Thursday, September 29, 2005

Parachute 06

Is Parachute 06 looking like its going to be a total flop. I was expecting more big name bands this year. The Bands that are comming are high quality. But there are only two big well known bands. Both of them have come before. They being Delirious and Day of Fire. They are both awesome bands, but there are so many great bands. Everyone wanted switchfoot to come which would have been awesome. Look out for Anberlin though. They are an awesome up and comming band. I expect that they will find great success in the mainstream music industry. They are a great band who are reminiscent Jimmy Eat World but are much more edgier. I think they will outshine Day of Fire at parachute this year and will be the talk of the festival

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Me at the top of the peak of love. Just another beautiful day in Siberia Posted by Picasa

This is the picture of the Russian and Western conquerers at the top of the peak of love. This was a hard trek. We got up this peak on a stomich full of buck wheat (yuck!) and a drink bottle of water. It was interesting when we got to the top only having a small sandwich each to eat knowing that you really needed more food. But we lived Posted by Picasa

Me and the potato. A Hazardous relationship! Posted by Picasa

The port of call when we needed relief on camp. It isn't as scary as it looks! Posted by Picasa

Summary of events Siberia 05

This is basically an email I sent to my American friend Kristin after my trip to siberia. It talks about my joys and trials in siberia. Enjoy!

The time spent preparing for the trip to Siberia was invaluable for me. My biggest tension when reading the culture shock articles came over whether to bring my cd player or not. I decided not to bring it as I was worried I would use this to zone out of the troubles and out of the culture. I am so happy I didn't bring it as I believe it would have been more of a help than a hindrance to me. I am so happy that I looked through all the resources though. They gave me a better understanding of the big picture when it comes to missions.
The flights were great and were really interesting. This was my first test as it was my first time out of New Zealand and didn't really know what I was meant to do. Even when coming back I still had some holes in my thought. The most interesting experience was going through Chinese customs and having to get a stay pass so we could go on a domestic flight from Beijing to Shingyieng. It all worked out and we had help from Ernie back home who knew how the Chinese system worked.
Another interesting experience was when in the flight to Irkutsk a compartment in the roof of the airplane came down when we taking off. This had to be the most exciting and scary experience of the trip. I remember the feeling of my stomach dropping as the airplane lifted into the air. I was in a state of prayer through the first five to ten minutes just hoping the plan would last the flight to Irkutsk. I know I was overreacting but I was happy I got safely to Irkutsk.
The First night in Irkutsk was great. I remember though the first drive in Irkutsk. From Irkutsk to Ublini, this was interesting because this was my first taste of driving on the opposite side of the road and also the first taste of Russian driving. The great thing is that Russian driving is that it is comparatively good. There are some dubious road actions but other than that it is pretty reasonable. My eyes were popping at the sites. One thing you do notice in Irkutsk is that one there are lots of traffic cops that operate on the bridge and 2 that there are heaps of little crashes on Russian roads. This is something I noticed as time went on.
The flat was quite cool. We went there and got briefed by Yakov and asked him questions. We then made a quick dinner after Yakov and Sym went and got food. We had pasta so that was great. The next day we spent most of the day waiting for Yakov. This was a whole day activity so we had to adapt to this idea. I spent the day reading and relaxing or listening to a sermon from Grace Community Church.
Tuesday we went into town and visited the church where Sym got a huge hug from Dasha. Me and Briar ended up buying a few things from the church shop On Wenesday we went into town again. We met up with Natasha who is a Russian who works for campus crusade at the linguistics university. She showed us around town and we just spent time talking with her. We then met up with the youth group on Wednesday night. They were practicing for the concert that was going to be the next day. I really enjoyed this time as they were doing Russian rock songs, but they also did alive by P.O.D in Russian which was an experience in a half for me. They also sang a number of worship songs that had been translated into Russian from English. This meant we could try and sing along to them. This was great as up to this point I had felt really out of it and didn't know what part I had to play.
Sasha who was one of the musicians in the band also gave us his testimony. This was awesome and he had so much Joy while he told it. I also started talking to André that night which was great. His friendship and worshipful heart would be a blessing to me throughout the rest of trip. The next morning we met a tired Chris at the airport. He spent the day resting then came out with us to the concert at one of the university halls. Again this was an enjoyable time.
The next morning (if I have my days and times right still) we went away on camp. I spent the time in the front seat next to Yulia. For me at times this was a frustrating experience. If I was in my comfort zone I would have been sitting in the back of the minivan speaking in English to Chris or briar, but I was sat in the front talking to Yulia who can speak good English but at times couldn't understand me. I’m really happy with the situation as it got me talking to someone from Russia and also helped get me out of my comfort zone quite early on and made the struggle at camp maybe a bit less.
The first few days at camp were rather enjoyable. They were spent just relaxing and getting to know the camp organizers. It helped me get through some of the struggles with having to use a squat toilet and language issues. The first night at camp for me was the hardest period of time in my life. This was the closest point to where I could have blown it. The issues were for me that you feel your space has just been invaded. It was invaded by campers who were trying to put their stuff anywhere and everywhere. My sleeping area which used to be rather comfortable was now made into a small patch on the floor. We also had to deal with Dora the puppy. Dora the puppy is Russia version of Gemma the cat. It decided also that It liked me and this created a lot of fun for me. The first surprise was the puppy coming out of a bag that was brought by valentine. I had to enjoy valentines 6.30 wake up call and then endure the puppy deciding that it liked me so much that it would lick and kiss me in the morning to wake me up. Luckily by the third day of the camp valentine decided the puppy was not a good idea and was causing me and others a considerable amount of distress.
I really enjoyed the time at camp. The only thing that probably started to get me down was the food. I didn't enjoy stogg and a little bit of meat everyday. I learned a lot about God, others and myself over camp. One thing that was a real shock 2was one night I was showing pictures of my home back in New Zealand. I realised when I was showing these pictures of my house just how lucky I was. When I saw the picture of my the TV in the corner of our house and the drum set I realised how wealthy and lucky we are in New Zealand.
My favorite times were my worship times with Andrew. One night we were just sitting at the camp fire and me and him just started singing songs that we both knew. Another day I had been having a quick wash down by the river. He had come down as well. I had just finished my quiet time and he asked me if I would like to do some worship with him. We worshiped for about 30 minutes together and this was just an awesome time together.
Another great experience was the work up the peak of love, or what ever its called. There were some really beautiful views of the Ashan region from this peak. I enjoyed the trip up and down. Sym was really worried about the weather packing in and also about Serges' duaghter Dasha who came with us. At one point we had split up as a group and as a result this caused interesting comments back at the camp site from Yakov. Another interesting part of the trip was being some of the most prepared people for the conditions. Me, Briar Chris all brought extra clothes and supplies. But we all lived on 800 mils of water and a small sandwich to get up and down. This was interesting to people who are used to bringing even more supplies than needed just in case you got into trouble, thank God everything worked out well.
The last night of camp was really sad. We told people what we found special about each other. It was really sad and as I write this the memories and tears come flooding back. The Russians really opened up on the last night and you saw things about them that you never saw before. That night me, Chris and Sym had a farewell Vanya. The Vanya is a Sauna and turns into a very social experience for the guys. We then spent the night dancing away and spent the night listening to music. Around 1 O’clock at night we had dinner which was pork kebabs. This was a great time.
The next morning we had our farewell. We gave out postcards with notes to the campers. We also had a huge farewell at the bus stop which was really awesome and sad. I just hope the time at camp had an impact on those who I grew close to. They are awesome people and I miss them a lot, especially Yulia, Andrew, and Sasha. I hope that I will see them, God willing, next year.
We went back to Irkutsk and tried to meet up with Yakov. We had dinner at our favorite pizza place, domino's, where I think I managed to get a bit ill from the food there. We then got hold of Yakov who was back in Ublini so we went back there where we had surprise guests. We had valentine who had preached at camp and his wife, his child, and the Puppy. Thankfully relations between me and the puppy had cooled down a little since I had last seen Dora but it had been a rather ironic meeting and caused a lot of surprise to me. We had a good time talking with Yakov and valentine. It was great to spend time relaxing. We got to bed at the usual time of midnight and had to get up at 5.30 the next morning.
Flights went well the other way. We got delayed in Irkutsk because of military operations at the airport, Jo managed to get her flight in Beijing to Thailand and me and Briar had a relaxing trip back to New Zealand without as much turbulence as the other way.
I miss the people in Russia, especially my friend Andre – who just has an awesome heart for God and just loves to worship God using his guitar. I've also found the pace of life kind of daunting. I just really want to spend time with people, to catch up with people and talk with them, but I have a tension of getting the load of work done that I have to get done (thankfully I got this all done in the last week so that was awesome!) and spending time with people which to me seems the more important priority out of the two

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

First Blog

Well Here goes. Hopefully this second blog will be a better attempt at blogging than my first one.
Last attempt failed becuase I wasn't that serious.

This blog aims to be funny, informative and hopes to give a unique perspective on a number of different Issues. Enjoy