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On February 20 we left Kingston and drove to Milford Sound along the west coast of the south island of New Zealand. It was a beautiful drive over the mountain. For a while we followed a bus advertising cruises at the Sound. Those who designed the sign did not believe John 1:3. It took a Creator to form Milford Sound. Apparently, some Kiwis still need more biblical teaching.
We stopped at a lake along the way.
And we saw the waterfalls coming off the mountains.
All of the rain and the glaciers provided water for beautiful, clean rivers as well.
We finally reached Milford Sound. We had to park some distance from the main building where we had to pick up our tickets for the cruise. Many tour buses brought tourists, mostly Asian.
We had to wait about an hour for the ship to return from its previous tour.
There were about a half dozen cruise ships taking passengers to the mouth of the Sound.
Finally, our cruise ship arrived. We took the green one.
Milford Sound is actually a fjord, not a sound. They say it was cut by glaciers years ago and is about 1000 feet deep. The mountain cliffs go straight down.
It was windy and chilly that day, but we had no rain. In fact, we were told that they were having a drought, because it had not rained in 24 hours. Milford Sound gets 252 inches of rain each year, or 21 feet.
The cruise ship passed a rocky ledge, where a family of seals were sunning themselves. You can see them if you look carefully.
There were many waterfalls flowing off the mountains into the Sound. Mike seemed jealous that the Kiwis were wasting so much water that the Aussies really needed. We teased Mike by telling him that the waterfalls were “Kiwi wastewater.” I could see that Mike was trying to figure out a way to export the water to Brisbane.
Here is another waterfall, which the cruise ship approached.
When we got close to it, I took a short video feed of it.
We finally reached the Tasman Sea at the mouth of Milford Sound. The cruise ship turned around and headed back to port. It took about an hour to reach the Sea, and the cruise itself was about two hours long.
We then headed back to Queenstown and Kingston, but we stopped occasionally to take pictures of the scenery. Here is a waterfall next to the highway. We took pictures from the bridge over the water which flowed under us into the main river on the other side of the highway.
Once we had passed through the mountains, we made our way back to the house in Kingston, where we again spent the night. We had to get up early the next morning, because we had to drive all the way back to Christchurch for an evening house meeting where I was scheduled to teach at Bryden Black’s house.
It had gotten quite cold overnight, just a few degrees above freezing. Another cyclone had hit New Zealand north of Christchurch. We were too far south to be affected directly, but it rained a lot along the return route that we were to take, causing the rivers to flood. In fact, a highway bridge was washed out along the route, so we had to go somewhat out of our way to get back to Christchurch.
In the surrounding mountains, of course, it snowed.
Throughout the entire trip, I had noticed many deer farms (or ranches).
I learned that New Zealand raises a lot of deer, but very little of it is consumed in New Zealand. Most of the venison is exported to Germany.
Likewise, there were many vineyards along the way, some stretching for a mile or more.
We arrived in Christchurch in time for supper and then drove to Bryden’s house for the final meeting, discussion, and prayer. The next morning Trevor drove us to the airport for the early flight to Auckland. He took a different flight to Whangarei which is near his home, and so we said our good-byes. Mike took a flight back to Brisbane.
Trevor was a real blessing to us, and we truly enjoyed seeing the south island. He was a perfect tour guide for us and for Mike as well. And it was great fun to have Mike with us. Three weeks is quite a long time to be away from home, but our hosts tried to give us some time to take holidays, so we were not exhausted by the trip.
A big thanks to Lynley, Trevor, and Neal for making it such an enjoyable and successful trip.
In Auckland, as we waited to board the American Airlines plane to Los Angeles, we were told that the flight was delayed due to mechanical problems. An hour later we were told that the flight was being canceled altogether.
This was a large plane carrying about 400 passengers, and AA does not have very many flights coming in and out of Auckland. So the front desk was inundated with 400 extra passengers, each having to be rerouted at the same time. Obviously, it was more than they could handle. We waited in a long line for close to 3 hours, and just as we were near the front of the line, they announced that they would no longer reschedule anyone that evening.
That was disappointing, especially to the three who were in front of us at the front of the line. I thought for a moment we might see a riot or at least an angry mob. But the desk clerks made arrangements for all of us at nearby hotels and gave everyone taxi credits with instructions to return the next morning.
The problem is that the Auckland hotels were all filled up for other events that were going on at the time. So they hired a tour bus to drive us more than an hour’s drive south to Hamilton, where we stayed the night at a very nice hotel. It had been a long day, and we were tired, but we got a good night’s rest.
In the morning the front desk called for a taxi to pick us up and drive us back to the airport in Auckland. We thought we might have to wait for another day or two before they could put us on a plane, but surprisingly, we were able to get a flight on Air New Zealand that evening, not to Los Angeles, but to Houston. The front desk even gave us each a $20 meal credit that we could use at any of the restaurants in the airport.
We just had to wait about 7 hours at the airport before we could get on the plane. Much of the time we sat near a large statue of a dwarf, Gimli, which had been borrowed from Middle Earth. He is probably the biggest dwarf that I have seen—certainly, the heaviest.
Air New Zealand is said to be the best airline in the world. This is important, because riding in a plane for 13 hours overnight is grueling, even on the best of airlines. Once we landed in Houston, we still had to wait for another four hours for the final two-hour flight to Minneapolis, which landed at 10 pm, February 23. By that time, we were both quite exhausted and were glad to sleep late in the morning. Even so, it took three days to feel back to normal.
I don’t know what it is but flying west never seems to give us jet lag but flying east does. Others have reported the same experience. I am told that it has to do with the magnetics of the earth.
All in all, we had a very good trip, met many new people, and got to see old friends as well. There are some other Kingdom preachers in New Zealand, such as Ian Clayton. I have not met him yet, but he and I now have quite a few friends in common. I hope to meet him at some point and perhaps even hold a joint conference with him, if he should be agreeable to it.
One final note… We discerned that the plane’s mechanical problem was the result of a curse, that is, a spiritual plot to take us out. I don’t know what the mechanical problem was, as airlines try not to give such details, but I did hear that it had to do with the wing of the plane. I would not have mentioned this, except for the fact that two others have written to tell us that they received a similar word from the Lord. So by the mouth of two or three witnesses, we consider this to be true. Thanks for your prayer support. It is important to us.