I have waited for this moment for a long time....to grab a cup of tea, imagine your faces sitting across from me, and share with you all that God has done, IS doing, and has yet to do. My next thought is, "there is no way in this one post that I can possibly share everything on my heart". So, my final thought is, “please bear with me as I sit in that reality, and, at the same time, attempt to bring you along the journey with us.” This may be a two cuppa…
This season has found our family well and enjoying the busyness that comes with it. The past several months have brought travel, conferences for personal development, and some good byes. God has been on the move in huge ways through our community outreaches – we count it a blessing to be involved with all that has happened. We’ve even weathered a successful sabbatical for our Pastor and his family. This year has moved swiftly, and it is hard to believe I sit here with you in the MIDDLE OF DECEMBER!! All the while we have been so mindful of you...every prayer....every gift...God continues to use to enable us to do what we do for this community....the gratitude in our hearts almost aches when we ponder all you do for us, and the very fact that we would not be here if it wasn't for you.
Your partnership has allowed us to step into development roles the church couldn’t afford to fill. I’ve had the opportunity to work with spiritual development and working closely with our small groups. This was a stretching role for me this year as it was new territory for me. I learned a lot about cell group dynamics, offering pastoral care to those groups and working towards developing those leaders.
Bobby’s focus has been on preaching and serving as a Servant Leader (like an elder role) in the church. This has been a great role for him as it has allowed him to support the church leadership and speak into the direction of the church.
There are a few roles that Rob and I just naturally fall into together. One of those areas is offering care to struggling leaders and other individuals in our church, rather which has been our home being a safe place to share burdens, hospital visits or coming along side people in stressful times. We also seem to have an unofficial role in caring for the other missionaries through global partners....mainly because we are the oldest :) but we find great joy in being family and a sounding board for the other missionaries in the area.
Rob and I also had the amazing opportunity to run The Alpha course (a study of basic biblical truths and understandings of the Christian faith, designed for those who may just be exploring) through cession. God revealed himself in huge ways. We launched a prayer campaign through our church which got our congregation praying and thinking through who was in their path every day that they could invite to alpha...this alone was worth the journey. Two days before the course was to begin we had no one registered, we were disappointed, but ok with that, knowing that God was using it either way even if it was just to get us praying over our community. However God had the last surprise on us and in 24 hours we went from 0 to 13 sitting around our living room on a Tuesday night! AMAZING!! It was a great 8 weeks together...so privileged to be a small part of some of their journeys. God is not done with that group of people, we pray for them often. The exciting part of this is that many of attendees were young adults and out of this, a young adults group may be birthed in early 2014. We will also be looking ahead to alpha being a regular part of our church rhythm. It seems like God is saying "come on...catch up!!"
I’m sure your curious about our boys. Our boys are fantastic, growing heaps, thriving in this culture and developing every day into who God has designed them to be. When I look around and realize that we get to serve as a family and the privilege it is to have my boys at my side.....joy is the only word that comes to mind. Caleb is discovering leadership skills and earlier this year he became a Servant Leader in the youth group he attends through our Parent church. Another huge growth point for cession in the last few months was the kick off of our own youth ministry on Monday nights, Caleb has been one of the core students involved in that as well. Caleb continues to study Jujitsu; he moved up a belt this year and recently has been asked to help teach the children’s class at his gym. He sustained a knee injury in early November which kept him off the mat for a while but he is slowing returning to full strength. Aedan continues to be our little social butterfly who has a huge heart for those in need around the world. Aedan was very involved in our Kids program’s second annual Family Fun Night which is an evening created by the kids, designed for families...all the proceeds from that night go to our churches sponsor child or to other projects for people in need. He had a great year in Rugby, he was put on a new team and learned a ton under his new coach and even made his first try (like a touchdown in football). We have watched him gain confidence, skill and friendships through the Rugby league. Passion for music also sits with our Aedan. He continued to study ukulele this year, had opportunities to play in some different venues and now has his next 3 instruments lined up that he is going to play “next”.
Cession community has had a huge year as well with the birth of some new ministries opportunities for personal growth as a congregation. As mentioned earlier A significant thing in the life of cession community this year was the opportunity to send our Pastor and his family on a sabbatical for 3 months. It was significant for both parties. Brett was able to have three months to rejuvenate, refresh, and refill in the USA with Kristen's Family....while cession community held down the fort on this side of the globe. Instead of bringing in an interim pastor we (servant leaders, core leaders, teaching team, and many others) kept things rolling. It was a time of growth for our church, our young adults, and our youth. During this time, Rob preached a bit more frequently and stepped in to give ongoing direction to the trust. I took on the administrative functions of the church, helped with pastoral care, and supported our weekly services. As a community, we were wonderfully stretched – our church learned quite a bit about ourselves and what it means to truly serve. Brett is back with us now (thankfully) and we see God’s fruit from these last few months all over the place! This is an area you can continue to pray for all of us as we merge the two "lives" back together. We are learning from Brett all that God has done in his heart and Brett is learning how we’ve grown in his absence. Pray for us as we move forward together into 2014 with vision and passion for the wider community around us.
In all these things, God has been building momentum at cession. We believe God is readying us for this next season. Sabbatical has refreshed Brett. There is an eagerness within the leaders for our next season of ministry. What’s in that next season, you ask? Well, that’s another post on its own.
So, where does that leave us personally? It’s been a full year as you can see...amongst all the ministry above, we were privileged with the opportunity to attend the Hillsong conference in Sydney. TEAR Fund sent Rob as part of his job and we saved our pennies so I could join him. This was a much-needed time of personal/professional development and renewal for both of us. Rob and I quickly realized how much the influence of great leaders and conferences have shaped and moulded us. Kentwood Community Church and Manchester Christian Church have been communities that have fostered this passion for excellence. As we took part in the conference, we realized how starved we were for that "fill up" time. God used the time to speak into our souls and give us the energy to keep moving forward. We came back to New Zealand with a renewed passion to serve the community God has placed us in.
We have been on a journey for several months of seeking God on what His next steps might be for our family as we look ahead. Everywhere else we lived, we looked for what God was doing and rarely asked if it was time to leave. Yet, as we were evaluating our next season in ministry, we were doing just the opposite. We were asking God if it was time to go home instead of looking at what He was doing around us. Through this journey, it has been made clear to us that God is not done with the Reynolds in NZ yet. As matter of a fact, the doors are flying wide open to us in ways we could have never imagined or dared to dream. So to that end, our family has decided to apply for the next visa. In many respects, this has been a massive decision for our family....and in other ways, a very natural "of course we should" decision as well. The absolute hardest part of this is the distance from family and loved ones. God has carried all of us; we understand that it is part of the sacrifice and we KNOW he will continue to carry all of us...but it gets very difficult at times from both sides of the globe. We ask that you would sincerely keep us and our extended family in your prayers as we navigate through those emotions.
The other part of this decision is the reality of cultivating our support so that we are able to continue what God has us doing for this church and the community she sits in. We are bi-vocational missionaries so most of our income needed to serve comes from Rob’s job at Tearfund. With the contribution his job makes, we only need to average $1500 of monthly support to continue ministry at our current level. At this time, we are averaging roughly $950/ month. Our account will allow us to serve at current levels until February 2014. At that time, if funding doesn’t change, we’ll need to reduce our hours at church to replace that income with part-time employment. We want to continue to serve the church at our current level but we need your support and help to do so. We are grateful to all our prayer partners and financial supporters for all you have done to help carry our ministry here in New Zealand. Once again, we could not do this without YOU!! Your support over the last three years has funded a development role that cession could not support on its own. You’ve launched a trust that now receives government grants for its work and has a cession member keeping it organized. Your continued support will allow us to move to new growth areas in the church as leaders are developed.
As you go through this holiday season, we humbly ask that you would prayerfully consider an area to put up your hand and say "I'll be involved in the work that God is doing in New Zealand". These include:
1. Commit to continuing your giving in 2014
2. If you evaluate your giving at the end of the year, we would love you to prayerfully consider including New Zealand as a field you invest in. Would you consider a one-time gift to our ministry? Gifts like this "launch" us into the next year.
3. Choose to come on board for 2014. This is something that can be considered at an individual or church level. 1 partner @ $500/month, 11 partners @ 50.00 /month, or 22 partners @ $25.00 /month would close our funding gap and provide a way for us to continue our work with cession|community.
4. Commit to praying for us and the ministry here at least once a week. We have beautiful stories of how people are keeping our ministry in front of them, how families have chosen a meal each week...so many uplifting and encouraging stories. When we know you are praying, we feel like we can move mountains!
As always our cession community ministry work is through Global Partners...we have a new home on their web site that you can find by going here, www.wesleyan.org/gp/projects, and scroll to the bottom of that page. We would love to hear your responses to 1, 2, 3 or 4…..so when you’re ready, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for having a "cuppa" with me (I'm sure you have needed one to get through all the information). There is so much more we would love to share but the best way to do that would be talking to you. If you drop us a line, we can set up a call to do so. In the meantime, words cannot express the gratitude in our hearts to you and to our Lord and Savoir, especially during this holiday season!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20-21
DaNae and Rob, Caleb and Aedan