It feels so good to have an opportunity to sit down with a cup of coffee and be able to catch up on what God has been doing here in the South Pacific.
I was recently thinking about community……..I was talking and praying with a sweet woman who was going through a rough time. I shared with her that when things are tough and life is intense, a natural reaction is to become isolated. It is so easy to stay safe in our home (or in our own heads) and we “think” it will be better this way…………when in reality the very thing we need is to “be” with someone. We were not meant to be an island, to go it alone, or to just figure it out. We were deeply and beautifully created for community.
I believe community can have different forms and can fill different needs. Writing this blog and you following us on this site, means you are a member of one of our beautiful communities. A few years back when we started to build our team, we had no idea who God was working on to come along beside us as prayer partners, financial supporters and churches, but God knew and He created this amazing community that has surrounded us on our journey in New Zealand. It’s a community that has cried with us, celebrated with us, prayed for us, supported us, believed in us and followed us. Even though we are separated by half a globe we carry you with us. Our family is very aware that we would not be here in NZ, ministering to this very unique and special community and walking this journey if it wasn’t for so many of you and our team.
Because of so many of you that have supported us in a variety of ways, the past several months have seen:
• More than 480 children and parents/caregivers come to our Easter egg hunt and program. The stories from that day are countless, and the story of Christ was shared
• 150 people walk through our Stations of the Cross art gallery. Our church community came together and turned our little community center into 1960’s get away cabin,(referred to as a “Bach” here in kiwi- land). Patrons walked through the nostalgia of the rooms while they experienced art that shared the emotions attached to the Passion Story. Along with this, 40 people sat in the Kitchen of the “Bach” and took part in a Good Friday Service.
• The congregation of cession|community build healthy relationships both within and outside of her walls
• New families and individuals finding courage to walk into our services and have now found a “home”.
• The growth of our kids program (22 kids now) and the birth of a youth program.
• Leaders discovered and mentored to bring out all that God intends them to be.
• The growth and development of our Mainly Music program, which reaches out to Moms and Caregivers of little ones from our local community. We now average 60 people attending each week.
• The beginning of a “seekers” study called Journeys, which will move into an Alpha class study
• Opportunities to encourage and be involved with the National Church here.
• A new role for DaNae as she moves into a role with the church that will focus on spiritual formation
• Rob absorbing a role with TEAR Fund. You may remember that this past January we were almost sent home. We trusted God and his vision, all while feeling in our hearts that we were not released from the ministry here. In the 11th hour, God tapped us on the shoulder and said “I’m not done with you here yet”, and Rob was offered a part time position with TEAR Fund, a humanitarian aid organization that responds to the needs of the poor and oppressed in our world (including over sight of Compassion International’s efforts in NZ). Rob was responsible for training churches throughout NZ to respond to needs in their community. This position allowed us to meet the monthly deficit we had with Global Partners, which would allow us to finish our term. It also afforded opportunity for Rob to work with churches on a national level here in NZ.
I feel like I could add another page of bullet points to share all that the last 6+ months have held. As we approach the end of our first two year term here in NZ, we are humbled by the fact that we made it to this date, and have had the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the South Pacific. There was a time that we didn’t think we would make it to last January, let alone this fall.
Now that we have had a chance to share a bit of what our last several months have been, we now want to bring you in on the next big journey step God has us on. We knew when Rob accepted the part time position with TEAR Fund, God was also asking us to extend our stay here and our work would go beyond November of this current year. For the last few months, we have been taking steps to renew our ministry term with Global Partners. During this time, God opened some incredible doors for Rob. TEAR Fund has approached Rob with a full time position with them. After a lot of prayer, wisdom seeking, meetings with both ministries, and support from family and friends, Rob accepted the offer. There were several reasons why. First of all, it creates a model that is sustainable to continue serving cession|community in the long term…..still our #1 reason for being here. Secondly, our heart beats for NZ and what God is doing with his people here. This an amazing and humbling opportunity for Rob to have an influence with churches across this entire nation as He encourages them to respond to the needs of the poor and oppressed in our world. We are blown away that God has brought us to this place and that we get to be part of not just one ministry but two.
So what does this mean for us? We have entered into a “tent making” ministry here in NZ. We are still missionaries to cession|community church and the local community. Rob’s time with cession will be very focused on the skill set and hours he can give. He will continue to be a Pastor and do ministry. DaNae’s role will step up a bit as she becomes responsible for working with spiritual formation within the church including mentoring, encouraging leaders and continued support to the pastor and his family.
What does this mean for you? We absolutely cannot do this without your continued prayer and support. Having a prayer team around us through our time of raising support and during our ministry here has been the most important part of having a team. We carry you with us on this journey and would not be here if it wasn’t for God’s work through many of you as you invest your prayer time in His work here. The only way this “tent making” model will work is with your continued prayer and financial support. We need both pieces of the puzzle. We are prayerful that those who have financially given to our ministry would consider re-newing their financial commitment. You can also pray for us as we need to raise an additional 300.00 a month in support plus extra gifts that would go to supporting the cession|community. This continued support is what enables DaNae to invest in her role at cession and respond to ministry needs within the church.
We would be honored and blessed if you would take some time to talk with God and consider if He is prompting you to continue to be a part of our “community” and also if there are any other steps He might be leading you to take either as a prayer partner or finical partner.
One of the wonderful things of making it to the end of our first term is that we now have the opportunity to return to the states for 6 weeks. We are beyond ready for rest, recuperation, and connecting with our family and friends. We will be home in NH from October 5th until November 14th If you have questions and want to talk We look forward to time for phone calls/skype or possible coffee dates for those nearby.
For now, our family is well and the boys have been growing and thriving. We continue to be amazed that God has us in this place to serve Him, and we are anticipating a much needed trip home.
Thank you for praying about your continued involvement with our ministry. Enjoy your conversations with God.
You can continue to connect to Global Partners through the links here on our web page. If you are interested in learning more about TEAR Fund you can go to www.tearfund.org.nz
With much love and grateful hearts,
Rob, DaNae, Caleb and Aedan
Make sure you check out the prayer list on the left side too.