Matthew had a rough start to the year with too many challenges. He was so sad to leave America and still says that he is half American as he lived half his life there. He also went to school for the first time just a few weeks after returning to New Zealand and this was a little difficult for him. He is doing really well now though, he enjoys school and is doing much better. He is especially excited at the moment about gymnastics and photography classes which Anna-Marie is actually going in to help teach.
He continues to be very talkative and friendly. Tonight he had us in fits at the dinner table telling jokes. He still loves to serve wherever he can and is a great little help at Naenae For Christ on a Sunday afternoon.
He is just beginning to enjoy reading more. He enjoyed watching the rugby world cup with the family and likes to go out and kick the soccer ball around. He has made a few friends and is enjoying church.
This is Matthew with his cousin Grace having fun in the van.
She has had her learners license now for about 6 months and drives very well. She was quite a confident driver from the start so it hasn't been too scary teaching her.
Helping on Father's Day at Naenae for Christ. Helping Anna-Marie take bubble photos for a photography project.
At the zoo with a friend from church.
Joel has settled in well into New Zealand life. He spent some time at the beginning of this year fishing with his Grandad and hopes to go hunting with him this summer. He is doing very well in school and is nearly finished his Year 9 (Grade 8) school year, his first year of high school. He was picked for a special sports and math class and played basketball and cricket.
He goes over to the boxing gym twice a week and trains with the Junior boys and is really loving it. It is great having the gym and the Graham family next door as being in Naenae we are a little isolated from others that we fellowship with, who are in Upper Hutt, about 20 minutes away.
He has grown so much this year. He eats a lot and just seems to get taller and taller. He has also been writing his testimony recently and has been talking about baptism so we are prayerful and praising God for this growth in his life. He enjoys the youth ministry at church and attends the Wednesday night bible studies most weeks.
Rachel turned 15 back in May and is growing into a beautiful young women. She has just about finished her Year 11 (Grade 10) year in high school and has done really well. She received several awards at the prizegiving last night and quite a few awards at the school sports awards including being nominated for sports women of the year. She has played both soccer and basketball this year and this would be her favourite part of school. She has been picked for a special elite sports class next year so she is very excited about that. She was also our only child to attend a youth Sports Camp up at our old church in Hastings. The quest speaker was an American from California, Brent Eldridge. In keeping with the theme of sports she is also helping to run a women's fitness class at the boxing gym.
She has had her learners drivers license for a few months now but because of some recent changes to the law she cannot sit her license for another year and a half so she has a long time to learn.
She continues to put God first and faithfully shares with her friends at school and serves at church. Settling back into New Zealand has not been easy for Rachel but I think she has grown through the experience and has continued to mature. She is such a joy and often brings laughter to us all.
All dressed up for the Sports Camp Awards Dinner.
Rachel and good friend Susanna from next door all ready to paint Susanna's closet.
Rachel being her very competitive self on the basketball court.
At Sports Camp in Hastings, NZ.
Receiving an award at the Heretaunga College Sports Awards.
Anna-Marie is just a few days off turning 17. She is finishing up her Year 12 (Grade 11) high school year with just exams to go. She has done very well at fitting into public school life. She had to pick up at NZQA Level 2 quickly without having done Level 1 but should have no trouble passing at this stage. She has loved her photography class and has become more and more interested in it. With the boxing gym next door and a growing relationship with the boy next door, she has been spending lots of time at boxing tournaments where she also takes lots of photos, in fact she takes lots of photos where ever she goes.
Public school has been a challenge but, by God's grace, she has been faithful to share her faith with others and continues to be a blessing to us and even helped me teach a study to the other young girls at church earlier this year.
She also has her first job. I would love to have a photo of her in front of KFC, in her KFC uniform but sometimes the photographer will not allow herself to be photographed.
We would appreciate your prayers for her as she prepares to have her pacemaker replaced in February. The battery is low so she needs to have the unit replaced but they are also considering removing the old leads she has going through her veins into her heart as they are beginning to cause problems in one of her heart valves. This would mean that she would have to have open heart surgery and removal of these leads is quite a delicate process so we will keep you informed and would covet your prayers.
She has only had the opportunity to do one of her other great loves once or twice since being here but I have included a great photo of her riding.