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New Zealand trip report, part 1

Mar 03, 2018

We left Minneapolis in the afternoon of January 30, 2018 and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on the morning of February 1st, having skipped a day by crossing the International Dateline in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

We then went from the international terminal to the domestic terminal to fly north to Keri Keri, where Lynley was supposed to pick us up to take us to her house in Taipa on the north shore. However, shortly before we were to get on the plane, they announced that the flight was being cancelled, due to the weather. A cyclone was passing just north of New Zealand, and the airport at Keri Keri was being closed.

So I called Lynley, and she made arrangements for us to stay overnight at a nearby hotel while she drove five hours down to Auckland in the driving rain in the dark. She then picked us up the next morning Friday, February 2nd, and drove us back north to her house. That evening we had our first meeting with about a dozen people.

I taught on the Restoration of All Things, which almost everyone appreciated. Just one man from south India with a long history of ties to traditional Christianity did not understand much of what I said. So much of Scripture is unread or misunderstood by the church. His lack of knowledge was not unusual, but God keeps us engaged with people like him in order to keep us grounded in the real world. It is easy to get so deep that we lose sight of those who remain on the surface.

The next day he called friends to come, and so another couple came from Auckland as well. This man had been a staunch Hindu until Jesus appeared to him in a dream twice. He then became a believer in Christ and married a traditional Christian woman. I found it interesting that she had no ears to hear anything beyond her understanding, but that her ex-Hindu husband did. It is obvious that he has ears to hear, even if she does not. If we see them again in the future, it will be interesting to see where this leads.

We also met Andrew and Yolinda, who drove up from Hamilton. Andrew is a retired banker, and Yolinda is a pharmacist whose heart is in the natural health field. They have been reading my weblogs and books for some years. They had arranged for us to have a meeting in Hamilton later, so we knew that we would see them in another week. Here they are with Lynley on the left.

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After meetings all week end, Lynley took us for a drive on Monday along the ocean and to eat at a famous fish-and-chips restaurant. The weather was beautiful. We walked up a nearby hill to look over the bay and the town.

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Then we walked along the beautiful beach and picked up a few black rocks to take home, which could be used for creative projects.

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On Tuesday, February 6, Lynley drove us to Kohukohu, where we spent two nights at a Bed and Breakfast on the shore of a large inlet on the northwest side of the island. I took this picture of Darla and Lynley as they talked in front of the Bed and Breakfast.

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The inside was cozy but roomy with a balcony outside over the water.

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We had the pleasure of talking with Stephanie (pictured below), a lady who had immigrated from Germany many years ago. Others had been invited to the meetings, but they did not show up, so it seemed that the Father wanted us to talk specifically with her.

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During the day on February 7, we took the ferry across the bay to Rawene and drove beyond it to see some of the beautiful scenery where the bay met the ocean.

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From there, Lynley drove us to Whangarei on the northeast side of the island, where I taught at a Maori house church, led by Brother Rawiri, seen in the middle of the picture below. (I took this picture during the lunch after the meeting.)

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I again taught the Restoration of All Things from the perspective of the New Covenant promises of God. This was well received by all except the one man on the far left, who entertained a more traditional view of the judgments of God.

The next day we went to Maungatapere, which is about 10 miles from Whangarei, just over the hill to the west. That is the town where I first taught some years ago at the Community Church. The pastor at that church has since kicked out those who believe in the Restoration of All Things and who do not hold a Christian Zionist view. It seems that they blame me for causing division, when in fact they are the ones who divided the camp by kicking out those who did not adhere to the traditional party line.

The problem comes when Christians add a list of things necessary for fellowship. In my view, faith is the basis of fellowship, and this means believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sin of the world, that He rose again for our justification, and ascended to the right hand of God. These are the essentials of salvation and faith in Christ. Beyond that, only certain moral issues (without repentance) are given to us that would warrant separation from fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:1, 9).

But traditional Christianity (especially since the fourth century) has included an increasing number of doctrinal creeds in the list of essentials that define what it means to be a believer. This has encrusted men’s understanding of salvation and has resulted in numerous divisions in the church. In each case, of course, they blame those that they excommunicate for causing division. Go figure.

Sandy and Glenda Simes were founders of the Community Church there in Maungatapere, but they were kicked out. Trevor and Cheryl Barfoote and their family were active members and supporters of the church, but they had to leave as well. So Trevor and Cheryl set up a house church, where we have been teaching. Trevor picked us up from Whangarei on the morning of Friday, February 9, driving us to his house for the next 4 days.

We had our first meeting at the Barfoote house on that Friday evening, with about two dozen people in attendance. Again, I taught on the Restoration of All Things, which some did not accept, while others did or were further grounded in the word. We had three more meetings all day Saturday, and two more meetings on Sunday (morning and evening) with about more than a dozen people attending regularly. The picture below shows 16 of them.

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Darla took a photo of the new whiteboard that I used at the meeting.

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Trevor did not have a whiteboard, but since I requested one, we drove to a hardware store in Whangarei to look for one. We found one that was fairly small—about half the size of the one in the photo above. The salesman said it cost $700 (NZ dollars). Trevor told him, “Well, we won’t be bringing that one home today.”

The salesman then took us to the back, where he showed us the above whiteboard. It had a slight defect on one corner, as the frame was loose from the whiteboard. “How much is this?” Trevor asked. “$100,” was the reply. “We’ll take it.” The defective corner was quickly fixed.

So we got the whiteboard and the stand for $100, and the salesman even threw in a black marker free of charge. That’s the story of the whiteboard.

On the final evening, I changed topics and taught an overview of Secrets of Time in order to convey a sense of timing as to where we are today in Kingdom history. All of the sessions were recorded, so that others could view the teachings later. (Not everyone was able to come to all of the sessions.)

Most of Monday, February 12, we spent visiting with Sandy and Glenda. They took us to their “batch” on the bay, something that we would call a cottage in Americaneze. We had a great day with them and were returned safe and sound in time for supper. The first picture below is not a very good picture, but I include it because some of you will recognize Arthur Bodie on the left.

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Here are the three Barfoote girls as well, who are now all grown up, with the two older girls on the left attending college.

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Finally, on Tuesday, February 13 Lynley drove us to Tauranga south of Auckland on the east coast, where I was scheduled to speak to a new group of people in the afternoon and evening. They had rented out a building in a city park.

Before the meetings, we went into the city itself and had lunch at a restaurant near the beach.

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Nearby was a unique peninsula that looked like an island attached by a thin strip of land to the mainland.

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Another island is unattached, so it is a true island.

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We had lunch in the open air section of the restaurant. Signs were posted to warn customers not to leave their food unattended. Thieves were ever present, and their sentries were vigilant.

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The meetings at the park in Tauranga went very well. I gave an introduction to Secrets of Time in two sessions with a meal break between the sessions. There were about a dozen people and no opposition that I could discern. There was talk about holding a conference there in the future. If this actually takes shape, it would be nice to hold a joint conference with Ian Clayton, who is more well known there. He has some very good teaching, and some of you may have heard him.

From Tauranga, we drove the next day (February 14) to Hamilton, passing “the shire” and the town of Hobbiton, built on the hillside for “Lord of the Rings.” It was not far off the main highway, but we did not stop, because we had already seen it a few years ago and because we did not have extra time before the next meeting.

We met Andrew the retired banker in Hamilton, now driving a taxi. He introduced us to our next hostess, who conducts a house church of about a dozen people. I taught that evening and fielded many questions afterward. Unfortunately, Darla and I were both so caught up in the meeting that we neglected to take any photos. We had a wonderful time once again and stayed overnight at her house.

The next morning (February 15) Lynley drove us back to Auckland, where we got on the plane to fly to Christchurch, located on the east coast of the south island.

(To be continued)


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Category: Trip Reports
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones