to Christmas day we followed the normal weekly schedule up until midday on Christmas Eve when we officially started the Christmas weekend, and a few days break for all of us! Christmas Eve evening we watched ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and followed it up with a candle lit Christmas Eve carol service in the chapel here where we worshipped, listened to poems, songs and scripture, sang carols, and ate cake until Christmas day arrived at midnight. Christmas day was spent relaxing together, eating lots of food(that part wasn’t different to a normal Christmas!) including preparing and eating Christmas dinner, eating Christian dinner outside in the sun, we had a 50 metre long slip and slide outside, and in the evening, although the weather had become fairly overcast and rainy, we went to the beach!
On Boxing day the two of us got to spend the day away from the main base, go to a different town and beach a bit further down the coast and spend some of the Christmas money we received as a gift on a meal out together.
The week between Christmas and New years included some of the normal lecture time/worship/intercession/ministry placements that normally happen throughout the week, including Nai teaching on the topic of refugees during the weekly justice stream, but overall was a bit more relaxed. New years eve we got to celebrate the coming of a new year with worship up til midnight followed by a dance party! It was a lot of fun!
We thought we would add a few pictures of the last week or so to give you an idea of how the Christmas period has been for us!
(Picture above Ben and Nai with Nichole and Marea who were students with us on our DTS in January. We are all here now as staff)
(This is a picture taken at the carol service we held at the Chapel at the base)
(This is picture of some of the students and staff serving themselves Christmas dinner)
(Us sat with our Christmas Dinner ready to eat!)
(Nai showing Becky one of our Christmas presents)
(Our trip out on Boxing day spending some of the Christmas money we had been given)
(Nai teaching on the weekly Justice Stream)
(We did a 24 hour Bible reading session, where we took it in turns to read aloud the whole New Testament in just under 24 hours)
(Us at a candle lit carol service put on by one of the churches here in Tauranga)
(Our Christmas lunch….we had the main meal for dinner)
(This was our summer-y Christmas dinner)
(Nai made pavalova for up to 100 people for dessert on Christmas day!)
(Although it started raining in the evening, we had to go to the beach on Christmas day!)
(Crowd having a British cultural moment and watching the Queens speech on Ben’s phone)