After winning a 13 day battle with diarrhea from Fiji and spending a fruitful two weeks in Auckland, I made the big move to Cromwell again for the summer. How was that for a opening sentence. Did you like that? Nothing like the word "diarrhea" to kick off a fresh blog. I hope your currently not in the process of eating.
Above: Exiting the plane in Queenstown at possibly one of the most gorgeous airport settings I have ever seen.
I woke Monday the 7th before the sun rose and made the flight from Auckland to Queenstown. In the morning sun glistening off the Remarkables Peaks and the Milford Sound, I was fully awed by the regions untamed beauty. Getting off the flight into the cool morning air was the best start I could think of for a grand summer, money making, vineyard journey. I used my default setting of hitch-hiking to make the 40 mile journey to Cromwell. In less than 5 minutes I was picked up with a fellow hiker named Will by a middle age Kiwi couple in a luxury Toyata that had just sold their large food company (http://www.kato.co.nz/) to Sanitarium and were taking the year off to travel and sail around NZ in a soon to be purchased yacht. The journey was comfortable and the conversation good- and then things became great. The couple asked Will and I if we were interested in wine tasting with them. At 10:45 in the morning I thought to myself that it was a little early to drink, especially before breakfast but they said that the tour would be their treat. That began a 3 vineyard tour consuming top rated cheeses and sampling $100 dollar bottles of wine. When I arrived to Cromwell (sober) , I was in high spirits.
Above: It's 5 o'clock somewhere... Enjoying a wine sampler for 4, with 4 people (not pictured).
Last summer I was invited to live with Reverend Pendreigh and his family and they have since welcomed me in with both arms (or would that be 10 arms?) into their home. They are a fun group and have been beyond hospitable to this lone American. The next day I started and survived work on the vineyard making new acquaintances and catching up with familiar ones. On Thursday I received two incredible emails. One was a very personal email from a dear Chinese friend of mine from when I taught English in Shenzhen stating that upon attending a Christian funeral of a family member he was compelled to know more about the Gospel. I've been sharing and praying for him some 5+ years and this was a glorious shock. I can only imagine the coming redemption to him and his family. The other email was this one:
I am writing to advise that your claim has been accepted.
Settlement of $107.00 has been credited into your nominated bank account.
$6776.95 has been paid to Waitemata DHB.
This was another jaw-dropper. On my Facebook page I responded to this email by posting:
My Uni-Care claim for my collapse/transfusion/stay in North Shore Hospital, Auckland was just accepted today after a (nearly) 4 month ordeal with the insurance company. They initially denied it because I had a hereditary condition that was never properly diagnosed- even when being tested for it. Pay out was to the tune of $6,776.95 - completely covering the hospital bill!! Praise God. I even got $107 back, that should make Saturday in Queenstown that much more enjoyable : )
Praise God! I don't even know what else to say. Nothing more needs to be said. Praise the risen Christ.
At the vineyard I had been specifically praying for a co-worker to share Christ with this week and that prayer was answered. I began praying for him earlier in the week that I would get a chance to share Christ and invite him to church. On Saturday he was going to do a the largest bungy jump in the southern hemisphere so I suggested we make the day that much more enjoyable for a stop over at Fergburger. I offered to tag along to take photos for him, and he accepted. After the jump in Queenstown the chance finally came up to share and it was a great discussion... then he came to Church today for the second time in his life, the first being in Germany (he is German) with his family on Christmas. That was very encouraging for me even when new health issues are literally popping up.
Above: Looking at the river below the tallest bungee jump in the Southern Hemisphere. I simply observed. The only thing I fear more than jumping off something ridiculously high is losing $280 in a minute. The thought alone is enough to give me shivers.
Above: The launch platform that my friend jumped off from moments later.
Above: The hard to hold, harder to eat "Big Al" burger at world famous Fergburger in Queenstown.
While I was in Fiji I got a funny cut on my knee that was healing up just fine until getting back to NZ. The boil like sore ended up spreading to another part of that very same knee, then it jumped legs. I didn't really know what was going on with the spread, I thought it might be springing up from the inside of my body until it began rapidly spreading this week. The spread was fueled by the irritation and sweat on my shorts from working in the vineyard even though I was bathing daily and cleaning them specially. From my google images/wikipedia research it looks/sounds like impetigo/mrsa. I was excused from work tomorrow to go to the Doctor for creams and antibiotics. Please pray for a positive outcome in this area, I'm tired of being unwell and spending money on doctors visits. It's real frustrating.
God has always taken care of me and this journey has been blessed. The summer in a slower paced environment, encapsulated with beautiful flora and fauna is always good for the ole' soul. I look forward to reading my Bible and reflecting on all that I have learned and experienced in the last two years whilst sharing Christ with the various internationals I meet on the vineyard over the summer break. Be sure to check out more flight/Queenstown photos in the links section above.
Shalom and blessings,