Life is always changing, but when you're planting churches internationally, the frequency of transitions can be relentless. Having served at Shore Community Church and having gained a qualification in counselling for Nate over the past two years, we're now working toward a USA furlough (April-July 2018) followed by a return to Auckland and full-time preparation for the new church with Hamish and Molly Taylor. By the way, if you're reading this and you live in Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we'll likely be visiting your church or one nearby, so watch this space for dates. We can't wait to reconnect with all of you!
One of the many tasks that must take place before we even leave for furlough has been completed: the launch of a website promoting our next church plant. Jump over to churchplant.nz and have a quick look! This site will be central to our fundraising campaign for the new church. If you'd like to be one of first to make a US tax deductible donation to our Auckland church plant, that site will direct you to the right place.
Supporting Local Church Plants
ABOVE: In January we had the privilege of driving up to Gulf Harbour to lend a hand at The Vine Community Church, a new church plant north of Auckland. Church planters Jeff and Indra Palmer have become good friends of ours since they arrived in NZ. Planting a church without a team in NZ can be a lonely and discouraging endeavour, so we plan to keep in touch and support them and others like them whenever we can. On that note, this month Nate will be heading south to Tauranga to help Current Church kick off the first two weeks of their worship services and to do what he can to encourage the church planters there and prepare the Current music team.
We also had the privilege of reconnecting with the leadership of South Pacific Christian Fellowship (our former sending organization) last month. Executive Director, John Woodward and a team from one of his supporting churches visited for several days. We met with this group to show them the massive growth and opportunity for church planting in Northwest Auckland and to share our vision for reaching the estimated 100,000 new residents that will be moving into the area over the next several years. We're so grateful to have the camaraderie and cooperative support of SPCF as well as church leadership both at home in NZ and abroad in the USA.
The kids are back in school now! Having them around the house every day since mid December was fun...most of the time. Nate, Lane, and Henry got out of the house to brave the 30-degree-heat (that's about 90-degrees in Fahrenheit) to camp out at Festival One, NZ's annual Christian Music Festival. It was a great opportunity to connect with friends and acquaintances from Shore Community Church and from around New Zealand. Nate also had a lot of playtime with the kids and one-on-one time with a couple of guys he's been walking beside for a while now. Whitney and Finn stayed home and "did so many puzzles and train tracks," according to one very enthused four year old. That's right, Finn is four! And he's proud of it.
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. Her scan in January showed no new growth, but she has had a number of health set backs including fighting the flu virus at the moment. Please pray for her protection from such dangerous viruses and for remission.
Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!
Preparing for Furlough
It appears that we have about 1 million tasks to accomplish before leaving for furlough. Please pray for things to fall into place with our furlough schedule and with some important church plant setup tasks before we leave.
Potential Church Plant Venue
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.
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.