Thursday, 10 November 2011

"Exceedingly abundantly above all"

Well here is the long overdue update of life and ministry that I said I would write awhile ago. So very much has happened and the Lord has been doing such a work in my heart and in the hearts of those around me, as well as in the country of New Zealand. It truly is the most amazing experience I have ever encountered.
So to catch everyone up to speed with what’s happening here and what exactly I am doing with my life we’ll start with the first month. From day one I knew I was supposed to be here, as I believe I mentioned in my first entry on the bus ride from the airport to town I was given the blessing of sharing the Gospel and my personal testimony with a Maori man from Rotorua (Maori’s are the native people of New Zealand for those of you who don’t know J ).
                                              A view of the ranch from the Bible College.

As students began to arrive I of course was super excited to meet all of them and begin this journey of learning and growing together. It is interesting to look back over the semester and see how the Lord has brought us all together, each so unique, but such a blessing to one another. One area of ministry within the Bible college that I have been placed in was Dorm Steward, basically like Dorm Momma. I have asked the Lord to give me wisdom and His heart whilst ministering to these women and He continues to do so, He also continues to use them to teach me, which at times is very humbling but very necessary! We have dorm meetings every Friday morning and they have honestly been some of my favorite times of the semester, just getting to hear what the Lord is doing in and through them is such an encouragement to me.

In addition to Dorm Momma and trying to disciple the girls my other areas of ministry with the Bible college include Chuck tracks and Library. Chuck tracks are a series of verse by verse Bible studies that the students go through each semester with Pastor Chuck Smith who started the Calvary Chapel movement in Costa Mesa, California. So I am in charge of making sure the students do them, and grading them. I went through the series in my two years of Bible college, but hearing how blessed the students are by them makes me want to go through them again; I am thinking that may be one item on my to-do list for the Christmas break. As far as our library goes it has been a semester long project, but one that I have enjoyed and been blessed by even though it has stressed me out on a couple occasions. I was notorious in the beginning of the semester for my “2 A.M. OCD moments” when I would be building bookshelves, organizing books according to subject and author, and making labels. I personally thought it was therapeutic for the most part, but others thought I was simply crazy…which is true, to a degree.

As far as my involvement with the Calvary Chapel church in my new hometown of Rotorua I have committed to helping out with the youth group every Sunday morning and Tuesday night for our gatherings. My heart has just grown and continues to fall in love with these kids, especially the girls. I have so much fun every time we get to hangout and am blessed seeing the work that the Lord is doing in their heart and seeing the desire that the Lord is putting in their hearts to just learn more about Him.

About a month ago the school went out on a 10-day outreach which is part of the school’s curriculum. Each student must choose a place and church to go to and come alongside and help serve them. One team went to Melbourne, Australia, another team went to Hamilton, New Zealand, and another team went to Wellington, New Zealand. I went and co-led with the group to Wellington.  Sorry to anyone I went on a missions trip with before, but I must say that was the best outreach I have ever been on.  We as a team continually prayed for unity within our group and with those we were going to serve with, a servant’s heart simply just to go jump in and do whatever was asked of us, and to be a blessing and encouragement to those we would serve with.  The Lord granted each of those prayers “exceedingly, abundantly above all” I could ask or think. There were no disagreements or disputes between team members and the people we were around constantly thanked us for coming and helping out.
                                      Our awesome team in front of the Street City Church.

Some things we did included helping out with a free sausage BBQ where we gave out free sausage sandwiches and shared the free gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so much fun, below is a picture of one of the assistant pastors down in Wellington and some team members.
We also helped preparing props for the children’s ministry event “Halos and Heroes” which was an alternative to Halloween party. We made name tags, stars, and paper-machet craters (which were going to be hung up in the “moon room”). Below is a picture of a crater I was making in the beginning stages, it looked better at the end. Promise.
In addition to that we also went out to the streets on several occasions and passed out Gospel tracts and shared the Gospel with anyone who was willing to listen. I do not know if anyone accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior after we talked to them, but the Lord reminded me constantly through the trip that it is not my job to act as the Holy Spirit and win them to salvation in Christ, my job is to tell them the truth about Jesus and then pray for them. To remind ourselves (the team) of that, we called ourselves “The Sowers” taken from 1 Corinthians 3.
                                                  A view of Wellington from Mount Victoria

All in all I was blessed and encouraged and gained even more of a heart for New Zealand and God’s people therein.
This past weekend I got the blessing of going back to Wellington for a vacation weekend. I went down with a few friends and was able to see the country side. New Zealand's landscapes really are incomparable!

Currently we are having Speaker’s Week with Dave Heitman, who is the assistant pastor of the Street City Church in Wellington (the one I served alongside of for Outreach week) and also is moving to Tauranga, NZ with his family next February to plant a church there, and Steve Jones who is the pastor at Calvary Chapel Hamilton. The Lord has been blessing, convicting, and encouraging me through every message. Each session I have taken several pages of notes. The Lord is continuing to clarify the calling He has on my life; it has been hard thinking of some things that factor into that, the sacrifices to be made and the “count to cost” but He is constantly giving me the confirmation I need and the peace to trust Him and the plan He has for my life. One thing that was said this morning was “Any time you risk something for God, He will not make you look like a fool.” This was one thing that really spoke to me because although I am confident in what the Lord is calling me to, I know that it is foolish in the minds of some spectators of my life, and I let their opinions of my life hinder me from fully stepping into what the Lord has for me.
Although I am in a place of life where I have a general idea of what the Lord is leading me to/into, I have no idea how He is going to accomplish it all; yet that I am learning is the fun bit. Perspective is key. I have been challenged with how I look at certain circumstances or issues, but the Lord is constantly teaching me to rely and depend on Him and His strength and I am starting to live life with the perspective that it is an adventure that I get to watch God unfold. Another thing that was said in today’s session was “You don’t know what God has planned for you-keep reading the story.” In essence, we don’t know what God has planned for us, but believe, keep going! God does have a plan and all He wants is us to simply trust Him and allow Him to lead us.
So until I write the next chapter in this series my encouragement is to press on. Continue to trust in the Lord and allow Him to lead and guide you. If there are any reading this who have not yet put their trust in the Lord, who may not even believe in God-my suggestion is give Him a try. You will not regret it. Any questions, please ask!

Prayer requests:
~The country of New Zealand and for God to soften the hearts of the people, to see their need for a Savior and experience His love and saving grace.
~Personally for direction and wisdom from the Lord about the future, and to gain a clearer vision of what God's plan is for my life. 
~For the kids in the youth ministry that I am involved with in CC Rotorua, as well as the youth in all Rotorua, to see the emptiness of the world and to have a greater desire to experience and live for the Lord.

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