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 population. Here is a link to the full article.
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!).