Friday, February 20, 2009

In Auckland for a Few Days

We spent an awesome time in Auckland. God was so good to lead us to a pentecostal family who was so kind to keep us for almost a week. On Thursday afternoon we got to see Takapuna beach. We were supposed to go shopping on Friday and since all the stores are out of the town and we also wanted to go to the Adventist Book Center in the other side of the city (by the way, the city is 80 Km long) it seemed pretty impossible to do everything in one day. But God was good again and sent a friends of our host to take us shopping for the whole day on Friday. We only payed for his fuel. God was good and we found what we needed and even things we didn't think about but were needed in the jungle.

Sabbath morning we decided we need to go to church. The wind was blowing hard and the rain was pouring outside but we left the house. With our new raincoats and a map we started walking to find the church. So if you saw two crazy people walking in the cold weather and rain in church clothes and one of them bare feet (my new shoes made me blisters) that was Mario and I who couldn't spend a Sabbath in the coziness of our host's home.

We had a nice time in church. People were very nice and kind to us. They came to greet us and talked to us. Even the pastor came and talked to us and was impressed when he saw we are wet and we walked all the way to church (by the way, it took us 40 minutes to reach there).

I don't know how many of you know, but three and a half years ago, when I was thinking about going to Guyana I also had another option: New Zealand. They needed a secretary for 2 pastors and a youth leader. They have even accepted me to come and work only as a youth leader when I told them I hate secretarial work but I received their email a day after I decided to go to Guyana. When he pastor started his sermon and I saw his name on the screen, I realized that name is not strange at all. I knew it from somewhere. Where from was the question. It was not hard to realize that the only contact with someone from New Zealand was 3,5 years ago. So, after the sermon, I went and asked the pastor if he was looking for a secretary and youth leader 3,5 years ago. And yes, he was the one. I just couldn't believe my ears and my eyes. Here I was, 3,5 years later, visiting the very same church were I was supposed to volunteer. Isn't God wonderful?

The church invited us to stay for launch and then go with them for a baptism. Mario met an Indian guy who offered to take us to the baptism place that was next to a water fall. We had an amazing time at the baptism and then visiting a black sand beach. Just before we left, the pastor came to pray for us. It was so nice of him to do that for us. He also made me laugh... While praying, he asked God to bless out marriage life. Poor him, he didn't know we were just friends traveling together to the mission field. So, I was cracking up while he was praying. Later on, Mario had a chance to tell him we are going on separate islands. Then, he realized we are not married. Poor him, he was a little it embarrassed.

On Saturday evening our Indian friend offered to take us to a restaurant to try Indian food. Since it was Valentine's Day, the place was packed and we had to wait more than usual but is was worth waiting even though we ended up waiting around 10 PM.

Sunday morning we left for the airport bright and early since our flight was 8 o'clock. We had no idea that another surprise was waiting for us there. To make a long story short, we were not able to leave because of the same problem: their system said we need a visa for Vanuatu. So we changed our tickets for Wednesday hoping that meanwhile we will be able to get a paper that will mention the fact that we do not need a visa.

On Sunday afternoon, our Indian friend took us Rotorua, a 3 hour drive to an active volcano and a place where we could see Maori traditions and music. We had an amazing time there, took lots of pictures and enjoyed the volcano and the Maori music.

Monday and Tuesday we spend the time trying to reach a Vanuatu Embassy or Immigration office to get the papers. But all our efforts were in vain. We even went to see the honorific consul of Vanuatu in Auckland and we waited to for in the front of the house for over two hours just to realize we could have got in touch with him by phone. He promised to talk to the immigration office in Vanuatu to send us the paper. But we received no email from them.

On Monday we also went to change our tickets (Auckland - Port Vila) and to bring them from December to March. But when we went to the traveling agent, I discovered that I forgot my ticket at home. So we could only make the booking. We promised to come back the next day to change them and pay for it. The next day, since we waited in front of the house of the consul, we arrived after the office closed so it was impossible to change it. We no official paper and the tickets not changed, it seemed that everything was against us. But God knew why I forgot my ticket at home and why we arrived too late at the traveling agent. He knew that will be an expense that we didn't need to pay for since our budget was already running low because of the extra time we had to spend in London and Auckland.

Terance, our Indian friend was more than kind to us. He took us all over the town in the evenings, took us to dine in town and even gave us very nice things to remember New Zealand. We had nice talks with him and we had a blessed time together talking about God and about the way He has led us so far. He even told us that he has never been to close to anybody in the 12 years he has spent in New Zealand than he is to us. So, thank you God for people who are so willing to share what they have with strangers. I know the Bible promises that he will be rewarded for what he has done for us.

So Wednesday morning we went again to the airport knowing that chances are few for us to be able to fly since we didn't have the official paper. Believe me, I had butterflies in my stomach and I was praying that the Lord will do His will. We went to the check in desk, the officer asked for our passports and tickets, he issued our boarding pass, took our luggage and that was it. He didn't say a word about the visa, about the extra kg we had... Nothing. Mario and I were just looking at each other not being able to believe what is happening to us. Upon arriving at the gate we just prayed, as we always have done, thanking the Lord for the miracles He performed for us.

Our Romanian missionary fellows waited for us at the airport. It was a happy and joyful reunion. There are 8 of us Romanian missionaries here. We have had a great time together so far because we are a family, aren't we?

I'm not sure how long I will still be staying in Port Vila. I am supposed to go on the island of Malakula, to teach in a SDA school in Malua Bay. We will see how the Lord will lead things and where He wants me. I am sure He knows the best place for me and I am looking forward to seeing the miracles He will do for us here.

I am very, very excited to be here. I just cannot believe that I am back to the mission field and back to the jungle. This is the life that I want to live. I just love this simple life. I feel at home here even though I have never been to Vanuatu before. And I know I feel at home because I am where God wants me to be and because I want to do what He wants me to do. I know I do not deserve God's goodness and I cannot understand why He loves me so much. I just know what He loves me and this makes me sooo happy.

Please, pray for us. Satan is angry. Our friends here have different problems with visas and other stuff, but we know that God is powerful and that He will never disappoint us. We know that, if there were so many obstacles so far, it is only because Satan is angry, because he is afraid and he knows that God has might plans with us and for us here.

I will try to keep you posted with what is going on. I don't know how often I will be able to go to the internet (anyway, it will not be before a month is over) but I am happy that at least I have a phone and I will have signal there.