First New Zealand trip post

Jan. 6, 2013

It’s amazing to realize it has been almost two weeks since we left home. I don’t know whether to write details or give an outline coverage. I will try the outline and see if I can limit myself!

We got up at our normal morning time (about 7 am) and put the last items in our suitcases. This was really good because we stayed up late packing and weighing. I gave up trying to check in online the night before. We had tried to check in before leaving for the Cammilleris’ party, but no go. So I tried once more when we got home and decided my lack of success meant it was meant to happen at the airport.

We loaded the van and drove to the Daires’, where we picked up some of their family and the rest drove behind us in their car. They are taking care of our van while we are gone, making sure it doesn’t sit and get problems from sitting. At the airport, I tried to tell the lady that I wanted the discount on luggage charges because in good faith I tried to check in online the day before. She had trouble with getting the discount for me, but I just stood there, with Charlie Barkowski’s calm encouragement and finally she said I got it. This was important to me to try because we took 14 suitcases, including schoolbooks for the missionaries we are visiting. So every dollar I could save on that was a big help. I have to pay anew for all our luggage every time we check in with a different itinerary. We have six different itineraries, if I remember correctly.

After the long wait, we wolfed down the sandwiches that Charlie brought and had prayer together. Then we checked in. I was so pleased that they didn’t ask us to go through the X-ray machine. Each girl paired with a brother to go through security and I followed to pick up on any problems from the rear. No problems. We went to the gate they told us and no one was there. The number was right, but I had the boys split up and check other gates. One behind the wall of ours was the right one and everyone else on our flight had already boarded. So we go our seats and took off for Minneapolis.

This was not the first flight for any of the Parfitt children. But it was the first that Karen remembered. And Naomi probably didn’t remember much of her last one (she was almost three at the time). I don’t even remember anything from that trip to Minneapolis, except that I was happily surprised that they gave us some snacks (drink and small bags of pretzels). We found our next gate after a good-sized hike past lots of food places. I wanted Chinese and had seen Wok N Roll. But there was none near us and really no time to go back and get food, not even if we left some little ones and two of us went back to the nearest. Nana (Ken’s mom) had come the day before and given all the kids some cracker-and-cheese snacks and some other snacks. So they had a little of those. We refilled the empty water bottles we brought with us and we were set for the flight to LA. I think that is where I instituted looking at our seat assignments and lining us up so we went in with the farthest-back person first to eliminate having to squeeze past each other to get to our seats and put our things overhead. It got a little messy because we were carrying things for each other and they could not seat us all together.

Jan. 14, 2013 (NZ, 9:12 pm)

I was greatly disturbed by the movies playing all around me. I knew the kids would have as hard a time as (or harder than) I was, to not watch the movies. The cartoons were just as bad. I wish they would have a section of the plane for people who want to limit what their children can see. You can see several screens from your seat. We landed in the dark and found that our gate was very close to where we got off the second plane. I was ready to stop at the first Chinese restaurant, but there weren’t any! We found our gate and thought a minute. I decided we had enough time if we marched back through the terminal. But the terminal seemed tiny and there was a door to the outside. A lady working nearby confirmed that we would have to leave that terminal to find Chinese food! So we went back. We had passed a place that sounded Oriental in name. We went back there (almost to our gate) only to find that they had closed the grill and we could only get sandwiches from a cooler. Humph. We went back to the place we had passed three times now: “Lemonade.” What a strange place! I wish I had space to describe it. We all got trays and stared at the strange-sounding “authentic California cuisine,” wondering if it tasted good. I picked a couple of things and then said I would just have some chicken. I was getting “half-servings” from a sort of food bar. I was told, “Oh, that’s from a different section.” Different section! What does that mean? So I picked one more thing and moved on. Oh, here was soup. Oh, macaroni and cheese (sort of). THERE are the prices, on the wall at the end of all the food we have been choosing! I paid for the girls and myself and then let the boys fend for themselves. It was pretty stupid to not ask about prices first. Oh, well, we ate and tried not to watch the Grinch thing on the wall.

We went back to the gate and put ourselves into order to board. I had chosen seats online and put us all behind each other, down the middle of the plane. That plane seating pattern was three, three, three. I sat in front, Karen behind me, Naomi behind her, and Dylan in the rear. Karen got to move to the aisle. Annabelle was across from me in the first set of three seats, Reese was behind her, and Trevor was behind her. Reese proceeded to witness to the young lady next to him for a long time, and we all heard him, so several people got a dose of Bible that flight. Again we fought with the moving pictures we could see on all sides. The main problem was an excess of violence. Lots of killing and explosions. Lots of immorality. Lots. The young ladies between Annabelle and me knew each other and talked a lot at first about people they knew. The lady on the other side slept a lot. I read Jon Jenkins’ book about temptation. It was certainly ironic that I would read some of it, watch some of something someone near me was watching, drag my eyes away, pray and ask God to help me stop watching, and go back for some of the book. I guess the Lord let me learn how hard it is for my children and the young people (and older people!) at church to resist temptation. We want to set no wicked thing before our eyes, but it was just all around, colorful, moving, interesting. 🙁

We all slept some of the time. I think I actually got more than my usual one hour of sleep. Almost exactly halfway through the fourteen hours, they fed us. We had already had supper, so I assumed this was breakfast. Turns out they fed us breakfast later, too. I had a bag of almonds I had been working on all day, trying to get them all eaten before we reached Australia. I didn’t succeed. But they let me keep the nuts. 🙂

Before I forget, I talked quite a lot with a mother on the second flight, who was flying back to Minneapolis with her two little boys. She told me the boys had gone on all of her business trips and usually her husband did, too! Wow, wouldn’t that be great for all families? And on the long flight, I ended up talking with the lady who slept a lot. Turns out she took something to help her sleep. She and her husband were originally from Germany, but lived in Michigan. I had asked about them wearing their rings on their right hands. She said that everyone in Germany did that. Interesting. We had a long friendly talk. She even got out her camera and showed me pictures of pretzels she had made and arranged to look like a bouquet for a friend’s party. She has a business of making pretzels. But she just wouldn’t take a tract. 🙁 I think I talked to the Muslim as we were exiting the first plane (from Rochester). I am still so green that I had to ask him (after several minutes of conversation) what he believed. He sounded slightly surprised that I didn’t know. He had allowed me to give his daughter a tract! Divine appointments? Certainly, though nothing spectacular. Just kindergarten in sharing faith during travel. 🙂

We were the last ones off the plane, as I like to let others past while we make sure we have all the cameras, laptops (we took two extra-wide laptops and a netbook, and boy have we used them a LOT.), story books, Bibles, purses, and other carry-on things. I decided that rolling carryons are much better than backpacks. I am going to keep my eyes open for them on craigslist. The Snyders found some here on their local “trade me” and gave Karen one. She was using a backpack that started ripping near the zipper and is getting worse all the time.

So much for an outline! This is actually now THREE weeks since we left (it is Monday night here in New Zealand). I haven’t actually gotten us into the airport at Sydney yet! Oh, well, I will now look for some pictures.

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. :-)

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. 🙂

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

Reese’s Attempts at Photography

These photographs (all except the faucet one) were taken between 7:00 and 7:45 this morning. Very picturesque.

Sunrays

The sun shining through the leaves–I couldn’t see it with my eyes because it was too bright, but the camera caught it.

Clothesline

The fog lifting

“Teddy Bear” didn’t mind me taking his silhouette. The Scripture magnets on the van read: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Heb. 2:3” and “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36”

My steer “Paul” calling for food

Just too beautiful–praise the Lord!

 

Mist

As I filled the sink to wash dishes, I saw all the mist flying. It was very difficult to get the camera to catch it.

An interesting perspective of your photographer this morning–I’m about 30 feet tall!

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31

Reese

 

Herding cats

My husband often says, “It’s like herding cats” when I tell him the difficulties of getting all the children (there are 8 of them in our family) to do what they should be doing at the same time. There is a video on YouTube of herding cats that amuses us. I’d like to share the address with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

[Looks like I started to post this Aug. 17, 2010. Hope you get a smile from it like we did.-Jamie]

 

Lately in the Parfitt home

I hope to keep this concise, as I have many other things to do.

This past year has included (in random order): replacing our older Subaru wagon with a newer model, having son number three move to a nearby town to work construction jobs, losing that son’s four goats but then gaining two for ourselves, building a new chicken pen for my two banties, getting a new tractor with mower and tiller attachments, breaking and fixing the old JD skidloader several times (it’s currently down), getting the mini-excavator repaired, keeping up our journals, blueberry picking, starting the new school year, making plans to visit New Zealand next year, getting a real wooden pantry built, chasing the boys’ loose steers, taking the neighbor to court about their dogs continually coming into our yard and terrifying the girls, praying my mom through a road trip to California and back, buying a 15-passenger van in Pennsylvania and taking it to the other side of PA to Quigley to have it converted to 4WD and then picking it up one month later, taking a boat ride on the Erie Canal, camping with friends for two nights on an island in Lake George (turns out we don’t want to repeat that, but we would like to tent camp somewhere when the animals are all butchered), picking volunteer squash, NOT putting in a garden this year, enjoying the gladiolas that Ken planted in 2010, losing Trevor’s cat, getting a new cat to keep Annabelle’s cat company, receiving three kittens from the new cat, cleaning out our shed, getting rid of scrap metal, taking Bible Institute courses, having some carpentry work done, attending missions’ conference, Bible conference, and God Weekend, street singing and preaching, getting new wardrobes for the girls of more conservative and feminine dresses, stopping at our old house and being invited to look in every room of the house (they changed a wall we wanted to change and it was great to see that Ken’s idea DID work!), getting walking pneumonia (some of us) and hives (Karen), helping at the air show for three days again, helping the church hand out literature at the county fair for a couple of hours and then looking at the animals for the first time in some of the kids’ lives, taking a hunter safety course, deer hunting, taking a bow safety course, singing in nursing homes, having musical instrument lessons, scraping a car in a parking garage, ice skating, going to dinner at Japanese, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants, getting a delivery of a huge load of logs to split, splitting the last of the 2010 log delivery, getting our granite countertops chosen and installed finally, installing cabinets for a family that is expecting a baby any day, helping people move, attending calling hours and memorial services, videoing a wedding, and breaking my little toe.

That’s a long sentence, but I think I will leave it as is. No emotions expressed here, really, but you can fill in how you would feel doing all that and trying to also do school. All those experiences ARE school, but somewhere in there we have to memorize our times tables and learn what the subject and predicate are! 🙂 The glue that holds our lives together is attending church. We may have almost all the rest of our lives on a different schedule now, but we still go to church and see the same people week after week. Wise, godly men help the boys with “Dad” type discussions and kind, godly women and girls take us into their hearts to comfort us and encourage us.  It helps so much that they know the one we miss. We know we can’t be babied forever. We need to baby others now. I have found Bible time to be more interesting than ever as I actually ask questions and the Lord answers them quickly. I am forming a close relationship to Jesus! My Father in heaven is patiently showing me things I need to change not only my actions about, but my thoughts or philosophies about.

Reese and I are scheduled to take an electronics course together at the local community college. I just couldn’t find a homeschool electronics course, and I would not be able to explain any problem areas anyway. He may also begin piano lessons from one of our pastors’ sons. The boys will continue to take a Bible Institute class and we hope to go to New Zealand in February and March, with a short jaunt into Papua New Guinea. Dylan hopes to make it to the Philippines once this coming year. We wait to see what God has planned for us and we are ready to change our plans at a moment’s notice if the Lord tells us to.

Perhaps some day I will post pictures. For now, I’d better get some sleep and try to get back on the right schedule.

Thanks for reading!–Jamie

Fatherless – Yet not Alone

A year. A whole year! My siblings and I have been fatherless a year. My dear mother has been a widow for a year.

I can’t even explain to myself how I feel. My heart seems to go into fibrillation when I think about the incident or see pictures. I feel kind of nervous, and an incredible depth of sadness. And the strangest feeling is the one of disbelief. I still can’t fathom the fact that my father is dead. I can’t believe that my mom is a widow. How did this happen? When did this happen? Whose story am I reading? It can’t be mine.

I am trying to keep everything under control. I have a job to do, and I want to do it properly. Here I sit at my test bench, surrounded by coworkers, bravely plugging on through my daily routine. But it somehow seems so unimportant. I am randomly gripped by an overwhelming grief, and I start to cry. But I have to keep it under control. Professional. So I just breath heavily.

I am so grateful for the support from everyone around me. My friends, my family, my coworkers; all have rallied around us to let us know: we are not alone. I keenly miss my father, one of the best and godliest men I have ever known. No one can replace that earthly position he filled in our lives. But we have a heavenly Father, one who will never leave us nor forsake us. He is the one who gives me peace and joy through my grief. He is the One who helps me keep going when all I want to do is give up.

Thank you to everyone who has allowed God to show love through you. Thank you for serving and comforting and being a shoulder to cry on. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I love you guys. Because of you, I know I’m not alone.

Allen D. Parfitt

Ken Parfitt – Photo for Test and Measurement World Magazine

This photo of Ken Parfitt was taken at Harris Corporation Jan. 1. The photographer worked for Test and Measurement World, and Ken was the supervisor of the man who won the award for Test Engineer of the Year.l The photograph appeared in the Test and Measurement World magazine. The article with the photo can be read here: Test for the digital battlefield at Harris RF Communications.

Ken’s story to submit to his college alumni magazine

Ken Parfitt, the love of my life, has left this world to be with his Lord forevermore. He left behind a history of service to God that many men would wish for.

 

Ken was raised in a small town in Western Upstate New York and had an aptitude for two things: electronics and humor. He narrowed down his college choices to LeTourneau College and began attending in the fall of 1982. He was 17 when he arrived on campus. One of the main reasons he chose LeTourneau was the fact that it was a Christian college. He chose to work to get an Electrical Engineering Technology degree and did well his first semester. He didn’t like the heat of East Texas, but he enjoyed the many activities on campus. His humor showed up time and again as he and his dorm mates planned activities to pass the time between studies. When he later lived off campus, he made some poor personal choices and his relationship with God was weakened. Then he met me at work at the local newspaper and I challenged every one of his beliefs about God. It was a lot of work for him to prove me wrong on every point, because I had been raised in a cult (WCG) and I was as indoctrinated as they get. But he had many good professors to help him dig out from the Bible the proofs of what he believed so that he could show them to me.  And the good thing about LeTourneau was that these were not his theology professors. They were his welding professor, his computer professor, his electronics professor. He patiently kept pointing me to the Jesus of the Bible, and I was finally saved by Jesus’ blood alone. Gone were my law-keeping and my reliance on membership. In their place was a sealed promise from God the Father to keep me until Christ came for me. We married after this and he spent two years as a married student, working full-time and caring for his new wife and son. He graduated in the spring of 1988.
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Allen’s Real-Life Nightmare: Locked out of his Laptop!

I had a nightmare yesterday. My new laptop came on Wednesday, and because I was out all day and evening, I barely had time to set it up and log in before I went to bed. I was super excited, because I haven’t had a laptop in over 6 months.

Well, last evening, I opened my laptop and turned it on and tried to log in. Wrong password. Oh, snap. I tried again. And again. And again… I could not believe that I had forgotten my password. See, I knew what two words made up the password, but I could not figure out which letters were capitalized, and which had number substitutes.

So here I was, with a brand new laptop, and no way to get in. I mean *NO* *WAY*. I hadn’t had time to create a password restore disk, or an OS backup disk. I was sunk. Dad said to call Dell and find out if they could remotely get me back in. Well, I didn’t have the software warranty thing. I could get it for something like $250, or I could pay a one-time charge of $80 for them to unlock my computer. No way.

I did have the option of reinstalling the OS, since I had access to a legal copy if Windows 7 from school. I started the download, which would take… 8 hours? Besides, I didn’t really want to reinstall the OS.

I found a web page (using my desktop computer) that listed 6 different tools for getting into such an account. However at least 4 of them required that I have access to another account on the computer. Um… not an option – there was only one account, and it was locked!

I tried two of them, plus another tool from another page, and none of them worked. I was feeling really unhappy. I happened to see that my friend Parker, a fellow computer geek and a good friend, was on Gchat. So I told him my issue and asked what he’d do. His comments didn’t sound too hopeful, but then he contacted our mutual geek friend Stephen, who told him of a tool, and then Parks sent me the link. Like the cliche of a man clutching at straws (except this was more like a 2×4) I downloaded the tool and burned it to a CD – the third CD of the night.

I tried it, and alas, though it said that my password was erased, I still couldn’t log in. I was very sad at this point. But then I though, well, maybe I had to use the tool to reactivate my account, not just clear the password. So I did that. (I don’t know how many times I had to reboot the poor machine!)

And behold, the computer started up and loaded right into my account. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!!!!! You cannot imagine the relief when that happened. Well, maybe you can, but the ordeal is over now. It took me over 4 hours to hack into my account! I will be much more careful in the future.