Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!



Wow... What a memorable year this has been! In May Jenna graduated with a bachelors degree from Olivet College, in June we got married, in July Jesse was ordained as an elder in the church of the Nazarene, and in September we moved to New Zealand. Some people would say we are crazy (and they have) for all that we have accomplished this year, but we know that it was all done in God's timing. It is awesome to look back over the year and see how He was with us through it all. We have each endured trials and been taught different lessons throughout the year, but through them we can both testify to an increase in our faith. We are excited to see what 2013 is going to bring! And we will "press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us" (Philippians 3:14) 
 

May God richly bless you in 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Video

Enjoy our Christmas Video! We hope everyone had a merry Christmas and has a happy New Year!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homesick (Posted by Jenna)



As the holidays are approaching it is stirring up more feelings of homesickness within me. As many of you know, I have never been away from home for more than 2 weeks. I have always had my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins right there beside me for every birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas… and every holiday. This year is a little different. However, even though we are separated by distance, they feel closer to my heart than ever before.
The other night I laid in bed praying for my family and for myself dealing with this homesickness when the lyrics from MercyMe’s song “Homesick” came to mind. The lyrics say:

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

As these lyrics played in my head, I thought about how no matter where on this Earth we go, God is always there. We never have to say goodbye or give one last hug. “In Christ, there are no goodbyes. And in Christ, there is no end.” Although distance can separate us from friends and family and cause us to feel homesick, nothing can separate us from Jesus! I also thought about how this earth is not our home. “For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come“ (Hebrews 13:14). Therefore, we should be homesick for Jesus! He is preparing a place in Heaven for us and we should strive to be closer to him each and every day. He tells us “draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” All he is asking is for a loving relationship with each and every one of us. All we have to do is accept! I am so blessed to have spent all of those holidays with my family. But, I am even more blessed to know that even if we never saw my loved ones again here on this Earth, we will get to rejoice in Heaven with each other and with Jesus for eternity!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Learning, Serving, & Growing!

It is hard to believe it has been 2 months since we arrived in New Zealand! As we have developed more of a routine and become more acquainted with the culture time seems to be flying by. During this past month we have built many more relationships and have had the opportunity to get involved with more ministries. As we are heading into summer and approaching Christmas, we are learning that this is a busy time of the year in New Zealand.

You are probably wondering what a typical week is like for us here. Well here is the quick version… on Sunday mornings we have our church service  at New Hope Church of the Nazarene where we (yes WE Jesse AND Jenna!) lead worship and then take the children for children’s church. On Sunday evenings we have Kid’s Club. We usually have between 10-20 kids who come and we play games, have a bible lesson, do crafts, and eat a healthy snack. On Mondays evenings we have prayer meeting at our church where we come together with others from the congregation to pray for our country, our families, our ministries, and anything else on our hearts. On Tuesdays we will be volunteering our mornings at the Salvation Army Food Bank. We also have Rock Solid Club in Whangarei (our home town) on Tuesday evenings. At Rock Solid Club 11 to 14-year-olds come and we play lots of crazy games, hang out, and usually do some kind of devotion or lesson that relates to their lives. On Wednesdays we also be spend our mornings at the food bank and in the evening we have a bible study at our church. On Thursdays we help with Bible in Schools at one of the local primary schools and then go to Dargaville for another Rock Solid Club. On Fridays mornings we also volunteer at the Food bank. On Saturdays, we usually wake up early and go to the market and then hang out with people or catch up on homework. In between all of these activities we also make time for grocery shopping, housework, homework, and just spending time with people. Although it sounds like a lot, it is amazing to see how God provides the energy and endurance for us each and every day and how he has directed us to specific places and people.  When we called the Salvation Army to ask if they need any extra help they were so thrilled that we called. They said they have been praying for extra help, because things are starting to speed up with Christmas approaching and they are currently shorthanded. It’s amazing how God’s timing is so perfect!
Along with getting involved in ministry, the 365M program encourages us to be cross-cultural learners. We have been reading about the history of New Zealand and we recently took a trip with the other 365M students to very historic sights. On our adventure, we visited Waitangi where the famous Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This is the treaty that allowed NZ to be governed by British rule while the Maori people were allowed their independence and were able to keep their land and all their treasures. We have learned how the early missionaries played a huge role during that significant time period. We visited several other places during the trip but one of the most memorable was Marsden’s cross. We took a long walk down a large hill to find the ocean front and an old cross that marks the spot of the first sermon ever to be preached in NZ. It was an awesome experience to witness the land that was first inhabited by early missionaries and is now nothing more than a cross sitting alone. It was neat to stand there in the presence of God and hear nothing but the wind and crashing waves and think about how God used those missionaries to first bring Christianity into New Zealand and now he is using us for the same purpose. It just goes to show how God has a much larger picture than we can ever imagine!

P.S. We apologize for the lack of posts!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rock Solid Kicks off in Whangarei!

After many prayers, meetings, and planning Rock Solid has finally begun in Whangarei. In our last post we explained how God has opened the door to bring this awesome ministry to Whangarei, the city where we are living. It kicked off on Tuesday night with a Mega Pizza Party. Unfortunately, Jesse was unable to attend because he was sick and had to stay home. However, it was a great time and there were 35 kids there. We played tons of silly games and stuffed ourselves with pizza and fizzy (pop). God also provided us with many helpers in order to make the night successful and not overwhelming. Please continue to pray for this ministry. On November 9th (Jenna's Birthday!) we will be taking 3 van loads of kids down to Auckland for Rainbow Rampage. All Rock solid clubs from around New Zealand will be going to Rainbows End, New Zealand's one and only amusement park. Please pray for safe travels and that God will open up many opportunities to share Jesus with the kids who do not know Him!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

First Month in NZ

We have now been in New Zealand for one month! This past month has been spent adjusting and learning the culture. We have had the privilege of meeting many wonderful people and getting involved with exciting ministry opportunities. We have been blessed with a beautiful 2 bedroom flat that is starting to feel more like a home to us as we are getting settled in.Our home is in walking distance of the church and just about everything we need, which is a huge answer to prayer so that we do not have to get a vehicle or find transportation too often!

We are serving at New Hope Church of the Nazarene in Whangarei and God has been opening doors for new ministries. One of the ministries of the church is Engergise Kid's Club which is held every Sunday night. This past Sunday the kids showed off their talents in a Kid's Club talent show. We had over 50 adults and children attend! The kids had a great time singing, playing piano, doing gymnastics, and showing off a variety of other talents! We are currently planning a children's Christmas program and practices for that will be beginning soon. We pray that God will continue to guide us in serving these children so they may grow to love and follow him always! This Sunday we also kicked off Children's church during morning worship. Previously children stayed in the service with their parents, but now they will have a church service of their own to sing songs, play games, and learn the stories of the bible.

Another ministry we have had the opportunity to get involved with is Rock Solid. This is a youth club for 11-14 year olds that meets one night a week. Rock Solid is currently held in Dargaville (about 45 minutes from Whangarei), but this month it will be starting in Whangarei as well. For the past 2 years there hasn't been a facility to host Rock Solid in Whangarei, but through lots of prayer God has opened the door for it to be held in a local Intermediate School. They also haven't had leaders, but God's timing is perfect and we are here now to help lead this ministry. This is a great way to reach youth who do not know Jesus and are looking for direction in their lives.

Another awesome ministry opportunity we have is through Bible in Schools. Some of New Zealand schools allow bible classes to be taught. However, some schools have been eliminating these classes because of a lack of teachers. In the next couple of weeks we will be going to Bible in Schools with Pastor Alison, who currently has a class of her own, to observe and train. Then, hopefully in the next school term after Christmas Holiday we will be able to have a class of our own!

In January, the Nazarene district will be hosting a youth camp. We have taken on the role of planning and organizing for this camp. We have been involved in many camps before and the past 2 years Jesse has been the assistant director of Boys and Girls camps for the Michigan district. It is neat to see how God has been preparing us when we didn't even know it!

Jenna is also excited to have the opportunity to utilize her marketing skills. She has been asked to make the weekly bulletin for the church and numerous other flyers and advertisements. She is also helping Rock Solid in their efforts to advertise for the new Rock Solid Club coming to Whangarei. If you are interested in learning more about Rock Solid, you can check out their new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RockSolidClubWhangarei

Thank you for all of your prayer and support over this past month. We can feel the prayers and we great appreciate it. Please continue to pray for these ministries and that God would lead us and show us how he would like to use us during our time here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"In His Image" New Zealand District Women Retreat

Jenna and I have been busy adjusting and working on our school work. That along with our limited internet access the past week have prevented us from writing anything on our blog.  I wanted to, however, post a video that shows the retreat we were involved in the last weekend.  It was an AWESOME time with about 70 ladies from around New Zealand. There were so many different cultures worshipping in one place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quick Update with Mailing Address

The past two weeks have been packed with classes and homework. We have averaged about 7 hours in the classroom and spent most of the time in between in the library. It has truthfully been tiring but the benefits of what we are learning in classes far out weighs our tired feelings. One of the things that has been talked about in our classes over and over again is the idea of relationships and partnerships in regards to their role in "missions". We are so excited to go and start relationships in New Zealand and partner with the people of New Hope in their efforts to carry out God's mission. We would appreciate your prayers as we wrap up classes on Friday morning and head back to Michigan.

Our New Zealand Mailing Address:
Box 8049
Kensington, Whangarei
0415
New Zealand

Remember it takes mail about 1-2 weeks to arrive in NZ from the US.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Great is Thy Faithfulness



When I think about the past few weeks, the following words from a great hymn comes to mind.
"Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!"

The Hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" has always been one of my favorites and has been a family favorite for a long time.  It is so awesome how it the chorus of this song has continued to ring true throughout many individuals lives and through so many generations.  

God has been so faithful to us on our journey he has called us on.  We could start even to the time when we meet for the first time but we will just stick with the MANY ways that he has been faithful in the past few weeks:
  • We have been covered in prayers from so many. There are literally people around the world praying for us and that is so amazing.  Jenna and I can feel your prayers and we know that the prayers are being answered.
  • He answered the prayer request that I offered up in our last blog!  God provided a way to pay for our car for us to pay for our car for the entire time we are gone!
  • There was a change of plans for our week before classes where we were to do training and interviews so we had to drive 14 hrs straight. We made it to KC very early in the morning Safe and sound! 
  • God has done nothing but provide financially.  Through many of you God has provided more than half of our needed funds for our time in NZ.  
  • God has been faithful to us through providing insight.  This past week we have had the amazing opportunity to meet our mentor, fellow participants, past participants, experienced missionaries, and experienced missions prep/return counselors. We have had the opportunity to learn so much from others. We have also had the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. We took strength and personality tests which not only have given us helpful insight about working in another culture but also about Jenna and I as a couple. It is cool to see how God has even used this past week to help us build an even stronger marriage.  
  • God has provided great new relationships with mission-minded peers :). 
  • Just yesterday, God also provided us with a place to stay for FREE in the KC area through the couple who was in NZ last year.  
Those are just a few ways that God has been faithful to us this past few weeks!

We thank each one of you that has been faithful in supporting us in prayer.  We also would like to thank each one of you that has been faithful in supporting us financially. 
The next few weeks will be full of classes and homework and classes for Jenna and me.  We would appreciate your prayers during this time.  


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Prayer Request

We apologize for the lack in post recently. Jenna and I have been busy with district children camps and moving from out apartment.  God did some awesome things at both camps and the children at both camps promised to pray for us :)

We do have a "urgent" prayer request though.  We need to find something to do with our car. We would love to sell it but the prospects are not promising. We also would love to keep it but the payments may be really difficult for us to make while in NZ. Please pray that God will make it clear what we should do with it. Pray that he will provide a buyer or a way to pay for the car while we are gone.  God is an awesome God that can do amazing thing.  Thanks for your prayers ahead of time.

Update on our trip:  Jesse has his Visa and Jenna is in the process of getting hers. We have our plane tickets purchased and we will be leaving on Sept 11th at 5:40p and will arrive in NZ on Sept. 14 at 12:50a.  My last day as children's pastor is on August 8th.  We head to WV on the 9th and then to KC on Sunday for 3 weeks.  We will be back in BC for the first week of september until we head to NZ.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thank you!

Jenna and I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so far! Your prayers and financial gifts have been awesome.  Our yard sales, which comprised of almost all church donated items, brought in well over $2,000.  We also received many generous gifts from our wedding.  Our home church, Battle Creek 1st, has been so supportive and we know that we would not be anywhere close to where we are in our goal without their prayers and gifts.

We would also like to thank Lansing First for allowing us to come and speak at your church.  Your prayer and love offering are very much appreciated.

Thank you also to the Corey church for their gift to our trip.  We just received our fund statement for the month of May and we were very pleasantly surprised by your gift.

Please keep us in your prayers as we are preparing for our trip and as we are still fundraising.


P.S.
We just received word that every dollar up to $2000 that we raise in the month of July will be matched by a scholarship at NTS.  Please consider giving to us during the month of July.  Your gift will be doubled!

You can give Here

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Check out some of the items we have on sale on Ebay. All proceeds go to our mission trip to New Zealand. More items will be added in the next  couple of days but currently up for bid are a Tiffany & Co Vase, Antique Mexico Souvenir spoon, Sum-it Antique Adding Machine, and a Vintage Mele Jewelry Box. If you have any questions about any of the items feel free to ask!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random New Zealand Facts Part 1

New Zealand Facts:
  • NZ's land area is about the size of the state of Colorado
  • Almost 90% of the population lives in the Cities.
  • The median age (average) is 37.
  • NZ has two official languages: English and Maori. 91.2% speak English and 3.9% speak Maori.
  • Auckland has a population of 1.36 Million and the capital city of Wellington has a population of 391,000
  • Life expectancy is about 81 years.
  • NZ is the First Country to see the sunrise.
  • The Maori name for NZ is Aotearoa, which means "the land of the long white Cloud"
  • Bungee Jumping originated in NZ.
  • NZ claims the longest place name (85 letters) in the world - Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu - which means: 'The hilltop ,where Tamatea with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveller over land and sea, played his koauau to his beloved'.
  • NZ has won more Olympic gold medals, per capita, than any other country.
  • New Zealand had no predatory animals prior to European arrival, making it a paradise for birds - many of them flightless.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Donation Website Up and Running

Our website (link below) where you can make donations towards our time in New Zealand is up and Running! The website allows you to make donation via Credit Card or direct withdraw from a bank account. We ask that you prayerfully consider donating towards our goal of $12,000. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will help! Thanks ahead of time for your support in prayer and through finances.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Story


Growing up, we both felt a call to the mission field. We were attending a college service one evening when the calling became very evident to both of us. We shared with each other what God had laid on our hearts and it seemed to line up with one another. We each went home and began to pray about this calling. We also started doing some research on our own to find about different mission opportunities. Jesse has also had the desire to continue his education and get his Masters degree. This also played a factor in our research. As we looked we were led to Nazarene Theological Seminary's website and came across their 365M program. We did not know the fine details but were very interested. We learned that 365M is a year long program that combines intercultural studies and missions. We felt led to apply and soon learned that we had been accepted for the New Zealand location. 
The majority of our work will take place in Whangarei, NZ. We will be working with the local church and the district to use our gifts to help equip and grow the church in New Zealand. Although much of our ministry will be determined when we arrive, we have been in communication with the local church’s pastor and the District Superintendent about some exciting opportunities. Some of these include restarting the children’s camps on the district, training churches in children’s ministry, helping churches with marketing related tasks, and much more. We know that this will be an awesome opportunity for us to grow and help the Nazarene Church in New Zealand grow as well. 
We want to request your support in prayer for our time in ministry in NZ. 
If you would like to receive email updates as we continue to prepare for our time in New Zealand and while we are in New Zealand, make sure to submit your email address in the box at the top of our blog page