Category Archives: Uncategorized

Little things people do to bless others

Before we left Nelson to come to Christchurch for my five and a half weeks of daily radiation therapy, one of our dear friends, and an old friend of the Duncan family, gave me a notebook of daily verses she had selected and painstakingly written out for me to meditate on each day that I am having treatment. 28 verses for the 28 days of treatment.

People pray daily and that is a comfort; others send cards and emails. It is humbling to receive all these indications of support and concern from people who have so many other things to occupy their time. There is no way to adequately express our gratitude for these blessings. God is good – all the time!

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Posted by on 28 August, 2009 in Uncategorized


No time for introversion

Since coming to Nelson two weeks ago, we have had no time to sit around navel-gazing. We had planned to settle in for a couple of weeks and plan the alterations we intend to make to the service areas of the house. Instead, the friend who is supervising and helping with the alterations came to look at the job three days after we arrived and decided he could start immediately. We arrived on Wednesday evening: by Monday evening the pantry was gone.

Things have moved at great pace and we have been making decisions about joinery and appliances on the run. Fortunately we had a good idea of what we wanted before we came. Renovating an old house requires other ‘on-the-spot’ decisions as well when unusual discoveries are made beneath the wallboards.

Presently we are living in a caravan on the property our daughter, Rebekah, is renting while the electrician, plumber and carpenters apply their skills. We have also been blessed with voluntary help from friends with various other tasks as well. It has been busy, busy, busy, but refreshingly so. I have chemo again this coming week, depending on my blood tests. Having stuff to do certainly keeps one’s mind focused away from any physical ailments lurking under the surface.

God is gracious and life is good

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Posted by on 19 April, 2009 in Uncategorized


Hard work getting to rest!

The Bible talks about “labouring to enter into rest”. It’s not an easy task.

We have this Hope of a time of rest and recuperation in Nelson, but to get to realise that Hope is hard work.

Bronwen and I move to Nelson at the beginning of April and the removalist’s truck arrives on 30th March. In the meantime we are having to downsize our extensive library and rationalise furniture to sort what we will take and what we will leave behind. We have five piles of boxes: Boxes to go into storage in Nelson; boxes to go to the house in Nelson; boxes of articles for the garage sale before we leave; boxes to go to 2nd-hand book-shops; and boxes to go to recycling. There is another pile of stuff for the rubbish dump.

To get around the house is like picking one’s path through a maze. In the midst of the sorting and packing, Bronwen is still helping at the school for a couple of hours a day; we are home-schooling Abraham (a real joy) and I am fitting in some pastoral appointments, sermon preparation, and treatment schedules.

But always before us is ‘the Hope’. We will enjoy the promise of ‘entering into the rest’ that is in Nelson. In the meantime, there is much labouring to get there.

Fortunately my health and energy levels are still good.

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Posted by on 10 March, 2009 in Family, Uncategorized


Visitors from Singapore

The day after our sibling reunion one of our dear friends from Singapore, Pastor Patrick Low arrived with two of his elders and their wives. Their sole motivation in coming was to spend time with Bronwen and I and to take us ‘dining’, the #1 Singaporean pastime. We have known Patrick and Christian Community Chapel for more than 30 years and have walked along many similar pathways with him and the church. They brought love and greetings from the church and individual cards and letters from the members.

The church is a very loving one and has also shown practical demonstrations of their generous spirit in the past, not just to us but to the persecuted church in India and other ministers in the USA who have passed through deep valleys. Although it was a very busy week with travelling from restaurant to restaurant and returning to our abode for the mandatory afternoon rests, we were very much encouraged by their visit and greatly refreshed in spirit.

The picture was taken in one of the fine dining establishments in Christchurch (the award-winning Curator’s House at the Botanical Gardens). From left to right: Willy Tan, Yow Kin Cheong, Dr Patrick Low, Doris Cheong, Bronwen and Joyce Tan.


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Posted by on 17 February, 2009 in Photos, Uncategorized


Sibling Reunion

Last weekend (Waitangi Weekend Celebration) we enjoyed a wonderful time in Christchurch with siblings and spouses. We have been having this reunion on the same weekend for the past 4 years and this year was full of fun, talk, serious moments and eating. We went punting on the Avon River, rode the gondola to the Gondola Restaurant and watched NZ lose the finals of the Sevens Rugby tournament.

The highlight for me was the 10 of us celebrating communion together on the Sunday morning and having a free and open session of sharing around the central tenets of the faith for 2 hours. What a heritage our parents left us that all 5 siblings and our spouses were comfortable to share this Love Feast together. We mused on our differences, yet rejoiced in the centrality of the fact that God became incarnate in Christ and has given us a hope that is stronger than death.

Together on New Brighton Pier in Christchurch

Together on New Brighton Pier in Christchurch

punting on the Avon River

punting on the Avon River


Posted by on 10 February, 2009 in Family, Uncategorized


What is heaven like?

After church recently a ‘spiritual’ lady, a visitor from out of town, knowing my situation, come to me to reassure that heaven is real – she’s been there – twice!! She told me that it is so green and clean (like NZ??) and pristine in beauty. She also visited the ‘throne-room’ which she said was scarey yet attractive. And she said she was invited to dance before God which was humbling and awesome.

Now I don’t want to impugn this lady’s sincerity, but somehow I think she’s missing it. For a start, the only evidence we need that heaven is real is the fact that Jesus said so, and He rose from the dead to open the way for us to go there. 

And what does it really matter what heaven looks like? Isn’t that rather missing the point? Heaven can look like whatever it wants to – what makes it heaven is not its clean green ‘nuclear-free’ environment, but the fact that Jesus is there and we shall see Him face to face.


Posted by on 1 December, 2008 in Devotional, Humor, Uncategorized