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.
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.
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.