With saddened hearts, circumstances forced our group into canceling plans to hold Christian retreats and family camps on our beautiful mountain valley land.
When negotiating our lease the landowner had agreed to our putting up a building, however, suddenly changing his mind he asked us to leave, giving no explanation.
Not wanting to get involved in any legal wrangling, we moved our caravan down from the mountains, to the nearby house of faithful friends and co-workers for God. When we heard through the local community grapevine, that our previous landlord was battling a terminal brain tumour, his breaking of our lease became understandable.
While waiting for direction from God for a few months, it became clear to me, that my bible school years, added to four years in ministry for God, had now left me feeling somewhat jaded and burnt out. It was time for a fresh start, focusing on my own family.
I resigned from shepherding our group and we moved to a new area closer to family, buying a beach house in the Horowhenua.
Carrying on with our homeschooling program, we enjoyed the opportunities it afforded us to build our little family closer, and the freedom we had to plan out our days together. With the formal school work completed in the mornings we used the afternoons for other activities.
In the summertime, having a beach nearby, for cool off swims, was a huge incentive for getting schoolwork completed early.
Daily trips to the horse’s paddock, for grooming and exercising horses, or swimming lessons at the heated indoor pool, in the next town, on our shopping trips to the nearest supermarket, was our P.E. program.
The little granddaughter began attending Kindergarten and for myself it was time to get some formal qualifications. I needed to find paying work. Leaving school too early, and ending up with a bun in the oven, as the saying goes, was now limiting my life and I began taking correspondence courses.
The two older girls, now teens, were able to take their horsey love to a new level, joining Pony club they rode their horses along to weekly activities. Taking part in a youth group at a local church, and volunteering as helpers at a nearby Christian camp during school holidays, added to their social life and friendships.
Giving pony rides on the beach at weekends, babysitting, and being hired to give tourists’ rides on the town’s horse drawn tram helped them bring in some pocket money. Sometimes the horses and tram were hired out for shows and weddings and a few scraps and bumps occurred when turning the horses in tight spaces.
Their tram driving duties required dressing up in their riding outfits, grooming the two very large Clydesdale horses before hitching them up to pull the tram, and drive circuits of the town streets.