Sunday, 9 August 2015

Winding down from Whakatane

Dotterel Point was sooo beautiful that we stayed another night: the only campervan in the car park, though several cars had been and gone with dog walkers or surfers. One man had visited three times, surfing twice, in the course of 8 hours.

We had stayed in many, many lovely spots, but where else could you watch rolling surf pounding the beach and then, turning around, gaze at the calm waters of a shallow harbour only a hundred metres or so behind us?

We were still only half an hour’s drive from Whakatane, so we decided to go back for Sunday morning church.

Good decision. We visited LibertyLife, a church with Presbyterian roots and a Pentecostal outlook. Good music, powerful testimonies, encouragement to carry on living the Christian life: it felt REAL.  And we were, just a little, out of our comfort zone – a type of service we are not used to – no bad thing.

Still, it was exciting to hear about all the many things the church was involved in, but what impressed us most was the calm and personal welcome. |Mike Davies spoke to us as we make our way out, introducing us to others, sharing a little about his life; then, too, Kelvin Deal approached: it was exciting to hear about what God is doing through this vibrant church of, perhaps, a hundred plus people.  And we – complete strangers – were even invited to lunch. (Which would have been lovely, but we had many miles to go before our sleep, so, regretfully, we declined.)

So we made our way back north, towards Auckland. Our destination was, again, Ray’s Rest, a freedom site next to a wetland bird sanctuary, of RAMSAR importance. But first, we had to endure the most severe hailstorm we have seen since leaving Kenya. Fortunately, we were stationary at the time, because the hail piled up on the windscreen like snow and left the roads covered in white.

It was an interesting challenge afterwards to negotiate the Karangahake Gorge...

And so, here we are, back, in Ray’s Rest. Auckland tomorrow, and the end of ‘camping’ adventures. But looking forward to Yet More Wedding Planning – caterers have submitted their quote and everything is go...

Just negotiating on the bride price now. We’ve asked to be paid in sheep, not goats; have the offer of some Herefords instead, but, actually, it would really have to be Guernseys....

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