When I was in college, you once told me:
“If I were to give you my blessing to migrate to another country, it would definitely be to live in New Zealand and only New Zealand”
I never forgot about that dad, but I never really understood why, except you telling me that New Zealand is a neutral country and that its safe and gorgeous. Other than that, you didn’t really give me any other reasons… Well dad, now I know why.
I went to New Zealand with my boss Ron, Joyce and Raymond. We were there for 9 days to be part of the United Christian Broadcasters International Forum. The trip was absolutely AWESOME!
The first thing we did when we got to Auckland was eat at Denny’s — because I requested for it! Eating at Denny’s just brought back sooooo many memories! I told our team how when we would go to the states, after we’d check-in at the hotel, we would always go to Denny’s for either lunch or dinner! Well, either that or we’d go to Taco Bell. But we’d ALWAYS eat at Denny’s and I never complained (at least I don’t remember complaining) `coz I love it! I wish you were there with me dad! Their menu has changed BIG TIME!
On our 2nd day in Auckland we got to check out Rhema Broadcasting Group’s crib a.k.a. UCB New Zealand’s HQ! It was like visiting a cousin’s house, you know what I mean? Anyway it was awesome to see their TV studios and their on-air booth and meeting the UCB affiliates from around the world!
One of the highlights of this trip was spending time with Lynn. We first met when I went to Australia to learn about on-air fundraising from Vision Radio (UCB Australia). Lynn and I connected really well from the moment she picked me up at the airport. I was only there for 4 days I think, but we’ve managed to remain as friends the past year and a half! It was such a blessing to be able to spend more time with her in New Zealand so when we actually saw each other — it was one long teary eyed hug!
After a nice barbeque lunch at Rhema, we went on a 3-hour (more or less) road trip to Rotorua where the forum was gonna be at. The forum was AWESOME for so many reasons. Top of the list was to meet and spend time with family a.k.a. affiliates from around the world. Next on my list was meeting Bob Gass, the author of the Word for Today! Dad, if it weren’t for his devotional, I have no idea how I would have been connected to The Edge! You see, on my 3rd Sunday in church, I was with my friend Acel (who’s a famous rock singer here) and then Ron, network manager of The Edge, gives Acel a copy of the Word 4U and hands me a copy too then he walks away. And that was that. I started reading it and from then on, I couldn’t leave home without it. A few months later I met Ron and Joyce (his wife) again at a party and told them about The Word 4U Today. They had me over as a guest on the Edge, then I started to volunteer, then after a few months they took me in to work for them full time and a month or two later I was heading the team that takes care of the devotional!!!! So when I finally met Bob Gass, I was kinda star struck that I blurted out that whole story in under 2 or 3 minutes I think and he obviously didn’t know what to do with this wacko who was just going on and on and on! I think I could’ve waited for better timing, but oh well… on the last night I SLOWLY asked him if I could have my photo taken with him 🙂
Other than being sorta star-struck, I appreciate the fact that we had such great speakers who shared such interesting topics and concepts that really make you THINK! 🙂 It was also such a treat to meet Dick Jenkins, the man behind Air1 and K-Love. Dad, we got to sit down one night with him to just pick his brain! I was just blown away! You’ve got to understand that when we were working on theedge.ph website, we would often check out Air1’s website coz it’s just sooooo cool!
It was also great to hear what the other stations around the world are doing…and we got to share what we’re doing in the Philippines too! It was such an honor, a privilege to speak in front of Christian broadcasters from around the world and talk about what our new website and what our team is doing!
Aside from learning loads at the forum, we also went out to do quite a number of touristy stuff. We went to Te Puia to learn more about the Maori culture and to check out the geysers (that didn’t really smell all too good) BUT we got to see how food was cooked in the hot springs AND we got to taste it too… absolutely delicious is an understatement. I’m sure you would have loved it too!
We also got to check out the Tamaka Maori Village experience where they re-enacted how different Maori tribes were in days of old. Their warriors were pretty scary and there was just so much testosterone there! I’m sure my girl friends would have loved me even more if I took them warriors home with me..but well, I wasn’t that brave! haha! 🙂 Disclaimer: I wasn’t gonna take them home for me.. I was gonna do it for my friends (BIG SMILE).
You are right dad, New Zealand is gorgeous! I know I only saw just a few places in the north island and they said that the south island is spectacular but what I saw was enough to tell you, you were right.
My favorite would have to be having a huge beautiful park and the beach and a strip of coffee shops all in one place. When I was just walking in between the beach and the park, I wished you were there with me and oh how I wish Kristo and mom were there with us too! Kristo loves the park and the beach as much as I do dad!
It was such a treat to spend time in such a beautiful country but more than that, it was a blessing to have explored bits of it with great people…
While we were in Rotorua I shared a room and had breakfast every morning with Helle. She’s the “big boss” of UCB Estonia. I learned so much about her country and their culture! I’m glad I got to share the room with her `coz she is so much fun to be with! Someday I wish I could go and visit her!
I’ve met Dennis Delaney, managing director of UCB International several times and I’ve often told people that he reminds me a lot of you! Just the way he makes people laugh, you guys actually have very similar facial expressions and moves! So I always enjoy seeing Dennis, coz somehow I feel closer to you dad. On this trip I got to meet his wonderful wife Brenda, oh and she’s lovely dad, absolutely lovely!
I also had loads of fun with girl friends!!! I already told you about Lynn, right? With us in this photo is Paula from the UK. We had a blast taking photos everywhere, talking, putting mud facial on our face, talking, singing around the piano, talking, chillin’ out in Paula’s room drinking tea, talking and well I can go on and on and on… But point us, I’ve got a new friend again and even if we’re all thousands of miles away from each other with everything online, it’s just so easy to stay in touch! I wish they could’ve met you dad…
Well..I still have a truck load of stories and people to tell you about but I guess I’ll share a bit more next time…. and um, thank you for somehow carving a special place for New Zealand in my heart. It made the trip really special coz I felt sooooo close to you – knowing that it was one of your favorite places on the planet! I miss you dad. I love you.