Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Tale of Two Families" Christmas Greetings from New Zealand!

Nga mihi o te Kirihimete ki a koe!
For those of you not so well-versed in Te Reo Maori (the Maori language), that means "Merry Christmas to you!"  I consider myself an extremely blessed woman 365 days a year, but this Christmas I feel even more so.  Though my natural-born family shivers in the cold without me 10,000 miles across the Pacific (and I miss them so much that it hurts!), the Lord has blessed me with a FANTASTIC Kiwi family here in New Zealand.

This is now my third consecutive Chistmas in New Zealand and each year I am more and more in awe of the kindness of God shown to me through His people.  Throughout my time here I have never lacked support, encouragement, care, practical resources, and a good dose of laughter!  The sharing of experiences unique to life here in Aotearoa has forged between us a special bond, for which I am very grateful.

In the USA right now my family is grieving the sudden loss of my uncle and dealing with the added stresses that come from handling these types of situations around the holidays.  While I hate being so far from home during times like this, God has sent his love once again through my network of friends and "family" here, so that I am assured I am not alone.  And because I know that God answers the prayers of the faithful, I am confident that He is upholding my family in the USA even as we pray for them from all the way over here in NZ.

The last two days I've enjoyed Christmas festivities with two different families in Whangarei, each with their own unique ways of doing things.  Most people only celebrate Christmas once; I get it twice!  (Which now means I need to do twice the exercise to burn off all that great pavlova, ham, cake, kumara, etc.  He he!)

Please enjoy some photos from my Kiwi Christmas!

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