History of NZ – 2001

Once the new R18 course started this year things were in full swing. I found that I was starting to do a lot more computer work. Supporting people with computer problems was the main area, but there was also some competition between the technical guy, Matt, in FTN and me. This resulted in a competition to build the best mail server. I won. In the end my server was adopted as the main server for Lifeway. This became my other area of growing involvement.

During this year I took the opportunity to teach part of the courses in the college. Working with the students was a lot of fun albeit lots of hard work too. My brief foray involved parts of the Study Skills course and a group from the Decision Making Course. At the end of the year there was talk of me taking on more teaching in the college. I kinda liked this idea but also didn’t. It would mean more work, and stepping outside my comfort zone. That was ok though because I needed to hone these skills. However I never did do any more teaching. I didn’t know it at the time but I was about to jump ships – from the College to FTN. This would take place early next year.

Meanwhile, Walter and Cindy Ruakere had been talking for a while of doing a trip somewhere together. This would be a preaching and singing type of trip. Around August Cindy was getting ready to release a new album. This was the perfect timing. A trip was born and after lots of preparation, “The South Island Tour” was ready to roll. And roll we did. Most of the trip was driving.

As with anything Walter is part of, there is always an element of fun. We got to see lots of the countryside and best of all, we even got to go skiing. Well think of it as skiing as they did in the days of old. Without lifts but with new gear. Yep. The lifts had closed the day before we got there. Undeterred, we walked up the slope and skied back down again. Over and over. By the end of the day we were stuffed, but very happy. The girls went Jet-Boating while we skied and said they had a great time.

The tour took us to Invercargill at the very bottom of the South Island and back, stopping at churches and halls on the way. Cindy sang, Walter preached. It was a great combination. Once at Invercargill we were done. The only thing that remained was the drive home. Almost the length of New Zealand, the drive took two days and was an awesome trip. I especially enjoyed the tension of the part where we almost missed the ferry to Wellington. We ended up making it there within 40 minutes of it leaving or something just as close.

These were great days and there were smiles on all of our faces. I have many wonderful photos and memories of these times. After this everything changed. For me anyway. And for Walter. Walter and Teresa left Lifeway. I moved to FTN. It was different now, but the memories of these times will always remain with me. They were great days. The highlight of my time in New Zealand.