Taking on Christchurch

3 days.

Great company.

Christchurch.

Day 1

The day started with the usual. A shower. I checked the clock on my phone.

5:15AM.

W was kind enough to wake up early to drop H and I off at the airport. We hurried over to find the Jetstar counter to check-in. What stood before us was one of the things I dreaded most.

A massive queue.

This is the last thing you want to see when your flight is at 6:15AM and you have to check in 30 minutes before. After waiting in line and finally reaching the front, we were redirected to another line. I glanced at my phone.

6:00AM.

The chances of us making it on the flight were slim. We reached the front of the queue once again.

“You have missed your flight, it will be another $50 to get you on the next flight”

Regardless of the rocky start to the morning, I got to catch up with H, someone I don’t get to talk to very much due to her very extremely tight schedule. The plane ride was just over and hour long, just enough time to hear H’s story of how she began to date W. She also gave me some great insight into thinking through relationships which is always appreciated.

Christchurch welcomed us with a breeze that made your goosebumps jump out of your skin. H and I met up with A and B as we waited for our ride. A friend of ours, J, was kind enough to offer to host us for the weekend at his house. As soon as we arrived at his house, we were bombarded with hugs from faces we hadn’t seen in about half a year. The plan for the afternoon was to explore our surroundings of Pegasus where we were staying just 20 minutes outside of Christchurch. J had planned a surprise for us for when we got back.

The surprise was well, definitely a surprise. This picture pretty much sums it up.

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Nerf. Enough said.

We later went to grab chinese food for dinner. Nothing like sharing good food with some good company.

Day 2

Day 2 was pretty much the last full day we had to spend in Christchurch. A couple of us had already left for Auckland earlier in the morning due to personal matters. The plan today was to head out for a hike up Castlerock and then hang out at J’s church. On the way towards Castlerock, J took us to one of the redzones in Christchurch which was greatly affected by the earthquake back in 2011. Living in Auckland and hearing about the earthquake back then, I had never really fully realised the power of mother nature.11741111_10203036515313360_1684551575911616432_o

This used to be a road with many houses on both sides.

We arrived at the foot of Castlerock, our legs ached just looking up the mountain. And so we started our trek up. There were many breaks along the way up, at some points I regretted beginning the walk. Anytime I have this sort of attitude, the view just slaps me right in the face. Totally worth it.

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Just take it in.

We all then headed over to J’s church with some dinner from a takeaway and watched Kingsmen. I’m still real envious of the little home theatre they have in their church.

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I need to get me one of these.

Day 3

The final day was spent going to see J play hockey, cheering him on and just more good hangs with the crew. Everyone headed to the airport at separate times to check in and catch their flights. At the very end, only I was left with J and E. We shared our last half an hour together talking about what has been going on at church and what we all want to do after we graduate. I was also really encouraged by E about continuing to put my heart into discipling a couple of guys back in Auckland.

Overall, the weekend was well worth it, exploring Christchurch, catching up with good friends and just being able to get away from the busy city life. I usually like to end my blog posts with a song and conveniently my friend J was playing this song in his car all weekend. It’s surprisingly catchy.

Let’s Go Conference

Waking up with a sore neck.

Having to walk through the cold to the shower in the morning.

Actually having breakfast.

These are a few of the things I became accustomed to over the 5 days that I had attended conference. Over the past 2 or so years I have been involved with a christian group at The University of Auckland called StudentLife. They are part of a larger worldwide organisation called Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). Every year StudentLife holds their midyear conference to train and equip students on how to share their faith and allows students to get to know the other students involved in the movement.

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With all that being said, this year was my third conference and the theme was “Let’s Go” which was inspired by the bible verse:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20

What excited me the most this year going to conference was leading a group of students in discussion during team times and seeing God shape and mold them into godly men and woman. Our team name was Muller. Every team was named after a famous missionary or pastor. Sadly, we were one of the teams that were easily forgotten by everyone else. Good thing was, this resulted in us being picked last for duties and usually there were none left for us.

Troy Mcknight was the guest speaker this year, a maple syrup loving Canadian man, born in Canada but now living in Auckland, New Zealand. Throughout the week he touched on several topics:

  • What it means to be a disciple
  • Having faith in Jesus
  • What it means to have mercy

The topic that stood out the most for me was “What it means to be a disciple”. Troy first went over what education was like for the early Jews. Boys as young as 10 were to have memorised the first 5 books of the bible and then only the best went on to study the rest of the old testament and more. For the boys that didn’t make it, they returned home to their fathers to learn the family trade. Finally the most elite students would go out to seek a Rabbi to learn under and even then it was not easy and many were rejected.

The point of this was to compare Jesus’ yoke and the yoke of the conventional Rabbi. The conventional Rabbi would ask very difficult questions to their student such as reciting the old testament backwards.  Jesus’ yoke on the other hand is easy.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:29-30

Jesus also goes to seek men to become his disciples unlike the conventional Rabbi.

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.”
Matthew 4:18-20

What I learnt from these passages is that Peter and Andrew were fishermen meaning that they had been rejected from a Rabbi and returned home to learn their trade which happened to be fishing. Instead Jesus seeks out the rejects and calls them follow Him. In the same way Jesus calls us to follow Him, to leave everything behind, family, friends and possessions, to become like Him. Troy really helped me to realise from this passage that Jesus believes that we can become like Him even when we don’t think we can. To know that the almighty creator who sustains this universe believes in you in that way is just mega encouraging.

Every year I walk away from conference with a song that has really moved me.  Here’s this years.