“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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)