Sunday, March 31, 2013


What an awesome week this has been telling people what Jesus did for us so that we may celebrate Easter! It has also been an eye-opening week, as well. We have been surprised by how many people (of all ages) have never heard the real story of Easter, or have never even heard of Jesus or God before either. But it has been our privilege to share this good news! 

On Tuesday evening we had Rock Solid. We played tons of fun Easter games, had an Easter hunt, and some of them even had a food competition to see who could eat a hotcross bun, chocolate Easter egg, and banana the fastest. It was all fun and games, but in the end it is not what Easter is about. So, we ended the night with a discussion of the true meaning of the holiday. Alison used a rubber glove to show that when we put the glove on, we can make it do anything we want- pick up stuff, touch things, etc. But as soon as we take the glove off, it cannot do anything on its own. This illustrated how "we can do all things through Christ." Without Christ in our lives we are dead, but through him we have life. And that is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins and then rose from the grave... to bring life! There were only 11 kids at Rock Solid this week, but that is 11 more people who know the true story of Easter. For some of the kids there, that was the first time they had ever heard it before. 

On Thursday morning, we had Bible in Schools. Jenna has a class of year 3s and 4s (7-8 year olds) and Jesse had new entrants (5 year olds). There are some strict rules when it comes to Bible in Schools about what you can and cannot say in the classroom. One of the things we are not supposed to talk about is death. So, sometimes we have to get very creative in our approaches to teaching kids the bible stories. This week, instead of making it about death, we taught them about life! That is what Easter is truly about, because Jesus gives us new life. Jenna asked her class if they knew why we celebrate Easter. One girl said, "because it is the Easter Bunny's Birthday!" some others said so that we can have Easter eggs, and some just said isn't it a christian thing? It was an exciting day to be able to bring the message of Christ into the public schools. 

On Saturday morning, our church had a Family Easter Carnival. The day included face painting, balloon animals, Easter egg decorating, coloring contest, fun games, as well as a garage sale and sausage sizzle to help raise money for our pastors to attend General Assembly. This was a great opportunity to build new relationships with people in the community. And we praise the Lord for holding off the rain for us- our event was intended to go from 9am to noon. It literally stopped raining at 9am and started raining at noon. Thank you Lord!

This morning (Sunday morning), our church hosted a free breakfast. Just about every seat was full (which for our small church is only 35, but that is almost 3 times as many as we have on a regular Sunday!). We transformed the church into more of a cafe style with tables and chairs. Pastor Donna and her family made a beautiful backdrop for the stage, Jenna set up the table decorations, and Jesse helped make yummy french toast. It was a beautiful service and it was exciting to see families worshiping together.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's amazing to see what He'll write, when you let God write your life story.

As the number of months left in New Zealand have been decreasing and we are getting closer to the end of our program, we have been praying diligently that God would guide and direct us to where He would have us serve next. Whether that meant staying in New Zealand, going back home to Michigan, or serving somewhere else in the world, we were leaving it up to him.
 A few months ago, I (Jesse) was drawn to a job posting on the Nazarene job board.  I immediately applied for the position without even consulting my wife (oops).  I gave the church the warning that we were in New Zealand and planned to stay there until May.  I sent off my resume and the warning and just prayed that God's will would be done.  Over the next few months, I talked with the Pastor and started to get very excited about the possibilities of the position. It was really cool to see that the church was willing to wait for us if we were the people for the position.  Well fast-forward a few months, I found myself on a plane to go visit the church and "interview" for the position.  I quickly fell in love with the church and the potential in the position.
 We had been praying that God would make our path clear and He did that.  He has been preparing Jenna and I for this position. It has been awesome to see how God works through our experiences (both successes and failures).  We are truly learning that God knows best and if we let Him write our story He will write a story that we could never have imagined.  Who would have thought we would be blessed working with the people here in New Zealand.  We are excited to see what the next chapter God is writing is going to be about.
We are sure that God will do amazing things through us at Clearwater First Church in Florida.  I will be the pastor to children and families at the church and will work on revitalizing the After-school program.
Our hearts are sad that our time here in New Zealand is quickly coming to an end but we are so grateful for the time we have had here and the relationships that we have been able to build.  God is working worldwide and we are just glad that he has chosen us to play a small part in His story.