For those in the states it is “welcome summer”, yes we are having a bit of seasonal confusion going on in these American bodies! The USA has moved into summer, ending school, looking ahead to holiday…..Here in NZ we are in the thick of term two for school and we have started our “winter”. I do ok, putting on the jeans and sweaters and feeling the desire to do “cozy” type activities, but when I look at the calendar my brain has a bit of a wig out!! Winter for NZ means wet, with a few raw days but then some beautiful sunny days as well. It basically feels like it is fluctuating between a wet early November and perfect October days.
It is fun to read our last entry and remember all that took place in just those two short months, and seeing how God just keeps moving ahead right into June. We talked about Mainly Music and the start of our Love Languages Course in the last update. Mainly Music only continues to grow and every week there seems to be a new mum or care giver that darkens the door of the Depot, and they are not connected with the church. The atmosphere has been energized, staff is working well together and just loving on these ladies (and in some cases fathers too) who come spend a couple of hours with us on a Tuesday. Some have been opening up personal parts of their lives to us and it has given us an opportunity to speak into/serve the need they may have rather it’s a listening ear or a few meals to help get through the week. It has been a really beautiful thing to watch grow. Our Love Languages Course kicked off 3 Wednesday nights ago, and we have 17 people involved. It has been so exciting to see people in all different stages of life and from different parts of our community come together to learn how to strengthen the relationships they have in their lives.
Since the last time we wrote, our family had the opportunity to attend The Gathering. This is a day when the Wesleyan churches in the greater Auckland area come together for a full day of fellowship. The best part of this day for me was to meet other leaders that I have heard about from earlier trips that Rob had to NZ. It was just wonderful to see these churches from different cultures - Fijian, Tongan and others - come together in the same space. I was blessed to be reminded that we are in this together and that God is so much bigger then what we are trying to accomplish in our own little neck of the woods.
The biggest thing we are in the middle of right now is something called the “Discovery” process. This is a program that was developed by TearfundUK (google it if you have a minute) to aid churches in identifying needs in their community that they can do something about. Over seven sessions, the program walks a group of people through a process of discovering the needs of their community and the compatibility of the organization to meet those needs through their resources, talents, and gifts. It’s goal is to help the church see where those two meet so they can respond. This is being sponsored through the cession trust and it has been an amazing process of surveys and meeting with community leaders and organizations to assess what the needs are and how we can best meet them. The program is so well defined and exciting to see how it works that Rob has had thoughts of “I wonder how we could use this in the United States”. It has been a lot of work, and involves a high level of commitment for those who have agreed to go through the process, but the end result will be clear answers and direction for the cession community trust and church to understand how to best meet their communities needs.
Finally, and probably our biggest prayer need right now, is our funding to be able to stay here to complete these projects God has brought to our plates. By now many of you, if not all, have seen an invite to the New Zealand Missions Meal Plan. If you have not, click under the "helpful links" in the left hand margin, labeled the same name and that will explain everything. God has been so amazing and continues to surprise us and sustain us. Right now we are seeing God provide months at a time to be able to stay here for the full term. Global Partners has been wonderful in working with us and letting us know certain dollar amounts that need to be reached by certain dates to ensure another month, and another month. Our hope and prayer is that so many of you latch onto the NZ Missions Meal Plan, that we will be fully funded for the next year and two months so that we are no longer “buying” a month at a time. Would you join us in praying this with us and would you be willing to consider being part of the Meal Plan if you have not already.
We are thankful for each and every one of you, for the way you love us, support us and encourage us. We look forward to updating again soon.