Hello there, and welcome to our blog! We are the Sonchasers – chasing the Son…get it!? Very cheesy, I know, but it’s true. We are, in any case, going on an adventure in just a few weeks and this is the place to read all about it!
Week Ten & Eleven – Sonchasers Out
Outreach has come to an end, and we’re back home in Oxford. It’s been one crazy ride, full of unforgettable moments, and it’s fondly that we look back on it now. Our last two weeks were filled with making final memories together, finishing up our ministries for the last time and just making the most of the time we had left.
Our last week and a half in Kaikoura we continued mostly with the ministries we have been working with for the past weeks. At the Lavender Farm we got to help with the harvesting of the lavender, which turned out to be a lot of work, but so much fun! One day a few of us also went with the owner of the farm, Myra, to help with the distillation of the lavender and keep her company on the two-hour drive there and back again. It was actually really cool to hear more of her story on the drive, and then to see the whole process with the flowers after all of our work with it, especially after the next time at the farm when Myra showed us how to make soap and candles out of the oil. We really got to be a part of the whole lavender journey (none of us can stand the scent of lavender now though – that was enough for a lifetime!)! But the best part of the distillation day, and the whole time at the farm really, was how we were able to encourage Myra. It felt like we brought her a lot of joy just by being there!
That’s kind of what it was like when we were at the house of the single mother from church and her son with cerebral palsy the last few times. It was great to be able to help them practically with their big property and seeing how much that blessed them, but the best part was hearing Chelle’s incredible story and encouraging them both just by hanging out with them. It was also cool to see how the other backpacker team had impacted them. We were really just jumping into and continuing the work they had already done here, and not just in this case. In all of Kaikoura the relationships they had built up were just waiting for us to continue them.
We were pretty busy in our last week of ministry. Besides being at the Lavender Farm and at Chelle’s, we also ran Sunday school at the New Life Church again, went to bible meditation, which Emma actually got to lead once, helped this couple move into their new house, participated in the prayer and worship meeting at the house of one of the church ladies and helped with our contact’s booth at the Saturday market. We have had a blast just being a part of the Kaikoura community. They have such a loving community here, and it’s been such a privilege to be a part of that, if only for a little while. It was also so much fun to talk to all the backpackers in our hostel – we’ve gotten to meet and talk to quite a few of them over the weeks, and hopefully planted a whole lot of seeds through that.
“During the time in our hostel in Kaikoura, a few people in our team had some really good and deep conversations about our faith with the owner of the hostel. It was so great so see how open he was and get to know him better as a person. It was not always easy to have these conversations with him, especially since he was an ex witness of Jehova and knew a lot about the bible. He sadly didn’t believe in Jesus anymore, but he was still interested. So during the last evening as we were having a really good conversation he told us that the only reason he believes Jesus is real would be because of us! To hear that was so amazing. It showed us how God was and is still working through us when we just are ourselves!”
“During our last week in Kaikoura me and two friends decided to hike Mount Fyffe, and there was only one possible day as an option to do it on. In the morning of this day the weather wasn’t very good and it was cloudy, so we knew the view on the top of the mountain wouldn’t be good. We decided to still go for it though, since it would at least be a good hike. We started our walk and it was really frustrating to not see anything of the view but we started to pray that it would clear up. When we came to the summit of the mountain it wasn’t better at all and we ate our lunch while continuing to pray. After almost an hour we prayed and asked for how long we should keep waiting or if we should wait anymore at all. We all got the feeling to wait around for another twenty minutes. When the time was almost over it started to clear up really quickly and we were able to see the top of the mountains for the first time! It continued to clear up until there was a beautiful sea of clouds with the mountains tops in the background. We were all so amazed that God blessed us with this view, especially since it was something special with the clouds underneath the mountains. Moreover, we felt so encouraged that God responds when we ask him!”
Before going back to base, we had a few days of debrief together in Nelson, a time of rest and reflection before being thrown into base life again. We talked about outreach, how we grew, what we did well and what we could have done better, what God did and so on. It was really good to just land for a bit and find peace with where we ended up. But this was also a few days of having a lot of fun together. We went on a sailing tour in Tasman Bay, explored Nelson, went kayaking, shared meals and really just spent time in our family before the end, and it was absolutely amazing.
We are so thankful for these past months. It’s been very different from what we had expected, but in the end exactly what we needed. We have struggled a lot, been frustrated and felt useless, but we have also seen God move in incredible ways, met the most amazing people and learned so much. It’s been fun and difficult, rewarding and really hard, and we have loved it. It was one grand adventure for sure.