Fresh Start

I had a few dozen ideas for what I wanted to be when I grew up that shuffled around until I settled on English teacher when I was in year 10 of high school. Then I ended up a youth pastor via a decade as a Bible teacher, and somehow writer was thrown in the mix. When I think about the dreams and aspirations of little Laura, sitting in New Zealand and reflecting on a week of ministry work was never on my radar.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how weird – excuse me, wild – my life is. As I’ve moved my website hosting, I’m back to having photo update capabilities, and I was thinking I should share a few visual reflections on my wild life from the past few months since I ran out of space on the last website. Here are a few pictures with some caption reflections on my life in New Zealand this past while.

First, I have an incredible team of leaders who I get to work with, and I genuinely love this job so much more because of these passionate Jesus followers who team up with me to help disciple and bring kingdom transformation to the youth of Christchurch.

Hero and I moved into a beautiful house with Alicia at the end of November, and we’ve also added Sam as a flatmate, but we haven’t managed a photo of the three of us all looking great that’s not a BeReal in the kitchen.

I have a beautiful table and chairs gifted to me before arriving that allows me so many opportunities to host friends around the table for food and conversation. This was one of the first of many meals shared here so far.

I got a few new tattoos… And new glasses you’ll notice in the rest of the pictures thanks to Sam and Alicia.

My Portland bridges are up on the wall, and the rest of my artwork has mostly found a place hanging around this home. I really love being able to come through the red door and know this place is more than just a temporary landing spot. The mint green KitchenAid is the biggest purchase, and it’s been my identifier for people here that I plan to stick around New Zealand. No point in investing in one of those if I leave the country; the plugs won’t work elsewhere.

I love having a summer birthday now, and I love living near the beach, and I love my friend Hannah. This photo happens to be from my birthday when Hannah spontaneously drove me out to the beach to swap hilarious poo stories and life lessons. Being close to the beach is a nice perk to living here long term, but having Hannah as a friend is in the top tier of blessings.

God’s brought me a lot of beauty in brokenness in my life, and I’m always one to celebrate the beautiful when I see it. This is Curly, one of the several butterflies who was birthed from the Lego tiger next to our TV, and as he shed his chrysalis, one of his wings didn’t unfurl to dry properly. He had a nice life wandering between our lounge and patio before we think he was eaten by a bird. I loved the season of butterflies that Alicia fed and facilitated because of the beauty they brought. My wild life has some comparison points to the disabled butterfly (though I’m not likely to be eaten by a bird). One of the key things this photo shows, though, is my student map hung behind me. I have a relatively blank one hanging in my office that my Kiwi kids will sign as they graduate from youth group each year, but this one filled with the names of loved ones who came through my kitchen in Kandern is a cherished thing in my home.

One of the wild and beautiful things of the recent weeks was visits from cherished friends living on other continents. The Bonhams are my adopted family from Germany, and four of them currently live in America while Jorie is still in Japan. They planned a family visit in March which was as I was gearing up for Easter Camp, but I squeezed in every minute I could with them and even got to show them my church. Soon after they left, Jen and Dave arrived from Oregon, and I actually put them to work on their whirlwind trip to the southern hemisphere. I think three of their five days in New Zealand I had them doing hard labour for Easter Camp, and they did it with smiles on their faces. Possibly because I kept them supplied with good coffee, but probably has more to do with their passion for Jesus and how excited they were to see me serving in my element.

No one’s actually surprised by this. I love my job, and I don’t really need a reason to have a youth shave my head on stage in front of 3,000 teenagers. But here we are, and I think I look great. I’ve been wearing beanies since, though, and my hair is growing quite quickly. I’m already getting hat hair. Fortunately, we’re in winter, and no one questions the beanie.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jan Forman

    Well this is all rather wonderful Laura, to see photos too of your life in NZ. Great website.

  2. Chuck Felton

    Thanks for sharing your abundant life with us.