Yesterday, we got an email from the woman who was coordinating our work in Christchurch. She listed what we'd achieved while we were there, and it was more than any of us realised, I suspect. We visited 356 homes (in some cases that meant only that we'd noted the house was still there, or that there was no one at home that day); we delivered firewood to five people; we took baking to quite a few more; at least one lawn was mowed; we invited people to a meal on the Saturday night; some of the team helped pack up a house in preparation for the inside being repaired (it was a house belonging to a couple of people who had a tendency to hoard!); another two took a woman to see her mother who's in a rest home and has Alzheimer's - the woman hadn't been able to do this on her own due to her own health issues; we delivered 60 'snuggle packs' to one particular street; and we made arrangements for around a dozen people to be followed up by the CCR team because of further needs. That's quite a bit!
On the Saturday morning, in Christchurch, our team was having its usual prayer/discussion/debriefing meeting before we set out for the day. We'd already done most of what we would contribute during the time, and we were going to be putting on a meal in the evening for some guests. Originally, Parklands Church had been going to host a 'shindig' (as one person called it) for us, but the person organising it had a nasty fall down some steps (breaking a couple of fingers and badly injuring his knee) and so the idea was put into reverse: we would host the meal instead. We'd been using Parklands' kitchen facilities for our own meals.
We were expecting some of the leadership team from Parklands (including the guy who'd had the fall), but our own leader had the idea that it would also be good to invite some of those we'd had particular contact with during the week, people from the area where we'd been door-knocking, and people who'd assisted us by providing showers in their homes. The idea was met with enthusiasm by the team, though personally I was a bit concerned about the logistics - but then I'm a person who likes to have every i dotted, and every t crossed. The others were a lot more flexible - I learnt a bit about flexibility during the week.
Anyway, various ones headed over to the St Ambrose area again (Aranui and Wainoni) and re-visited some likely guests. It took a good deal longer to do the rounds of the houses than we expected, but we came away with the possibility of several people attending the meal. As might be anticipated some of those didn't come in the end, but two women did, and they seemed to enjoy themselves. One of our team provided the transport for them; they wouldn't have got there otherwise. All in all we had at least a dozen guests, possibly fifteen.
The meal was a virtual feast. I mentioned in another post the enthusiasm two of the team in particular brought to cooking and baking. For this meal, several of the young people got involved as well, and we had a couple of crock-pots of sausages in a sauce, a curry, various roasted vegetables and pumpkin soup. And there was almost as much pudding or dessert as there was mains: chocolate cheese cake (very rich; quite an indulgent sort of thing!), two choices of ice cream, and more. (The meals we had during the week are blending together in my head a bit, so I can't be as specific as I'd like.) We even tried to turn some rice that had been left over from a previous meal into a rice pudding (the students in the group had never tried this old-fashioned dessert and weren't desperately keen to start) but something went a bit awry with this. Perhaps it needed longer in the oven, or needed more milk, or the jam was put in too early. Suffice to say, it wound up as a left over twice over...
On Sunday morning we completed our time in Christchurch by splitting into two groups. Five of us went over to St Ambrose's Church and as well as attending their 10 am service, we shared with the congregation a bit of what we'd done during the week. The other eight stayed at Parklands, and were involved in their service.
And so home. The long five/six hour drive back to Dunedin confirmed that I was very tired, even though up until then I was doing pretty well in terms of energy. When you're doing something different like this, and it requires some rethinking and flexibility (see above), you seem to pull in energy that you might not normally have. But it catches up on you, of course. I got home, cleared out the car, had some tea (which my daughter had ready for us) and got in the bath, where I nearly fell asleep while reading. It might have been a bit of an anticlimax to have drowned in the bath, but so far I've never even dropped a book in the bath, let alone drowned in it....