Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category




I'm finally driving after more than 10 years of getting my license!


I've had a phobia of driving after getting my license coz I was horned at by a police car (!) and almost reversed into a drain with a group of youths in the car. And I'm generally a scaredy cat. Driving was just too stressful a thing for me. There was never a real pressing reason for me to drive since transportation was so easily available in Singapore and it was too expensive to own a car anyways.


But here in Matamata, we can't go anywhere without a car! Plus James doesn't have a driving license although I think he can prob drive better than me.


You ask, how did we survive the past 1 and a half years? The first school we did, we thought we were just staying for 3 months and it wasn't so important that we couldn't get to places. There was a van run to town every week and if we needed to go into town, we could just get a lift from someone.


When we returned in July last year, Gin was here too and we decided to buy a car together. I thought I'll try driving then but still, the inertia was just too strong. She drove most of the time so I didn't feel like I really needed to.


BUT NOW! We have a car (7 seater at that!) and no one to drive us around anymore! So…………….. I decided to just get on with it. Turns out, it's really not that bad. Funny how fear can grip us so tightly that we can't see past anything and everything is an excuse to why I can't do it. But I believe God answered my prayer and gave me a breakthrough. I felt so at ease the first time behind the wheels and today, I actually drove into town and back with Claire as my coach. Sophie even fell asleep on the way home!


I'm SO thrilled!!!!! For those who know me well prob know what a breakthrough it is for me! I am so looking forward to driving into town on my own soon…. yay!

Auckland – Butterfly Creek


(P/s Bear with me, I’m post blogging coz we’ve done so much the past two weeks)


Before we left Auckland, we had some time between checking in and boarding time so we decided to pop over at Butterfly Creek for a visit. It’s right next to the Auckland Airport.


What a lovely time we had. Sophie loves animals and it was really really nice for her to just get upclose to some.


Butterfly Creek is small but very nicely laid out with an aquarium, farm, train ride, cafe, playground, crocodile farm and butterfly enclosure. All you need to keep a curious preschooler happy for 2-3 hours at the price under $50 for a family of 3.



We were really happy to have Auntie Claire join us too even though she was just recovering from an asthma attack. She kept us going at a very relaxed pace, which was really nice.

Family Games


Last Friday, we had a family fancy dress and games afternoon.


The girls came as princesses and boys came as prince/superheros. The adults too had to come with fancy hats!



Oooo Sophie was SOOO pleased to dress up. I made her a crown, got fairy wings from the $2 shop and James made her a wand out of bamboo and paper stars. She had so much fun playing the games and running around with either me or James. But the best parts were the ice cream after dinner and the chocolate gold coin treasure hunt at the end.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year

From Left: James, Esther, Eli, Gin, Evan and Sophie. The table was full of food!


Last year, Chinese New Year just passed us by! This year I was DETERMINED with a capital "D" to do something about it! And when I’m determined, I’m determined! :) Hiak!



Two weeks before, I started planning the menu and hyping it up with friends (Asian friends that is. I tried telling a non-asian friend about it and he was like huh?. :)) I got down with Sophie and made her make some semblance of firecrackers, lanterns and Chinese fans with me… ok we tried. Then I went to the library and borrow a kids’ book on Chinese festivals and menus and I looked at it every night to drool… :) Finally, it wouldn’t have been complete if James didn’t make a trip to Auckland to buy all the foodstuff.


Left: We made these firecrackers with toilet rolls and crepe paper. Sophie made them on her own, very simple. I just showed her a couple samples.

Right: CNY is not CNY if the kitchen is not FILLED with food. :) Just looking at it made me so happy. Felt like home…



So on Chinese New Year eve, here was what we had:- steamboat dinner with chicken stock I made, hot pot mix, waxed duck, roast duck, stir-fry veg with chinese mushrooms, prawn mix chicken wings and dumplings! We even had durian after dinner! We ate till we had to roll out of our seats! It’s not a CNY meal if we didn’t eat till we dropped and have leftovers.



Hope everyone had a wonderful lunar New Year celebration with friends and family. We missed everyone back home and it’s really not the same without you guys.



We have really full weeks.


From Mondays to Fridays, Sophie goes to school both in the morning from 9 – 12.45pm and on Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays, she also goes in the afternoon from 2 – 3.15pm. Personally i think it’s too long for a little kid of 3 years old to be away from her parents, I really struggle with that. I know she really misses us and sometimes she whines about going to afternoon school because she’s a bit tired and just want to cuddle up. Sometimes either James or myself have to do work duty in between those times. Of course in addition to that, she sleeps at 7pm so we really don’t have much time with her.


But but, it’s only for a season and only for 3 months at a time.


So we try to make it up during the weekends!


During the weekends, I spend the earlier part of the morning with her. We do some crafty things and sometimes we get the paints out and just do painting. And then I CRASH. Serious. By 10am, I need to go back to nap. That’s when James takes over and he’ll bring Sophie out. Last Saturday, he brought her to the old pool area by the back of the base and they had a great time jumping in their boots (Thks DN!) in muddy puddles and searching for tadpoles. It’s really great fun.


There’s something about a child jumping in muddy puddles that makes me smile!

Stick Bread!


Last nite, after the kiddos have gone to sleep, we gathered around a bonfire to cook stick bread and marshmallows.


It was SO FUN!


I’ve never done this before. Tina made the bread dough and all we needed to do was wrap that around a stick and put it over the fire and cook it! After that we eat it with honey/butter/jam. YUMS!

Trip to Rotorua with the Ni-Vans

L: Sophie and Leanna, check out how they picked up the same drink.
R: Me feeling the heat from the thermal pool. It’s boiling!


We spent Saturday in Rotorua with our friends from Vanuatu.


Rotorua is only about slightly more than 1 hr from Matamata where we are. It’s famous for its smell. You’ll smell sulfur as soon as you drive in. There is a lot of thermal activity everywhere. We went to an open park and you really walk at your own risk! Sophie was really fascinated with the bubbling mud pools and smoke. Ooo the smell!


Spending time with the Ni-Vans is always wonderful, always relaxing. You see the wonderful provision of the Lord everywhere they go and travelling with them, we get to experience that as well! They managed to borrow enough vehicles to take the entire team, someone arranged a BBQ lunch for them, free parks and free culture tours! It was so cool. Gonna miss them when they return and I’m hoping that we’ll get to go back to Vanuatu sometime this year. Maybe after baby is born.

YWAM Jubilee Celebrations


Ooo that past few days were so good! We spent Sunday till today in Tauranga at the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) 50th celebrations. Can’t believe our organisation is 50 years! We are now currently operating in more than 1000 locations in over 149 countries, with a staff of nearly 16,000.


Lemme just say what I love about YWAM
1. God used it to change my life.
2. I met James at YWAM.
3. I love the emphasis on humility, repentance, hearing God’s voice and obedience.
4. I love how we need to trust God for our finances and not on someone paying my paycheck. No one to please except God and I do it with all my heart, only coz I want to be here.
5. I love how everyone has a God story – it’s not dead works or theology but it’s living faith and God is real to everyone.
and so much more…


We spent the past few days hearing from the pioneers of YWAM about how God has been faithful through the generations. Very inspiring.


One of the things that stuck to me was that all of them said that the times of humbling were the hardest times but I look at their lives at 60/70 years old, there was no hint of pride in their voices and sharing. I learnt that God humbles us so that we can really be of use to Him. So that at the end, we understand that it’s really all about Him, not about us. It’s hard but it’s so beautiful at the end of it. They all aged gracefully and with such joy. So surrendered. I think at the heart of surrender is much joy.


There was a great emphasis on the Pacific islands during the celebrations because NZ is the launchpad for the ministry to the Pacific islands. The islands are very much on the heart of our founder Loren Cunningham and forms a big part of our YWAM DNA. So it was SO GREAT to see almost 200 islanders from Cook Island, to Tonga, to PNG, to Samoa and best of all? VANUATU!!!!


All our friends from Vanuatu are here! They’ll be here for 3 weeks. God provided amazingly for 20 Ni-Vans to be here!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 months ago when we were in Vanuatu and they were signing up to say that they wanted to go. We said we’ll pray with them and believe by faith but in our hearts, being the logical Singaporeans, thinking HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!?!?! 20 Ni-Vans means almost 8000 bucks!!! They have no money!!! Zero! But God being God, He provided. We were SO HAPPY they all came and it was such a cool reunion. Btw, they only had ticket money so now that they are here, they have absolutely no money. But their meals and lodging are all provided so that’s great.


We had a great time and we’re now back at the base preparing for the next school. It starts this Saturday and some of the students have started arriving. More about that later. Pls keep us in prayer!

A hedgehog




Aiyo so cute! James found it on the base, a couple of houses down from our place.


Sophie was careful not to go too close in case it runs away so we looked from a bit further away. She learnt that from the book Play With Me where the little girl in the story tried to catch the wild animals but they all ran away but when she sat still, they all came to "play with her" and sat by her.

BBQ time


Summer time is BBQ time!


James went with Sam and Claire to the nearby river (abt 20 mins drive away) for fishing and they caught some rainbow trouts and 6 eels between all of them! Unagi galore!



James was the expert unagi cook and Sophie helped with cleaning out the eels. She’s a good help! Me? I was sleeping.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve


Guess what we saw at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve today?


What a treat!


Read more about them here.



Took a bus to visit Lyttelton, a historical harbour. It’s a really pretty town by the sea on a hill.


The best part of the trip was taking a cruise around the harbour to watch Hector Dolphins – world’s rarest and smallest dolphins. So cute!! I really like dolphins so it was such a treat! Sophie was squealing with joy when she spotted some too. Will put some videos up when I have time.