We have had an amazing time with my sister, Sharon, during her visit here to New Zealand.
We very much enjoyed taking her to see some fun things - walks in our favorite places like Smith Bush and plenty of time at various beaches. Of course we did a trip to Hobbiton and we also took her on a trip to the tippy top of New Zealand, doing a bus trip from Piha to Cape Reinga. So many precious memories! I will never forget the view of the Milky Way from our cabin at Piha - truly stunning.
I had warned Sharon ahead of time that because she was coming in what for us is late Autumn, the weather could be dicey. Indeed, we had plenty of breezy, rainy days. However, not one time did we get wet when we had things planned. It was uncanny. When we drove places we wanted to see it would be POURING rain the whole way there. Then, as soon as we parked the car and were ready to get out, the rain just STOPPED. Granted, the ground was still soggy and the trees were dripping. But every time we wanted to walk around - whether it was at the Hamilton Gardens or Ninety Mile Beach - the skies opened up and gave up a window of calm, if not full sunshine.
Because of all the rain we had rainbows every single day of her visit. Some of them were truly spectacular.
Of all my family, my sister Sharon has been the most supportive of me being on this mission. While we do not share the same beliefs, she has been tremendously respectful of how important my faith is to me.
It felt so good to be able to get in a good long visit with her. We took lots of photos and talked and laughed together till our sides ached. She is such a blessing in my life. It was hard to put her on the plane to send her back home. But I know she was ready to get back - she was missing her husband and anxious to prepare a baby shower to celebrate the impending arrival of her first grandchild. I am so grateful that with all she has going on, she found this window of time to come be with me.
When we first came out on our mission I had NO idea we would be allowed to have family or friends come for extended visits. That is a privilege the young missionaries don't get. But senior missionaries have a whole lot more freedoms. Chances to have Larry's sister, Toni, come with her friend Sheryl, and now my sister too have been priceless. It will make it all the more special when we get back home to have someone we can share memories with of this amazing land.
Here are just a few of the scenes from our wonderful time together:
|Whangarei Rainbow from the day we had lunch with our good friends there|
|Fall colors at Hamilton Gardens|
|Auckland skyline from Devonport harbor|
|One of the cool fig trees in Devonport|
|At Hamilton gardens|
|View from Hobbiton|
|One of our many lovely walks together|
|Sharon and I in front of Hobbit House|
|Another stunning rainbow!|
|Maori show at Rotorua|
|Larry and I inside the Kauri staircase|
|Me holding a stuffed kiwi bird at the Kiwi house|