My original intent for this blog was to enable friends to keep up with me while I’m here in Dunedin. My last post strayed from that, which isn’t a problem, but I thought I would get back to my initial idea.

So what have I been doing?

Me in mighty Gore!

Me in mighty Gore!

The last two Sundays I have been preaching from the book of Deuteronomy. I have found it a challenge. I am doing a three part series, so have one to go. The first week I preached the sermon as a narrative, taking on the character of an Israelite teenager. I retold the story which is told in the first three chapters of Deuteronomy. It was about recognising and remembering God’s activity in our life, so I stopped talking a few times during my sermon and had the congregation reflect on their walk with God over the year just been, then towards the end asked them to look forward to the year ahead and consider how they might step out in faith for God.

In preparation for last Sunday I was really struggling with what to do. So my knowledgeable friend John McClean gave me a couple of pointers. Going from Deuteronomy chapters 4-11, I looked at the way God is the source of everything, even life itself. I told Tony’s story, the example he had been to me in his love for God and people, a love which led him to his death in April of last year. Tony’s story is obviously very touching and powerful.

So one more Deuteronomy sermon to go!

Socially, I’ve been getting out and about a bit (for someone who doesn’t have heaps of friends around!). The weather has been pretty nice recently, so I’ve been going to the beach (yet to swim, but that may happen tomorrow), watching soccer matches and riding my bike, as well as gathering up enough motivation to go for the occasional run. There’s a girl called Sophie who I’ve met, and we’ve been hanging out a bit too, which has been cool. I also have a weekly game of squash against my pastoral supervisor, and I’m gutted to say that I haven’t been able to win a game yet! He plays very well, and not just for a man in his mid 50s.

Pretty close to the bottom of the country

I now spend Thursday mornings at Dunedin Hospital. My pastoral supervisor (who I play squash against) is a doctor at the hospital. And when I mentioned that it would be helpful for me to gain some experience in pastoral situations he arranged for me to come in the hospital and spend time with some people who are reasonably sick. I’m not trying to have spiritual conversations with them; it is just practice for engaging people in conversations with a distinct purpose in mind. Last week was my first week, and I had an elderly gentleman tell me about how he is ready for death, and how he doesn’t want to be resuscitated if his heart fails, which is an increasingly likely possibility.

Time is continuing to fly by. I am two-thirds the way through my time here. My church Musselburgh has a holiday club for primary school children at the end of January which I am helping with. So with that and my other commitments, I am keeping busy.

Looking forward to catching up with people when I get back up to Auckland.