Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rock Solid Hits the Road Again!

Rock Solid "On the Road" Camp begins again tomorrow!

Please pray for us as we make a complete circuit of the Northland, enjoying all the sites and experiences this region has to offer.  Traveling in convoy, we will explore places like Dargaville, Opononi, Kaitaia, Cape Reinga, Monganui, Paihia and various natural wonders along the way.

5 days with a load of teenagers can be exhilarating AND exhausting! May God get the glory for every good thing in this camp and may we be faithful to present his gospel in word and in action as we eat, sleep, play, talk, drive, swim, hike.  . . .you get the picture.

I will be sure to post photos and stories as soon as we return, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ANZAC Day 2014 "Lest We Forget"

Today is ANZAC Day, a solemn day to remember the fallen "Anzacs" (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) who served in WW1, and to show honour to returned service men and women.

Anzac Day occurs every year on April 25 and commemorates the landing of the Anzacs on Gallipoli in 1915 and the role that New Zealand and Australia played in times of war.
Nearly every city in New Zealand is hosting memorial services today, similar to that of a military funeral.  Many of them are "dawn services", taking place around 6:00AM. Poppies can be seen everywhere around the city pinned to lapels, blooming in gardens and posted on signs outside stores and public places. 

While I was unable to attend the dawn service in Whangarei this year, I did attend last year when in Kaitaia and it was a very powerful and moving experience.  I've attached a few photos of our local "field of remembrance" site here in Whangarei, as well as a photo of today's dawn service outside the Auckland museum (courtesy New Zealand Herald).


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Resurrection Sunday in Whangarei

Today we celebrate a game-changer, a watershed moment, a life-altering event: the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  It's Easter in Whangarei and we celebrated big today!

The day began with serving a big free community breakfast complete with bacon, sausage, french toast, cinnamon scrolls, fresh fruit, quiche.. .you name it.  We continued the festivities with a lovely time of worship through singing, prayer, giving and preaching.  Various people shared special items and stayed long and late to chat afterward.  

I am so blessed to be a part of this very precious group of people in Whangarei, but even more blessed to know the God who died for me, rose again and called me here to NZ to make this a possibility in the first place.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lean On Me

Take a close look at these trees.   Do you notice anything strangely profound happening here?  
Some are on a precarious lean, yet don't fall.   Something has weakened their root systems, causing them to lose grip on the hillside and begin a decent to the ground that was never completed. Why?  Because other more stable trees were in place to catch their fall. 

Perhaps it was a wind storm that triggered the tumble.  Maybe it was disease, wild animals or an irresponsible tourist that dealt them a blow. Regardless of the cause, these trees were on a path to destruction, on their way to crush the ground beneath, but never got there.  
On a recent hike through the forest a friend pointed out to me that this is a beautiful picture of my ministry to young people here in New Zealand, and not only mine, but of all who seek to provide stability for those whose life seems anything but stable.  Many of the youth with whom I work are like trees who have been dealt a hard blow in life or whose roots have not been nourished by a loving family, safe home, and the word of God.  An attempt by the enemy to cut their legs right out from underneath them has left them nearly falling apart, only to land on pastors, teachers,  youth leaders and godly adults who are there to break their fall.  And as they fall on us, they find they can lean on us, because we lean on the Rock that will never move, Almighty God.   Over time, the roots form again and they can begin to function as a healthy member of society, full of hope and a purpose. 

Please pray for the young people here in Whangarei.  Pray for ministries like Rock Solid and Kids Club, and for my contacts by coaching gymnastics.

 As Easter approaches, with it comes our 2 week school holidays in which we host Rock Solid “On the Road” camp.  From April 28 to May 2 van loads of teens and adults, including yours truly, will embark on an epic road trip around the northland, enjoying the sites and sounds of our region.  In the midst of the fun and silliness, we will be communicating God’s love to the youth through nightly “God Spots” and intentional witness in our interactions.  Please pray for this camp.   You might even consider making a donation to our NZ “Give a Little” site at the address below.  Donations to this site will support the Rock Solid ministry to youth in our region.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Support for Solo Mums

Nappies (diapers for you North Americans)

Imagine being a young teenage solo mum, fearful about the future, financially unstable and limited in the resources necessary to raise a healthy child in 21st century New Zealand.   

 This is the plight of far too many young women here in Whangarei.  Within the last six weeks I have learned of four different girls within my own sphere of influence, most of whom are under the age of 17, who are now pregnant.   It is not uncommon to see girls half my age pushing prams (baby strollers) down the road or making frequent visits to the food bank.
"Buzzy Bee", a NZ children's icon

This sad situation has not gone unnoticed.   In fact, the adult daughter of a dear friend from church has taken notice and decided to do something about it!  In her mid- thirties and a mum of six children herself, she fully understands the joys and challenges of motherhood and in her own quiet way has decided to find practical ways to help.   What does she do?  She does laundry for mums who don’t have access to washing facilities. She gathers baby clothes and nappies,  and fixes household items that are broken.  If there is a need she does her best to find someone who can meet that need. 

No, this is not some highly organized, well-funded  programme; it’s not even advertised in any papers or newsletters.  It’s literally just a mum with a big heart who is herself on a journey to discover what it means to walk with Jesus and the very depth of his love, being used as a channel of blessing at the same time.  

Waterfall along river in Keri Keri.
To date she has now been able to help 7 different mums and families, the youngest of whom was 13 years old.   Her ministry is growing organically by word-of-mouth and her own mother couldn’t be more proud!  Who knows what God has up his sleeve for the future!

I was so inspired by the compassion of this young mum that I just had to share.  I have a feeling this is only the beginning and wonder what role our church might play in supporting this endeavor in the future!