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 ;-).
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.
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.
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!
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!