Friday, January 27, 2012

Forget about the fat lady singing - it's not over until God says it is...

OK – I hope I grabbed your attention earlier today with my brief post about ‘Hail Mary’ passes. No, we are not expecting another child, as one of our friends suggested. Let me walk you through the last 4 days so you can feel what we’ve felt. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this little journey.

Most of you should know our funding situation. We’ve been on the brink of coming home early for 11 months now. God has worked in spectacular ways to keep us here month after month (each month, He’s answered our $2000 monthly shortfall!) but, as we approached the holidays, things didn’t look very hopeful. Our support balance was below the threshold set by Global Partners and, unless a miracle happened by January 15, we would be making plans to come home.

January 15 came and went with no significant change in our account. Ministry was at an apex here with the church just finishing our national youth camp where we saw God really move in the lives of our young people. We expected a call or email but kept saying, “It’s not over til we are getting on a plane” and struggled to hold on to hope. On Friday AM, the email came – Global Partners needed us to make arrangements to fly home and they needed us to get on it by Monday. Our hearts were pretty heavy that morning – we were heading away with DaNae’s parents for two days and were trying to keep our emotions in control. We still wanted to hold on to hope.

As I was walking out the door, my phone rang. I got the look from DaNae – the one that says, “leave work at home and lets go away” – but I saw it was one of our Servant Leaders (elders) so I answered it. I think Frank said something like this – “Hey, I have a part-time position I need to fill in my department to be responsible for the Discovery programme and you’re who I want. Would this help you funding shortfall and are you interested.” I’m pretty sure the conversation involved more than that but that’s what stuck because, as Frank explained the role and the pay, my mind was saying, “God, is this for real? This is a great fit for what we are doing here.” The pay he was able to offer was the amount of our shortfall (he didn’t know what that was before offering it) and the role was to promote a programme we’ve already used with our trust – a programme I hope to bring to the states when we return one day. And, it was with a Christian aid organization that our church supports. I would be able to continue my role with cession|community AND be able to promote DISCOVERY (Tearfund’s community development resource that we use) to churches all over New Zealand.

We still had a few hurdles in front of us – Frank still had to get final approval at Tearfund, we had to work out how my visa would work with the restrictions it has as a religious worker, and we had to secure Global Partners approval. All of this happened in a 48 hour period and it seemed like someone greased the gears, it was so smooth. I still sit here tonight a bit dazed as I think of how quickly God moved and changed things for us.

What does this mean for us? It means we will be able to stay for another 6 months!! And, assuming this pilot works well, it means we will be looking at extending our term possibly to December 2013. It means we will be able to continue fulfilling the call God has for us at cession|community and be able to have a national influence as well. Isn’t that SOOOO cool? Just when we thought it was over and our doors were shut, God opened a window (Aedan says this and then makes a sound like he’s throwing a rock through a window – that’s kind of how we felt ). Once again, my favorite verse has come alive. “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You” – Job 42:5. We definitely feel we’ve seen a real God through this!

What does this mean for each of you on our team? For us to be able to accept this, we will need to know that our current support will continue and still need each of you to be part of our team. If you are on our prayer support team, will you continue to pray for our ministry as well as one-time and monthly gifts to invest in what we are doing here? We are still operating at a reduced budget and still need to fund a return trip home later this year (about $5,000) if we are to extend our term. In order to be able to return to our original monthly budget, we would need to partner with 8 new faith promise partners at $50/month. If you are part of our financial team, thank you so much for your faithful giving – we wouldn’t have been able to say yes to this development without your commitments. Your partnership has enabled us to partner with ministry here, both at the local and national level. Things like Ignite Camp and the relationships we are building at the local church level wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for you. Would you also begin praying today if God would have you extend your giving to the end of our extended term?

I can’t wait to chat with you to share more of the details – the bits of the story that don’t translate to print very well! Over the next several weeks, we will try to connect with you and hear what God has been doing with you, too. In the meantime, feel free to drop us an email or note – we’d love to hear from you. And, for those who want to learn more about Tearfund, check out www.tearfund.org.nz. While you do that, we’re off to bed – your days just starting but ours finished a little while ago…

Love partnering in ministry with you,



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grateful!!

Happy 19 days into the New Year everyone!!! We pray that you had a wonderful and joyous Christmas and New years. The Reynolds have enjoyed wonderful Kiwi holidays, and find ourselves peaceful and more grateful than ever for all of you that God has crossed our paths with. I hope you have stayed caught up with our blog updates as we walked through our outreach events prior to Christmas. God used this past Christmas season to connect our church with so many in and around our community. Fruit was evident of this at our Christmas Eve service as we saw some of these families come into join our family on that special night. It was really exciting! Once we got through that busy end of December, we have enjoyed a bit of down time with friends and just soaking in the joy of the season with so many precious relationships we have here.
Rob jumped right back into action in continued work and preparation for Ignite Camp, the national Wesleyan Youth camp that is took place this weekend. It has been an intense time, but we know every minute has been worth it. An amazing team of talented leaders gathered around Rob to make this happen. 147 leaders and teens from all over the island left on Friday (Thursday for the U.S.) for 4 days of camp. Rob has been home for just a few days now from camp, and it has been amazing to continue to hear the stories and testimonies that have come out of those 4 days. They felt your prayers and it was evident that God was on the move in the lives of these young people. In our church alone, we had one new commitment (celebrate!), one recommitment (celebrate again!), and one desire to lead a Bible study to study the gifts of the Spirit(celebrate some more!!). As parents, we’ve loved the conversations we’ve had with Caleb since camp. Thank you for lifting them up, continue to pray for the aftermath of camp, and continue to pray for the churches and young people involved over the following weeks as they open themselves to the work of the Holy Spirit and then most are returning to new school year in just a few weeks.
You know that our prayer and deep request to God was to be able to stay in NZ long enough to see the important community out reaches through in December and to see Ignite camp through to its completion as Rob had accepted the position of Camp Director. I am in awe at the work of God’s hand and the way He used so many of you to make that happen. Here we are on the other side of those Christmas outreaches and smack in the middle of camp. My heart is overwhelmed. Now that we have made it to this point, the Reynolds may very well be facing the beginning of the next chapter in our lives. We are grateful and blessed beyond words to make it to camp, more so to witness Gods provision month after month for over a year and what He has allowed us to be a part of over this year. As you all know, we have had a deficit in our monthly funding , and we are now at a point that unless something happens in the immediate future, we will be making arrangements to return to the States in late February. This is not a surprise to us as we have leaned on God to provide our manna each month, and this is certainly no surprise to God. God is at work (He always is) and some things could be coming into place that would keep us here longer, but we are down to just days to figure this out. We have complete peace as to what the near future holds and we know that either way, God has got this covered.
We need your love, support and prayers now more than ever as we navigate through these next few weeks and begin to lay this out. My parents have decided to make a trip to this awesome country and are here with us now which is a gift beyond words not only to have them here, to share with them but also to process things with them. So please cover us in prayer as Rob has returned from camp and we begin to figure some of this out. We will update you in the next week or so as to where some of this is landing, but in the mean time we are peaceful and rejoice in a God whose mercy in new every single morning.