Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why is New Zealand so beautiful?

Yes, I agree!  New Zealand is a beautiful corner of the world, with spectacular views and endless places to explore. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and reassure my brain that I am not dreaming, but do in fact live here!  :)

Yet, there is trouble in paradise.  Even amidst this breathtaking scenery there is great heart-ache and brokenness.  Domestic violence, drug abuse, and sexual promiscuity continue to be really big problems in our little country of 4 million.  As we speak, there is a dispute over whether or not an unlicensed brothel that is operating across from a primary school should be required to move.  Because prostitution is legal in NZ, these establishments are considered "entertainment facilities" and therefore are zoned in with mixed business areas of the cities, including areas where young children attend school.  They have determined that the brothel can stay near the school. Frightening, I know! 

When I see and hear these things as a pastor, and know full well that I am directly connected to people dealing with all this yuckiness, it is easy for the beauty around me to lose its luster.  But just when I get a bit down and out, God is gracious to remind me that His kingdom will one day overthrow the kingdoms of this world and that the things He created are STILL good. 
One person who has so blessed me and makes New Zealand a beautiful place for me is my friend Maurice.  Maurice, 86 years old, is my landlord.  He owns the property on which my flat (apartment) is located.  But Maurice is more than just my landlord; he has become a friend and a bit of a grandpa to me.  He loves to talk about Jesus 24-7, always invites me in for a "cuppa" and allows me to harvest veggies and fruits from the expansive gardens in the back yard.  It's quite a nice arrangement and I am grateful for this peaceful place to live, where words of godly wisdom are never far away. 

Yes, New Zealand is a beautiful place.  :)

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