It’s crazy. Last week marked two years since we got off the plane at Dunedin International airport and began our adventure in New Zealand. Even crazier is that we’re less than a year from our move back to the US.
This blog has turned into a bit more of a biannual endeavor, but that’s ok: time flies when you’re having fun. Just a quick update at this point.
Gretchen has already become quite the little traveler, trekking along brilliantly with mom and dad to Auckland, Hobbiton, Nebraska, Colorado, San Francisco, and back to Dunedin. In the US, Gretchen had a great time meeting her grandparents; two great grandmas; many aunts, uncles, cousins; and some of our great friends.
Back in NZ we’re in a good routine, enjoying the simple graces of everyday life. This summer has been good to us, with a lot of long, warm sunny days and fresh sweetcorn to enjoy. Although most of our North American friends have finished their studies and returned home, we’re keeping busy with various endeavors. Steph works in the early mornings from 6-11 while Luke watches Gretch, and then we switch and Steph watches Gretch from 11-7 while Luke works. Towards the end of last year, God opened a door for us to serve at a small country church south of Dunedin, so at least every other weekend we make the trek down from Osborne to worship with the wonderful people at Owaka Grace Fellowship.
Gretchen is a daily reminder of Grace and a source of great joy and laughter to her parents. She is sweet, amiable, and quick to smile at just about anyone. At a little over six months old, she has two little teeth coming in and is enjoying trying her hand at new solids (literally, as she insists on feeding herself). She also already keeps us on our toes as she is active crawling and exploring. Here are a few of our favorite pictures of her over the past few months.
Stephanie is as beautiful as ever and keeping herself quite active. In addition to work and caring for Gretchen, she remains an avid reader, enjoys weekly going for coffee with friends in town and has continued writing and submitting essays, stories, and devotionals to various publications. Luke remains busy as ever with the thesis, watching Gretchen, and preparations for sermons, tutoring and lecturing at the university. But still we make time for family walks on new trails and occasionally visiting a new cafe for coffee or lunch. These are good, full days.
We are two down and one to go. There is much that will keep time moving quickly in the months to come as we look forward to visits from grandparents from Nebraska and cousins from Colorado (with more visits in the works). We covet your prayers for this final year as we juggle our duties, continue to serve in Owaka, explore a bit more of New Zealand’s beauty with Papa and Grammy Hoselton in April, and particularly as Luke works to finish the thesis.
From New Zealand with Love,
Luke, Steph, and Gretch