Sharing the Gospel IN N Z 2 c's Testimony
Sharing the Gospel IN N Z 2 cA question I sometimes ask people (like at the high school programme today): “Would you die for your friend?”
“Yes”, or “Maybe”, or “Not sure”, or “Depends” is the sort of answer I get.
“What about your enemies? The person who is always mean to you? The person who hates you? Would you die for them?”
The answer is a lot more definite: “No!”
But check this out:
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)
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A TESTIMONY FOR CHRIST
As I wrote earlier this year – my trusty two-wheeler was stolen! I was shocked, annoyed, and yet in a way thankful that God had counted me worthy to suffer for His Name.
And just as God provided the first bike through someone, I am pleased to report that He provided a second bike through someone else. He is so good! I now have a new trusty two-wheeler, almost the same as the previous one. And with the suggestion of someone, I have started decorating the carrier box to be a testimony for Christ. I hope and pray that it will speak to people even more than God’s provision of a new bike!
By the way, the cyclops-smiley-face symbol on the top right is the Arabic letter “N”, for “Nazarene”. It is being used by ISIS to identify Christians in Muslim countries, in much the same way as the star of David was to identify Jews in WW2.
CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY
I am so thankful to the Lord for the opportunities He has provided and is providing to reach out in the local community!
Much time recently has been spent organizing the kids’ holiday programme that is coming up soon (13-17 April)! This involves much practical work in advertising it through school, Facebook and door-knocking; networking with the local churches to help; and of course planning the day to day programme! It’s been busy, but good.
I also have a lot to do with some of the families who are getting involved in Sunday School and youth group. One night we went to pick up youth – none came that night, but I had a good chat with some of the parents in the meantime, and found a 6-year-old who had heard of Sunday School and was keen to come!
I have been attending youth group a bit recently as it gets started for the year. Some of the community youth have enjoyed coming along. Now I am handing it over to the youth leaders to continue follow-up. Please pray this goes well.
Meanwhile I regularly help pick up children for Sunday School in the church van. I love these darlings, but please pray for me as some Sunday mornings they are great and sometimes they are restless! But it is really prayer that makes the difference. The number attending Sunday School has increased, so please pray that more of the local church family will be willing and able to take up the Adopt-a-Family initiative (picking up children on Sunday, and reaching out to the whole family) to share the responsibility and privilege of these dear children!
Also I have been helping with Girlzone which runs fortnightly on Monday. It is for intermediate age girls, while the younger ones attend Girls’ Rally. The Girlzone group is great – we have almost 20 coming this year. It is interesting and sad to see how there is a generation growing up who know a lot less about God, so please pray that through all this community outreach this trend will be slowed.
STARTING IN SCHOOLS
This week, though late in the term, is the first one we have for Bible in Schools this year.
The lunchtime outreach programme at Havelock High has started well. It amuses and intrigues me how there are a few girls there who are the most regular, and yet often the most disruptive ones in the class. This year they have brought their boyfriends along. Their boyfriends are actually more interested and engaged with the teaching than the girls sometimes. And yet the girls keep coming... I’m pleased they do, just intrigued also! And I have befriended two Japanese exchange students who I met outside of the school – pray that as well as a friendship, that I will also point them to the Lord Jesus.
Girls’ High has started also for the year. The first day was during the cyclone, and a wet and un-inspiring day for cycling. Yet with the normal Hawke’s Bay weather being warmer and calmer than most other parts of the country, and with the new bike with mudguards, it was not as bad as it sounded! The wet weather was actually quite conducive to the first day, because all the students were sitting in the hallways for lunch. Since a confirmed room for the programme had not gone out in the announcements, I went to the room we had last year, and waited, and waited... And then my friend from Girls’ High came, and we decided to go down the hallway and invite students in. Some weren’t worried, but one girl recognised me because I had talked to her on the street, and so she and her friends came! Soon a couple of Christian girls (who had been regular last year) came also, with a friend. So we had 10 to start off with – and 7 of those didn’t have Bibles but would like one!
We had a low-key programme for an introduction. As we finished, the two Christian girls were the last to leave. I heard one excitedly tell the other about their friend – “Did you know she gave her life to the Lord the other day?!” It was so cool to hear two young ladies excited about the Lord!
This week was sunny! The 7 girls didn’t turn up, but I had 5 Christians. Please pray that more will come, and that God will use me to really equip them to share the Gospel in their school. Pray also that others will come, keen to hear the Gospel!
IT WAS IN A GARDEN
While reading John’s account of Easter, God put an idea on my mind for a song. Imagine it sung passionately by Michael Card.
It was in a garden
that God put the first man
It was in that garden
that they agony began
The man God had made
with his wife disobeyed
They took the fruit
and tasted sin
It was in that garden
that choice let death creep in
It was in a garden
that Jesus went and prayed
It was in that garden
that He was then betrayed
Jesus came, He came to set us free
Nailed to the cross, He died for you and me
He would undo that sin
through the death He died
It was in that garden
He said “not my will, but Thine”
They nailed to a cross the Christ who came!
They mocked, they scorned, they put Him to shame!
Yet they did not know that He took our pain
And in a garden they buried Him
And in that garden He lay
In that garden He was three nights and three days
And in the garden He rose again
He conquered death and sin
And in the garden He showed dear Mary
that she could trust in Him.
That garden can still be found today if you go and see
But more important Christ is Saviour indeed
Put your trust in Him, you will not be lost
He has paid for our sins the total cost.
One weekend I was doing some fiddly gluing, and found that superglue was really the only thing that was going to work. I ended up with funny-feeling finger-tips, due to the dried superglue. It eventually came off!
But the following evening we were helping with Messy Church, doing the devotion on Easter. Before that, there was the “Messy” part – helping little kids interact with projects along the Easter them. I ended up with hands covered in watered-down PVA glue... more messy than most of the kids, but some were still brave enough for a high-five! I even got some glue on Nikki, the organizer!!
After some interactive crafts about Easter, we transitioned into the auditorium for devotions and dinner. Nikki lead some active songs, then Gareth told the Easter story using a poem he had written an hour beforehand – the young children were very focussed the whole way through! Then I used an object lesson Nikki had recommended, which is very worthwhile for teaching the reason why Jesus died.
The object lesson can be found online, for example, see this website: http://anotherdayintheministry.blogspot.co.nz/2011/04/easter-object-lesson.html
Apart from house-sitting at three different places in two weeks, we have plans to travel a bit in the next few weeks. First, over Easter, there is the Auckland Easter Show where a team from OAC will be involved in outreach. After that, Gareth and I plan to drive to Waihi to speak at a kids’ holiday camp there.
As soon as that finishes, we’ll be back to Hastings to run the FBI (Faithful Bible Investigators) holiday programme here.
There’s a lot to do over this time, so if you don’t hear from me, you know why! But please keep us in your prayers, as we share the Gospel and encourage others to do the same.
Please pray specifically:
- Energy and enthusiasm with all the various events – that I will give my best
- Patience and team-work as we are involved with various people at these events
- That I will be able to find good quality time to rest with the Lord
- Safety travelling
- That God will bless these outreaches and that through them there will be a lasting impact of the Gospel in people’s lives.
Thank you for all your love, prayers and support.
With much love from Maria
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16B (ES
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