Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011: A Big Year for New Zealand

New Zealand rarely makes it into the world news.  After all, how does a small island nation of 4 million people compete on the world stage with a global population that now exceeds 7 BILLION?  Yet, as was for many on the planet, 2011 was a unique year for Aotearoa, the "Land of the Long White Cloud". 
 Even in my short 4 months here (nearly), we have experienced much:

Earthquakes in Christchurch:  Beginning Feb 22, a massive earthquake killed 180+.  Dozens of large aftershocks continue to rattle the Canterbury region, including more early this morning.  (For those of you who are curious, I live on the north island, hundreds of miles from the Canterbury region and have remained largely unaffected by these quakes. )
 Please pray for those who continue to suffer terrible loss and heartache from these quakes.  Even up here in the northland, everybody knows or is related to someone down south affected by the quakes.  We have one Nazarene church in Christchurch, whose property has undergone some damage and liquefaction.

 Bay of Plenty Oil Spill in October: Hundreds of tonnes of oil spilled from the "Rena", a large ship that ran aground on a reef just off the coast of Tauranga.  It has affected wildlife and tourism in the area and continues to be a significant clean-up effort.

 Rugby World Cup 2011: I arrived here in New Zealand amid the flurry of activity surrounding the Rugby World Cup.  Everything, and yes I do mean everything, revolved around the Rugby World Cup!  The school calendars and terms were even altered to accommodate for the world-wide event.  And of course, the NZ All Blacks came out on top!

Needless to say, this was a big year for little New Zealand. Many say that there has been little peace and rest.  Well, its a good thing that our peace and rest doesn't come from the world, eh?  

 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. . ." ~Psalm 46:10

Even in the midst of so much "big" stuff, daily life goes on and God continues to show his love through his people.  Over the holidays I had the joy of catching up some a long-time friend from Australia and strengthening new friendships here in New Zealand.

May the peace of Christ be with you as you embark on 2012!

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