Hello there, and welcome to our blog! We are the Sonchasers – chasing the Son…get it!? Very cheesy, I know, but it’s true. We are, in any case, going on an adventure in just a few weeks and this is the place to read all about it!
This week was church serve week – our very first official week of outreach! It’s a week where all the outreach teams go to different churches for an entire week to serve them, help out in whatever way we can and just be a blessing. Besides being an awesome opportunity for us to evangelize, love people the way Jesus did and really live out our faith, it’s also a bit of a final preparation before we’re thrown into outreach for real.
Our team has been staying and serving with the St Peter’s Anglican church in Kaikoura, and it has been absolutely amazing. For the most part of the week we have been gardening at different people’s houses all over town. We spent Tuesday and Thursday weeding at the Lavender Farm for Myra who owns the place. There was a lot to be done, but after we were done you could really see a difference which made it so rewarding. The biggest reward by far though was the difference we saw in Myra afterwards. With a wedding at the farm coming up and a massive amount of work to get done she had been completely overwhelmed, but after we were done she seemed a lot more relaxed, like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. At the other places as well it was incredible to see how something as seemingly small as weeding could be so meaningful to people. For us it may not have seemed as much, but just the fact that we were willing to serve and do the dirty work for others really blessed them, and perhaps said something about the character of God.
On Wednesday we had the opportunity to help out with Kidz Club at the Anglican church. Every Wednesday, kids from the primary school next door come to the church for games, crafts, snacks and a short teaching from the bible, and so this week the leaders handed over the reigns to us! We spent the afternoon playing with the kids, and I think both us and the kids had a lot of fun. Pauline and Josh talked a bit about John the Baptist and how to use the gifts God has given you to serve others. Most of these kids come from non-Christian backgrounds and don’t know much about God, so it was really cool to get to share with them a little about what we believe in. Another thing that was very encouraging was how the kids were so unafraid to connect with us, even though we were complete strangers, and also how everyone was always included in something. No one was left alone. We think our team worked in true unity to fill needs as they came up, and to just be there for the children.
We also got the privilege of hanging out with a foster kid for a couple of days. It was honestly quite hard to watch how growing up in an unsafe home can hurt a child, through no fault of their own, and not to be able to do anything about it. We do hope and pray, though, that our meeting him made some lasting impact, and that he at least got to feel loved and appreciated for a few days.
This week has also been about growing together as a team before outreach. We’ve spent a lot of time with each other over the week, whether it’s weeding and working together, ministering, enjoying the most beautiful sunset and just hanging out, playing games and crying with laughter, cooking and having meals together or something else. It’s a different dynamic than what we’ve lived with for the past three months. There are a lot less people for starters, and the little people we are left with we are with very intensively, which is both fun and challenging. It’s fun because it allows us to really bond and get to know each other deeper than when there were twenty-five of us, and also because we have such an amazing group. God did a good job putting us together. It has definitely been challenging for some of us introverts to be surrounded by people at all times, but I think it’s a challenge that will allow us to grow both as a team and as individuals. We learn more and more how to just co-exist, despite different personalities and cultures.
The schedule this week has been more relaxed than what we’ve grown used to, giving us more flexibility. Every morning we each have our own quiet times with God, as much or as little as we want. This is a great way to start the day, and keeps us all grounded in God. Usually after that we have our daily team time, where we worship, have intercession or talk about the day, and then we go out to get started on today’s assignment. During intercession we have prayed for our contacts, the people we met, the church we stayed in and the remaining outreach fees that haven’t come in yet among other things, and it is a really precious time for us. On our last day in Kaikoura we also took the time to take a prayer walk. We walked around in groups of three for a couple of hours and just prayed for and blessed the places we passed. It was a fantastic way to end our time here.
This week has been a little taste of what life will be like during outreach, and it has had its ups and down, but overall it has just made us even more excited. We can’t wait to get started for real now!