A very big Merry Christmas to you all. Can you believe another year has come and gone? Last year at this time we were in the mountains of Northern California, and the Christmas before that we were at Disney world in Florida. This year we are celebrating our first Christmas with family in 5 years, we are looking forward to it. We wanted to wait until our last event was over before we updated so that we could add some photos. Last Sunday we had a Naenae community Christmas dinner, we had about 170 people come, and it was a wonderful evening. The scattered photo’s are of the family at the Christmas dinner.
We can now look back on a year of mixed emotions with a real sense of thankfulness to God. We did find the re-establishing process long and at times difficult. There have been times of loneliness, frustration, and missing the States. However, as we come to the end of the year we can see how God is shaping us and the work that He wants done here. A special thank you to our supporting churches, Heretaunga Christian Centre, and Riverbend Bible Church, Immanuel Baptist Church and Buck Run Baptist Church who have encouraged us in so many ways this year.
Naenae for Christ outreach
The highlight of this year has been the establishment of a weekly outreach in our community, Naenae. We started this in March and have opened the doors at the community center for 36 Sundays. We finished, for the year, last week with a Christmas kai. What a privilege to preach the gospel to 100 adults at the dinner. We asked those who came to write their names and contacts on a piece of paper, if interested in a church starting next year, and/or a women’s fellowship group. Six people indicated an interest in church and 14 indicated an interest in a women’s group. Some of those on the list were very weary of us at the beginning of the year and it has shown us how many barriers have been broken down.
Mark has had the joy of preaching 9 times at our home church this year, 5 times in other churches, and 35 times at the little “church service” at the Naenae for Christ outreach. This “church service” attracted an average of about 6 (from the community) earlier in the year but the last two months has seen on average about 16 coming. We continue to believe that the Word of God will not return void but will accomplish the task of saving and sanctifying sinners.
We have also been involved this year in running the Christian group at the high school Anna-Marie, Rachel, and Joel attend. Mark ran a Bible study out of a church right in the heart of Wellington city. This remained small throughout the year but will continue next year with a bit more of an evangelism focus. Mark ran a 2 month church planting home group for interested people, and he trained 5 youth leaders in how to study Scripture and prepare and preach a sermon. We have also just written an evangelistic tract especially suited for our community. It has all local photos and the fictitious story that runs through it is about a couple from Naenae. We are hoping this encourages our Naenae for Christ team in their evangelism. If you want to have a look at it, send me your address and I will send you one, your comments will be helpful.
The children are all doing very well. They all did very well at school and have enjoyed being in school for the first time. We are so thankful to God for the work in our children that He has done. They minister with us at Naenae for Christ and have been sharing Christ at their secular school. Anna-Marie had a pace-maker inserted when she was 4 years old and in January next year she needs to have it replaced, a heart valve fixed, and an old lead taken out of one of her veins. This is going to require open heart surgery, so we are preparing ourselves for that. Please remember Anna-Marie in your prayers.
Tania has taken the longest to adjust back to NZ living. We have had to work through some difficult times but the Lord has always enabled us to do this. Tania is in the process of getting her teaching license renewed so that she can do some relieving teaching next year. Mark has missed the States but hides it better than Tania. He now looks back on the year with thankfulness as he sees God’s hand in our lives. His leg issues put him out of action for almost 9 weeks this year, and he did waste a bit of time, but he does desire to be more focused next year.
We will enter 2012 having not yet planted a church but still confident that all we are involved in is laying the foundations for a church to be started. The desire to pastor the people of Naenae is growing stronger and the outreach we are leading seems very likely to end in a church planted. We have struggled to find interested people to join a church planting team but the last two months has brought two families to light.
All of the ministry opportunities this year are continuing next year. In addition we are adding a women’s fellowship group to our Naenae for Christ ministry which Tania will be involved in running. We also hope to establish a youth work in Naenae. We praise God that the two churches in the US and the one in New Zealand that have financially supported us this year, are continuing their support for 2012.
- Anna-Marie’s operation in Jan or Feb
- Word of God to do its work in people’s lives
- That the tract would be used to bring many to Christ
- Family unity and continued submission to Christ above all else
- A church planting team raised up from those showing interest
- Naenae for Christ’s ministries, drop in center, women’s group, and youth work
- Thanksgiving for churches continuing their financial support of us for 2012
Thank you all so much for your support this year, we have needed the financial support and we have desperately needed the prayer support. We have valued the e-mails, occasional Skype conversations, and the facebook likes and comments. You are all very dear to our hearts and we thank you for your continued support and care of our family.
May Christ continue to be your all in all
With much love
Mark, Tania, Anna-Marie, Rachel, Joel, and Matthew Gordon