November and December (so far) have been very busy for our family, so let's get into it!
For the past couple of months we've been focusing on projects for Christmas at Shore CC, including leading worship, doing music for other community events (Nate) and several design projects (Whitney). It's a busy time of year in the life of a church, and we want to help out where we can. Whitney was also asked to write an article about our family road trip (see Family Update) to be published in a local parenting magazine. The issue will be out in January 2017.
Another fun project for us has been "Christmas on the Point" - a free family-friendly Christmas celebration that takes place every year in our neighbourhood. Nate was asked to play some live music and to lead everyone in some Christmas carols. He assembled a fantastic band and did a wonderful job. Whitney designed the poster for the event. About 350 people came along and enjoyed celebrating the season with their neighbours and friends, while also hearing a local pastor share the gospel.
At the end of October, we flew down to our "hometown" of Christchurch and began what Nate called "the journey of a lifetime." We hired a campervan (a small RV) and drove it from Christchurch back up to Auckland -- a 7-day trip that covered 1,542 kilometers (958 miles). It was a wonderful chance to spend some time together as a family, and introduce our kids to the in-between bits of the country that they've never seen before. We had a great time, made heaps of memories, developed an even deeper love for this unique and beautiful country, and even got to catch up with some old Rechurch friends.
The kids are finishing their final weeks of school, sports, and music lessons before the summer break, which takes place mid-December through the end of January. It will be a time for them to rest and play and be carefree the way only kids on summer vacation can be! In New Zealand, because Christmas takes place in the summertime, it's common for shops, businesses, schools, etc. to close down for a few weeks so everyone can enjoy time with their families. After such a hectic couple of months, we are looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas together before jumping back into things in January.