Traveling to Cope with Child Loss (Part 4 - New Zealand)

Traveling to Cope with Child Loss (Part 4 - New Zealand)

We unexpectedly found ourselves at a church in Auckland, New Zealand on Father’s Day in September, two months after losing our son, Travis Jr. 


Father's Day was not on our radars, given that we typically celebrated it in June. 


Travis Jr.’s dad stood for recognition alongside the other fathers. We palpably tasted the bittersweetness of the moment. The bitterness of knowing that Travis Jr. had died. And the sweetness of knowing that Travis Sr. still was, and always will be, Travis Jr.’s father.   


The music in the church service spoke hope to our shattered hearts. In particular, a song called Whole Heart (Hold Me Now) reminded us of God’s love. God would not leave us to grieve all alone; He would bring healing to our raw brokenness. We could surrender to and trust God. The song became a frequent refrain in the subsequent weeks. 


Furthermore, the sermon spoke about being in a low place and trusting that better days were coming. It was a "right on time" message for us.   


After the service, a woman who could've been our mother noticed we were new to the church and greeted us. After some conversation, she invited us to join her and another young lady from the church for a Father's Day lunch celebrating her husband. We spontaneously agreed to join them, as we had no other plans for the day. 


For the rest of the afternoon and evening, the couple graciously hosted us in their home, cooked us a blend of New Zealand and Nigerian food, and took us on a driving tour of the local scenery. 


This couple and the young lady who joined them demonstrated the highest hospitality. They had no clue who we were, why we were in New Zealand, or how much we were hurting. (We didn’t mention Travis Jr. to them until the very end of the night.) Yet, they went out of their way and gave up their day to fellowship with and serve us, strangers. 


Our New Zealand hosts taught us the power of hospitality to bring joy and healing to a broken heart. 


Our whole New Zealand experience - the short ~40 hours that we were there - lifted our spirits in a way that created a special bond with the country and reminded us of God’s intentionality in demonstrating that He cares. 

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