Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Update

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.

This Year

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.

Other Ministries

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.

Church Plant

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.

Next Year

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.

Prayer Needs

  • 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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Gordon Children

It has been several months since an update. I must apologise as we have sent out a few update emails and I have forgotten to copy them to this blog. Before the end of the year we will attempt to update you all on ministry but for now here is a family update on how the children are doing.

Matthew had a rough start to the year with too many challenges. He was so sad to leave America and still says that he is half American as he lived half his life there. He also went to school for the first time just a few weeks after returning to New Zealand and this was a little difficult for him. He is doing really well now though, he enjoys school and is doing much better. He is especially excited at the moment about gymnastics and photography classes which Anna-Marie is actually going in to help teach.

He continues to be very talkative and friendly. Tonight he had us in fits at the dinner table telling jokes. He still loves to serve wherever he can and is a great little help at Naenae For Christ on a Sunday afternoon.

He is just beginning to enjoy reading more. He enjoyed watching the rugby world cup with the family and likes to go out and kick the soccer ball around. He has made a few friends and is enjoying church.

This is Matthew with his cousin Grace having fun in the van.

Helping on Father's Day at Naenae for Christ. Helping Anna-Marie take bubble photos for a photography project.
At the zoo with a friend from church.
Joel has settled in well into New Zealand life. He spent some time at the beginning of this year fishing with his Grandad and hopes to go hunting with him this summer. He is doing very well in school and is nearly finished his Year 9 (Grade 8) school year, his first year of high school. He was picked for a special sports and math class and played basketball and cricket.

He goes over to the boxing gym twice a week and trains with the Junior boys and is really loving it. It is great having the gym and the Graham family next door as being in Naenae we are a little isolated from others that we fellowship with, who are in Upper Hutt, about 20 minutes away.

He has grown so much this year. He eats a lot and just seems to get taller and taller. He has also been writing his testimony recently and has been talking about baptism so we are prayerful and praising God for this growth in his life. He enjoys the youth ministry at church and attends the Wednesday night bible studies most weeks.

Rachel turned 15 back in May and is growing into a beautiful young women. She has just about finished her Year 11 (Grade 10) year in high school and has done really well. She received several awards at the prizegiving last night and quite a few awards at the school sports awards including being nominated for sports women of the year. She has played both soccer and basketball this year and this would be her favourite part of school. She has been picked for a special elite sports class next year so she is very excited about that. She was also our only child to attend a youth Sports Camp up at our old church in Hastings. The quest speaker was an American from California, Brent Eldridge. In keeping with the theme of sports she is also helping to run a women's fitness class at the boxing gym.

She has had her learners drivers license for a few months now but because of some recent changes to the law she cannot sit her license for another year and a half so she has a long time to learn.

She continues to put God first and faithfully shares with her friends at school and serves at church. Settling back into New Zealand has not been easy for Rachel but I think she has grown through the experience and has continued to mature. She is such a joy and often brings laughter to us all.

All dressed up for the Sports Camp Awards Dinner.
Rachel and good friend Susanna from next door all ready to paint Susanna's closet.
Rachel being her very competitive self on the basketball court.
At Sports Camp in Hastings, NZ.
Receiving an award at the Heretaunga College Sports Awards.

Anna-Marie is just a few days off turning 17. She is finishing up her Year 12 (Grade 11) high school year with just exams to go. She has done very well at fitting into public school life. She had to pick up at NZQA Level 2 quickly without having done Level 1 but should have no trouble passing at this stage. She has loved her photography class and has become more and more interested in it. With the boxing gym next door and a growing relationship with the boy next door, she has been spending lots of time at boxing tournaments where she also takes lots of photos, in fact she takes lots of photos where ever she goes.

Public school has been a challenge but, by God's grace, she has been faithful to share her faith with others and continues to be a blessing to us and even helped me teach a study to the other young girls at church earlier this year.

She has had her learners license now for about 6 months and drives very well. She was quite a confident driver from the start so it hasn't been too scary teaching her.

She also has her first job. I would love to have a photo of her in front of KFC, in her KFC uniform but sometimes the photographer will not allow herself to be photographed.

We would appreciate your prayers for her as she prepares to have her pacemaker replaced in February. The battery is low so she needs to have the unit replaced but they are also considering removing the old leads she has going through her veins into her heart as they are beginning to cause problems in one of her heart valves. This would mean that she would have to have open heart surgery and removal of these leads is quite a delicate process so we will keep you informed and would covet your prayers.

She has only had the opportunity to do one of her other great loves once or twice since being here but I have included a great photo of her riding.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snow

I spent our 4 1/2 years in America telling everyone that our winters were reasonably mild compared with Kentucky's winters and that it never snows in Wellington, only to be proved wrong on our very first winter home. We have just woken up to our fourth day of freezing rain, hail, snow and strong cold winds. Apparently it is the kind of storm that Wellington has about once every 100 years. Lots of people here have never seen the snow or played in it so it is quite an exciting event. The schools have closed which is unheard of, but the kids don't seem to mind. They have spent two days traveling up to the hills in Upper Hutt for a little snowboarding and snow ball fights with our neighbors.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


It has been awhile since we have blogged but to be honest with you not much has been happening. The reason for this has been the unexpected injury to Mark's leg. Today he takes back the crutches that he first got on the 1st of June. Yes, 9 weeks later, he can take them back. He is just able to walk without them and will take about another 4 weeks before he is fully mobile and walking like normal.

The swelling in the calf has gone down but still a band remains, he is in no pain and is doing lots of stretching exercises to strengthen the knee and calf muscles. He has been able to drive now for about three weeks so his regular ministry activities have all begun again.

The Naenae outreach continues to function well. The main focus at this time is gathering around us a team of people with a similar passion for the gospel who are equally desirous to see a strong Bible teaching church established in the Hutt Valley. Would you please pray for this endeavour as it may prove a little slower than we first thought.

All of the family are really good at the moment, lots of learning opportunities and Anna-Marie has just secured her first job, and guess where it is, Kentucky Fried Chicken!!!!!! Yes she has started working at KFC about three minutes drive from our house. Both the girls have got their learners car license now. It does not take long in these years for family dynamics to change somewhat.

Thank you to all who continue to pray for us. We feel your prayers as we are carried along by the Lord in good times and in times of discouragement, so thank you so much. We endeavour to pray for you also and would love to hear from you so as we can pray more specifically for you.

May God richly bless your labours for Him, take care

The Gordon Family

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jarrod's Baptism

What a great privilege it was last Sunday to be involved in this young man's baptism. This first photo is me briefly sharing on what baptism is.Jarrod sharing his testimony with myself and Billy looking on. Jarrod has been involved in the boxing academy in Naenae for a few years. In his testimony he honored the Grahams for their love for him and their patience with him.
This mobile baptismal pool is shared among three different churches. Both Billy and I had the privilege of immersing our new brother in water, symbolizing his new identification with Christ's death, burial, and glorious resurrection.
May this be the first of many!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ministry Update

It feels like things have been moving slower in the last few weeks but maybe it has just been Mark who has been moving slower. He has been seeing a physiotherapist for his knee and it is feeling much better. He had an ultrasound last Friday to see what the problem was with his knee but a new and more immediate problem was found - a blood clot in his calf. This can be quite serious so he is on blood thinners and has blood tests several times a week to check his levels. He sees a specialist in a couple of weeks so we will keep you updated.

Last Sunday was an exciting day for us. It was announced at Heretaunga Christian Center, where we are fellowshipping in Upper Hutt, that they will be supporting the church plant. This is great news for us as we feel it is important to have a local church involved. We hope to move on from here and begin a homegroup for people who may be interested in being a part of a plant in Lower Hutt. Later that afternoon was Naenae for Christ. It was a great afternoon. We held a sports day for young people and had a great crowd of kids. Mark was able to preach a gospel message afterwards to the kids and also to our regulars, about 60 people.

Below are a few photos of the afternoon.

Rachel Turns 15

Here's a few photos from Rachel's 15th birthday. She had several friends over and they had a cupcake cooking and decorating competition, watched a movie and slept over.

Rachel has done really well with the move back, although she misses people terribly back in the States. She is enjoying public school and is doing really well in all her subjects, but more importantly is growing in her faith and having many opportunities to share with friends.

She is busy playing both basketball and soccer for the school, doing school work, being involved in church youth group activities and in Naenae for Christ.

We thank God for Rachel, she is a great blessing to us.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A Little Break Away

We have just come home from a wonderful Bible conference at our old church in Hastings, the Impact Bible Conference. It was a fantastic time of fellowship. However Mark spent the conference on crutches. His knee has been very swollen and he has been having to stay of it completely until we can find out why it is so swollen. I'm sure I don't need to tell all who know him how frustrating this is for him.

Several weeks ago now Mark and I were able to go away for a quiet weekend for our wedding anniversary. We stayed in a little quaint town about an hour from where we live called Martinborough. We drove over to the ocean for the day to see a seal colony and walked up to a lighthouse.