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Archive for December, 2011


I’ve been reading a lot about New Zealand as well as watching videos of people who live there in an attempt to get a feel for the accent. One thing that I know I’d like to learn more about as a science teacher, is the flora of the country. What types of plants are familiar to me? I know they have lots of ferns, but are they just like the ferns in the Midwest? Also, I think it would be very fun to know which ones are edible just in case… you know…. I go camping and run out of food…among other possibilities. It’s good to be prepared. I’ve always loved the idea of knowing the plants even around here in local woods, but never got around to learning that much. Perhaps now is my chance to become a novice botanist, and possibly an herbalist. The study would definitely be helpful in the classroom and on field trips.

This book has caught my attention recently:

While it seems like most stores in the U.S. sell it for over $200, someone is selling it used on Amazon for under $30. It must be hard to find since it’s about New Zealand. You can by it for $30 from New Zealand websites, but shipping may be questionable. Anyhow, I will now leave you with visions of ferns dancing in your head. 🙂

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Oftentimes, when people talk about God leading them in major decisions and turning points in their lives they talk about doors opening and closing. In my case, I think God chose a revolving door. I had to go around a few times before I could go through it. In retrospect, it makes quite a bit of sense, but the experience itself was a bit brain rattling. I would like to take a few paragraphs to tell the story about how I got a job in New Zealand. However, It’s very hard to keep it short so, feel free so skim. I want to document it all for future reflection.

It all started last January. I returned to Andrews from Christmas break and was toying with different ideas of where I might teach when I was finished. Part of me wanted to go back to Yap and teach there again, but without a real salary, that didn’t make much sense when I had student loans to pay off. So, I thought, ‘Guam!’ that’s close. Then I tried to think of other places in that area and New Zealand came to mind. I thought, ‘hmm, that would be an interesting place to go’ and dismissed the thought as very unlikely.

I didn’t give it much more thought until Feb 12. It was Sabbath. After Sabbath school, a Korean woman I had never met said hello and asked about what I was studying and made some small talk. I asked her opinion of something that was on my mind at the time and we prayed about it together. We parted ways, but I ran into her again a few minutes later in the foyer. She introduced me to some friends of hers and they invited me to have lunch with them after church. I agreed, drove the woman I met first to their house. We arrived first and as the rest of the guests arrived I noticed something about them. They all had accents from a similar place. During the meal, we were all talking and one of the men mentioned that he used to be an administrator in New Zealand as a teacher. I  mentioned that I had thought about teaching there and he said, ‘Well, we might be able to but your name in down there!’ I was so surprised because I had never expected anything like that, especially after just meeting all of these people.

Initially, I didn’t think any of this would work out, because I was planning on graduating in May, 2012. New Zealand schools, start in February as the schedule is flipped to match the similarly flipped seasons. We exchanged contact information nonetheless. I didn’t see how this could be an open door at all.

In March the pastor at PMC made an appeal for people to “go into all the world” on behalf of Christ our Lord—to find those who have yet to find God’s hand and know His heart. I went forward, along with more than 250 people. (PMC is very large, with many students and others attending each week). I didn’t know quite where I’d be going, or how, but I was willing, and wanted to go where ever God may ask. A few weeks later I was reading a quote in the bulletin that listed the top 9 countries in which a study predicted religion to soon be ‘extinct’. Interestingly, New Zealand was in that list. The article mentioning this can be found here.

At the end of the semester, I was planning the classes I was going to take that summer, when my advisor informed me that all the classes that I needed to take to graduate would be offered that summer. If I wanted, I could graduate in December. I was so excited about that idea, because I was really beginning to be tired of school, as I had just finished my 5th year since high school and was anxious to be finished. So, plans were made to finish in December and I let the man from New Zealand know that I would be free to take a job in February. He sent my name to the principles he knew in NZ and a few weeks later, I heard back from the principal at Longburn Adventist College on Jun 19. (high schools are often called ‘college’ in NZ). He explained that there were very likely be a position available. I was so excited! We kept communication going as I asked questions and he sent me information.

I made it through half of summer classes and started the second half in July. I was scheduled to take 3 classes at once. The normal load was usually no more than 2, but they made an exception for my case. I realized very quickly due to some circumstances involving one of the classes that I needed to drop it and take it in the fall. I added two Chem classes to finish my minor, a Hebrew class for fun, and the dropped class. I wrote  an apology and explanation to the principal in NZ explaining that I would not be able to consider teaching in NZ that year.

At this point, I had seen a possible door open once, and then close.

I quickly moved on and started thinking about other places to possibly work. I set my heart on Colorado. My plans however did not get very far. More than a month later, on Sept 15 I heard back from the principal. He sent me a link to the application for a position teaching senior levels of Biology and Chemistry and invited me to apply even though I wouldn’t be able to start until May. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t really understand how they would do that, but was informed that they had sometimes worked things like that out in the past. I took a week or so to put all my information together and sent it in. I waited.

On October 12 the Appointments Committee met and made their decision. I was notified by email, that while the committee was impressed with my application, they decided on someone who could start at the beginning of the year.

Again, the door opened, but closed again.

I was so perplexed, and quite honestly very disappointed, as is clear in this blog. I tried to adjust. I actually think I went through the five stages of grief: First, I was in denial for about an hour. Then I was quite angry for a spell. I moved on to depression and then a form of bargaining. It reminds me of this video. While, I don’t quite like the bleeping, it really fits the situation.

I still wanted to go, so I wondered if it was wrong to keep praying for another way to go to NZ, even though  this door was closed. It seemed so clear before, that that’s where I should be. I asked a good friend about it and she said, ‘No, it’s not wrong, I’ll pray too’. So, we kept it in our prayers. Except, I while I was praying for a new door to open, she was praying for the same door to reopen. I didn’t realize this until later, but found it very interesting. About two weeks went by where I was trying to find other teaching positions there. This is what I call bargaining….

I finally gave up and said, ‘fine, I guess it’s not meant to be, I’ll stay here, God must have a plan here then, I shouldn’t push for something if it’s not a part of Gods plan’.

Not more than 2 hours after I had this acceptance of the circumstances I received an email from the principal again. It was to tell me that the teacher they hired was not able to fill the position anymore and that if I was still willing, they would advertise for a teacher that could teach until I got there in May! I was dumbfounded. My jaw literally was hanging open as I stared at the computer. This was on Oct 30. I told him I was indeed still interested.

The door seemed to be open again. So, I waited for them to find a teacher, and on Nov 29 I received the official ‘letter of offer’ for the job. Through much prayer, I was finally able to step through this door. Before I had even began any real plans for where I should be after graduation, God was already working. I really, barely did anything besides pray. It’s all so very surprising. Never, would I had ever dreamed of getting a job such as this. But I know God knows our hearts and tries to give us things that will both fulfill His will and meet our hearts desires. It’s all really for His glory. He deserves any and all awe for these types of things.

Psalms 32:8 says,

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.”

I believe that He does. What love. And what purpose am I to fill in this new adventure for God? Only time will tell.

And so, really what was it with all that door opening and closing? It must have been a revolving door. And to experience the fullness of what that entails, you have to go around a few times. 🙂

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