Last week, our Prime Minister spoke at the United Nations. In her speech, she declared that Freedom of Speech was being used as a weapon of mass destruction. What is happening everywhere else is happening here too; but, as usual, New Zealand is the place of extreme social experimentation. Please pray for our country. We appreciate your continued prayer and support for our ministry here in New Zealand. The words of our national anthem (of which Kiwis usually only know Verse 1) are my constant prayer. Here are the words for Verses 2 and 5.
Men of every creed and race Gather here before Thy face, Asking Thee to bless this place. God defend our free land From dissension, envy, hate, And corruption; guard our state. Make our country good and great. God defend New Zealand.
May our mountains ever be Freedom’s ramparts on the sea. Make us faithful unto Thee. God defend our free land. Guide her in the nation’s van, Preaching love and truth to man, Working out Thy glorious plan. God defend New Zealand.
Besides a blessed Teen Camp earlier in the year, we have also started an official Youth Ministry. We have partnered with two churches of like faith in the Central North Island (one in New Plymouth and the other in Palmerston North) to run monthly youth events. Each month, a different church is responsible for hosting, feeding, and organizing the event. It will be our turn again in November. This has already begun to bear fruit, with young people growing in the Lord and great opportunities for discipleship and mentorship growing.
We lost a couple of families at the beginning of the year due to their departure from Wanganui. We miss them all dearly. At the time, it was hard not to feel a little demoralized, as we had just gotten our own building, and momentum was building. Praise the Lord, though; He is ever faithful! Momentum did not cease, but instead, we have had continued growth throughout the year. I have never been this consistently busy with discipleship!
• Heritage Camp – Beth and I organize and run the meals for 100-150 people for a whole week right after Christmas each year. Pray that God continues to bless this ministry.
• Homeschooling – Abby starts high school next February (the start of the New Zealand school year). This is a big change for all of us and much more expensive!
• Hurting Friends – A dear friend of our family recently lost her husband, who took his own life. It has been hard to come to terms with this. The family is broken. We are helping as we best we can with prayer, homeschooling, and meals. God knows; I am glad He is in charge.
• Trip to the States – Beth and the kids are booked to travel to America from February 18 to April 7. I am still not permitted to enter the country, but if possible, I will book tickets later. If you would like to pencil me in for a visit, I am happy to talk dates and service times.