Saturday, May 21, 2016

Change is in the Air


Kia ora Folks!

DaNae, Caleb, Aedan, and I sure hope you are well. You’ve probably noticed we’ve gone a bit silent over the last several months. Some of you have even contacted us to make sure we are OK – I assure you we are. We’ve had a great year so far as I’ve served in a pastoral role at cession and DaNae has continued to build into our arts community. If you’ll allow me, we’ll update you on this activities in a following email. Today, I want to share why we’ve been a bit quiet over the last 7 months. It’s been intentional (not personal) as we’ve had heaps of change since returning to NZ from a home visit last summer. All really good and exciting change. If you’ve got time, let me wind back to what God was starting around last June and catch you up.

Before I dive in, though, let me assure you that our call to cession hasn’t changed. If anything, we’ve become more intentional since my ordination in 2014 and love the role we get to play there. Our missionary efforts in New Zealand have been anything but normal with God using multiple avenues to support our ministry (this is where some of the change has taken place). OK, buckle in because here we go. I’ll try to stick to the highlights but happy to share more if you desire.

You may remember that in 2012, God used a job at a Christian humanitarian organisation called Tearfund to both provide for and expand the reach of our ministry here in New Zealand. Tearfund had been able to fill the gap in our funding and allow us to continue ministry at cession with the support we had coming in. Last year, I started to sense that God may be preparing us for a transition. Nothing was going wrong – I was just feeling our directions were no longer aligned as well as they once were. We prayed about this while we visited family last July/August and returned to New Zealand with a clear sense that we’d look for new opportunities over the next year. That was about all the clarity we had at that time.

A week after we arrived, Tearfund announced they were reorganising the marketing department (where I worked). Through significant prayer and wrestling, we felt God was telling us to leave now instead of going for another role. So, at the end of October, I let my job become redundant and suggested they keep me on as a contract employee to help them through their transition. They offered me a contract through Easter - this was a win-win for both of us. I love this organisation and was able to leave really well, even though I had no idea what was next. We knew God wasn’t finished with us in New Zealand – we just didn’t know what He had planned. Whenever I saw friends take steps like this (moving when God tells you even though he hasn’t revealed what was next), I thought, “That’s more faith than I have.” Well, that’s the place we found ourselves and felt real peace being there. It just felt right.

As we stepped into the unknown, we felt God wanted us to explore. My contract with Tearfund would carry us up to Easter so we had some freedom to sit with God and wonder what could be next. This season was incredibly encouraging because offers and ideas started flooding in as people became aware that I was a “free agent.” At one time, I had eight different opportunities to pray about ranging from pastoral roles to ministry roles. In this time, the only bit we were somewhat sure of was that God wanted our continued involvement with ministry at cession and He wanted us to explore instead of just grabbing the first opportunity that came along.

One of the opportunities we were praying about was a director role with a missions agency. It was a role a friend was leaving and he half-jokingly said, “You should look at my role”. I did and started to get a little interested. The position description fit my gifting like a glove. At the end of November, I applied and started their lengthy interview process.

On April 17th, I found out that the board and missionaries of SIM NZ had overwhelmingly affirmed me as their next National Director. I am thrilled to be able to serve this team in this role. SIM is an international mission agency that believes it is unacceptable that people live and die without hearing the gospel. They were started in 1893 and have more than 4000 missionaries in nearly 70 countries across the globe. Here in New Zealand, I’ll be leading a team of 10 people that support over 60 missionaries sent from New Zealand. I started part-time with them this month and will go to full-time in September. Check out sim.org to learn more.

I’m both eager and a tad apprehensive of this new role. I get to lead a great team and organisation but I know it will stretch me. I think these feelings are normal :-). I can see how God has used our time here as missionaries and my role at Tearfund connecting with churches and international partners to prepare me for this next season of ministry.

So, what does this mean ministry-wise? Several things, actually.
•We will still be engaged in ministry at cession. Believe it or not, at an even greater role, too, since I no longer will spend 10+hours/week commuting (The SIM office will be a 2 minute walk from my home). Brett and I have been talking through intentional pastoral roles with the church. Right now, I’m focussing on a few projects with him to help us connect with our community.
•We will definitely NEED your prayer support. While I feel qualified for this leadership role, the reality is that I have previously gravitated toward middle management roles. I’m aware that this is a new step responsibility-wise and am relying on our team for support and wisdom as I grow into this role.
•We will be support-raising as part of my new role (all SIM senior leadership are responsible for their support just like missionaries on the field) AND will be back in the states in July (both New England and Michigan). We’d love a chance to catch up with you and share more of what we will be doing in this new role and what we’ve been doing this last year.

We started this missionary journey 5 years ago and never would have imagined it would have led to where we are today. From day 1, we just committed to joining God on a journey and following where He leads. Cession was and continues to be the driving force that keeps us here but God has broadened the call. We continue to be committed to staying on this journey with him wherever it leads and pray you’ll continue to join us on our wider team. Thanks for being a part so far.

Keep an eye out for further updates as this letter is intended to give you the big picture. Over the next several weeks, we’ll fill in the details of different steps of this journey and how we saw God work along the way. Until then, enjoy the journey God has you on!

Cheers,

Rob, DaNae, Caleb, and Aedan


May Prayer Points

•We just did a temporary home shift until we fly to the states in July. Pray for us as we adjust to a new temporary home.
•In May and June, we are helping a Christian ministry as house parents for their special needs respite home while they search for a permanent couple to fill this role. Pray for us as every day is different and brings new challenges. Each night, we’ll have up to 4 wonderful children/teens with special needs. Pray for insight when it is challenging and that we can make the home a place of respite and comfort for them when they are away from home. Pray for their families as well so they make the most of their respite break.
•Pray for Caleb as he finishes his final year of school. Studies are quite intense this year and he’s set a high bar for himself.
•Pray for DaNae as she wraps up a successful Stations of the Cross season and begins evaluating what next year’s ministry will look like.
•Pray for Aedan as he’s in the midst of rugby season. Pray that he could be a competitor with character and be a witness on and off the field.
•One of my roles at cession is leading our tweens ministry. Pray for our team as we work to make faith real for 10-12 year olds at church. Rhys, Hannah, Mattias, Aedan, Liam, Devon, Isabella, Chevon, Seth, Daniel and Sophie are great kids with a lot of energy!
•Pray for this support-raising season. My goal is to raise $30,000/yr NZD by September (we are about 1/3 of the way there) and grow that to $50,000/yr NZD by April. At SIM, we believe it is unacceptable that people live and die without hearing the gospel. These funds enable me to make a difference by leading this team and helping them grow as a sending and receiving organization.
•Pray for people who would be willing to host informational evenings when we are home. If you are one of these people, let us know and we’ll be in touch.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our last several months in Reveiw and Where we see God at work in NZ

I have waited for this moment for a long time....to grab a cup of tea, imagine your faces sitting across from me, and share with you all that God has done, IS doing, and has yet to do. My next thought is, "there is no way in this one post that I can possibly share everything on my heart". So, my final thought is, “please bear with me as I sit in that reality, and, at the same time, attempt to bring you along the journey with us.” This may be a two cuppa…

This season has found our family well and enjoying the busyness that comes with it. The past several months have brought travel, conferences for personal development, and some good byes. God has been on the move in huge ways through our community outreaches – we count it a blessing to be involved with all that has happened. We’ve even weathered a successful sabbatical for our Pastor and his family. This year has moved swiftly, and it is hard to believe I sit here with you in the MIDDLE OF DECEMBER!! All the while we have been so mindful of you...every prayer....every gift...God continues to use to enable us to do what we do for this community....the gratitude in our hearts almost aches when we ponder all you do for us, and the very fact that we would not be here if it wasn't for you.

Your partnership has allowed us to step into development roles the church couldn’t afford to fill. I’ve had the opportunity to work with spiritual development and working closely with our small groups. This was a stretching role for me this year as it was new territory for me. I learned a lot about cell group dynamics, offering pastoral care to those groups and working towards developing those leaders.

Bobby’s focus has been on preaching and serving as a Servant Leader (like an elder role) in the church. This has been a great role for him as it has allowed him to support the church leadership and speak into the direction of the church.

There are a few roles that Rob and I just naturally fall into together. One of those areas is offering care to struggling leaders and other individuals in our church, rather which has been our home being a safe place to share burdens, hospital visits or coming along side people in stressful times. We also seem to have an unofficial role in caring for the other missionaries through global partners....mainly because we are the oldest :) but we find great joy in being family and a sounding board for the other missionaries in the area.

Rob and I also had the amazing opportunity to run The Alpha course (a study of basic biblical truths and understandings of the Christian faith, designed for those who may just be exploring) through cession. God revealed himself in huge ways. We launched a prayer campaign through our church which got our congregation praying and thinking through who was in their path every day that they could invite to alpha...this alone was worth the journey. Two days before the course was to begin we had no one registered, we were disappointed, but ok with that, knowing that God was using it either way even if it was just to get us praying over our community. However God had the last surprise on us and in 24 hours we went from 0 to 13 sitting around our living room on a Tuesday night! AMAZING!! It was a great 8 weeks together...so privileged to be a small part of some of their journeys. God is not done with that group of people, we pray for them often. The exciting part of this is that many of attendees were young adults and out of this, a young adults group may be birthed in early 2014. We will also be looking ahead to alpha being a regular part of our church rhythm. It seems like God is saying "come on...catch up!!"

I’m sure your curious about our boys. Our boys are fantastic, growing heaps, thriving in this culture and developing every day into who God has designed them to be. When I look around and realize that we get to serve as a family and the privilege it is to have my boys at my side.....joy is the only word that comes to mind. Caleb is discovering leadership skills and earlier this year he became a Servant Leader in the youth group he attends through our Parent church. Another huge growth point for cession in the last few months was the kick off of our own youth ministry on Monday nights, Caleb has been one of the core students involved in that as well. Caleb continues to study Jujitsu; he moved up a belt this year and recently has been asked to help teach the children’s class at his gym. He sustained a knee injury in early November which kept him off the mat for a while but he is slowing returning to full strength. Aedan continues to be our little social butterfly who has a huge heart for those in need around the world. Aedan was very involved in our Kids program’s second annual Family Fun Night which is an evening created by the kids, designed for families...all the proceeds from that night go to our churches sponsor child or to other projects for people in need. He had a great year in Rugby, he was put on a new team and learned a ton under his new coach and even made his first try (like a touchdown in football). We have watched him gain confidence, skill and friendships through the Rugby league. Passion for music also sits with our Aedan. He continued to study ukulele this year, had opportunities to play in some different venues and now has his next 3 instruments lined up that he is going to play “next”.

Cession community has had a huge year as well with the birth of some new ministries opportunities for personal growth as a congregation. As mentioned earlier A significant thing in the life of cession community this year was the opportunity to send our Pastor and his family on a sabbatical for 3 months. It was significant for both parties. Brett was able to have three months to rejuvenate, refresh, and refill in the USA with Kristen's Family....while cession community held down the fort on this side of the globe. Instead of bringing in an interim pastor we (servant leaders, core leaders, teaching team, and many others) kept things rolling. It was a time of growth for our church, our young adults, and our youth. During this time, Rob preached a bit more frequently and stepped in to give ongoing direction to the trust. I took on the administrative functions of the church, helped with pastoral care, and supported our weekly services. As a community, we were wonderfully stretched – our church learned quite a bit about ourselves and what it means to truly serve. Brett is back with us now (thankfully) and we see God’s fruit from these last few months all over the place! This is an area you can continue to pray for all of us as we merge the two "lives" back together. We are learning from Brett all that God has done in his heart and Brett is learning how we’ve grown in his absence. Pray for us as we move forward together into 2014 with vision and passion for the wider community around us.

In all these things, God has been building momentum at cession. We believe God is readying us for this next season. Sabbatical has refreshed Brett. There is an eagerness within the leaders for our next season of ministry. What’s in that next season, you ask? Well, that’s another post on its own.

So, where does that leave us personally? It’s been a full year as you can see...amongst all the ministry above, we were privileged with the opportunity to attend the Hillsong conference in Sydney. TEAR Fund sent Rob as part of his job and we saved our pennies so I could join him. This was a much-needed time of personal/professional development and renewal for both of us. Rob and I quickly realized how much the influence of great leaders and conferences have shaped and moulded us. Kentwood Community Church and Manchester Christian Church have been communities that have fostered this passion for excellence. As we took part in the conference, we realized how starved we were for that "fill up" time. God used the time to speak into our souls and give us the energy to keep moving forward. We came back to New Zealand with a renewed passion to serve the community God has placed us in.

We have been on a journey for several months of seeking God on what His next steps might be for our family as we look ahead. Everywhere else we lived, we looked for what God was doing and rarely asked if it was time to leave. Yet, as we were evaluating our next season in ministry, we were doing just the opposite. We were asking God if it was time to go home instead of looking at what He was doing around us. Through this journey, it has been made clear to us that God is not done with the Reynolds in NZ yet. As matter of a fact, the doors are flying wide open to us in ways we could have never imagined or dared to dream. So to that end, our family has decided to apply for the next visa. In many respects, this has been a massive decision for our family....and in other ways, a very natural "of course we should" decision as well. The absolute hardest part of this is the distance from family and loved ones. God has carried all of us; we understand that it is part of the sacrifice and we KNOW he will continue to carry all of us...but it gets very difficult at times from both sides of the globe. We ask that you would sincerely keep us and our extended family in your prayers as we navigate through those emotions.

The other part of this decision is the reality of cultivating our support so that we are able to continue what God has us doing for this church and the community she sits in. We are bi-vocational missionaries so most of our income needed to serve comes from Rob’s job at Tearfund. With the contribution his job makes, we only need to average $1500 of monthly support to continue ministry at our current level. At this time, we are averaging roughly $950/ month. Our account will allow us to serve at current levels until February 2014. At that time, if funding doesn’t change, we’ll need to reduce our hours at church to replace that income with part-time employment. We want to continue to serve the church at our current level but we need your support and help to do so. We are grateful to all our prayer partners and financial supporters for all you have done to help carry our ministry here in New Zealand. Once again, we could not do this without YOU!! Your support over the last three years has funded a development role that cession could not support on its own. You’ve launched a trust that now receives government grants for its work and has a cession member keeping it organized. Your continued support will allow us to move to new growth areas in the church as leaders are developed.

As you go through this holiday season, we humbly ask that you would prayerfully consider an area to put up your hand and say "I'll be involved in the work that God is doing in New Zealand". These include:

1. Commit to continuing your giving in 2014

2. If you evaluate your giving at the end of the year, we would love you to prayerfully consider including New Zealand as a field you invest in. Would you consider a one-time gift to our ministry? Gifts like this "launch" us into the next year.

3. Choose to come on board for 2014. This is something that can be considered at an individual or church level. 1 partner @ $500/month, 11 partners @ 50.00 /month, or 22 partners @ $25.00 /month would close our funding gap and provide a way for us to continue our work with cession|community.

4. Commit to praying for us and the ministry here at least once a week. We have beautiful stories of how people are keeping our ministry in front of them, how families have chosen a meal each week...so many uplifting and encouraging stories. When we know you are praying, we feel like we can move mountains!

As always our cession community ministry work is through Global Partners...we have a new home on their web site that you can find by going here, www.wesleyan.org/gp/projects, and scroll to the bottom of that page. We would love to hear your responses to 1, 2, 3 or 4…..so when you’re ready, please email me at dreynolds422@gmail.com

Thank you for having a "cuppa" with me (I'm sure you have needed one to get through all the information). There is so much more we would love to share but the best way to do that would be talking to you. If you drop us a line, we can set up a call to do so. In the meantime, words cannot express the gratitude in our hearts to you and to our Lord and Savoir, especially during this holiday season!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20-21

Blessings,
DaNae and Rob, Caleb and Aedan


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Glimpses from Christmas to Easter

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 117 – 118: 1

These were the words laid on my heart this morning as I prepared to write to all of you. This new season for us has been a crazy, fast moving, fulfilling, try to keep up with God….season! Last I knew we were on an amazing furlough in the States for 6 weeks, returned to NZ for Christmas and then we blinked, and somehow we are nearly in the middle of March! 2013 has already proven to be a year of intense ministry and God on the move on many different levels.

I share the above verses because that is where my heart is currently at…feeling very thankful for God’s love and faithfulness, and operating from a space of remembering how good Our God is and all that He has done and will continue to do since He is faithful. My feelings of thankfulness are also for so many of you; for your prayers, gifts and ongoing support to us. They Reynolds would not be here, privileged to be a part of what God is doing in NZ, if it was not for you. We absolutely cannot do this without you. Every prayer, every penny, every attempt to support our family and cession|community; God sees, knows, uses and God blesses.

Christmas, as for most churches, was a huge opportunity for community outreach. For the second year in a row, we ran “Aotearoa Christmas” an event we run out of the community park for families and caregivers to come together, be loved on from our church and walk away having heard the Gospel and the true story of Christmas. We were blown away by nearly 400 attending this year along with the largest volunteer base we have had yet!

January
flew by fast as that is the peak of the summer season here in NZ and that includes the summer break for kids. Our churches largest event was the Ignite Youth Camp. You might remember this is the camp that Rob and a Team from West MI came to start several years ago. This year brought some fresh leadership and huge connection with our island churches. The result…..Highest numbers camp has ever seen, largest involvement for Pacific Island churches, first time attendees from the South island and Fiji!!! Incredible!! God moved in mighty ways among teens and leaders for 4 days!

Over the last few months Rob and I have also been so reminded and convicted that being here to work with this community of people is as much about the health and wholeness “inside” the church as it is about the wider community. We have had the opportunity and privilege to come along side several in our church community who have experienced pain, loss and tragedy. It has been a blessing to see relationships deepen and to see God show up in the midst of their pain.

February and March
……can probably be summed up in one word for most of us….EASTER! This Lent season has brought the opportunity for me to engage with Home Group life among our church community. Working with group leaders and forming new groups to engage in a church wide lent study. The biggest things in the lineup are our two community outreach events. The Easter Egg Hunt on March 23rd and the Stations of the Cross Art exhibit on Easter weekend. These two events are significant in the life of cession|community. Last year we were graced with 500+ in attendance to our Egg Hunt; a time that families experienced joy and heard the gospel. Stations of the Cross gathered great momentum among the community as well with nearly 200 in attendance plus record involvement from artists and donors from the wider community. This is an opportunity for people to come, to just “be”, and experience the gospel in a whole different way.

Prayer is what will carry us and those we are serving over these next few weeks. Would you consider being a part of a mini prayer campaign to lift up these outreach events and their potential effects on our community? If you choose to join us in this, send an email to dreynolds422@gmail.com and just say “praying” and then choose one day a week (at least) over the next 3 weeks that you will engage with these events with our Heavenly Father. Let us know which day you chose in the email as well. Our hope is that every day between now and Easter is covered. I will follow up your emails with specific ways to pray for us and our community over these next 3 weeks.

Striving to create quality outreach events to engage our community also comes with financial need. I am continuously amazed that this young church that has incredibly limited resources is used over and over by God to reach numbers in our community far beyond her actual size! We do not have funding this year for these projects. Each project needs 3 hundred dollars, which, in the big picture of things does not seem like that much, but will make a world of difference for purchasing supplies and materials. We lay this on the table for you to pray for cession|community and if you at all feel lead to partner with one of these projects financially (Easter Egg Hunt or Stations of the Cross) would you please email me at the above address. We have a special project account we can direct you to that gifts will go to the churches needs.

In closing I go back to the opening verses “Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”. This lent season I am striving to live from a thankful heart. Our family is thankful for each and every one of you and all you do to support us.

Grace and Peace;
DaNae (and the Reynolds family)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Movi'n right along.............

It is hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we will be sitting on a plane heading for the USA in just 48 hours!! (I'm sure it will become a huge reality when we hit hour 15 on the 1st flight!)

I'm hoping that by now you have had a chance to either read the letter that was sent to you or work your way through our last post. If not, take a few minutes now (warning, you might need a cup of coffee to sit for a while) and read the post previous to this one. It will fully catch you up on what God has been up to in the lives of the Reynolds and in this corner of the Globe. We are so blessed and privileged to have the next 6 weeks in the States to sit among loved ones.

Our house looks like some one shook it upside down, suit cases are laying open 1/2 full, the boys are getting a little more whipped up every day, my to do list is shrinking and some how growing all at the same time, ya know.....all things considered pretty normal around here for a family about to travel for 6 weeks. All in all things are going really well, we feel that we are leaving things "well" here on this end and feel fairly relaxed walking through these last few days. Please pray for us that all the details fall into place, that stress levels would remain low, for safety and smooth travels and for our adjustment on the other side.

We have a need/request that we would like to put out there to those of you in the NH area. We need a vehicle for our family during our time in New England. If you have one you could share with us or know of a lead for one that would be a Huge weight off our shoulders. Please email DaNae at dreynolds422@gmail.com if you have ideas.

Thank you for being a part of this, we are so grateful! We will post again once we are settled and thinking clearly in the northern hemisphere.

Grace and Peace,
DaNae and Family