A little over a week left until we leave sunny Florida. The realization and excitement are starting to set in.
Airline and cruise tickets are bought, travel visas are acquired, Airbnb and hotels are booked, international health insurance is set, copies of important travel documents are made, and final preparations are under way. Michael and I have cleaned our cars, detailing the insides, and completing final oil changes since they will be minimally driven while we are away (his parents will be our car and pet-sitters while we are away). We’ve had our final dentist appointments and I have one more haircut scheduled this week. We have stocked up on bird food for Milo and cat food and litter for Kitty. We are ticking off items on our New-Zealand-Travel-Checklist at a more rapid rate, which is very satisfying I might add.
Our packing lists will be final once the bags are zipped up…I’m still on the fence about a couple items. it’s harder than I thought to pack for a year…I have some tough wardrobe decisions ahead of me. I will let you know what makes the cut, look for that post next week!
Plus, I have been working on this super awesome planning binder to keep all of our NZ stuff organized. The sections include: Maps, Bank & Tax IRD info, NZ Customs Border Patrol, Free Wifi in NZ (where to find it), Recreation, Kingdom Halls in NZ, Camping (North & South Island), Transportation in NZ. Cool huh? Hopefully is doesn’t add too much weight to our bags!
We started putting together a very tentative schedule for exploring the North Island and will be starting a South Island itinerary soon. This itinerary will guide our travels between visits to different congregations and our field ministry. And speaking of field ministry….
We have heard back from the Australasia Branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sydney and they informed us of 4 congregations in New Zealand who could use some help. Two of the congregations are on the North Island: Murupara and Auckland; and two on the South Island: Ashburton and Gore. We hoping to visit all four congregations, but our goal is to stay for 3-4 months with the more rural congregations to really be of benefit in the field ministry. We have been in contact with one of the elders from the Gore congregation on the South Island, and it has only added to our excitement. He gave us a brief description of the region and environment and some background on their congregation.
Traveling to New Zealand to explore the country, culture, and people would be exciting for anyone. But to do those things while also preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom, Jesus Christ, and teaching others about the Bible, while making new friends along the way will make this trip truly fulfilling.
But before we head off to New Zealand, we will be taking a 3 week side trip to Ohio to visit family and friends. So stay tuned for some midwest adventures including a family trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains.