Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010’s right around the corner

Hi friends,

Merry Christmas to all our dear friends, loved ones and supporters! What a beautiful season this has been for our little family and we trust and pray it has been the same for you! Our teaching series at our church was “Prepare”, it was such a great few weeks of truly preparing our hearts and minds and even emotions to grasp what this time of year symbolizes. So many times we are about the “do”, and God just asks us to “be”………I pray that as we wind down 2009 that you find a few still moments to just “be”.

At this time of year, DaNae and I tend to process where we are in life. It’s become a process we look forward to, believe it or not. As we approach 2010, we hope each of you have a chance to look back, be present, and look forward, too. Take a minute to think through 2009 and what God has done in your life. How has He blessed you, surprised you, encouraged you, and challenged you. Take some time to be in the present – what is God doing with you and your family right now? How, if at all, is it tied to what He’s done in the past and brought you through already? Finally, look to the future – what is the trajectory He has you on? Where is He leading/directing you? What do you think He’s preparing you for?

As we apply this to New Zealand, we can look back and see how God has taught us to persevere. When we started this journey, we never expected to be raising funds for this long in the economic situation around us. We’re fortunate to have a clear call to NZ and encouragement along the way - they act as markers that we can hold onto when we question ourselves. We also see how God has met our needs in two of our three support goals as tactile proof that He’s moving us forward.

We can look at the present and see how God is sustaining us in this journey. With our original plan, we had the financial cushion to sustain us as we raised funds (we do not draw any support until we are in NZ). Needless to say, that cushion is long gone but God continues to provide work to sustain us. It’s been a blessing to totally rely on him for our day to day needs.

As we look to the future, we still feel strongly that God has called us to NZ. It will take circumstances beyond our control to deter us from this call. We anticipate serving cession and being a resource they utilize to launch and develop their community ministries. We wonder what else God has in store for us as we continue to raise funds. We wonder (with a bit of trepidation) how He will develop our character. We look forward to stepping off a plane a half a world away and allowing cession to see this plan become a real asset to them. We hope to see God draw enough monthly supporters to our team to make this happen.

For those of you who have been a part of our past and present, we are so thankful for how God has used your faithfulness to be part of our call. Several times, support has been more than just a financial partnership – it’s been the shot of encouragement we’ve needed to keep going. The need is great to get us to NZ – in 2 months, cession will start their new year. If you have been considering joining our team or have committed to joining but just have not had a chance to send in paperwork/give online, now would be an awesome time to consider joining us. Global Partners can only process commitments when they receive them - they can’t include our “word” on things that are coming. If God’s calling you to act, you can use the online giving option at www.praygivego.com to have your support recorded for this year. Thank you for caring enough about us to keep us on your spiritual radar. May 2009 end as a year you will remember and may 2010 bring you closeness with God that is beyond your imagination.

Happenings Here and There

It has been a busy few months in the Reynolds household, our last updates told of New Zealand Desserts coming up and talking with several individuals, along with Rob traveling in Nov. to speak at a church in MI and meet with other churches there. Put the events of the Holiday on top of that and its been a hopping time around here. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf over the last two months. Our desserts were such a blessing, great conversations with many dear people and Robs trip to MI went really well. There are times that we feel the pull of giving into the feelings of “this is just not happening fast enough”, but then God gives us His gentle reminders (big and small) that He is there, that He is guiding and directing and that He never abandons us in the middle of a call!

Our dear friends in New Zealand have had a busy month as well. One thing they started a few years ago is an outreach project called “Christmas Town”. The big deal this year is that they were actually written up in a local newspaper, below is the article and will give you an idea of what the project is:

• Howick and Pakuranga Times
IT’S time to fill your stocking with Christmas cheer and a walk through A Town Called Christmas this weekend.

The festive event – now in its third year and organised by the Cession Community Church – sees The Depot at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga transformed into a Victorian Christmas town with snow and candy-cane delights.

Lead pastor Brett Jones says it’s a day “designed with family fun in mind”. Christmas goodness waits behind every town store for people, particularly children, to partake in.

The Candy Store has delicious treats with a seasonal flavour, the Baubles of Joy shop is a place where families can make tree ornaments, and the Stationery Shop is a hive of Christmas card activity.

Then there are regular crowd pleasers, including Pimp My Sleigh and sleigh rides. Mr Jones says: “Every year we target an aid project as part of A Town Called Christmas.

“It’s about modelling something important to our children about the heart of Christmas. The first Christmas was an act of extraordinary self-giving, so we want to echo that generosity.”

This year’s project is the Sahassee Microenterprise project in India, which helps people – in partnership with Tear Fund – break the poverty cycle by encouraging sustainable small businesses.

How cool is that!!! Please continue to pray for their impact on their community and for the transitions coming in the next few weeks for the church. We have mentioned these transitions before, but just to recap they have a few staff members moving to their next call, one is pursuing seminary full time and the other is moving forward with the call on her life to plant another church! These are awesome endeavors however it leaves cession|community with a huge leadership hole to be filled. This is where the Reynolds come in and the realization of just how important it is that we get over there ASAP. We are so thankful for all of you who support us in so many different ways; truly words cannot express our gratitude for coming along on this journey with us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Activity and Tidbits.................

This week happenings..............
Hi friends,

A lot’s going on this week regarding New Zealand and team building. We have two desserts this weekend. What are desserts, you might be asking? DaNae and I team up with someone to host an evening where we share our call and ministry vision for New Zealand. We provide the presentation and dessert (normally a yummy pavlova) and the host opens their home. We love them because it provides a very personal environment to share the journey God has us on and potentially connect with interested people. We’re looking forward to the chance to share with folks this weekend – one is Saturday on the Seacoast and the other is Sunday here in the Gilford area. If this is something you would like to consider hostong, let us know!
As you pray through the week, we’d love you to keep us in mind. In addition to our drive to get to New Zealand in February (if this is new info – read our note posted last week on Facebook and our webpage – www.thelittlebigisland.com), we have several things in process:

• The dessert connections we mentioned above.

• Several churches are considering supporting us. I’ll be speaking at one in Michigan in November. Pray that our story and call would resonate with their vision for mission as they make their decision.

• November is a key month for us – it is our 2 year anniversary with Global Partners. We have an evaluation appointment that will take place sometime during the month in which we look together to see what God is doing. We’re praying that God will do cool things between now and then.

• On a personal note, we’re coming into the slow season for building and remodeling – our vocation while we build our team. Please pray that God would keep work coming in.

Thanks for your interest in our call to build into the local church in New Zealand. As you go through your week, maybe think about how you can be a resource and build into the ministry of your home church.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Cool New Development from cession!

When DaNae and I said yes to New Zealand and what God was doing in our lives, we never expected the ride we’ve had. We expected to see God at work but, as we see how that expectation becomes reality, it blows us away. God is so good – He’s continued to meet needs, offer encouragement at just the right moment, and open doors for us. Let me share a few with you:

• Work has been a bit slow on the construction side of things for me (while we’re here in the states, I swing a hammer to pay the bills). Two weeks ago, work dried up with the folks I work with and we didn’t know what we’d do. We prayed about it and waited to see what God would do. Within 24 hours, a neighbor came over who needed work done and work started to trickle in. It’s still slow but God’s meeting the needs we have.

• Life’s full of ups and downs and that’s no different when you’re building a team of support for overseas missions. We had been feeling a bit weary over the last week as we built our team. On Sunday, we were invited to English Tea by a person who had a friend and I work on their house. One of the other guests there was a friend we hadn’t seen in over 2 years. God used her to speak words of encouragement and energy into us – it was like a spiritual Red Bull and she didn’t even know it.

• In this last month, we’ve connected with a number of friends who want to be part of our team. It’s been awesome to hear what God has been doing in their lives as we reconnect and share with each other. We also have an opportunity to speak at a church in Michigan that is interested in supporting us.

These are just snippets of the ways God has been present in this journey. There’s another awesome development that’s just recently come about, too. Brett Jones, the pastor at cession|community (church) called us to share the results of their strategic planning meeting for next year. As we may have shared with you, cession has two of its key leaders moving on to new ventures in February – one is planting a church and the other is finishing his education. This leaves a significant leadership gap for the church as they look to next year and their vision for ministry. The team decided the best answer to this need was to get us to NZ. If we can be there by the start of their ministry year in February, they’ve committed to underwrite our accommodations (about 20% of our ministry budget). Unfortunately, if we can’t make that happen, they need to divert those funds elsewhere.

Needless to say, we think this is incredible and hope to see God move in a big way to make it happen. I share this with you because, now, of all times, is a time where you’re help can really make an exponential difference. I know we’ve approached some of you to be part of our team to get to NZ. Whether this is your first time hearing our appeal or you’ve been aware from day 1, we ask that you consider being part of our team. Pray that we can see God move in an amazing way over these next few months. Our greatest need is in our monthly support – this is the budget that will provide for ongoing needs once we are in NZ. I was looking at our Facebook page today – we have 284 fans (I’m feeling popular right now – weird feeling…). I know this is way out there but if each fan became part of our team and could support us with $11/month faith promise, we’d be buying tickets and making plans to head to NZ. I know it’s crazy but that’s all it would take for God to pull a team together to invest in the church in NZ. If you are interested, you can go to www.praygivego.com and sign up online or contact us (especially if you have questions).

Thanks for sharing in this journey with us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My thoughts on "Why New Zealand?"...

A while back, DaNae mentioned I post some thoughts on our vision for New Zealand. I think about this often and have these pictures bouncing around in my head all the time. Below is my attempt at pulling these bouncing thoughts in order :) I hope this helps you see what God could do through this partnership!

"The Why Behind New Zealand…

I get asked this question a lot. Why New Zealand? I think it has several implications depending on who is asking it. Why New Zealand – as in “what called you there?” Why New Zealand – as in “why chose a developed country over an underdeveloped one?” Why New Zealand – as in “why do you feel the need to go overseas?” I’m sure there are other imbedded questions; however, these are the three that jump out to me. I can answer them in several ways…

• I can point you to the ‘Our Story’ section of our website for a more detailed account of how God worked in our life to call us to New Zealand. On one level, it answers all of these questions – God told us this was next.

• I can share how it was the answer to a six year prayer that God would give me a heart for one area of the globe to invest in. After my first few days in the country in March 2004, I knew New Zealand was God’s answer.

• I can share how I love and am drawn to their culture. It’s a post-church environment in which one gets to share a vibrant real gospel as if it’s a new thing. I love ministry where people want to see something real and living.

Each is a story I could elaborate on, however, I’d rather answer looking to the future. Why New Zealand – as in “what can the church become/what is its potential?” A closely related question is “how will cession benefit from our investment with them?” DaNae and I are called to invest in and equip the Church because we believe in its potential to reach its community and nation. God’s also used my involvement in the NZ church (three trips to aid in starting a youth camp) to call us to serve their culture (an answer to a prayer that started in 1998). Cession|community is a church with enormous potential to influence its community and draw them to Christ.

Cession is a church that may only be one of about twenty Wesleyan churches on the North Island but they are strategic and intentional in all they do. For the last four years, they’ve been preparing to plant another church and to launch a significant community outreach focus (through their church trust) from their church family. They’ve built relationships with their neighbors, secured a location, launched community-wide activities, and prepared their church body for a community focus. They’ve asked us to join them for the next two years to direct their trust and partner with them in making their dream a reality. Their dream is that the community will see a church that is more than a building and platitudes; it’s one that demonstrates Christ love by serving and meeting the real needs of individuals and families in the Howick/Botany area of Auckland. I think cession’s effectiveness will pivot on their ability to let the community see a church body that has compassion and care for the needs of their community first. I believe a ministry of meeting practical needs will build relationships that will allow the power of Jesus Christ to be a welcome meaning-filled contrast to a life without Him. I believe cession’s dream will enable them to break through and connect with Kiwis living in a post-church culture where faith is overlooked.

So, why does the church need us? How will they benefit from our investment with them? These are really awkward questions to answer on your own. So, let me share some of what Brett (cession|community’s pastor) has shared with us. Cession|community is a church of visionaries and dreamers. Their leadership is very creative in how they envision ways to minister. What they lack, though, are people on their team primarily gifted with the abilities to put feet to a vision and work a plan to make it happen. This is where DaNae and I come in. Through our past experiences and gifting, God’s developed this in us. We’re creative people who lead best when we’re partnered with highly visionary leaders. We best serve God when we’re on a team and able to take a vision, refine it, and put a plan together to make it a reality. This is exactly the way cession|community functions and the skills they need to move forward.

As I was trying to think of an analogy to bring clarity to our role, our vision of parenting kept coming to mind. DaNae and I see ourselves as the one’s primarily responsible for Caleb’s and Aedan’s development into the men God wants them to be. We are the ones tasked with shepherding them and letting them discover God’s plan for them. With this in mind, though, we’re also keenly aware that we are not the only important and necessary influences in their lives. Grandparents and family, friends, teachers, leaders, and other key adults have fed into and invested in our boys. They are who they are and who they will be because of God’s orchestrated effort of many. The composition of our boys wouldn’t be the same if any of His instruments were left out. I see our call to cession|community in New Zealand in the same way. We need to be there as one of the pieces God uses to move them toward the plan he has for them. We are not the answer or significant keys to the answer. We believe God wants us to simply be one of the instruments he uses to encourage and equip them as they strive to reach their community in a way that demonstrates love and compassion."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring has sprung and much to do on the Reynolds plate!!

Hello everyone! I am embarrassed at how over due this is, however when I finish this update I think you will understand why! It has been a VERY busy spring for our little family!! I love this time of year and the "newness" of everything along with the anticipation of summer. So much has been going on I'm not even sure where to start! Let me begin by commenting on a few things from my last post. I left you with news that we were hosting a dessert at my parents house on March 8th. That was a great night of fellowship and opportunity to share our story and ministry with some great couples. My mom, has practiced, and may I say nearly perfected the art of Pavlova!! I hope to share pictures, I think you may be impressed. It was a fun night and our team has grown because of it. It went so well we just hosted another one on May 8th, which was a blessing as well. I mentioned that we were also meeting with a mission board that month to share cession|community's vision with them. That was a good meeting and they asked us to to speak in April at their missions breakfast and service. Finally we asked you to pray about work for Rob through the rest of winter, and God answered that prayer, work has continued to stay steady for Rob!

Now onto the "new" stuff! As I just mentioned We had the opportunity to speak at a local church in April. We were able to give an update during the breakfast time they had along with doing the sermon during the worship service. It was a great weekend and time to really connect with the people of this church. The very next weekend in April we had the pleasure of traveling to Queensbury NY and speaking at a Wesleyan church for their worship service as well. That was a fantastic weekend, of travel, meeting some wonderful people who truly blessed us! God used this church to encourage us in so many ways! We also had a fun opportunity to connect with another local church by going roller skating with them and others in their community and during the night, Rob shared during a devotional time. This church is still praying through several decisions they need to make and we have enjoyed getting to understand them a little better. Through the desserts I mentioned, these church visits and other follow up opportunities, God has grown our team through both financial support and prayer support. Just Awesome!! The dessert plan seems to be a great way to connect with smaller groups and we are looking forward to hosting another one in June, and then looking for a few homes to host at least 3 more for us in other areas of our state. We have a few other churches we are following up with and we have put a game plan in place to begin connecting with other Churches in the North East. We are asking God to fill up our calendar with church connections.

Personally speaking we have had a lot going on as well. For 6 years Rob has been working towards his Masters at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. After a lot of sacrifice and A LOT of work Rob is looking at the end of the tunnel! This final semester has been quite intense, however he is almost there and he graduates on May 30th! We are so blessed to have the opportunity to be at his graduation and we head out on a much needed road trip May 21st. We will make some stops in MI to connect with good friends, supporters and church as we make our way to St. Paul. And finally (on the personal side) we wanted to share that God moved in our young son's heart, and in April Caleb said he wanted to be baptized! So on May 3rd (the day before his 11th birthday) with friends and family gathered at our church Rob baptized our precious son! It was a great day!

I have talked so much about us, I need to update you on the dear people and church that are at the heart of all this. Cession|community had had a good season as well.
The Easter season was such a great opportunity for cession to reach out and involve their community! A few years back they started doing an Easter Egg hunt for the community. God has blessed this and this year they saw the largest numbers they have seen. 340 people came and the count was higher on the adults then in years past! This is an opportunity to not only have fun and love on their community but also to be able to follow up with many families that filled out connect cards. Easter weekend not only brought them the opportunity to hold more services but also the Stations of the Cross, which is an art exhibit they open to the community using artists of the community that walk you through the passion story. All very exciting outreaches, and so cool to see how God is working through them. Brett and Kristen await the arrival of their third child due a few days ago, so please pray for them as they are very ready for the event to take place.

Well my dear friends, that is my book for the season of spring! Thank you for hanging in there with us, I will up date from the road next week. Pray for us and celebrate with us as we mark this huge accomplishment in Robs life. Thank you for all of your prayers and the so many ways you support us. Drop us a note we would love to hear from you.

******I guess I should have done this post sooner! after writing this post we found out that Brett and Kristen had a beautiful baby girl this morning!! Yay God!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March came in like a Lion!

yes we are under a lot of snow here in the North East! The night of march 1st into march 2nd brought over a foot of snow, this was on top of 2 other storms that dropped at least that much before it! One of which forced us to cancel the dessert that I mentioned in my last update!! I will say though that it is beautiful and our boys LOVE it! So thank you if you were praying for our NZ Dessert on the 22nd, just fast forward your prayers to this next sunday March 8th. The blessing of the storm is that by rescheduling we picked up a few couples who can come to the 8th. So we will be presenting to 5 couples that afternoon. God has also answered our prayers on the work front for Rob, the last few weeks has brought some work his way, we are so thankful for that. Please pray that work continues through our winter months. In the next week we will be meeting with the missions board of the local church that is taking us on. They are giving us time in that meeting to hear our vision, the vision of cession|community, and what our needs are. That has prompted some great discussion with Brett in NZ, and has been a good process for us to go through as cession (and ourselves) continue to develop during this time of team building. We will also have some opportunities to continue building relationship with another local church that Rob met with last month. So, we have our "to do" list and our marching orders for the next month as we continue to plan up coming meetings/contacts with individuals and churches. We are also trying to "think out of the box", Rob has been setting up a "join our cause" page on Facebook, and we have other creative ideas in the mix. One of my big reasons for writing tonight was to share praise for our awesome God, first He gave me strength and peace during my recent MRI, and secondly He continues to confirm my healing as we found out the MRI is CLEAR!!!! Thank you for taking the time to check our updates, it makes us feel that we are in touch with you and being a part of our journey means the world to us. Check out prayer requests on the side and we will be updating again soon. Until then Grace and Peace..............

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kiwi's Warm and Humid while Ground Hog sees shadow in the USA.....

Yup, more winter to face!!! All while I read updates of some Kiwi friends complaining of humidity. It will be bizarre for our family to reverse the seasons once we are there. Actually NE seems to be in a Feb thaw while I type this, but this can't be trusted to stay! Thank you for checking in with us again and thank you for the many personal emails in response to our last posting. As always you are welcome to post any thoughts and hello's here on this site as well. It is always so encouraging to hear from you. It has been a good and busy month since my last post. Personally I am enjoying the schedule and activity, it feels as though we are thrusting forward. Not only are we busy with New Zealand work but there has been a few instances that God just really seems to be working on and preparing our hearts.
As mentioned in the last post Rob and I had a weekend in Vermont where we were able to connect with the District Superintendent. It was a treat and a blessing to meet Paul and his wife and well worth the trip. He has great vision for the North East and it was contagious. He was encouraging to us, and will be a great contact for us. The other blessing of that weekend was the little church Paul was speaking at. They welcomed us with open arms and made us feel like family. We connected with many families, some of which are already praying for us and we are in discussion of returning to them to speak. So thank you for your prayers over that meeting. In the last few weeks Rob has met with a local pastor, and we have an invitation to another church in NY in early April. We continue to have individuals show interest and we have a big night on Feb 22nd when my parents will be hosting a dessert for us, where we will be sharing our ministry with up to 9 couples. So a lot of cool stuff keeping us on our toes!
Our "warm" kiwi friends, are doing well. Rob has been able to connect with the Senior Pastor Brett over ovoo (free video/voice/chat). We have also received great reports from the Ignite weekend that was mentioned in the last update. I will try to post some personal testimonies soon to give us a glimpse of Gods hand at work. We (along with them) are anxious to get us over there with them.
Personally, our family is doing well. Rob and I have had some time this past month to recharge our batteries (very needed) and we had the opportunity to spend a weekend at my brothers and understand his new ministry at Monadnock Bible Conference, that was a great weekend. Make sure you check out our prayer list on the side. The biggie facing us right now is work for Rob. He has been a self employed contractor during our team building, and these are really tough months for finding work. Right now it has dried up and we are praying for a turn around. We have updated other links on the side bar as well so be sure to check those out too. Thank you again for checking in with us we love you all.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back on Line in 2009!

Happy New Year to all of you! May you see and experience Gods Grace and Peace in this new year.
Much has taken our attention in the last few months which accounts for such a delay on these postings. Rob and I have been trying to figure out the best way to communicate to all of you as our list of connections begins to grow. Our focus in Nov. was getting out our 1st newsletter which most of you should have received. If you did not receive that news letter and would like to be on that mailing list just drop me an email at dreynolds422@gmail.com. Then it was taking a deep breath and running into the Holidays head first. We hope and pray that your holidays were blessed and a time to reflect on all that God has done in the past year. So many of your faces and names crossed our thoughts over the last few months. Our holidays were great, very fast but great. Things were a bit zany prior to Christmas week, but Christmas week was full of family time and connecting with many great friends. Rob was able to have some time off with us and we made the most of it. Earlier in Dec a few events took our focus for a bit. First of all, we totaled our vehicle. Everyone was 100% ok, but after hitting black ice on a highway we spun around and hit the guardrail in the medium. God totally protected us and others around us and good friends and kind officers got us through the night. We had just sold our minivan so this was the only vehicle we had, but we had good insurance and since then have been able to replace it with a great vehicle that will suit our needs while still in the states and be a good match for Robs mom who it will go to when we depart. The second event was the loss of Robs uncle. It has been many years since Rob has connected with him, but he has many fond memories of him, the situation is very tragic and our concern lies with family members left behind. We are on the other side of these events and we are doing very well, but they did take our attention as we went through Dec. But again our holidays were blessed and we are ready to face a new year.

New Zealand of course is ever present on our hearts, our minds and in our daily work and efforts. There has been some exciting movement as of late. The church that I mentioned in my last post that we were invited to their missions conference has decided to take us on! We are so thrilled to connect with this local congregation and introduce them to New Zealand. We have also had meetings with the church we attend and some exciting conversations that will continue this month. Another church is in the works to speak at in the near future and we have had a few more individuals come on board and have had others express a desire to join our team. There has been so many ways even in just the last few weeks that God has totally surprised me, which reminds me HE is control of all of this, and we just need to be faithful! Another very cool connection that has come our way is contact with the District Superintendent of the Wesleyan church for NY and the northeast (that is a mouthful) He is speaking in VT this month and has invited us to come see him and then do dinner with him and his wife. This will be a good opportunity to build relationship with him and learn more about his district and other churches in the NE.

Our dear friends on the other side of the globe at cession|community are on the move as well. In our last post we listed on the prayer list for the renewing of the lease for cession|community in the community center the currently use, they were able to secure that lease for another 3 years, which allows them for planning of expanding their second service and community outreach! Praise God, this was a long haul, so truly answered prayer! Cession also did their Christmas outreach "Christmas town" where they literally turn their facility into a Christmas town with fun, activities and outreach to their local community. Currently as I type this they have a youth camp happening as well called Ignite. This is an exciting weekend were some of the churches band together, get off campus and minister to the local youth. God has used this weekend in big ways in the last few years and we have no doubt will move again this weekend. Very exciting stuff!

Well, now that you have read my book to catch up with us I will let you get on with your day :-) Thank you for taking the time to check in, we are piecing together our communication lists and routine and diving in to be more regular at that. Make sure you check out the prayer list on the side bar as well.

Over christmas week I was struck with the phrase from the hymn "O Holy Night", that says "the weary world rejoices", actually our church used that as the theme for Christmas eve. Our world, our days, even the events of our personal lives can become "weary", but let me encourage you to "rejoice" in Him who was and is and will forever be above all!!!! We are so blessed and so greatful to all of you who have decided to join us in this journey God has us on.