Wednesday, February 9, 2011

THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME IS HERE!!!

I think the following 3 photos are the only photos I've posted on this blog that I did not personally take, but this is a 'visual' blog so I need you to see what I see in my dreams and will soon become a reality:



My husband and I will have the privilege and opportunity to spend 18 months in beautiful New Zealand and the Islands of the Pacific.  To be specific, we will be representing our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as Public Affairs Specialists in the Pacific Islands International Public Affairs Mission.  Our home base with be in Auckland, New Zealand, but we anticipate spending most of the 18 months traveling and meeting people throughout this area.  We do not yet know the extent or scope of our responsibilities, but we do know our primary mission will be to make friends and relationships with the people in these areas in an effort to foster mutual respect and discover ways we can serve and contribute in their communities.  Our backgrounds have given us experience in public relations, and we will also receive training before we leave.   And we will be leaving on April 11!!  Not very much time to get our affairs in order before leaving for a year and a half!!  We are both thrilled and terrified at the same time, but mostly thrilled!  

Our days will be spent serving the people in the areas we are sent and this will be our focus and work, not photography.  My camera, however, will not be left behind and I hope to document all of the exotic places we visit and especially to capture the cultures and lives of the people I know we will grow to love.



As you might imagine, blogging will now take a back seat to preparing for this amazing adventure.  I will visit you all when I can, and give you updates on our progress from time to time but will not be blogging regularly.  But when our adventure begins, I will keep you all updated on what we are doing, who we are meeting and what we are seeing.


I know many of you are not too familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon), with the exception of knowing of some of the more famous ones (The Osmonds, Mit Romney, Steve Young, David Archuletta, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and if you are a college basketball fan, you've definitely heard the name Jimmer from Brigham Young University); and I'm also sure you've heard about all the wacko groups that claim to have ties to the Mormon religion, (which they don't).  The most important thing for you all to know about the Mormons is that we are Christians.  We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He came to earth to atone for our sins and be resurrected so that we too, will live again.  If you have a question about the Church or how we came to be able to 'serve a mission' for our church, as we say, ask away.  I'm happy to answer any and all questions.  In fact, I'll answer one before it is asked.  No, we did not get to choose where we will serve.  There are many ways young men and women and senior couples, can serve.  We can suggest what we would like to do, but when we put in an 'application' saying we would like to serve, we are expected to serve wherever and in whatever capacity we are called.  But as it turned out, Jeff and I have been given our dream assignment, and so we are anxiously looking forward to the next 18 months with both fear and faith.....but mostly faith!

 

38 comments:

jennyfreckles said...

Brilliant - and I know God will honour what you're offering in faith to him. What an adventure!

Hailey Smoot Kandell said...

congrats! that is awesome.

Saratoga Six said...

Congrats to you both! What a thrill to serve in lovely New Zealand. We'll sure miss you and hope you make many great posts about all your adventures.

From the Kitchen said...

The first blog I followed was that of Stephanie Nielsen a young Mormon mother of four who was critically injured and burned in an airplane crash a few years ago. Her blog is the nieniedialogues. Delightful family! Very best wishes on such a wonderful adventure. I'm sure your camera is going along.

Best,
Bonnie

Russ Larsen said...

Excellent description of what you guys will be doing. We are so excited for you guys! By the way, the first pic you posted was likely taken on the North island and they call that the "Christmas Tree", not it's real name, but the one I remember because it blooms at Christmas (summer in NZ). The second pic is of Milford Sound on the south island, a place very similar to our state of Washington. The last pic is of Mt. Cook, the highest peak in the southern alps and where Sir Edmund Hillary trained for his ascent on Mt. Everest. Unfortunately it poured rain the entire two days we were there and we never got to see the summit. And yes, the water really is that color! Can't wait to see some of your pics from NZ!!!

Eric Kandell said...

congrats, I am jealous

Robin said...

Karen, what a wonderful opportunity you have been given! It's very brave of you. Don't know that I would be able to leave everything behind for that length of time!
I'll miss your regular blogs, but will also look forward to your upcoming adventure and the wonderful photos we will see from Kiwi Land! Would be cool if you could photo one of those!
All the best to both of you!

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

Ohhhh. you're right this is the chance of a lifetime so savor every moment!!!
I don't know much about your church but I have been so impressed with the ladies who have blogs...I've often wondered if blogs were some sort of a ministry with the LDS but have never asked anyone...anyway...I've met more wonderful friends through this blog...a lot of whom are members of your church!!!
Enjoy and take our love and well wishes with you!!!

janc@mac.com said...

We are also very excited for you both. We know it won't be a "vacation" but we know that you will find beauty everywhere you go. Please share it with us!

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

Congratulations to you and your husband.

The Social Frog said...

Wow! What exciting news. In May I my husband and I will be moving to Japan.

Ginny said...

Karen, just today I have been wondering what has happened to you. This is fantastic news and I'm so happy for you!!! It will turn your blog into an amazing exotic travel blog, and I can only imagine the pictures you will show us after seeing all you have taken here.

Scott said...

Karen, I'm so excited for you. My cousin and his wife served their mission based in Moscow Russia and lived only a few miles from Red Square and traveled all over that part of the world auditing branches and the few wards that are there. I thought that would be a dream mission, but I've found a new one. . . Yours. I've always wanted to go to Australia and/or New Zealand. I know you will be a blessing to many peoples lives. Congratulations, and may God bless you, as I know he will.

P.S. I can't wait to follow your mission blog!!!

bluekat said...

Many blessings in your trip! What an opportunity, both for service and for photography.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Congratulations, Karen. I look forward to reading about your exciting opportunity as the story unfolds. May God bless and keep you.

diane b said...

How exciting. there is no need to have any fear. NZ is a beautiful country (but wet and cold.) The people are extremely friendly and hospitable. Driving on the roads in the South Island is wonderful there is hardly any traffic. We have been there twice for holidays.There are a lot of Mormons there too so you will have many people to serve. Many many New Zealanders live in Australia because our wages are higher than theirs. It only takes 2 or 3 hours to fly to Australia. If you get any holidays you should pop over. You are welcome here.
The tempo of life there is easy to take. You will find the Maori culture interesting too.
On New Years Eve you will be first to see the New Year in.
It is a photographer's paradise especially in the South Island.
Looking forward to your preparations and eventual trip. (Its a long flight, take a good book)

Sandra said...

my friend spent two weeks in NZ and now wants to live there. the problem with that is, to be a citzen and move their permanently a person has to have a million dollars or more. she said it is the most beautiful and wonderful place to be, so you are blessed with your assignement and can't wait to see it through your eyes

SouthernSass said...

Congratulations to you and your husband! I have always wanted to visit NZ and I look forward to your photos. Good luck and God bless on this grand adventure!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Congratulations, Karen, on being chosen for this mission. Enjoy your time in NZ and safe travels!

Liss said...

NZ is a beautiful country, it wont disappoint you, you will have some amazing photo opportunity there. Only wished I knew more about photography when I visited.

I am sure you will make your mission a successful one.

Judy said...

Hi Karen,

Your trip sounds very exciting!!! Enjoy it to the fullest. And take your camera every where you go. There are always photo opportunities, especially when you least expect it. I hear New Zealand is absolutely beautiful. That the landscape is breathtaking. My son wants to visit because of this. That is where the Lord of the Rings was filmed, one of his favorite movies, so that's why he wants to visit.

Take care, be blessed and have fun!

Blessings,
Judy

Kristy E.B. said...

Congrats on your mission call! What a wonderful place to go to. You and Jeff will be great missionaries and I'm sure have wonderful experiences there. Good luck!

Tapping World Summit 2011 said...

Your photographs left me stunned for seconds! They look so beautiful and lovely.

bugnose7 said...

I can't wait to visit you there.

Lloyd said...

FANTASTIC!!!!! Hope to do that someday with my wifey as well! Best of luck!

If you want ideas of where to photograph while there, I have a photographer friend (big surprise!) who lived there for many years, while working as a Social Worker for the church.

Good for you!!!!!

joey said...

Enjoy the beauty and your journey, dear Karen. I have so enjoyed time spent with you and your creative endeavors. I am blessed to know you.

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Angels will fly with you my friend. Do take your time packing and arranging things. As you fly off in april I'll fly (almost) your way for my visit to Seattle and area....let's be in eachothers mind.
Have fun and do meet new wonderful souls at the other beautiful end of the world. You will keep blogging won't you? See you around dear Karen.
Hugs Dagmar

Mersad said...

Amazing news! Have a wonderful time over there.

Me said...

You guys will have a great time!

Crystal said...

Ya!!! I am so happy for you! What an adventure you will have!

Avery said...

Congrats and good luck!
I will be looking forward to your many stories to come!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Hey, Karen... just wanted to stop by to let you know I was thinking about you this morning and I hope your mission is going well... God bless... Tanna

Janie2 said...

WOW, what an adventure...

Denise said...

Oh wow Karen, what a great adventure. I wish you and your husband Godspeed!

Anna said...

Karen this is amazing opportunity, and will be waiting for your posts. Anna :)

darlin said...

Karen what an amazing opportunity. When we are called upon we never know where, when or for how long I find. If we follow our hearts we can't go wrong! All the best to you in getting ready in such a short period of time but you'll do it, it's meant to be that you go. God bless you and your husband on your journey.

You have been called to serve in paradise, now that's a true blessing! I'm looking forward to your photos when you have time to post.

Book said...

Fantastic photo and caption. Bravo!

Anita Johnson said...

What an experience! Looking forward to more pictures as we travel with you through your blog!