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Sunday, June 01, 2008

All Roads Lead to Tauranga

I hitchhiked away from the Kiwi fruit orchards, out of Katikati, and into Tauranga. My initial plan was to head south all the way to the South Island and get a job working in a vineyard. But some amazing connections were being made and I felt that I had to at least stop in Tauranga and visit. You see, back in the States, numerous people told me that I had to look up this guy named David Nelson. He ran a Bible College in Tauranga. I couldn't remember who all knew this person. I just remember jotting down in the back of my mind my half-hearted intention to actually look him up. Maybe I would, Maybe I wouldn''t. The whole time in Katikati, I never really thought about it. That is until I was thinking of leaving the Bay of Plenty and I thought, "Oh right, Tauranga," So just when I was about to purchase a bus ticket far away from this city. Just out of nowhere, I decided to write this David Nelson guy. Well, it turned out that he was not in NZ currently, he was in the states, and that he would be returning shortly. And as he wrote where he was in the states...everything clicked. For David Nelson was in Lubbock, TX.

Then it came back to me, that he had dealings with the same missions organization that I had been apart of. And then I found out that only the next week, that Tauranga would be getting an AIM team (the organization I had been apart of when I went to live in Russia). So the coincidences were pretty staggering. I also found out that groups from my university would be traveling through Tauranga as well. So it seems that all roads were leading to this port city.

I also felt almost as though I was hitting a wall, when actually buying a ticket southwards. It was as though, I shouldn't be thinking of traveling down there just yet. I felt a strong tug. An inward pull to go visit Tauranga for a few days. I don't know why exactly. This guy was not even there yet. And I didn't even know a soul. But I had this urge to go Sunday morning to this church where David Nelson goes. And visit and see where this lead me. I had a flickering awareness, a faith really, that something would come from it.

So Saturday, I left Katikati, my thumb again out on the highway. I had to hike a little distance with all my luggage to get to the main highway. It was really dumb of me to pack so much stuff with me. I had way too much luggage. A huge suitcase. A large backpack and a fair-size carry-on bag. I was hurting underneath the weight, rolling the large suitcase behind me. If I had known that I would be hitching around like this...not living in one place I would have have definitely packed less. But no, I thought that to live in another country for about a year, one should carry two pieces of large luggage with you. Big mistake. These two middle-aged ladies picked me up. They were nice and congenial. And they drove me all the way to Tauranga central right in front of a hostel. I got out lugging all my possessions up these stairs like an irate tortoise trying to climb a tree. When I finally got to the top, the hostel keeper told me that they were full. In disappointment I clambered back down the stairs and into the streets of Tauranga. I walked blocks and blocks, like a welter-weight Atlas shrugging with the earth upon my shoulders.

I went from hostel to hostel, all of them packed with no vacancies. This basketball tournament was in town which left all the accommodation places full. I was beginning to curse myself for actually believing that there was a purpose for coming to this city. Where was I to sleep? The city streets, I guess. It wouldn't be that bad but for all my luggage and the fact that it was supposed to rain that night. But then I happened upon a tourist center that called a number of places and ended up calling this hostel in Mt. Mangaunui which was just outside of Tauranga. It was where I had the adventure of the hotbaths 2 months earlier. I hopped on a bus and made it to the hostel that night. All the while thinking that I really, really need to get a car.
After a night of uncomfortable sleep. I tried hitching a ride to church. I even made a sign that read, "Going to Church." But there was no luck. I ended up calling a number that was given me at the last minute for someone from the congregation to come and pick me up. So I made it to the church. And immediately afterwards..I am being pommelled and meeting all types of people. I am invited to lunch and then to watch some rental movies for the afternoon and then supper and then a dip in some hotbaths. Over and over the fun continues. I felt like I've known everyone for a long time. I'm given a bed and a cell phone and a tons and tons of friendship. This is what the church is all about. Right now, I am staying in the house of some really neat and wonderful people. Brooke and his wife Kelly..gave me a place to sleep the first night that I got here. Brooke is a Maori who attends the Bible college in Tauranga. It's been so neat to talk to this guy. They've been so kind to me. It looks as though, I will stay longer in this city than I had first intended. And it looks like someone up in the skies is really watching after me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's awesome, bro. i was beginning to wonder about you. sweet as. i feel bad for not looking up DAvid the first time we were passing through, but we were on a mad jaunt to Welly at the time. glad to hear bout the hospitality. sounds like a great tribe.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous the author said...

Thanks. I didn't know that you knew David as well.

You know...I am looking for a job in the region of Tauranga and Mt.Mangaunui and many times I pass by that mountain and those saltwater pools and I just shake my head.
(I wish would've had more time to hike up the mountain; it's spectacular from up there.)

2:16 AM  
Blogger ПАПА said...

We are so glad that you have found or have been lead to friends. Looks like you now have firsthand knowledge of the nomadic life that the apostles and early disciples must have experienced..only without the large quanity of luggage and belongings or without the large expanses of sand and heat, or without the aid of cars and trucks..but similar anyway. We are constantly thinking about you and your safety.

2:04 PM  

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