Manifesto.

 Dreams on a whiteboard: preparing a vision to develop with our elders and then our church.

Dreams on a whiteboard: preparing a vision to develop with our elders and then our church.

Have you ever had a feeling like you know something big is coming soon and you've been given the gift of a moment or a season to prepare well for it? Our church planting team is in that season now. To rush headlong into planning and executing a strategy before considering your unique position, your calling, your convictions, and/or your passions could be a critical mistake. And as church planters, if you move too quickly too soon, you run the risk of losing buy-in from the larger group or worse yet "planning God out of the equation." We're currently tackling these issues and loving every moment of it. Soon we'll be presenting a draft vision for our new church to our elders, developing it further with them, and then bringing it to the wider church core group for further input and to brainstorm strategies of how to implement the vision as a church. Your prayers during this process are so important, so please join us in asking God to do His thing!


 Nate leads worship at the Multiply NZ Conference.

Nate leads worship at the Multiply NZ Conference.

Multiply Church Planting Conference
Nate and Hamish recently attended a church planting conference in Auckland with church leaders from around New Zealand and guest speakers from Australia, the UK, and Kenya. Nate was asked to help lead worship for the event, which opened doors for more networking among other churches and church planters. The conference came at a perfect time for challenging and refreshing us as church planters in dreaming mode. We have a sense that God is pushing us to increase our faith and to loosen our grip on the controls of how this is going to play out. We know He's called us to plant multiple churches. And it seems He's asking us to take more risks and raise the bar. So pray with us and watch this space!

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Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.


 This cutie. Finn loves having a "coffee" with Daddy in this local train-car cafe.

This cutie. Finn loves having a "coffee" with Daddy in this local train-car cafe.

Family Update.

Springtime is always an exciting season around our house. The promise of warmer days and Christmas joy looms in the air as the countdown is updated daily on our family chalkboard. And Halloween dress-ups bring a sense of fun and make-believe. But this year, even royalty came knocking on the door (of our city 😉) as we were paid a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That's right - we're talking about Harry and Meghan. We did our best to play it cool with the rest of the usually nonchalant kiwi folk as the royals passed by on the viaduct, an arms-length away. It's rather silly, really. They're just people after all. But I must admit it was a bit fun to see the look on our daughter's face as she waved hello to a real-life prince.

 Playing it cool and greeting our royal guests in Auckland with friends.

Playing it cool and greeting our royal guests in Auckland with friends.

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It's Official 🙌🏼

 Our initial leadership team + families

Our initial leadership team + families

Things Just Got Real

The past month has been full of firsts. Our long term relationship with Shore Community Church has led to an official memo of understanding for church plant development and the formation of an initial leadership team. We're also seeking to add at least one more trustee to our number, thus forming an eldership for our church plant. It's finally happening!

We've also been granted charitable (non-profit) status for our trust, we've opened a bank account and have begun receiving funds in NZ, we've hired an accountant, and we've begun regular trustees meetings. The next steps are much more exciting and include developing and sharing our vision, forming a core group, choosing a church name, and then rolling it all out to the people of Northwest Auckland. Please keep all of this in your prayers!


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Westgate Multipurpose Facility
Many of you have been praying about the potential for us to use this ideal facility for our church gatherings. While we're still waiting for management to be hired so we can begin an official relationship and submit our application, we have been informed that we're the only church group interested and that they regularly rent their facilities to churches. We've also received a few photos from the inside of the developing auditorium...

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Redefining "Pastoral" Counselling
Nate has been dedicating some of his work week to one-on-one discipleship and mentoring. In a few cases his role in the relationship has turned to counsellor, a role he welcomes since gaining further education in the field. Interestingly, he's found himself in the position of counsellor to a number of local pastors who are faced with current challenges or the ghosts of past hardships. Since he's grown up in a ministry family and is a pastor himself, this seems to be a niche of counselling that he can influence with ease and regularity. Pray for God to lead him to the right people, to give him wisdom, and to continue to "fill his well" in regular quiet time and sessions with his own mentor.


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

 The next generation of church planters?

The next generation of church planters?


Family Update.

School holidays have come just in time. Not only does the daily school drop off and pick up come to a halt for two weeks, extracurriculars do as well. That leaves extra time for the kids to explore the beauty of the New Zealand countryside and enjoy a few "jammy" days at home. Last week Nate took the week off to be at home with the family. We explored the coast north of Auckland, visited a quaint farmers market, and enjoyed extra rest. We're thankful for the work God has given us to do, but we're so grateful for the ability to get away and recharge from time to time.

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Going Viral & Gathering Leaders

 Springtime in Auckland

Springtime in Auckland

Since our return from the states seven weeks ago we've reentered the rhythms of family, school, and ministry life. Our focus leading up to the launch of our new church is one of preparation. We're preparing our own hearts and minds through focused study and soul care, we're deepening current relationships and engaging in new ones, and we're accomplishing some of the many tasks associated with church planting. But we believe deeply that the most important work being done now is one you can help with. Prayer. Would you join us? Ask God to continue to guide us and provide what is needed to set up a church that stands the test of time and is honouring to the King we lift high.

Honouring Māori Culture
We're passionate about understanding and honouring Māori culture (the indigenous people of New Zealand). So the overwhelmingly positive response to this video from the New Zealand community and specifically the Māori people warmed our hearts. The video shows Nate leading American kids from one of our supporting churches in a Māori waiata (a spiritual hymn). This waiata is based on the angels' proclamation of Jesus' birth in Luke 2. Surprisingly, the video has been viewed over 132,000 times and has been shared and talked about positively in social media by thousands and even by a popular secular radio station. All for the honour of the King...Tinorangatiratanga.

Surrounded by Kiwi Leaders
From the moment we were called to this project we had a passion to hand it over to local kiwi leadership from day one. So our church planting team and the eldership at Shore Community Church have been "putting in the hard yards" to make sure this happens. We're close to being able to hand the baton to our eldership team which will include both Nate and our team leader, Hamish Taylor. Once that happens we'll be able to move forward in a number of critical ways. Please pray for God to lead us and to call the leaders He has prepared for this role.

Nate Interviewed on "Hope is Here"
We were honoured to have our family and ministry in New Zealand featured on a radio show called Hope is Here with Greg Horn. If you'd like to learn about how we were called to New Zealand or about the spiritual state of the nation, listen to the first of the three interviews. And while you're at it, subscribe to Hope is Here! Greg's show generally focuses on his own personal journey of overcoming some of the obstacles that caused him pain and shame and helping others to do the same. You can subscribe on Podbean or iTunes.

 Nate and another dad coaching basketball

Nate and another dad coaching basketball

 Music time at Shore's school holiday program

Music time at Shore's school holiday program

Church Plant Funding Update
As many of you know, we were not just connecting with our personal financial partners, we also had to spend time raising start-up funds for the church plant.
Here's where we are:

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

Family Update.

This month we celebrate 16 years of marriage. We recently ran the numbers and learned that the time we've been together is now the majority of the time we've been alive! It's hard to even imagine a time when we didn't know our other half. Our 16 years has been full of major life events - some that brought joy and some that brought stress. Each event was a stepping stone...an opportunity to learn and grow. And with the help of godly counsel and a whole lot of grace, we've grown closer and closer to one another. These days we often look at each other and wonder how we got so lucky. God has been good to us. OK we'll stop now.

 Celebrating 16 years of marriage 

Celebrating 16 years of marriage 

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Back Home

A recap of furlough and what's next for us...
 at Auckland International Airport

at Auckland International Airport

Kia ora koutou! Greetings from Auckland, where we have returned from our 3 months of furlough work in the USA and are settling back into our home and routine. If you are new to our email list, then welcome! There are links at the bottom of the email for additional ways to connect with us, such as Facebook and Instagram.

It's mid-winter here, so we've packed away our shorts and jandals and have pulled out the woollies...there's nothing like a freezing cold toilet seat to wake you up in the morning!

Here's a recap of what we got up to for the second half of our furlough...

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 vacation with all the cousins...so many cousins

vacation with all the cousins...so many cousins

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 Wait...where's Kenny?

Wait...where's Kenny?

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 these generous families donated over $10,000 to our ministry during a week of VBS!

these generous families donated over $10,000 to our ministry during a week of VBS!

We were overwhelmed with how God provided for our needs on this trip. From free transportation, to inexpensive accomodation, to all of the families who opened their homes and hearts to ours - God truly is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!

Church Plant Funding Update
As many of you know, we were not just connecting with our personal financial partners, we also had to spend time raising start-up funds for the church plant.
Here's where we are:

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

Family Update.
The kids have returned to school for Term 3 of their school year (NZ has year-round schooling, from February through mid-December). They're also joining in with some extra activities, such as choir, basketball, and piano lessons. It's a busy time for us as a family, but we enjoy exploring what the kids enjoy. Henry loves to bake with mum (probably so he can taste-test things along the way), so one of our first activities after we returned from furlough was to make banana bread together. Nothing makes a house smell like home like banana bread baking in the oven!

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Lane and Henry both celebrated birthdays in June!


Prayer Requests.


Praise: Financial Provision
Praise God that He has provided enough funding to cover the costs of our furlough, as well as increasing our monthly partnerships. He is so, so good to us.

Our Teammates: The Taylors
Our teammates - Hamish & Molly Taylor - are back in NZ with us, and we're loving getting to spend time with them. They still have about 60% of their monthly funding to raise, so please pray that they gain some ongoing financial partners. If you'd like to help, you can find out how here.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Praise God that she's now in full remission! However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial, and for her white blood cell count to increase.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Pray for continued strength and healing as she recovers from treatment for breast cancer.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management in NW Auckland. It's looking more and more promising. We expect to find out by November if our request to use the auditorium has been approved.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

People & Places

 Mother's Day with Whitney's family

Mother's Day with Whitney's family

The Halfway Mark
Kia ora koutou! Greetings from Ohio, where it has finally started to feel like Spring and Summer. The first few weeks of our furlough were full of cold temperatures that had us breaking out our woollies, but it is finally warming up here in the midwest, and we are loving the sunshine!

It's hard to believe that we are already nearly at the halfway point of our furlough, but time is flying by as we spend our days visiting our partnering churches all over Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Here's where we've been so far...

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We've had a lot of fun already and look forward to visiting with many more of you! Here's where we'll be over the next two months:

May 20
MeadowView Church of Christ (Frazeysburg, OH)
East 40 Church of Christ (Zanesville, OH)

May 30-31
Church Plant Fundraising
FUMC (Shreveport, LA)

June 1-3
Church Plant Fundraising
Harvester Christian Church (St. Louis, MO)

June 10
Bedford Acres Christian Church (Paris, KY)

June 24
Stanton Christian Church (Stanton, KY)

July 8
Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 8-13
VBS: Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 17
Return to New Zealand

More details


Family Update.
The kids have been thoroughly enjoying spending time with the grandparents, aunties and uncles, and of course their cousins. They've also had the chance to rekindle some friendships from previous furloughs - it always makes them feel so special when people remember them.

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One thing that a lot of people don't realise about church planting is that the children of the planters go through just as much transition and upheaval as their parents do, but often lack the vocabulary and understanding to articulate the myriad of thoughts and feelings that come along with such an unusual occupation. When we leave a church home to start a new one, the kids have to leave their church and friends behind, too. When we move to a new city or a new neighbourhood, the kids have to say goodbye to their home and their favourite places, too. We often feel like we have little control over when and where and how these churches get started, but our kids have even less. It's our job as their parents to help them understand the reasons we make these decisions and go through these changes, but we love it when other people take an interest in them and invest in them as well. We're facing yet another transition in the near future as we go all-in with this new church plant. And even though this lifestyle is the norm for our kids, we know there will be some changes involved that will be difficult for them. We ask that you pray for them and for us as we navigate this season of parenthood. 

 Above: At the Indianapolis Children's Museum with our friends, the Veeches.

Above: At the Indianapolis Children's Museum with our friends, the Veeches.


Prayer Requests.


Praise: Financial Provision
Praise God that we have received some financial gifts that have been a huge help in covering some ongoing ministry costs, as well as the cost of our furlough. These donations have come from both churches and individuals, and the timing has been perfect. We are constantly amazed at God's ability to provide for our needs through our relationship with Him, as well as our relationships with each other.

Our Teammates: The Taylors
Our teammates - Hamish & Molly Taylor - are currently in the States as well with their three boys, visiting family and raising funds for the church plant and for their own salary. They will head back to NZ next month, so please pray for success in fundraising, for safe travels, and for wonderful memories to be made.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She has recently suffered from a bacterial infection, please pray for a quick recovery and for continued success with her clinical trial.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Praise: Tami recently had some follow-up tests done and they have come back clear, showing no remaining cancer cells! 🎉

Safe Travel
Pray that we'll continue to manage furlough well as a family and that the planes, trains, and automobiles we'll be travelling on will arrive to their destinations safely.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management. We have been advised that they've taken note of our interest but we will need to wait until later in the year to formally apply to lease the auditorium.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

USA Schedule

Taking to the skies

USA Schedule.
Kia ora koutou! We take to the skies in just a few days so we're busy packing bags and tying up loose ends around here. We're planning for the weather to actually feel like Spring when we arrive, but to be honest, it's not looking good according to the snow-filled photos we're seeing on social media. I'm sure the kids would appreciate seeing snow though. Between family gatherings, church visits, worship leading, and church plant fundraising, our furlough schedule is full of events this time around. Have a look below to see what we'll be up to. We'd love to see your lovely faces if you're in the area! Reply to this email if you'd like to catch up over a coffee!

April 22
North Terrace Church of Christ (Zanesville, OH)

April 29
Northview Christian Church (Danville, IN)

May 6
Greenwood Christian Church (Greenwood, IN)

May 13
Mother's Day

May 20
MeadowView Church of Christ (Frazeysburg, OH)

June 3
Church Plant Fundraising

June 10
Bedford Acres Christian Church (Paris, KY)

June 17
Father's Day

July 8
Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 8-13
VBS: Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 17
Return to New Zealand

More details →

Looking Back.
As we journey full-speed-ahead toward our next church plant in Auckland, another chapter in the story has concluded. On Easter Sunday Nate led worship one final time as an official worship leader with Shore Community Church. After showing the above video, pastor Reuben Munn also interviewed our whole family on stage about what's next for us and then prayed for us together with the church. It was an honour to have the chance to talk to the church about our plans for visiting our amazing support base in the USA as well as our return to Auckland to plant the next church with Shore's own Hamish and Molly Taylor. While we will be nearby and have plans to collaborate with Shore throughout the next chapter, our main focus will be on the church plant rather than on Shore CC upon our return to New Zealand in July.


Family Update.
T E N  Y E A R S  O L D ??!!  We recently threw an early 10th birthday party for Lane. She doesn't actually turn 10 until June when we're in the USA, but since it's such a big milestone and she'll be away from her friends on her actual birthday, we thought we'd let her have an early birthday party before our departure. An avid tree-climber, she decided to invite some of her closest friends to a wall-climbing facility in Auckland for her party. Many of her friends have emigrated to Auckland from Asian or European countries so she's currently learning bits of Mandarin and Korean in order to keep up :-).

 Lane's (early) 10th birthday party with her NZ friends.

Lane's (early) 10th birthday party with her NZ friends.


Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. The doctors are happy with the progression and results of the treatment she's receiving as part of a clinical trial. Recent test results show that she is near remission but some evidence of cancer remains in two areas of her body. Pray for full remission and that her blood count will rebound soon.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is getting stronger and is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Safe Travel
We're off to the USA on Thursday this week! Pray that we'll manage the transition as a family well and that the planes, trains, and automobiles we'll travelling on will arrive to their destinations safely.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management. We have been advised that they've taken note of our interest but we will need to wait until later in the year to formally apply to lease the auditorium.

Fundraising
Please pray for our teammates, Hamish and Molly Taylor as they raise their salary and as we join them in raising additional church plant funds. We've got a big journey ahead of us! If you'd like to join Hamish in Molly in their journey, you can catch up with them here.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Wrapping Up & Flying Out

Kia ora koutou! We're right in the middle of scheduling visits, planning meetings, and organising service plans for our upcoming trip to the States. We'll release the dates of where we'll be when in next month's issue, so watch this space! While there's a lot to look forward to and plan for in the USA, there's plenty to keep us busy here in New Zealand. We've been supporting a team in planning Shore Community Church's 20th year celebration which is coming up on the 11th of March. We've found roles to play in our areas of strength - Whitney in design and graphics, and Nate with music. He's been asked to put together a bluegrass band for the country-fair-like event. Playing off his Kentucky heritage, they're calling themselves Finger Pickin' Good.

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A New Website and A New Video
Jump over to churchplant.nz and have a quick look at a recently finished website promoting our church plant. This site will be central to our fundraising campaign for the new church. If you'd like to be one of first to make a US tax deductible donation to our Auckland church plant, that site will direct you to the right place. That's another place you can take in the scenes of the Auckland region in the promotional video we've just released.


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Our Evolving Life Group
ABOVE: Over the past few years we've grown closer and closer to this lovely group of people we call our life group. We've walked beside them through good times and hard times, an engagement, a wedding, career changes, callings, illness, and births. We've also had the privilege of doing one-on-one discipleship with a few of them and serving alongside each other at Shore Community Church. About half of our group will soon be heading off on overseas adventures and in pursuit of God's call on their lives. Most of them do plan to return to Auckland eventually, so we'll be able to pick up where we left off. In the meantime we'll be working closely with the leadership at Shore CC to determine how to best proceed with the group as our new church emerges.

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Helping New Church Plants
Nate traveled to Tauranga to assist a group launching a new church plant last month. He and a team of musicians led the music for the first two weekend services at Current Church. Although it was in the middle of a very busy time for us, it was nonetheless a nice distraction from all the church plant admin work and furlough scheduling as well as a good reminder of why we're doing all of this in the first place. We're passionate about supporting and collaborating with other churches. This concept is already becoming a core value of our future church.


Family Update.
The whole family had the opportunity to join Nate on his second weekend in Tauranga. The new church he was helping rents a venue right on the beach, so it was a perfect place for mum and the kids to relax and play while dad rehearsed the band. On the ride home we made time to stop at one of our favourite places in New Zealand: Karangahake Gorge.

 Above: A walk through Karangahake Gorge after a weekend assisting a new church with their launch.

Above: A walk through Karangahake Gorge after a weekend assisting a new church with their launch.


Prayer Requests.


Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston. Her scan in January showed no new growth and the doctors are hopeful that she'll be in remission as early as April!

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Preparing for Furlough
Things are beginning to fall into place with our furlough schedule and with some important church plant setup tasks before we leave. Please pray that we'll be able to manage all of it well.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management. We have been advised that they've taken note of our interest but we will need to wait until later in the year to formally apply to lease the auditorium.

Fundraising
Please pray for our teammates, Hamish and Molly Taylor as they raise their salary and as we join them in raising additional church plant funds. We've got a big journey ahead of us! If you'd like to join Hamish in Molly in their journey, you can catch up with them here.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Ramping Up to Another Transition

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Life is always changing, but when you're planting churches internationally, the frequency of transitions can be relentless. Having served at Shore Community Church and having gained a qualification in counselling for Nate over the past two years, we're now working toward a USA furlough (April-July 2018) followed by a return to Auckland and full-time preparation for the new church with Hamish and Molly Taylor. By the way, if you're reading this and you live in Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we'll likely be visiting your church or one nearby, so watch this space for dates. We can't wait to reconnect with all of you! 

Churchplant.nz
One of the many tasks that must take place before we even leave for furlough has been completed: the launch of a website promoting our next church plant. Jump over to churchplant.nz and have a quick look! This site will be central to our fundraising campaign for the new church. If you'd like to be one of first to make a US tax deductible donation to our Auckland church plant, that site will direct you to the right place.

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Supporting Local Church Plants
ABOVE: In January we had the privilege of driving up to Gulf Harbour to lend a hand at The Vine Community Church, a new church plant north of Auckland. Church planters Jeff and Indra Palmer have become good friends of ours since they arrived in NZ. Planting a church without a team in NZ can be a lonely and discouraging endeavour, so we plan to keep in touch and support them and others like them whenever we can. On that note, this month Nate will be heading south to Tauranga to help Current Church kick off the first two weeks of their worship services and to do what he can to encourage the church planters there and prepare the Current music team.
 

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Staying Connected
We also had the privilege of reconnecting with the leadership of South Pacific Christian Fellowship (our former sending organization) last month. Executive Director, John Woodward and a team from one of his supporting churches visited for several days. We met with this group to show them the massive growth and opportunity for church planting in Northwest Auckland and to share our vision for reaching the estimated 100,000 new residents that will be moving into the area over the next several years. We're so grateful to have the camaraderie and cooperative support of SPCF as well as church leadership both at home in NZ and abroad in the USA.

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Family Update.
The kids are back in school now! Having them around the house every day since mid December was fun...most of the time. Nate, Lane, and Henry got out of the house to brave the 30-degree-heat (that's about 90-degrees in Fahrenheit) to camp out at Festival One, NZ's annual Christian Music Festival. It was a great opportunity to connect with friends and acquaintances from Shore Community Church and from around New Zealand. Nate also had a lot of playtime with the kids and one-on-one time with a couple of guys he's been walking beside for a while now. Whitney and Finn stayed home and "did so many puzzles and train tracks," according to one very enthused four year old. That's right, Finn is four! And he's proud of it.


Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston. Her scan in January showed no new growth, but she has had a number of health set backs including fighting the flu virus at the moment. Please pray for her protection from such dangerous viruses and for remission.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Preparing for Furlough
It appears that we have about 1 million tasks to accomplish before leaving for furlough. Please pray for things to fall into place with our furlough schedule and with some important church plant setup tasks before we leave. 

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management and that God would open the door for us to sign a contract to lease the auditorium in this ideal location very soon. 

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us, and we basically absolutely LOVE them! Please pray for them as they embark on their fundraising journey, and as they restructure their lives in order to get back into church planting.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Pointing to Hope Over the Holidays

 Holding out the hope of Jesus at Shore's Christmas Eve service.

Holding out the hope of Jesus at Shore's Christmas Eve service.

On top of the usual work, the past month was full of unique opportunities to shine the light of Jesus in the Auckland communities we're reaching.

Hobsonville, Auckland
We have a significant relationship with community leaders in Hobsonville Point - Auckland's fastest growing suburb according to this NZ News Article. For the second year in a row Nate and his band mates from Shore Community Church have been invited to lead this community in singing a variety of Christmas songs including ones that share the story of Jesus' birth. It's a unique opportunity for us to have an audience of several hundred people - most of whom aren't connected to Jesus or His church - and to point them to the true meaning of Christmas and toward several local churches in the area. One of the church leaders in the community said of Nate and the Shore band: "What this event communicates to the Hobsonville community is that the church has it together...we're well organised and we take our mission seriously." The grace of God and the talented musicians and technicians (pictured below at the event) make this kind of feedback a reality for us. We are privileged to be surrounded by people who help us do what we do for the glory of God.

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Albany, Auckland
Following this event we headed to Albany and Shore Community Church to lead the church in their annual Christmas Eve Service. This event has become a significant outreach event as the gymnasium at Albany Junior High School is filled with friends and family of our church attenders who rarely attend church or hear the Gospel preached. We design this worship service to be one that engages people from age 4 to 94 - not an easy task! This year we used a combination of Christmas Carols that tell the Story, a Christmas-themed quiz, a visit from a Santa Claus who looked like he had just come from the beach, and the interactive Bible app for kids. It was a fun and meaningful time together.  

And Beyond...
As we continue our work with Shore Community Church leading up to our departure for our USA furlough in April, Nate will be supporting other church plants on the fringes of the Auckland region by leading worship for them. This week we're off to Gulf Harbour to lend a hand to Jeff and Indra Palmer at The Vine Community Church.

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CP Venue Update
Last month we asked for prayer concerning our venue search for our church plant. While it's still early days we've seen an opportunity to try and secure an ideal hub to hire for our Sunday services and church activities. The $26m multipurpose facility located in the heart of the shopping centre for several fast-growing northwest Auckland suburbs is due to open in early 2019 - which could be perfect timing for our church plant launch. After several attempts to get in touch with the management for the facility, we were told that they'll keep our name on file but that we'll need to wait until mid 2018 to talk with them about hiring the facility. At the moment, they don't have anyone in place to manage it just yet. Please continue to pray with us that God will open or close this door according to His will!

 Our countdown to "midnight" on NYE at about 8pm...just before bedtime ;-)

Our countdown to "midnight" on NYE at about 8pm...just before bedtime ;-)

Family Update.

It's summertime in New Zealand which means the kids are out of school and out in the sunshine most days. It's a fun and sometimes challenging time for us as parents who have no family around to help us occupy these crazy kids. Fortunately our three actually enjoy playing together...most of the time. We've been busy playing with the new Christmas prezzies from the grandparents - including roller-skates and transformers! We've also been doing a lot of trampoline jumping and sprinkler runs through the back garden. And I'm sure some more trips to the beach are in our very near future. Nate, Lane, and Henry will also be joining a large contingent of Shore Community Church at Festival One at the end of January just before the kids head back to school and Finn turns four years old!


Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston. Please pray alongside us that God heals her. She has a scan in the next day or two. Pray for great news!

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Potential Church Plant Venue
(mentioned above) Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management and that God would open the door for us to sign a contract to lease the auditorium in this ideal location very soon. 

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us, and we basically absolutely LOVE them! Please pray for them as they embark on their fundraising journey, and as they restructure their lives in order to get back into church planting.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Travels, Events, and Venue Hunting

 We travelled to Thailand to officiate the wedding of Joe and Lydia Jay.

We travelled to Thailand to officiate the wedding of Joe and Lydia Jay.

The most wonderful time of the year also tends to be the busiest time of year. So if you're like us, just reading emails is a big ask right now, so thanks for reading this far! There's a lot to cover but we'll try to keep it brief ;-).

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Travels
USA // Nate had an encouraging trip to the USA last month to visit with his mother who is battling lymphoma. He met his parents in Houston where she was receiving treatment. Praise God that the treatment seems to be working. Many of her symptoms have faded and she has shown a lot of strength and resilience. While in Houston Nate had the chance to catch up with a missions team from Greenwood Christian Church and lent hand with some flood relief cleanup (pictured). On the way back to Kentucky, Nate and his dad made a stop in Louisiana to meet up with a lovely missions team who will be travelling to New Zealand for a visit in January. A special thank you goes out to the wonderful supporters who provided the airfare for that trip!

Thailand // Then we were off to Thailand to officiate the wedding of some dear friends and members of our life group: Joe and Lydia Jay. Joe is from India and Lydia is from Iowa. They met in New Zealand and were married in Thailand! This location turned out to be the most convenient for the two families. We were honoured to share in such a special time with two families from opposite sides of the planet. The union of these two and the harmony of two very different families was a beautiful picture of the commonality that God's grace provides for his Church. We had amazing babysitters looking after our kids back in New Zealand, which provided an unprecedented four days away - just the two of us! We felt like kids again.
 

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Events
Back in NZ we hit the ground running with worship leading, a kiwi wedding reception, hosting a friend from Christchurch, and church-planting meetings. Now we're preparing for an annual Christmas event for the Hobsonville Point Community where Nate and some musician friends from Shore CC will be entertaining the crowd and leading them in some Christmas Carols. Nate will then lead the Christmas Eve service at Shore CC. Meanwhile, Shore Community Church has kicked-off their support of our team by auctioning and donating the proceeds of a New Zealand All Blacks rugby jersey signed by the whole team (pictured) to our teammates, the Taylors. They're preparing for their upcoming fundraising trip to the USA. They'll be away for six months or more as they build a support team for the next leg of the church planting journey. We'll be joining them in the USA later in the year.

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Venue Hunting
While we're still in the planning and fundraising phase of our church plant project, there is currently an opportunity for us to begin making contact with potential venue managers for our new church. At the top of the list is a new multipurpose community centre being built in the heart of the shopping centre we've targeted as ground zero for our catchment area (pictured). It's being built right now and has an opening date that could coincide perfectly with the launch of our church plant. Nate is currently in the process of starting a relationship with the centre management. Please pray for favour and that we'd be able to sign a contract to lease the purpose-built auditorium soon!

 Nate and his amazing parents during Elaine's cancer treatment in Houston last month.

Nate and his amazing parents during Elaine's cancer treatment in Houston last month.

Family Update.
We'll be spending a lot of quality time together during the upcoming school holidays. The kids missed us during our travels (we missed them too) but they did really well with our fantastic babysitters. In fact, Finn asked when we were going away again. We thought he was worried but then he said, "It's so much fun with Molly and Miki!" Thanks again guys! We're currently searching for a "kindy" (preschool) for Finn as he is turning four in February. Most preschools in the area have a looooong waiting list (up to two years) because of all the new housing and young families in our area. This is ideal for church planting so we're not complaining at all! Please pray that we'll get him into a preschool - he's so ready for it!

A Partnership Defined

 A Sunday morning at our partner church in Auckland (photo by Dave Simpson)

A Sunday morning at our partner church in Auckland (photo by Dave Simpson)

We've come a long way since we left Christchurch for Auckland. We've been embraced as a part of the Shore Community Church family, we've reconnected with long-time friends and fellow church planters, we've formed a great church planting team with promising connections to more potential team members, and now we've officially entered into a partnership with an established local church who will be a life line to our new church plant.

An Independent Church Plant with a Family Connection
After months of prayer and several great meetings with an amazing group of supportive elders at Shore Community Church, we have decided that our next church plant will be an autonomous church with a close family-like connection to Shore CC. This means we will be free to cast our own vision for reaching our particular NW corner of Auckland while reaping the benefits of partnering with a caring and nearby established church. Specifically, the Shore elders have agreed to:

  • Work with the church plant team to establish an eldership before the church is started.
  • Look for ways to provide support and sharing of resources with the new church.
  • Explore opportunities to contribute people and funds to the new church.

More details about our partnership will emerge in future meetings next year.  In the meantime we have a lot of prep work to do. This will include things like pinpointing the exact location of the church plant, connecting with other churches and pastors in the area, researching venue and office options, praying with and considering additional team members, fundraising, and a furlough to the USA in 2018.


 The view from Paku Peak, Coromandel where we recently met up with some friends from Christchurch for a family holiday.

The view from Paku Peak, Coromandel where we recently met up with some friends from Christchurch for a family holiday.

Family Update.
The days ahead will be full of celebrations and travelling...

  • We'll celebrate Whitney's birthday on Sunday before the travels begin...
  • Nate leaves next week to visit his mother and to help his parents travel home from the hospital in Houston, Texas.
  • The day he returns he will present his final counselling video and essay at Laidlaw College before receiving a Pastoral Counselling Diploma...assuming the assignment goes well ;)
  • After a few days later we're off to officiate a wedding in Thailand.
  • Things should settle down just in time for the warm summer months of school holidays and Christmas time!

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Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She will be receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston for the next two years. Please pray alongside us that God heals her.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Please pray for Tami as she undergoes treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She was diagnosed in May/June and is now receiving chemotherapy. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us, and we basically absolutely LOVE them! Please pray for them as they embark on their fundraising journey, and as they restructure their lives in order to get back into church planting.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Q+A: That Thing We Do

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A church planting student at a university in Mexico interviewed Nate last week on the ins and outs of church planting in New Zealand. Pepe asked some great questions and we thought you'd like to hear the answers...

Q  What led you into missions?
A  I think instead of me choosing missions, God actually chose missions for me. My wife studied missions at KCU so when I married her we thought maybe some day we’d be called overseas although we weren’t sure how that would happen as I was in a full-time worship leading roll in Indianapolis. But when I was recruited to join a church planting (CP) team in New Zealand we saw a perfect opportunity for us to be involved in missions together.

Q  Why church planting? How did you feel the call for that?
A  When we were asked to join the CP team, we read some books on the subject and began to realise just how critical church planting is to reaching the lost. C. Peter Wagner says, “the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” I believe that’s true. I've seen people come to know Christ for the first time way more frequently in church plants than through established churches or simply through individual evangelism alone. In short, we plant churches so the lost will be saved but ultimately so that Christ will be worshiped by more.

Q  Why do you think God chose New Zealand for you?
A  New Zealand is a perfect fit for our family. We love living here and our personalities seem to blend well with the culture. So maybe that’s why He chose us specifically to come to NZ. But generally, NZ simply needs more workers for the massive harvest here. There's a growing number of immigrants coming to NZ from all over the world and many of them don’t know Christ. Plus it's a post-Christian society, meaning the people who have been here for ages have basically turned their back on church. The Christians here rarely feel called into full-time ministry, and if they do it's difficult for them to support a family on a ministry income, so it’s important that we find ways to train and motivate people who live here to live out the Great Commission themselves.

Q  So what are you currently doing in your ministry there and what's next?
A  We planted a church with a team in the city of Christchurch in 2010 and stayed with them for five years. We’ve moved on to Auckland now and we’ve been developing a partnership with a local church here (Shore Community Church) for the past couple of years. I’ve been leading worship for them, improving on various aspects of their worship ministry, mentoring other worship leaders, and going to school to get a qualification in counselling. Recently we’ve formed a core church planting team and have commenced regular meetings with the leadership at Shore CC to determine how best to plant a church in partnership with them. In 2018, we'll phase out of our rolls at Shore, begin setting up for the CP, and raise funds during a USA furlough. We look to be on track to plant a new church in Auckland by 2019/2020.

Q  Which challenges do you have in your ministry and in your life in general?
A  I’m faced with the challenge of finding a way to thrive in all areas of my life. It’s like juggling. I’ve got so much that needs my attention: quiet time with God, quality time with my family, good health, influencing the guys I’m mentoring and discipling, giving adequate time and energy to school, working hard for Shore CC and pouring enough into the next CP project to help get that off the ground. I could easily go crazy but a regular time in the mornings in the Word and in prayer grounds me. When I do that well I have great days and accomplish much. When I don’t get that right, I find myself spinning my wheels.

Q  What would you recommend to a new missionary?
A  Jesus said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Apart from me you can do NOTHING.”  Never forget that. Hold onto it. Believe it. And make it evident in how you spend your time. Close your door, open His Word, and get on your knees. Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you up. We can spend a lot of time learning about and running after all the latest and greatest methodologies around missions and church planting but without a strong connection to our source of life and strength and power it’s all useless. The simplicity of seeking God’s wisdom daily trumps every book ever written on evangelism or missions or church planting. If you don’t hunger and thirst for His Words, ask Him to put that desire in you.

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Q  What is an ordinary day like for you?
A  
Haha well I don’t think I’ve had an ordinary day yet but my usual work week looks something like this...Two days at school/working on assignments, two days in the office at Shore CC, one day working on church plant prep and supporter relations. Sundays are spent at church - usually leading worship or helping train multimedia people or dreaming up improvements to our setup. I also do some mentoring/discipleship with several guys from church. I’ll meet with a couple of them each week. We host a life group every week, and I have regular band practices to run so with that and a CP meeting or two in the evenings it’s a full week! My wife is a full time mum but she’s also contributing to our work by creating publications/graphic design for our church plant project and sometimes for Shore CC. So when I can steal a few hours, I’ll take Finn (3) into the office with me or to a playground so she can get some work done. Finn has an older brother (Henry, 7) and an older sister (Lane,9). They were all born in NZ so they’re little kiwis!

Q  Honestly, how do you feel that your relations are with these 3 groups: 1) other missionaries 2) your family 3) supporters?
A  Good question. 
1. Other missionaries. In general I have great relationships and heaps of support with other missionaries here in Auckland. We meet on a regular basis to pray together, dream together, and encourage each other. There was one difficult relationship. Thankfully it’s a wound that has healed. We’ve moved on and made our peace with it and I even thank God for all He did through that situation. We’re definitely better off now because of it.
2. My family. I love them so much. Fridays are reserved for sabbath rest. So I get extra sleep that day, then wake up and spend the day with my youngest son and my wife. Her love language is quality time. I don’t always get this right but I can say it’s definitely a priority now more than ever. 
3. Our supporters. They are so good to us. We keep them up to date with our work every month through an email newsletter, and do Skype calls and phone calls with a few specific ones occasionally. We also make sure we catch up with all of them every three years when we’re back in the USA on furlough. We’ve had only good experiences with our supporters. 

 Henry and Lane at the school disco (dance).

Henry and Lane at the school disco (dance).

Family Update.

  • he school year is 3/4 over - just one more term to go before summer! 
  • Nate will be officiating a wedding in Thailand next month.
  • Nate will be paying a quick visit to his mom next month as well, and helping his parents travel home from the hospital in Houston.
  • Nate will will be finishing up his final course work for his counselling program this month, which will complete his diploma of pastoral counselling. Well done, Nate!
“You can’t go back and change the beginning,
but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
— CS LEWIS

Laying the Foundation

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Ask any builder and they'll tell you: if you don't get the foundation level, the structure won't last. Jesus shared similar sentiments when he told the story of the foolish man who built on sand and the wise man who built on rock. As church planters, we're currently in perhaps the most pivotal phase of the project. The core leadership of our church plant (currently Hamish and Molly Taylor, Whitney, and myself) have been meeting weekly to hear from God together, to worship Him, to reconnect with each other, and to begin seeking answers to crucial questions like where, when, and with whom we will plant this next church. While we still have countless steps to take, we do have some direction currently.

In short, we're releasing control and asking the Master Builder to lay a firm foundation for His glory - not for our own. In our meetings, we've found that we have a collective passion for finding out what God is up to and asking Him to use us to accomplish His purposes there. We also realise that we're all keen to surround ourselves with others who feel the same way. The leadership at Shore Community Church have been on their own journey toward collaboration and it seems the Spirit may be leading us together for such a time as this. Since Hamish and Nate have good rapport in the church as visible leaders there and we have a heaps of respect for the SCC leadership, it seems like we have great potential for a healthy partnership. The spectrum of how exactly we could partner with Shore range from planting an independent church collaboratively to creating a multi-site church. This will be a topic of discussion soon, so please be in prayer that we're all in tune with the Spirit and following His lead.

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Family Update.

We're celebrating FIFTEEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE today. Doesn't it go by in a blink? Looking back, it's been such a roller coaster. Our first five years were spent in Indianapolis and were the pre-children years. It was a glorious time. We went on random trips and date nights whenever we wanted. We would sometimes work late nights together (at Northview Christian Church). It was just the two of us...and Rory Gilmore the dog. Then as we were moving to New Zealand to plant churches, we were surprised with our first child: Lane. She's nine years old now. Then after moving to Christchurch Henry arrived, we planted a church, we survived earthquakes, we made life-long friends, and then came Finn. Now we're in Auckland and we're about to enter a new phase with all the kids in school. We're walking into the future arm in arm and more in love than ever. :-)

The Hutchisons are an immense blessing to our church community as we seek to reach out to those in Auckland and beyond.
We are so appreciative to their supporters in the U.S. for making it possible for them to invest in ministry and mission with us for this season.
— Reuben Munn SENIOR PASTOR, SHORE COMMUNITY CHURCH

   

Prayer Requests.


Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed with a rare form of Lymphoma. We're still waiting for information that will stage her cancer, but initial advice from doctors is that it doesn't look good. We're devastated, but holding on to hope. Will you pray with us?

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Please pray for Tami as she undergoes treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She was diagnosed in May/June and is now receiving chemotherapy. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us, and we basically absolutely LOVE them! Please pray for them as they embark on their fundraising journey, and as they restructure their lives in order to get back into church planting.

Church Plant
Pray for good conversations with Shore Community Church and others who will likely be heavily involved in our next church plant project. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Homeless Outreach
Please pray for this blooming new ministry led by a young man Nate is mentoring, Joe Jay. We are being blessed each time we go out to bless others in the name of Jesus. Pray that more people get involved and that God continues to sustain the leaders of this ministry.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

A Team is Formed

 Nate and the strings section lead worship at Shore Community Church.

Nate and the strings section lead worship at Shore Community Church.

A Team is Formed
So much has happened since our last update - we've shifted to a different house, hosted several guests from the USA, and the whole family contracted a nasty flu virus. But one of the most significant developments over the past couple of months comes as a huge step toward our next church plant: Hamish and Molly Taylor have decided to lead our church plant team! These two are the ideal teammates for us. In 2010, we planted Rechurch with Hamish and Molly, and we're so happy to announce that God has called them back into church planting. We've begun having weekly team meetings, tackled some initial details, and have entered into discussions about key partnerships and future team members. There are so many details to cover, but we're taking it one step at a time...together.  Please thank God for calling the Taylors back into church planting. And continue to pray for our team as we discern God's call and will for the many details of our next church plant. Stay tuned for more!


Our Role at Shore Community Church Continues
While the Taylors joining us represents a huge step toward our next church plant, there are many things that need to happen before we can launch the church: fundraising for start-up costs, the Taylors will go on furlough to raise their own funds, Nate will continue working toward a qualification in counseling, and we'll take our next furlough back to the USA. But we've all agreed that we'll stay fully engaged in our current roles at least through the end of 2017.

We've known all along that our role at Shore Community Church was temporary, so we've intentionally engaged in long-term impact work such as leadership development, administrative upgrades, branding consultation, and the like. Since Nate took his role with the worship ministry, he's supported and encouraged several long-term worship leaders at Shore, and he's also helped raise up new worship leaders like Josh, Lydia, and Sam (pictured). We look forward to seeing the long-term fruit of our time at Shore in the years to come. Though our primary focus will shift to the new project at some point, we're building relationships and friendships at Shore that will sustain us through the challenge of starting a new church.
 

Family Update.

Since the New Zealand winter coincides with the USA's summer, our visitors usually show up here when the weather's not so hot. Whitney's 12-year-old niece, Grace, arrived in June and stayed for two whole months. We had a blast introducing her to New Zealand culture. Seeing the sites that this beautiful country has to offer for the first time through her eyes was a pleasure. She was also a big help with our three kids, not to mention all the help she gave us in the transition to our new house! Grace was joined at the beginning of her visit by grandma, Tami, and at the end of the visit by her mum, Alison. Unfortunately, we sent the girls home with an unexpected gift: the flu virus. Sorry ladies!

We were also visited by an old friend and ministry partner from the USA: Jason Shore. We met Jason at Northview Christian Church where we worked from 2002-2007. Jason and Nate collaborated on a few special projects while in Indianapolis. Jason, who started a company called Sardius Media, took time out with his team during their visit to Auckland to do some consulting with Shore Community Church about how best to extend the reach of their teaching around New Zealand and the world. Thanks, Jase!
 

 Nate and the kids pose at the sky tower with guests: Alison & Grace (Whitney's sister and her daughter), and Jason (a good mate and supporter from the USA)

Nate and the kids pose at the sky tower with guests: Alison & Grace (Whitney's sister and her daughter), and Jason (a good mate and supporter from the USA)

 The cleaning crew on moving day :-)

The cleaning crew on moving day :-)


The Hutchisons are an immense blessing to our church community as we seek to reach out to those in Auckland and beyond.
We are so appreciative to their supporters in the U.S. for making it possible for them to invest in ministry and mission with us for this season.
— Reuben Munn SENIOR PASTOR, SHORE COMMUNITY CHURCH

Prayer Requests.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Please pray for Tami as she undergoes treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She was diagnosed in May/June and is now receiving chemotherapy. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us since we've already planted a church together, he's a kiwi, their strengths complement ours, and we basically absolutely LOVE them!

Church Plant
We continue to have good conversations with people and forming partnerships that we hope will be significant in the process of starting our next church. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers we need for the spiritual harvest.

Homeless Outreach
Please pray for this blooming new ministry led by a young man Nate is mentoring, Joe Jay. We are being blessed each time we go out to bless others in the name of Jesus. Pray that more people get involved and that God continues to sustain the leaders of this ministry.

The Jenkinson Family
Please pray for this young family in our congregation who lost their boy, Olllie, at the age of 15 to a life-long battle with severe autism and seizures.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides.

Organization Affiliation
Praise God for providing our sponsoring church, North Terrace Church of Christ.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

A Stirring

 Our "real life" group meets weekly for Bible study and monthly on mission in the streets of Auckland.

Our "real life" group meets weekly for Bible study and monthly on mission in the streets of Auckland.

Stir
/stər/ verb
move or cause to move slightly. begin or cause to begin to be active or develop.
"the Holy Spirit stirred their hearts and they considered the ways they could lay their lives down for Christ."

Interesting things are happening. Between graphic design projects, classes and assignments, home and parenting life, and working with the worship ministry at Shore, we've been walking with several friends who are considering some practical and potentially life-changing ways to give their entire lives over to the cause of Christ. Among others, two young men in our life group and another good friend may be in the process of hearing a call on their lives toward ministry.

As you may know, since we moved to Auckland at the end of 2015 to work toward our next church plant, we sensed God asking us to wait on Him, to go to school, to support Shore Community Church, and just wait. We're not about to claim that all of our questions are being answered now, but we are beginning to feel God stirring us and those around us and we're wondering if He's up to something here.  We sort of assumed that what we were waiting for was the next great church plant leader to join us in our church planting goals. How great would it be, though, if what we were waiting for was for God to move the hearts of future leaders around us - and that we weren't actually waiting at all because God had already begun the work in them and in us? One friend is currently considering leaving a lucrative corporate job and going to bible college. Another one, a professor and PhD scholar at a local university, has been devouring church planting books and is keen to explore what God might be asking of him. Whitney has been meeting with a young woman who has past church leadership experience and who may also be feeling another stirring. And another friend is studying social work with a dream of impacting as many lives as possible with the grace and compassion of Christ.

Perhaps one or all of these people will join us in church planting in the future. Perhaps not. But what we do know is that disciples are being developed right now and that is ultimately what we were called to New Zealand to cultivate. We plan to continue walking alongside each of these people individually and studying a church planting book with them and others in the near future. Please pray for God's continued leading and guidance for us, for each of the ones we've mentioned, and for the other lives around us that God intends to disrupt for His great story.

Family Update.

We soaked up the last few weeks of evening sunlight by taking the kids to one of Auckland Zoo's final late night openings one night last month. Pictured above is Whit and Finn having a look at the "Rhiner-rosser-russ" as Finn calls it. Now that we've moved our clocks back, we've lost an hour of evening light in the southern hemisphere, which means the kids are getting to bed earlier each night and waking up earlier each morning. We're also being quite social as a family these days with many play dates and visits. While it's great to see the kids (and ourselves) making so many connections, we also do our best to balance time with others, time with just our family, and "alone time."

A Season of Change

 Nate and friends bringing Jesus and hot food to Auckland's "streeties" on Friday nights.

Nate and friends bringing Jesus and hot food to Auckland's "streeties" on Friday nights.

First, an administrative change
With the coming changes of autumn upon us in New Zealand, change is also coming for us from a stateside administrative standpoint which will take place on the first of April 2017 (BTW, this is not some weird, elaborate April Fools joke). Our sponsoring organisation (SPCF) has made the decision to combine with a larger missions organisation called NMSI. Upon receiving news of this change, we were given the option to either join with NMSI and incur a monthly 10% administrative fee or to ask a supporting church to become our sponsoring stateside organisation. We have opted for the latter option, and we are happy to report that our new official sponsoring organisation is North Terrace Church of Christ.

What does this actually change? 

  • If you're a financial supporter, beginning on the first of April, checks will need to be made out to North Terrace Church of Christ or NTCOC and sent to the same forwarding agent and address as always

Nate & Whitney Hutchison
c/o Alison Morrow
50 Winding Valley Drive
Delaware, OH  43015

  • All funds given will then be forwarded to our NZ-based non-profit which remains in tact and who will then pay us and our NZ taxes on a monthly basis. They will remain in charge of our NZ ministry bank account and will continue to account for our ministry expenses.

What remains the same? 

  • All gifts remain tax deductible and receipts will continue to be issued for all donations.
  • Alison Morrow remains our forwarding agent and her address (for donations) remains the same (above).
  • We remain financially accountable to our amazing supporting churches who receive monthly financial reports (NTCoC will take a more central role here).
  • We remain in good standing with our friends at SPCF and we intend to collaborate with them and others in our church planting efforts within New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Now, stories of lives changed
Pictured in the video above is Keren. She came to Shore CC a few months ago on what she considered to be "the last day of her life." Suicide is an epidemic problem in New Zealand. This is Keren's Story. Included on the linked youtube channel is her husband's story of change - two new videos in our #ThisIsMyStory social media campaign at Shore CC. Both Keren and Andrew accepted Christ and were baptised last month.

Another place we're seeing lives touched by the love of Jesus is on the streets of Auckland on Friday nights. We almost always walk away in awe of God's goodness and love for the down and out. Last week he led us to an encounter with a young man in his twenties named Justin. We had come to know him over the past few months, so with the help of donations at Shore, we filled a backpack full of things one would need on the streets: clothing, water, toiletries, a torch (flashlight), and a Bible where Nate wrote a personal note to Justin encouraging him to engage with the Story of God in the pages. Justin was intoxicated when we found him but he was coherent enough to share how grateful he was for what we were doing for him and that he thought of us as family. He went on to explain that his mother took her own life two years earlier and that he felt responsible in some way for her death. Hugo, a former alcoholic and one of the other men helping us that night, put his arm around Justin and for about 5 minutes shared about the incredible love of Jesus and the life that can be found in Him - a life that still includes pain, but a life that can be free from dependence on alcohol because Jesus walks with us through our pain. Justin, with tears streaming down his face, met Jesus that night through Hugo. Afterward, we all wept and prayed together. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Family Update.

With these three cute arrows in our quiver (pictured above), we are blessed beyond measure, our cups are overflowing, and numerous other Christianey clichès. Need we say more? But still, pray for us. Raising these cuties away from the support of extended family comes with its challenges.

The Hutchisons are an immense blessing to our church community as we seek to reach out to those in Auckland and beyond. We are so appreciative to their supporters in the U.S. for making it possible for them to invest in ministry and mission with us for this season.
— Reuben Munn SENIOR PASTOR, SHORE COMMUNITY CHURCH

Prayer Requests.


Homeless Outreach
Please pray for this blooming new ministry led by a young man Nate is discipling, Joe Jay. We are being blessed each time we go out to bless others in the name of Jesus. Pray that more people get involved and that God continues to sustain the leaders of this ministry.

The Cosio Family
Please pray for this young family who lost their wife/mum to suicide in February. Pray for comfort and healing and practical help with the children.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong. We found out that one of our supporting churches is having to halve their support this year, due to financial difficulties at their church. This comes at a difficult time as the exchange rate is not great, and the cost of living in Auckland continues to rise. Please pray that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides.

Organisation Affiliation
Praise God for providing our new sponsoring organisation, North Terrace Church of Christ (see above for details).

Church Plant
We continue to have good conversations with people that we hope will become leaders and volunteers at our next church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers we need for the spiritual harvest.

Life Group
We're seeing a lot of progress and heaps of potential in the members of our group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

Keeping the Faith

  Nate leading worship with Josh Tagaloa (one of the young worship leaders he is developing at Shore CC).

Nate leading worship with Josh Tagaloa (one of the young worship leaders he is developing at Shore CC).

Last weekend was rough.
It started on a high note. Nate had the privilege of singing and leading worship in a friend's wedding. You may remember us asking for prayer for a church leader in our neighbourhood named Gavin who lost his wife to cancer last year. This widower and father of two young children was united in a beautiful ceremony to a lovely and godly woman over the weekend. It was a beautiful resolution to a painful year for Gavin and his kids. However, just before the wedding began we learned of heart-breaking news that a young woman in our church who had been struggling with post-natal depression had ended her own life the night before. Danielle, married to Simon, was mother to a two-year-old boy and a seven-month-old girl. Nate has been doing what he can to support the staff at Shore who are doing their best to help this family. He led the church in a song of lament on Sunday and will help lead songs at the funeral. Please pray for comfort, healing, grieving, and for practical help for Simon, his kids, and for extended family. Pray that we can support the church leadership here who have been supporting this family for a while now. 

On a lighter note, Nate was able to log quite a few hours in the church office this month, helping with some administrative needs. He has also started meeting weekly with a young man in our home group, to build a mentoring relationship and to study the Bible together. Nate's counselling classes will start up again at the end of this month, and he's looking forward to another year of gaining knowledge and skill in such a huge area of need in this country.



Kiwis losing the faith in record numbers

And finally, we encourage you to have a read of an article that was published just today, which talks of the rising trend in NZ toward no religious affiliation. The article cites research that shows that Kiwis (people from NZ) are moving swiftly away from any sort of formal religion in record numbers, which is in contrast to the highly religious immigrant populationHere is a link to the full article.

Family Update.

Nate's not the only one starting a new school year. Lane and Henry had their first week back at school last week, so we are slowly readapting to the routine and busyness of term time. 

We also celebrated Finn's third birthday last week. He asked for a "kitty cat party with kitty cat cookies"...a unique request to say the least. We took him to a local cafe that has a cat room - yes, you read that right - and let him pet the cats as much as he wanted. Turns out, playing basketball with the cat toys is much more interesting to a three-year-old boy than sleeping cats are. Oh well, at least we tried!

In January, Nate was able to take Lane and Henry to a weekend family camp about two hours from where we live. It's a Christian camp and there were about 100 people from our church attending, so it was a great opportunity to develop deeper relationships with some people from the church and to give our kids their first overnight camping experience (in a tent!).

 Prayer Requests.     The Cosio Family    Please pray for this young family who lost their wife/mum over the weekend (see above for details). Pray for comfort and healing and practical help with the children.   Financial Partnership    Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong. We found out that one of our supporting churches is having to halve their support this year, due to financial difficulties at their church. This comes at a difficult time as the exchange rate is not great, and the cost of living in Auckland continues to rise. Please pray that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides.     Organisation Affiliation    Please pray for some important decisions that we have to make regarding affiliation with our sending organisation, SPCF. Due to some structural changes within our organisation, we may no longer be able to financially afford to stay with them. Please pray that we will make the right decision in this area.    Church Plant   We continue to have good conversations with people that we hope will become leaders and volunteers at our next church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers we need for the spiritual harvest.     Life Group    Our life group has kicked off again after a summer break. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.     School  Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.     Our Family    Pray for good health and positive friendships.

Prayer Requests.


The Cosio Family
Please pray for this young family who lost their wife/mum over the weekend (see above for details). Pray for comfort and healing and practical help with the children.

Financial Partnership

Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong. We found out that one of our supporting churches is having to halve their support this year, due to financial difficulties at their church. This comes at a difficult time as the exchange rate is not great, and the cost of living in Auckland continues to rise. Please pray that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides.

Organisation Affiliation
Please pray for some important decisions that we have to make regarding affiliation with our sending organisation, SPCF. Due to some structural changes within our organisation, we may no longer be able to financially afford to stay with them. Please pray that we will make the right decision in this area.

Church Plant
We continue to have good conversations with people that we hope will become leaders and volunteers at our next church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers we need for the spiritual harvest.

Life Group
Our life group has kicked off again after a summer break. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.


Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

A New Year

  Nate leading at an inter-generational Christmas worship service at Shore Community Church

Nate leading at an inter-generational Christmas worship service at Shore Community Church

So far, the days of early 2017 have been filled with restful summer days for us (along with most of the rest of the country). It is common for the rush to the December holidays to leave people feeling quite ready for a break. And last month was no exception for our family... 

Partnering with Local Church Plants
Nate was busy worship leading at Shore CC and performing Christmas music at local holiday open-air events around town. These events are perfect ways for us to support local churches and church plants who help put the events on (one in our own neighbourhood and one at the school where Shore CC holds its regular services). On the first day of the year we had the opportunity to run a small scale trial of an idea Nate has been developing with a few local church planters: The Church Gathered. The idea involves gathering a number of local churches and church plants for worship with some regularity in order to provide an environment for interaction between churches, a quality and visitor-friendly worship atmosphere, and a much needed break from weekly service planning and rostering for smaller, under-resourced churches. Our gathering on New Year's Day at Mairangi Bay Beach was a great first-run at the idea.

Reaching Out to the Streeties
December also included the beginning of our involvement with a homeless outreach ministry led by a young man in our own life group. Every Friday night a few of us gather in the city to meet with and provide meals for many local "streeties" in downtown Auckland. It's a privilege to serve in such a meaningful way alongside some wonderful people. Pictured is a new friend named "Daz" who has introduced Nate to a few other people in need of a helping hand. Please pray for guidance and provision as we try to help meet an ever-increasing need on the streets of Auckland.

End-of-Year Giving
2016 is now over but you can still make a 2016 tax-deductible donation to our ministry via check if you date the check for December.  Please make checks payable to SPCF. More info for donations here.

The Hutchisons are an immense blessing to our church community as we seek to reach out to those in Auckland and beyond. We are so appreciative to their supporters in the U.S. for making it possible for them to invest in ministry and mission with us for this season.
— Reuben Munn, SENIOR PASTOR, SHORE COMMUNITY CHURCH
 Finn (2) at Mairangi Bay Beach on New Year's Day

Finn (2) at Mairangi Bay Beach on New Year's Day

Family Update.

Christmastime when you're living a world away from your family of origin can be quite a nostalgic time of year as we miss the chaos and togetherness of the holidays with extended family. But to our three kids, a relatively quiet yet magical Christmas at home with just mum, dad, and siblings is normal. This year, as always, we made time for a Skype call with both sides of the family in the USA, but our extended family holiday traditions are memories to us and mere stories to the kids. So this year we began a holiday tradition of our own: bowling on Christmas Eve (it's called 10-pin bowling here)! And Christmas Day (or a day soon thereafter) always includes a day at a local beach (Finn at Mairangi Bay pictured above).

Speaking of Finn, this month (hopefully) marks his final nappy-wearing days as we'll begin toilet training soon leading up to his third birthday on the 3rd of February.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 At the airport, commencing our family road trip

At the airport, commencing our family road trip

November and December (so far) have been very busy for our family, so let's get into it!

For the past couple of months we've been focusing on projects for Christmas at Shore CC, including leading worship, doing music for other community events (Nate) and several design projects (Whitney). It's a busy time of year in the life of a church, and we want to help out where we can. Whitney was also asked to write an article about our family road trip (see Family Update) to be published in a local parenting magazine. The issue will be out in January 2017.

Another fun project for us has been "Christmas on the Point" - a free family-friendly Christmas celebration that takes place every year in our neighbourhood. Nate was asked to play some live music and to lead everyone in some Christmas carols. He assembled a fantastic band and did a wonderful job. Whitney designed the poster for the event. About 350 people came along and enjoyed celebrating the season with their neighbours and friends, while also hearing a local pastor share the gospel.
 
Family Update.
At the end of October, we flew down to our "hometown" of Christchurch and began what Nate called "the journey of a lifetime." We hired a campervan (a small RV) and drove it from Christchurch back up to Auckland -- a 7-day trip that covered 1,542 kilometers (958 miles). It was a wonderful chance to spend some time together as a family, and introduce our kids to the in-between bits of the country that they've never seen before. We had a great time, made heaps of memories, developed an even deeper love for this unique and beautiful country, and even got to catch up with some old Rechurch friends.

The kids are finishing their final weeks of school, sports, and music lessons before the summer break, which takes place mid-December through the end of January. It will be a time for them to rest and play and be carefree the way only kids on summer vacation can be! In New Zealand, because Christmas takes place in the summertime, it's common for shops, businesses, schools, etc. to close down for a few weeks so everyone can enjoy time with their families. After such a hectic couple of months, we are looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas together before jumping back into things in January.