forty days and forty nights

It was exactly forty days and forty nights. Enough time for a flood, or for some testing times in the desert. However for Barby and I it was a more celebratory season, as it was about going home to New Zealand, via Australia, for the wedding of our daughter.

While New Zealand is world famous for being a beautiful country, there is a beauty that captures the eye in every single other country that I've visited. Australia is no exception. The commitment to speak at the Belgrave Heights Summer Convention was preceded by a holiday with our sons in South Gippsland and then across on the Great Ocean Road.

The last photo is of the Yarra River flowing through Melbourne, rated 'the world's most liveable city' (using thirty different criteria) for each of the past six years. It is not hard to see why. We had an opportunity to move there more than twenty years ago but it was not to be. The Convention, coming within the global Keswick family, is held in the Dandenong Ranges about 50min east of the city. I upgraded my longtime interest in 1 Peter with the help, in particular, of Karen Jobes' fine commentary, building a series around a 'brightening the anti-christian blues' theme.

On arrival it was an unexpected thrill to see the smiling faces of this family. Martin and Joy were single students when we were at the Bible College of New Zealand more than 20 years ago. Joy was in our cell group and we remember some of the early discussions around marriage. Well - now they have three gorgeous children: Jonathan, Sarah and Hannah.

The thrill of seeing them immediately dissipated when I recalled that Martin's PhD was in 1 Peter and was published by Cambridge University Press without needing to change a syllable (well, that is what I like to tell people). Young Hannah got into 'taking notes' mode - so much so that she nicked numerous conference booklets, taking out the pages and taping them into her booklet ... so that she could really take notes.

Then it was onto New Zealand as the family gathered for Bethany and Jonny's wedding. Barby's 95 year old father, Charles Warren, made the trip all the way from the USA as did all four of her siblings. Two of them had never been to New Zealand before.

So many highlights...
Watching the bride with her Grandpa on arrival - with her Mum and aunties in the background:

Watching Grandpa eat a Kiwi meat pie at Piha (so that is three icons in one photo!):

Watching Grandpa enjoy his great-grandchildren - and vice versa:

Watching our sons enjoy being together (sometimes with the help of a niece and/or uncle):

Watching our grandchildren:

Oh yes, and the wedding:

nice chatting



Ben Carswell said…
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post - and no mention of the MCG ;) Time with family & friends are very special indeed.
Paul said…
Hey, Ben. The MCG visit was rained out by 3pm after what can only be described as a couple of boring sessions of Test cricket. But we had a fabulous time with the family. The generosity of Jonny's parents in providing us with a huge home in which we lived with all our children and grandchildren for two weeks will live on with me. Kind regards to each of you.
Ben Carswell said…
Sorry to hear that - that's cricket for you. Glad to hear you got great time w/ the family though :)

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