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!