Grace Notes February 2018

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Grace Notes February 2018

Happy New Year.
It has been a while since the last Informer, I’m quite sure
many of you have been thoroughly enjoying the lovely
summer we have had so far.
I have had some lovely days away. First were a few days
in Thames visiting friends and enjoying visiting
Coromandel and other Thames Coast beaches including
visiting a bach that my father had built when I was a child.
The following article is from David which just missed the
last issue of The Informer.

JAPAN
In early November David spent a week in Japan with a
Rotary Yachting Fellowship that he is part of. The group
was based in Kobe and also visited Kyoto and Hiroshima.
Excellence is part of the way of life in Japan and so
organisation of the visit was likewise.Time in Kobe
included a harbour dinner cruise, in Kyoto we visited a
beautiful shrine and an ancient garden complete with a
large courtyard with carefully placed large boulders and
carefully raked sand (a large version of the miniature zen
tray with sand) In the evening we went to a traditional
Japanese hotel and sat at low tables and enjoyed a tea
ceremony, followed by entertainment by Maiko (Geishas
in training). Dinner was an exquisite multi course affair,
with the Maiko pouring sake, beer and wine and talking to
us. The two youngest ones were 17 so just starting into
this ancient profession. And photos were allowed which
was a special privilege for us. We walked around a low
rise part of town and walked through a bamboo forest.
Trees were 6 to 9 metres high and about 10 to 15 cm in
diameter with foliage only right at the top – very striking
with the light coming through. Many local women were
walking in the streets in their traditional kimonos and quite
a number of young families were all in traditional dress
and having pictures taken – perhaps a special occasion.
In Hiroshima we saw the memorial dome which stands on
the edge of a peace park that has been created. We
walked through this and then went through the museum.
The park in autumn is beautiful with all the trees changing
different colours. The images of the destruction and loss
of life was a very sobering reminder of the folly of war.
That evening we went to a basement rock n roll bar and
were entertained by an excellent local r n r band while we
danced vigorously for 2 hrs, before going across the road
for dinner.After visiting a large shrine on an island next
morning I chose to return by Shinkansen (bullet train).
On our last and only free night a group of us chose to
dine at a Kobe beef restaurant. Kobe beef is world
renowned and this evening demonstrated why.
What was noticeable is the cleanliness, no rubbish and
almost no graffiti. It is expensive but it is quality. Our hosts
were so good – a trip that we all will remember for a long
time.

VANUATU
in the first week of December David travelled to Aneityum
Island, the southern most in the Vanuatu chain. He was
travelling with a group of volunteers, six dentists and one
dental equipment specialist. They were going to provide
two weeks of dental treatment and continue the training of
two local staff. Rotary is funding travel and other
expenses for two visits a year until the end of 2019 at
which point the locals will take over providing for the 1200
on the island. The leader of this group has built a
wonderful rapport with the locals and lots come to have
their teeth cleaned, bad teeth removed and holes filled.
Tooth brushes are supplied to all and lessons given in
how to clean. This trip the whole crew is very proud. Their
dental tech man has put together special rigs, so all drills,
air and water squirters, de-scalers, suction and x ray all
run on solar power – this is a world first! Thanks to Kiwi
ingenuity.
Less than one kilometer across the water lies Mystery
Island, a beautiful uninhabited coral island surrounded by
white coral sand and sheltered turquoise waters. Paradise
as good as you could imagine it! Which is why they get 2
to 4 cruise ships coming per week!
So you might ask, what is David doing there? His job is to
organise conversion of an old Medical Clinic into a Dental
Clinic. There is quite a bit of engineering, logistics,
building and oversight to make this happen successfully.
For example nearly all materials will have to be
purchased in Vila and shipped to the island – there is no
jetty so the barge will land everything on the beach and
then it will have to be carried to the site. No hardware
store for a few hundred miles so cannot afford to forget
anything. No power so a generator is needed to run larger
tools. After talks with the Village Chairman and some
other fact finding David returned to Port Vila to check out
the hardware stores and shipping as he looks to next year
for quotes, funding (he is confident he can get Rotary
support for this project), shipping and getting the
construction done. Hope to finish by the end of 2018!
More trips to Vanuatu next year.

Helene
During the holiday we noticed that there was a strange
car in the church car-park. There was a couple outside
the car and they seemed to be there for ages so Andre
went to investigate what was happening. Turns out they
had a whole box laden with caterpillars that they were
painstakingly putting onto the swan plants. Their plants
had been entirely stripped and they wanted to save the
caterpillars. They had gone on-line to try and find out
where there were swan plants. Someone told them to go
to the St Aidans car-park!! We have seen children
removing caterpillars before but this was the first time
someone had brought some here. We have since been
rewarded with many, many beautiful butterflies!
Yvonne’s granddaughter Wakana is enjoying the snow
while working as an English teacher in Tokyo. Grandson
Gen has settled on Geography as his major at Auckland
University and Kaze’s soccer team won the National Age
Grade Tournament with the Northern Football Federation.
Tom has completed his Masters in Economics and has
started work at the Treasury in Wellington and Sam
returns to Wellington in a few weeks to continue his
Design degree.

Pat & Colin.
We had a good trip up with a stopover in Guangszhou,
China. Then two days in Paris in the Diderot area near
the Bastille. There were plenty of things to explore there,
before catching the TGV down to the mountains,
yesterday. We met up with two of the NZ couples in Paris.
The rest of the lodge came by different ways and all had
arrived at the chalet by last night.
After all the talk of metres of snow it looked rather worn
out coming up the valley to Meribel but time will tell how it
is today.
Marion. Further to your request this morning, can you just
make a mention of the exciting three weeks around
Christmas and New Year for our family?  For me it was
lovely to have had Elise attend our church twice while she
was here this time, and then the wonderful surprises of
having my grandson Brad and his fiancee Kelsey arrive
from Canada on Christmas morning, and then topped off
with Elise being awarded the MNZM in the New Year
Honours List.
One of my friends sent me a list of statements about the
Bible that had been written by children. I have quite a
long list so I will share one or two with you in issues of
The Informer.
These statements are as the children wrote them………
spelling and all.
1. In the first book of the bible, Guinessis, God got tired of
creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.
2. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.
Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an Ark
which the animals come to in pears.
3. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by
night.
More next time.
Grace