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