Hamilton – Part 2

Hamilton isn’t exactly a tourist mecca. In the lonely planet it’s termed has NZ’s largest inland city at 132000. See the reason that everyone lives at the coast is that it’s pretty there and easy to get to. And it seems to be sunnier there. So all the nice places in NZ are by the sea, except Taupo, which is beside a blooming great lake so it’s pretty much the same.

Hamilton has a river. So at least it’s got a water feature. Though I think lots of silly drunk people die in the river every year. Its main attractons are, to quote the Lonely Planet, ‘Hamitlon Gardens and the conservation zoo’. Now they may avtually sound quite nice, but the Lonely Planet has a tendency to talk places up a bit. It never says bad things about places just things that aren’t overwhelmingly positive. If it’s not described as ‘exhilirating, beautiful, mind-blowing and life-changing’ then it’s a dump. Hamilton falls into the latter category.

Enough, Hamilton bashing, it’s just it’s like the Lurgan of the north island, I wonder if I could market that phrase…

Anyhow, I was in Hamilton, to see a few mates. Sue Cuthbert from good old porteedown and Wayne Robinson, a guy who was on the Senegal team with me this year. Sue’s at bible/missionary school there, just outside Hamilton in a place called Gordonton (a place so miserable and sleepy it doesn’t even make it into the lonely planet.) It’s a WEC run pace and it’s pretty cool. Sue gave me a quick tour and the first 4 people I met were all from different countries. Cool that from thousands of miles away that I have family in CHRIST here. On e of the first girls I met said ‘you’re welcome bro’, and I was really touched that I was part of the family. Though Kiwis (and particularly Maoris) have a habit of calling everyone bro, but I chose to believe the first one!

And most of the guys are pretty cool. These are young folk, some younger than me – I was tempted to call them young kids actually – who are looking at lives in the deepest, darkest places in the world, to the glory of GOD. Guys who have rejected the nice, easy comfortable lives they could have had, to give all that they can for GOD. Pretty humbling. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re all sinful wasters like the rest of us who get on each others nerves from time to time, but grace-filled all the same.

Me, Sue and Wayne went out for tea in Hamilton and took a walk along the river, which to be fair was actually really quite pretty, and had a good ould chat about life. I’ve been away from home for 2 and half months now and have missed the conversations about important, significant stuff. I’ve missed talking about what GOD has been teaching me. I miss the intimacy there is between Christians, that you find nowhere else.

We went to church the next day, and yes of course I ended up playing guitar, as seems to be my role in life. I love it though, cause it gives me a ‘role’ or significance and I’m not left with the scary business of having to talk to people before and after the service. I’m a deeply shallow and neurotic man, I know this.

It was a funny type of a church, it was a farmer sort of a place, in many ways reminding me of lots of churches at home. I looked at the stamp on the piano and it said ‘Weir’s pianos and instruments – Hamilton’. Turns out it’s Deane Weir’s cousin or uncle or something. I’m probably related to some of the folk in the church.

I was kind of sad to leave the place in the end. Despite the rain and all the cows. It was a full of people that I had more in common with than the majority of the folk I’ve met so far. I drove home (in sunshine of course) in the grace and mercy of GOD, with knowledge of another part of my extended family located.

Might write to Lonely Planet and ask them to make a few changes.

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November 2006
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