Well that was 2012. What to say about last year? Like every year there was some highs and some lows. There has been some new experiences and some failures (on my part). I know it’s a busy time of the year so here are some brief reflections:
The highlights have to be the students that I get to work with. It is a real privilege to be able to input into young people’s lives (that’s something that I hopefully won’t forget). There are lots of students that I’d like to tell you about and lots of things that we did but I won’t. Let me briefly tell you about three outstanding young people that I’ve been working with.
Jan is the president of the Overseas Christian Fellowship (OCF) and just finished her second year of Vet. Like so many Vets and so many at OCF Jan comes from Malaysia. Since Jan has been here she has seen two of her friends become Christians. She is keen to see more of her friends come to know Jesus. She has done an excellent job in setting the vision for the OCF next year and it will be exciting to see how they try to reach international students with the gospel.
Charles is the president of the Massey Uni Christian Fellowship (MUCF). Charles’ older brother Nick brought him along to say hello at Market Day at the start of the year. Charles was like any first year who has just arrived on campus, sheepish. Through my strong coercion Charles joined a small group, although it was Charles and 5 ladies he hung in there. He came along to our mid-year conference and after that we met up weekly to read through 1 Thessalonians (and then 2 Thessalonians). Part way through the second half of the year I encouraged Charles to think about being president of MUCF. He willingly agreed and was voted in by the other students. It’s encouraging to see young people like Charles want to take the gospel to the campus. He is keen to see his friends come to know Jesus and be grown himself.
Thirdly there is Kerry. Kerry is going to be doing an internship under me next year. Kerry has been heavily involved with MUCF over the last few years and has really grown through it. It is an exciting opportunity to be able to input into a young person’s life in a more formal way. I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited to see Kerry learn and grow. Although I may need to do more of the growing than Kerry.
There have definitely been less low-lights this year compared to last year but still it is good to reflect on things that I haven’t done well or have failed to do. The biggest regret this year has to do with a first year girl. She had only been a Christian for a few weeks and was living in a hall on campus. She was pretty keen to come along to Bible study and check out what else was going on. She came to a few things but then I pushed her a bit too hard and she stopped coming. It was disappointing and a lesson learnt. It’s hard to know when to strongly encourage students to join things and when to relax and allow them come along naturally. Hopefully I won’t make that mistake again but in all likelihood I will.
Our family continues to grow in different ways. The boys upwards, me outwards and Erin more beautiful. The year has been hectic but which year isn’t?
Judah is starting to walk and is saying a few words. He is growing into a little boy and is always so happy except when his brother is sitting on his head (which happens more often than you would think).
Boaz is as strong willed as ever. Living in New Zealand means that he spends a lot of time outdoors. He loves going to kindy and has made lots of good friends there. We are really thankful for his teachers and we are praying that God might give us opportunities to share and live out the gospel with the families involved there.
Erin has been working a little, studying a little and training a lot. It has been a much more settled year here for us and we are really feeling much more at home. We have come to appreciate how much we have here and the opportunities it brings. Erin has been leading a woman’s Bible Study at church and has enjoyed working her way through Ephesians.
I’m still moving along as normal. I’ve enjoyed a bit of a break over summer. The intensity of student ministry takes its toll and I needed time to recharge and reflect. I enjoyed my swim across the Auckland harbour and a 5km swim in Lake Taupo. I’m looking forward to training for a few more open water swims.
The year ahead
This year holds lots of uncertainties. Will we be able to gather new students? Will we be able to find new leaders? Will the clouds ever clear? There are lots of things that we could worry about but ultimately they don’t matter. We know that God is bringing about His will on earth as it is in heaven. We serve Him for His glory and not our own.
We hope that you have had a great Christmas and a restful New Year. Thank you for your prayers and support over the last two years (and even longer). We are very thankful for your generosity and thank you for standing with us as we together serve God.