Yesterday, Steve Raines (principle of the South Pacific Bible College and an old friend) showed me some of the highlights of Rotorua. For those of you who don’t know much about New Zealand, Rototura features hot pools, boiling mud baths, and geysers. Ancient Maori settlements nestle close by smoking vents and bubbling crevices. The whole area is bounded by Lake Rotorua, a beautiful expanse of water that hosts black swans and large brown trout. It is a gorgeous place, interesting and rich in history.

We walked around some of the geological features, housing developments built beside steaming pools of boiling water (they pump the water to heat their houses in the winter), an Anglican church founded in the late 19th century, and a huge sink hole that opened up in someone’s back yard just a few years ago. (I’ve included some photographs.) The whole area is geologically active. I would not be comfortable building a house here. Talk about building a house on sand …

Rotorua is perhaps most famous for its hot baths—both thermal (with lots of sulfur) and mineral (without). People travel here from all over the world to soak in therapeutic pools and enjoy the health benefits of the waters here. Of course, we had to sample the pools ourselves and enjoyed a good, long, hot soak. (To your relief, I did not include photographs of this!) Water temperatures varied from pool to pool and we sampled from pools ranging from 110-120 degrees (Fahrenheit). Ahhhhh ….

Last evening, the “men’s” part of the Men’s Challenge began. We wrapped up the leadership portion in the afternoon and welcomed a larger gathering of Christian males for the weekend. I preached on “The Tree Falls” (next post) and thoroughly enjoyed being with a group of men who so obviously relished being together.