Winter Is Here!
It may be hard to imagine, but the first of June marks the first day of Winter in New Zealand, and it has hit us with a bang! Over the past week we've seen temperature drops, hail, torrential rains, and even thunderstorms. We're breaking out our "woollies" and bundling up for the next few months.
June also marks the end of Nate's first semester of Counseling studies at Laidlaw College here in Auckland. He's taken two classes this semester and has done really well in both of them, gaining valuable insight into how to use his gifts of empathy and encouragement to help others. During our time in NZ, we have experienced first-hand how much secularism has worked its way into people's lives, often leading to brokenness. The message of salvation that we share with people gives them the chance to start again as a new creation in Jesus, but we've found that many continue to struggle with the daily effects of past choices and behaviors, or the long-term consequences of the choices of others. In other words, people need help! Abuse and suicide rates in NZ are some of the highest in the world. While continuing to lead worship on Sundays, Nate hopes to also use his God-given gifts and his newfound knowledge of Counseling strategies to help people move out of these patterns of broken behavior and start on a path toward reshaping their identity in Christ. He will continue his studies next semester with one class, and (Lord willing) will continue studying on a part-time basis next year as well.
As for church planting, we've been having a lot of intentional conversations with other church planters in the area to dream and discuss how best to meet the growing needs of this growing region of Auckland (here's a video about that). There are so many thoughts, ideas, and strategies floating around, and we find ourselves praying that God will use us in the best way for His glory, not ours. Please join us in praying specifically this month for potential team members whom God may be prompting to plant a church with us. Pray for God to confirm people to plant a church with us, and pray for our ability to submit to God in this area.
Nate's shoulder surgery in April hit us a bit harder than expected, with his recovery period stretching well into May. But thankfully he's finished with his arm sling and is growing stronger every week thanks to his sessions with a physical therapist. He was even able to get back into the worship leading saddle this past Sunday at Shore Community Church. His shoulder was quite sore afterward, but it was all worth it as he got to do what he loves. He will continue to see the physical therapist for several months and is expected to make a full recovery.
As any family will tell you, Autumn and Winter are tough times for sickness with little ones, and ours is no exception. Colds and ear infections are working their way through our little family, and we ask you to pray that no serious illnesses hit us this year.
Lane and Henry both have birthdays this month, turning 8 and 6 years old, respectively. We can't believe how quickly the years with them have flown by, and we are so grateful that God has blessed us with this bundles of (noisy, sticky, unpredictable) joy!