We have been living in Newhall, California for nearly a week now and we are slowly getting settled in.
Not long after arriving, we were determined to work hard to get the family settled as quickly as we could. This meant getting all the furnishings and other household items, which is not normally an easy task in a foreign (and big) city.
What we didn’t count on was how quickly the furnishings would be acquired.
After spending the first couple of nights at a friends house, word soon got around that a family from New Zealand had arrived and were in need of furniture to set up house. In the next day or two, we received offers for furniture and other household items, so we spent 2 days driving around in a van and picking it all up.
This has been a double blessing as not only did we get stuff for the house, but we also got some practice driving on the right-side of the road.
We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of the people here as we have been given us some fantastic furniture, frozen food and have already been invited out to dinner. The love of Christ has certainly been demonstrated through the people here, even in the midst of a declining economy.
We have been blessed by the apartment block we live in. Our neighbours are nothing short of fantastic, very welcoming and only too pleased to help us settle in in any way they can. This morning we awoke to one of our neighbours knocking on the door with a stack of freshly cooked waffles and maple syrup…and they were great.
After many months of planning, renovating, selling, praying and a very sad good-bye to family at Wellington airport, we finally arrived in Los Angeles on July 23.
The flight was generally fine and smooth accompanied with the odd patch of turbulence. The only downsides were a delay at Auckland International Airport for over an hour and Maddy getting air sick for most of the trip. She couldn’t eat or drink anything during the flight, but was fine once we got off.
Upon arriving at LAX and standing in the customs pre-processing queue for about two hours, it was great to be greeted by familiar faces. We were picked up by the Burlings who also introduced us to the local cuisine when we grabbed some late lunch at In-N-Out Burger – a fantastic spot for lunch, outside in the sun watching the planes land.
After battling some traffic to Santa Clarita, it was great to finally get to our apartment to drop off some luggage and meet the apartment owner and managers.
We spent the rest of the first evening and the first night with the Burlings at their place. It was great to catch-up with them, to rest and to learn from them some of the things they had learned about living in Santa Clarita.
Today, we visited Placerita Baptist Church which is a three minute drive from our apartment. We loved it there even after the first day and would be quite happy to make it our home church for now.
The pastor preached a great sermon, the music was different but good and we were made welcome. The one thing that we thought was a bit different was that after the congregation was ‘dismissed’, the church emptied out pretty quickly. We went to the second session, so perhaps some of these people were also at the first session and were keen to get home.
After the evening service, Placerita held a ‘summerfest’ event where we enjoyed a meal and a chance to meet some of the local people.
This all took place in 33 degree heat.
Tomorrow marks the start of a busy week…
This week just gone has been the week of the ‘lasts’.
The last Sunday fellowshipping at Heretaunga Christian Centre, the last home group gathering, the last day at work and saying our last good-byes to our close friends and family.
The week started off with a fantastic farewell dinner on Monday night put on by our church, Heretaunga Christian Centre. From the moment we walked through the doors, we were absolutely overwhelmed and humbled by the number of people who turned up to farewell us. The fellowship was fantastic, the food was plentiful and we came away feeling uplifted and greatly encouraged. Praise God for the way His love was demonstrated through His people and boy did we feel it! Thank you Heretaunga for a great send-off.
Tuesday was my last day at work.
It was sad for me. I really enjoyed my job. I worked with a fantastic team of people, reported to the best manager I have worked to and worked for one of the most reputable company’s in New Zealand.
But I love Jesus much more and have felt for some time that my future lay in ministry rather than I.T.
It has been a very enjoyable four years at the New Zealand Fire Service and I will miss my colleagues immensely.
It is going to take some adjusting to not having a job since 1987!
I couldn’t resist meeting with my Home Group on Thursday night. I have briefly described my time with them here, but it was great to fellowship with them again and to prayer with them and for them (at least Maritess had the sense to bring a camera, unlike the absent-minded leader. Thanks Maritess!).
The rest of the week has involved the last catch-up with friends (mainly Denise’s as she has far more than me), packing, culling items and more packing.
Tonight is our last night in New Zealand (for a few years anyway).
Good-bye New Zealand. You will always be our home.
Good-bye to our family and friends. We will miss you while we are away.
Please stay in touch and let us know how you are all doing. We are praying for you.
See you on the other side.
Tonight we had a pot-luck dinner with our home group.
It was the last gathering with our home group before we travel to Los Angeles next week to study at The Master’s Seminary.
I really wanted to capture the moment with a photo of the group, but despite reminding myself all week to bring the camera, I forgot it. Doh!
I have been immensely privileged and humbled to lead this group of people who have been an absolute dream to teach.
The are a wonderfully teachable group who share my love and passion for the word of God and for it’s transforming power in our lives.
In the past three years, we have covered the book of Romans (nearly), a series on spiritual disciples and ten chapters of the gospel of Mark.
I thank my home group for their patience with me, for their incredible attendance (even through the coldest and darkest winters), for their fellowship and for their friendship. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.
We will miss you immensely.
I thank the Lord for His guidance and His wisdom.
I thank the Lord for the opportunity to teach willing people week in-week out and for the opportunity to better equip myself through the next few years at Seminary.
It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to serve the Lord in this way.
It is all for His glory.
There is still a little under 3 weeks before we leave for LA, but we have already secured a place to live.
We are very excited to have this potentially troublesome issue already organized before we even arrive in LA.
We will be living in a suburb of Santa Clarita, CA called Newhall which is, by all accounts, a family-friendly place to be and which is also very popular with Seminary students.
The 2-bedroom apartment is in a small complex of 18 apartments, but it has a pool, which I think will be a most welcome amenity for the girls, especially during the summer.
We feel absolutely blessed to not only have secured the apartment, but even more so after talking to the wonderful and most helpful apartment manager’s, Ricky and Laurie.
We are looking forward to meeting them and settling in.
We happily invite anyone who wants to come and visit to do so.
We would love to host you (only condition is: you must bring marmite).
For the past nine and a half years, 12 Moana Grove in Lower Hutt has been our ‘Little House on the Prairie’.
This is where our girls grew up and where they had many sleepovers. This is where we hosted many BBQ’s in the sun-drenched back garden, held weekly bible study groups and spent many hours in fellowship and conversation often deep into the night.
We worked solidly on the house over the past nine years completely renovating throughout, building an extension and a new garage. We stamped our personality and our flavour throughout the house.
Sadly, this has come to an end. We have sold and waved good-bye to the house that holds many memories for us. We have said good-bye to our Little House on the Prairie. A new adventure awaits us
On June 17, 2011 we moved out. It was tough initially. Our girls, especially, struggled and found the first week after we moved out hard. They wanted back in to the house they knew and called home.
One truth we held firm to during this emotional time was that the house belonged to the Lord (Psalm 24:1) as did the gardens we cultivated and the lawns that we mowed.
We then considered ourselves privileged to have been given the opportunity to occupy the house, to tend to it and to maintain it for the nine years we were there. The Lord has blessed us immensely with this time and the memories that we now have.
Now for the next adventure. We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us now.