Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Jamie at church got me a gig helping to teach illiterate kiwi kids to read and write using phonetics for a week.

It's not really my kinda thing, but in trying to let my life be guided by God, at the moment I'm just accepting every opportunity that comes my way.

Imagine my surprise then when a few days before, Jamie told me that I was actually required to spend the whole week videoing it!

(I love film-making!)

Thus, at 11:15am last Saturday morning, I climbed off the coach at the AD Focus car park on the corner of Kapia and Totara Streets in Dargaville, and realised that my lift the rest of the way to camp was nowhere to be seen.

It turned out that the lady in the local photo shop actually knew the organiser, so after I'd made some calls on their phone, a car drew up and I met my latest new friend Mark, who was a fellow Weird Al fan.

Mark and I had both arrived a day early to help set things up, but first we went shopping.

More and more I've been relying on God to provide for me lately back at the hostel, but out here I realised that I needed more faith, which I just didn't have. So I got out my money, and we stocked up on provisions.

When we arrived at the deserted camp in Arapohue (pronounced "A-rap-a-hue-ee"), we went into the kitchen and found duplicates of everything that we had bought already there waiting for us. Except the junk food.

The middle of nowhere
That first day was bleak. It was cold. We were in the middle of nowhere, painting signs and moving pig-troughs in the rain. The main hall was strewn with twigs. I stayed in a wooden hut. Outside my window was a field containing two pigs and three sheep.

My room
My neighbours
I wasn't looking forward to this.

However once the kids and other leaders arrived the following day, the empty desolate place was imbued with a real warmth.

As well as teaching them, we also took the kids to see some sheep-shearing, up a mountain and through the woods, or "bush" as they call it here.

And I got to wrangle the camcorder at it all.

Power words
Each evening, a leader had to stand up and present some piece of entertainment to everyone, even if it was just talking about themselves. So on the evening of my turn, I talked a bit about the travelling I've done, and recited a song I know, which pretty well lists every country in the world. This went down quite well, so of course on the last day – when all their parents were present - they insisted I do it again. Unprepared for this second stunt of course I forgot verse 3 and sang verse 2 twice, not that I think any of them really noticed.

By the end of the week, I found that I myself had had a real holiday.

And I almost got to achieve my ambition to sleep a night in a corrugated iron box...

Kid reads book in the middle of spatial anomaly
What it's all about – kid reads book!

My certificate
Even all the leaders got given certificates!

My friends

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