Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quick Post

Once Again i am gone all this week and won't be able to post indepth for another week, but a lot of cool stuff has happened.

Tonight is a Youth Sunday where the teens run the service! Band, testimonies, and all. Exciting!

We Bought A Car!!! Check out Dan's blog(Click Here) he should put pictures up in the next couple of days!

Ignite- The Wesleyan's first youth camp in New Zealand was Awesome
Teens were changed!

I had my first week working with Adventures Within and it was great getting to work out doors

There have been multiple answers to pray and interactions with God to share.

I completed my longest handstand of 48.75 seconds!

I bumped into someone randomly i knew in New Zealand. For the first time i felt like i lived here!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Exciting two weeks but less posts!

Feb 16-18 IGNITE- Wesleyan Youth Camp
Feb 19-23 Adventures Within Training
Feb 23 Fusion Youth Group
Feb 25 ShoreGrace Teen Service
Feb 26-Mar 1 Adventures Within Job
Mar 2 Fusion
Mar 4 ShoreGrace
Mar 5 Regular Work(whatever that is) & Regular Youth Program.... Yea!!!

Tomorrow Dan and I head off to youth camp with 7 teens from our church and 70 other teens around New Zealand of a wide variety of nationalities. The camp goes Friday through Sunday Feb 16-18. It is cool but ironic that all the teens i hung out with the first day i was here are the ones that will go with me to camp. I am playing the bass for the worship band and am in charge of a cabin. I am excited to see the Lord impact their lives!
Monday through Friday Feb 19-23 and Monday through Friday Feb 26-Mar 1 i will go to two camps with Adventures Within- (Click Here to See Website) as an assistant. If that works out i can co-lead different day trips to week long trip from Mon-Fri as time allows. I think this would be an awesome opportunity to become more confident in the outdoors. I have always wanted to implement this into my present and future ministry.

I believe all of my job opportunities so far have been provided and God and i am thankful. The biggest question is do i choose more temp jobs that will prepare me more for the future more but pay less and give me more free time but less consistency to plan or do i take a higher paying job more consistent job that gives me more opportunity to travel and know how to plan time with the teens, but less time and preparation for the future and for essentially the church. Does the inconsistency of random shifts and pay counteract more work hours but predictable schedule to plan? We'll see.

When i Get back i have really two options:
Hotel Poenamo- & Adventures Within
and working both jobs together. Taking a camp when it is available and serving the other time. Two jobs i would enjoy but be less consistent

work a 9-5 Mon-Fri job where i raise money for charities(Red Cross, Intellecutally Handicapped NZ, etc.) and have more money to save, travel, and give. Another job that would prepare me for communication and working one-on-one, but not be as enjoyable. And possible working with Adventures Within off and on.
I know, i know... right now you are thinking i am going to be THAT guy!!! But if i really believe in the charity and that it is making a difference, i do not think i will mind getting people involved or being bold.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

World of Travelers

I constantly meet people that are moving and life is one big transition... to be in transition almost seems normal! Here are the Stories of the people i meet:

-February 14, 2007 Arthur-
He came over from Florida to NZ and is now considering full time residency in Auckland where he might be one of my restaurant managers

-February 13 A British/Irish couple-
Couple in their late 20's came over as dentists and worked and played for a year, now are returning home.

-February 12, 2007-
A young couple in their lates 20's came thru the hotel with their 3 year old girl. The husband had moved to NZ from the UK awhile back and married a Kiwi Girl. They were going to live by his family in the UK for a year or sometime longer as they saw fit.

February 9 2007 Xi xi-
One of the receptionists i worked with came from China to NZ to learn English and go to college. She is now planning on staying

-December 28, 2006 Selena-
I met her on the flight coming over. She was from the states (i believe ohio) and came to coach cheer leading for a year. She was returning back to gain her residency in NZ to coach cheerleading and live after a short visit home.

-September 2006 Katie Siebert-
Moved from Minnesota to California to be a nurse and live somewhere different

-January 2007-January 2008 Amy Morris- is traveling the world after graduating from IWU and living in Indianapolis and then San Diego.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our Jobs and Thoughts on Serving Beer

You Get to See My Work! Yeah!!!
Below are some very real questions about my life right now. I would love for you to comment on them. Just click the "make comment" at the end of this post. Thanks

These are quick clips to give you a feel of where Dan and i work.
Here is a video of my work at Poenamo. Click HERE

To See Dan's work at the Copper Room Click HERE
These are short clips of the Copper room in New Zealand and Dan working. You can't see the craziness of people dancing and singing along but it is crazy in this place and this is a slow night! There is usually live music at the copper room.

Drinking it just as popular over here if not more so than in the states. The drinking age being 18 here might have something to do with the casualty of it.

Dan and i's work environments are so different, it has made me analyze the different drinking settings:
Dan's work:
screams "hormones" to me. It could seem rather innocent to many and mostly going out for a night on the town, but i always get the personal feeling that it centers around losing yourself enough to be able to let loose and dance and throw yourself at the opposite sex. Don't get me Dan's work is a fun atmosphere, i just personally get an uneasy feeling being in that setting for "fun."

My Work (people at the bar):
Usually People who are bored, lonely, looking for something to do, something to entertain and laugh about

My Work (drink w/ meal):
customers usually have something to drink, be classy, and relax

Other Places:
Forget about life and it's problems.
People spend a lot of money on alcohol!!!

All of these reactions above, help me to see so many more negatives than positives to drinking and believe that it is just not worth it to me. That, plus the NUMEROUS warnings in the bible of getting drunk and staying away from things that could lead you astray deter me from making drinking even an option, so here is my question:

I serve meals half the time but also serve beer off the tap part of the time. it is part of my job. If i have seen a lot of bad come from the abuse of alcohol and don't really agree with the abuse of it, is it wrong for me to serve beer as part of my job?

Dan discussed this in one of his posts:
"I guess I just don't know what my stand should be on being the provider of something I don't necessarily believe in. For those of you who know me, I definitely am not fond of alcohol. I don't like what it can do to people, I don't like the idea of people (and especially me) not being in control, and I certainly don't think any Christians should be getting drunk (it's rather explicitly stated in the Bible). So, with all of my own dispositions, should I be working and getting paid to provide people with something I personally choose to avoid? Is that somehow hypocritical?"

Understand Something:
Me discussing alcohol should not be a scary thing. I know my standards. It is more like a teenager trying to figure out whether the reason he doesn't smoke is just because his dad told him not to or because he really believes it is bad for him. There is a healthy way of addressing choices as you are growing up. I am openly asking these questions because i believe owning my beliefs is good. If you are scared for me in asking these question, pray for me. This is a time that i am wholeheartedly seeking the Lord's truth and trust that he will not lead me away in this time of growth. I do understand that others may not be in the place to entertain these thoughts and i am not condoning everyone to be where i am at. I also hope and pray that i do not hurt or misguide anyone during my path.

2 Sides... My Thoughts:
To Serve Alchohol:
  • It is an awesome Ministry- I have meaningful conversations with people of this world that would 99% of the time never happen in a casual setting the way it does at work.
  • If it the thought of me harming them, that doesn't work because we all provide potentially risky things to our neighbors (cars, teaching a kid how to hunt, etc.)
  • I feel like i am being a world changer. I am not lowering myself to their standard, i am not separating myself from it, i am actively engaging the non-Christian world continually asking how can i share the love of Christ to these people in these opportunities.
  • I might, but probably wouldn't condemn a man who honestly went into a bar with a friend to witness to him or the people inside. Is supplying alcohol so much different?

To not serve alcohol:
  • If i see alcohol as being like drugs, i don't think i could justify being a drug dealer (but that is illegal where serving alcohol is not)
  • I guess the question is "Do i see any good come out of drinking?" If there is none than i probably should not be involved.
  • I am making profit off more beer sell and do cheer at more business because it is good for the restaurant and me, but is that like cheering on the wrong team?
Is working behind the bar like supplying destruction or a chance to redeem something stolen by satan?
Is me serving beer like giving a kid a knife and slapping his hand for holding it or is it like me seeing a group of people heading towards danger and me throwing myself in harms way for the chance to save.
Is the designated driver helpful or harmful to the drinker?

Please Note: I DO NOT condemn those who drink. I have realized that probably in a broader perspective, the majority of professing Christians around the world probably have at least a casual drink. NOTE: Not party per say, or go clubbing... but have had beer or alcohol at some point in their life. This DOES NOT mean we may not be called to a higher road. and I DO however acknowledge that the majority of people in the bars and clubs are probably not in there with the intentions of pursuing the mind and life of Christ. I DO realize that as a human I am probably just as screwed up as a lot of alcoholics. I DO recognize my redemption through Christ, though. Therefore i DO NOT pray from above the siinders for others to "be holy as i(personally) am holy" as the Pharisee did, but pray and hope that as from one sinner to another i can show people a higher road free from the captivities of this seen and corrupt world(2 Cor 4:16-18). Not that my life might be rebuke, but that it may be hope for what could be... that it might be a glimpse of the kingdom of God.
I know that is a fine and very blurred line, so unless strongly contested and convinced otherwise, i recognize the danger and risk of my choice and openly confess, that unless done wisely, this could be potentially harmful and poor decision on my part to serve alcohol as a part of my job in the restaurant. Recognizing that, i also do support the 60/40 rule (or whatever the percentage is), which says to surround yourself with 60% of Christians and 40% nonChristians or something like that so that you can influence and not be the influenced. In view of having accountability to Dan and Mike Yates, being heavily active in a church, and being in a place in life where i am cautiously and prayerfully approaching how to reach, love, and share Christ with this world, I truly do thank God for this opportunity to serve and love those at a different place in life. So unless otherwise rebuked by those more wise and of greater understanding, including the opportunity to be rebuked by You of course Lord, Thank you for the opportunity to love people openly where they are at and help me to be a light to those in need of guidance to the path of the cross in this dark world. Amen.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hearts are stirring...

I just had an incredible time of prayer with Dan and Rod! We had all sensed a desire to pray where there seemed to be a void. God was there. We talked for a couple of hours afterwards. I have sensed that this is a time of preparation, exploration, discovery, and life. it is exciting to see how God pieces little things together. Whoever is praying, keep it up. Hearts are stirring...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The OE- Calling all college students...

Something you probably won't here in the US is how much people elsewhere travel. Some countries including New Zealand call it the OE- The Overseas Experience. Google search "overseas experience" and see for yourself! anyways...

Tonight i was talking to a Scottish/Irish couple that was finishing up a year in New Zealand. During our discussion of travel and how many people travel around the world, the girl threw out an interesting stat. I was expressing the pressure Dan and i faced leaving the states straight after university, and she said,

"well, it is said that less than two percent of Americans have their passport."

I am not sure i would go that far based on the research here
But still the stats basically say
Americans as a whole just don't travel much outside our borders

General population (18 years and over) who own Passports
34% US
41% Canada
78% New Zealand
A reguler(Jay) covering his head while it rained

  • I just met a girl that got back to NZ from a 5 year OE where she traveled the US and Europe!
  • A local was telling me that to get a good job in NZ you need experience. If you were to go and travel and work for 5 years, you would be way more likely to get a great job then straight out of University with a diploma here.
  • I honestly can't think of anyone i know that has said they regretted traveling in the US. If i ever heard anything it was, "i wish i could travel more" or to be on the fair side, "i just don't care to travel."
  • In the states, I felt like traveling was often perceived to be for those who were rich enough to travel, those who didn't have direction, and/or for those who didn't have a drive to settle down, yet.
  • Here in NZ, it is almost expected, even assumed, that the teens/young adults will travel and get life experience before a steady job.
All this to say, i am not calling all college students to squander their time or throw away money. But for people in the states to realize, that it is not necessarily the norm everywhere else to go straight from college to a full-time job. Actually i can say with much certainty that in New Zealand, the UK, and various other places that the OE is quite the norm. Getting a job is good, but realize that is not what EVERYONE does, especially outside of the US.

Funny advertisement for a clothing store...Do those lyrics sound familiar to anyone else?... can we say Backstreet Boys!

Friday, February 09, 2007

First Night at Fusion

The youth right now are set up to have two meeting times- Fusion on friday night which is more relaxed for teens to invite their friends and Sundays which is more of a teaching time. Being the 1st Friday night it went well! The group included Dan, me, Emma, Lisa, and the teens above. We had a water balloon toss, balloon stomp, and talked about the purpose of friday nights being to invite and love those around us to experience Christ.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

God led jobs!

It's cool to see how God's plan unfolds sometimes. Life and figuring out details has been anything but fun so far, but piecing together what He is doing is straight ecstasy! I have been working part-time as a server at Paper Moon Cafe. Paper Moon is always crazy busy with business and has been a "figure it out yourself" job. It has been stretching and taught me a lot, but they haven't and probably won't give me the hours i need. So i have had two other job opportunities
1st Job: Paper Moon (prepared me over and beyond for Poenamu )
Job 1: Adventures Within (outdoor ministry)
Job 2: Poenamu Restaurant & Bar (serving, conversations, and working with non-Christians)

God definitely has brought two oppportunities before me that definitely fit my purpose and calling for me so far in NZ.

Hope for the Hurting

"Celebration is at the core of our kingdom, and hopefully that celebration will make its way into the darkest corners of the world-- the ghettos and refugee camps, and the palaces and prisons. May the whisper of hope reach the ears of hope-hungry people in the shadows of our world." Irresistible Revolution by Shaine Claiborne

Today was liberating
This quote above describes it well. I had an amazing time of worship this morning. i then had the chance to pray and sing as i walked home from work. During that time i felt God's assurance that he was working and ready to do some exciting in New Zealand things as i sang Shane & Shane's "Ask and i'll give the nations to you." I prayed for revolution and freedom in New Zealand in a way i hadn't prayed for New Zealand yet. As i walked down the sidewalk i found myself singing, beat boxing, and spontaneously dancing. Good times.

In the midst of all this hope, though, i saw hurting people. I watch people walk into the bar often just to find someone to talk to and to forget about their lives. I am excited to be able to talk to people like this. Also, ss i was walking down a main club street, i walked by a girl sobbing with two friends consoling her. She had obviously messed up or been hurt by someone that night. My heart went out to her. i am in this beautiful place of communion with God as i walk down the road and i am watching a hurting world that i want to help, pray, and look forward to loving with the love of Christ. But where do you start? I feel like this is very unknown so far, yet i feel like he is preparing me for some crazy things through work and my calling so far(see post tomorrow). Since we share the car, below was my spot where i just sat, read, and prayed for 2 hours while i waited for Dan to get off of work. I hope you can hear and feel the calming night setting. I am excited to see God work.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Random Rantings

Things that will never get old in New Zealand (in sequential order)
1. The landscape is always green and beautiful
2. Overlooking the city in the day but especially nights.
3. Time by the water, beach, or bay
4. Hiking Through Bush with no worries of anything poisonous that can kill you.
5. Surfing
6. NZ’s tomato sauce
7. Eating- especially chocolate
8. Working out- sometimes excruciating but always generates more energy!
9. Being able to watch rugby and cricket and actually know what is happening

Somethings you just learn later in Life... no Reason to be embarrassed.
1. Automatic Windows- I always thought that if i pushed the window button down hard/long enough the window would automatically scroll up and that if i didn't press it right that was the reason why. Turns out that Dan showed me that if you only push the scroll down button partially on a window it doesn't go automatically but if you do push it all the way up or down it does. Who would've known.
2. Merge Signs- I always thought the signs above were so stupid because the two black lines never completely merged. (I thought each black line was a road) In the last few years i had the revelation that the black lines were actually the sides of the road that is between them.. huh, Go figure, it makes sense now

Things My Body is Not Made For

Mountain Biking- is not my gifting in life! I went biking Tuesday for the first time and my body is sore today. it hurts to sit down for multiple reasons! There is just something not appealing to me about riding on a piece of metal that you could fall on, could fall on you, could flip you over, or could get you entangled in it all in a matter of milliseconds!
RockClimbing- we also we on Tuesday and i forgot how frustrating this sport was to me. I like the challenge at times, but i too often walk away feeling defeated, like yesterday when i felt way sore and out of shape! It's all good though!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Complete Contentment

Those are the only words to describe Monday!

First off the Colts Won!!! Colts Won!!! Sorry Stevo for the bears, but go Colts!

So here is the recap of my day.
I woke up and read the word and prayed in bed for awhile Great way to start the day.

As Dan and I were heading out, we opened the front door to find a great surprise. A care package from my mom and dad with a card in it that read "Because I love You" sat right in front of me. It had Betty Crocker cookies, brownies, twizzlers, chocolate, a clothes hamper, necklace, surf stuff, presents for our amazing host family, etc. I was so stoked... it made my day! Thanks mom and dad!

Next Dan and I went grocery shopping for our first time. It was fun.

I was able to go for a 5k run too. This was the first day out of weeks of running where i found the zone. No sore muscles, not breathing hard, but cruising at 3/4 speed with everything around me faded out. Sheer Bliss.

Dan and I made our own Jerseys thanks to blue shirts turned inside out and masking tape.
Dan and i got back and prepared for our Super Bowl Party we threw! Since it showed at 6pm Sunday it showed Monday at noon. Dan and i taped it and threw a party with kickoff at 7:30pm so our Kiwi and working friends could enjoy with us. We made sure that NO ONE told us the outcome before that night.
We Had 13 guests! I didn't know we had that many friends in NZ! The Fussners, annie wright, friends from south auckland, and friends from Shoregrace all came! It was just a great party that was pure enjoyment and zero worry. Everyone brought too much food which also makes a great SuperBowl Party... Best of all... THE COLTS WON!!! THE COLTS WON!!! WOO!!! WOOO!!!

After clean up i was able to go sit under the stars, with the perfect temperature outside late in the middle of the night. I listened, felt, watched, thought and prayed as i stared at a tree blowing in the wind with the stars and dark clouds moving in the back ground. I was too awake to sleep and too tired to think to hard. I just sat in pure contenment as i marveled at God's beauty and how in sync everything was.

God is Good! I was able to get my God time, exercise time, tasky time, spontaneous time, people time, and processing/thinking time all in one day. These are all aspects i have recognized as profitable and beneficiary daily needs to live fully in who i am.
I got so many of my needs/goals/desires met in one day. Beautiful!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fun Video and Followup

SUPER BOWL PARTY 2007 in NZ! I will have to take a video and post it. Dan and i have about 10 friends coming over to eat, watch the game, and watch the commercials afterwards!!! Woohoo! Go Colts!
Dan and I found a wall of bush! we tried to jump through it. Click HERE to see.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Life isn't always easy!

I just got these pictures from Dan. These are some of the best surf pictures i have ever had taken of me! They are awesome... So in the middle of me talking about the difficulties of work you get to enjoy cool pics!!! I realize that i always talk about the positives of life, but i hope you don't get the idea that my life is surreal. i deal with the same questions of priority, searching, and security. That is part of life. I just love to highlight the good God blesses with in hope that it might rub off. Hope you enjoy the sweet pics!
So i have worked at Paper Moon for like 2 weeks now. i feel like i am improving, but it is not easy!

As good as always thought i was at relating with people, i am finding it hard to relate to the party/drink/club scene that most of the people i meet and work enjoy. It is harder to enter the non-Christian's world than i thought!
I also find the workers getting frustrated with me still messing up as a newbie(i ask too many questions). I am having to learn how to multi-task which is not one of my giftings in life. I am still figuring out when you can play and talk at work, knowing that there is always more work to do at a restaurant. I am realizing like i have always known that i am NOT an entertainter. I am nice, outgoing, and fun, but being able to make someone laugh on the spot by just talking, ie. a standup comedian, is not my gifting. Sometimes i just wish i was an entertainer when you just want to break the tense setting.
I do love the job and experience though, the hours are not good enough so i am still searching for a more steady job while trying to work that out.
God is Awesome... he is so big
It is crazy to think that he takes into account every leaf that rustles in a tree, where every drop on that wave dropped, my every yearning, every thought, every animals movement, every life that comes and goes! God is pretty stinkin' amazing!!! it's nice to know a good, loving, and fair God like that is rooting for us as humans!
This is Naki from Hawaii that we met at the hot water beaches

This is the hedgehog we caught on the road!
This is me being stupid at a beach called Cathedral Cove that we had to hike to

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dan Getting Rescued!

So Wednesday Dan and i went surfing since the waves were supposed to be big. We checked out a new spot in Piha. You had to paddle close by a rock formation and paddle with the rip through the big waves to get passed where they were breaking.(See rock to right in pic below) As Dan and i went pass the rock, i got a little ahead.

The waves were not the most controlled and big so after awhile i thought i saw Dan on the main beach close to where we had left our stuff, but that was way far off. After trying to catch these crazy fast and raw 8 foot waves and only managing to land one drop in and then get knocked off my board, i decided to go check on Dan after a half an hour. When i got to shore, i realized he hadn't been back to our stuff! If that wasn't Dan i saw come in, and he wasn't out in the water from what i could tell... then where was he?!? The last i saw him was paddling out beside the rocks trying to get through the big waves. At this point i am thinking to myself, "oh am i a bad teacher." So i go to ask the lifeguards if i can use there binoculars to look for Dan. Before i know it, my conversation with the lifeguard is being videotaped, a rescue boat was sent out, and a guy on a fourwheeler took off along the beach with another camera. It turns out Dan had taken a wave in and was watching from a cove where i couldn't see him. It was quite hilarious when they found him standing on the rocks watching! First a the boat came by and spotted him. Next a lifeguard started climbing the rocks, calling out to see is his name was Dan, and the next thing Dan knew there was a camera stuck in his face as well. It almost felt like the fun feeling you get at WalMart and when you get the workers to embarrassingly tell Dan to please come to the front! It was great. All in a good days laugh and that is not the best part. Apparently, the Piha Rescue actually has a TV show on Sunday mornings with their rescues and they apparently like to highlight ignorant tourists. We might make NZ tv?!? hahaha