Europe

Baptisms in Albania

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Over the last eight months the Shalom church plant, which is made up of about 15 adults and 20 children, has been doing some basic biblical discipleship topics from the first SEAN course, “Abundant Life.” During that time we covered 18 different topics including repentance from sin, belief and forgiveness, how to pray, and what it means to be a member of a local church.

After we had done the topic of Baptism we asked who was ready for baptism and seven people responded. We spent a number of weeks going over what baptism meant with everyone in the church to make sure they all understood what was happening. We chose a day at the end of July for the baptisms, but had to postpone it until the September 14 as some had work and others planned to be away on holiday with their families.

We met with those to be baptised the day before the event and discovered that another woman wanted to be baptised as well. Though she was a new Christian, we agreed that she was ready. On the day, an 80 year old woman who was a regular part of the Shalom Church but has been away for the summer said “why can’t I be baptised too? Why didn’t you ask me?” So we ended up baptising her as well – by pouring water on her instead of immersion because of her age. A total of nine people were baptised that day.

 

Introducing God.

For the past year, Murray has been quietly working on making the Introducing God course culturally relevant and personalising the illustrations. As he finished each lesson, either a friend translated it, or Murray did the translation himself with our language teacher.

The result is 11 booklets in simple, easy to read A4 format. Since finishing them, Murray has given the first booklet to ten different men, including neighbours, the local mechanic, the men associated with the Shalom church and two others.

The plan is to follow each lesson up with a discussion over coffee, so he is going to be busy during these next few months working through the series with these men. ‘M,’ a nominal muslim taxi driver, was the first to read through the series with Murray and he became a Christian about half way through the course.

 

For information about the Cotters click here.

Introducing the Thornberrys

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We are delighted to introduce to you our new Mission Partner family, the Thornberrys.* Nigel (dad) was born in New Zealand and loves to learn and share what he has learned. Marianne (mum) was born in the U.S.A. and loves to be an international mum to all. Debby (their 16 year old daughter) was born in the heart of the Redwoods in the U.S.A. and is a self-proclaimed ‘geek’, bookworm, and wants to be a fashion designer. Eliza (their 12 year old daughter) was born in the Czech Republic and wants to be a zoologist and a radical environmentalist.

This is what they say about their way of life:

We make FRIENDS, share STORIES, give feet to DREAMS, pass on GIFTS and PARTY. Or said in another way, we go to where there aren’t a lot of Christians and share life with them, love them, respect them, help them find a path into the Kingdom. We find out the dreams that God is giving to people and help those become reality. We love to see physical and spiritual gifts make a difference in the world. We take part in large temporary spiritual communities that celebrate life and encourage the formation of smaller long-lasting communities that are a celebration of belonging in the Kingdom. 

They primarily do this type of life among poor, nomadic and local people. Nigel and Marianne have lived mostly nomadic since they met almost 30 years ago. Although they have had brief periods of stationary life, they have raised their five kids while ministering as a family on the road. Their older kids have grown and left, so they are down to two travelling at their side – though the older ones promise they will come and catch up with them when they have a break in their own exciting lives. So, as a diminished group of four they are continuing their nomadic journey. They will be shipping out at the end of September to go back to Europe and Africa.

They too are excited about joining the NZCMS family:

The last many years our ministry has been a bit free range so we are quite excited to have a mission family behind us, helping us stay safe and give us belonging. It is also great to be sent out of New Zealand as our main reason for returning here three years ago was to find a home – we were beginning to feel a bit homeless ourselves. We are very excited to now have a mission family in New Zealand that is sending us out to continue our living and sharing.

 

If you would like to know more about how you can support the Thornberrys email Lesley@nzcms.org.nz or visit the NZCMS support page.

 

* Note: any resemblance to a cartoon family is entirely deliberate. We have done this to balance security with humour.

Flying out

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I fly out on the 3rd September to set up my life in a new city, Gijon, Spain! The last 2 months I have spent time with friends as well as four churches around the South Island of New Zealand who are partnering with me. I have visited home groups, youth groups, homes, Sunday schools, church services, other groups and staff meetings. This time has made me realise even more that gospel work is a partnership and that God, in his goodness, has provided many people to partner with me from New Zealand and around the world. I praise God for people like you and that we have such a good and sovereign God!

If you are in Christchurch you are very welcome to join in my commissioning during the main morning church service at St Stephens Church, Shirley. There will be time for lunch together afterwards at the Palms Mall food court.

When: Sunday 31st, 10.30am at St Stephens Church Where:Shirley Intermediate School Hall, corner North Parade and Shirley Road, Christchurch

Alternatively, I will be at the Coffee Culture Cafe, Rotherham Street, Riccarton, 3.30- 5pm this Sunday if you want to pop in for a farewell coffee.

Katie’s in Christchurch

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I have now finished my studies at St Andrews Hall (SAH) and said goodbye to my Spanish church. It was a sad time at SAH and many tissues were used as I said farewell to people that I had spent so much time with. We were encouraged from 1 Thessalonians to keep speaking and living by the truth of the gospel as we prepare to go to Asia, The Pacific, The Middle East and Europe to serve the Lord.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.

I have had the last two weeks in Sydney spending time with my super charming God-son and also with friends. It was also really encouraging to visit my old church in Sydney – Marrickville Road Church – and share with them about my journey to Spain. I am delighted that the church has agreed to partner with me in prayer and that I can have this continued relationship with them. The next 2 months I am back in New Zealand on what is called Deputation. In this time I am looking forward to visiting churches and other friends that are partnering with me and to serve and share in these Christian communities

On Tuesday I arrived back in Christchurch and on the way to stay with my parents I had a car crash. Praise God no one was hurt and I had insurance to cover the other cars involved. It was amazing to feel calm and peace through the whole ordeal. Unfortunately my insurance does not cover the cost of my car and so I am waiting to know if it is worth repairing or not. We are still looking for cars for Katie until early September. If you can help out please email jon@nzcms.org.nz.

Church planting in Albania

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The Shalom church is ticking along nicely, however it is currently more like a house church that meets in a building rather than a church. Each Sunday up to 11 adults and half a dozen teenagers meet for a bible study and prayer, while the children have a separate programme. On Saturdays Valbona runs the main children’s programme.

With Kent and Angie Morton now living near the church we hope for more contact with the families living around the church. Féy and I will be thinking and praying about moving into the neighbourhood at the end of the year too.

Progress with people’s faith is usually slow and hard to measure, but we have some encouraging signs with 6 people (4 adults and 2 teenagers) thinking about baptism this summer.

Pray for those thinking about Baptism. It is a big step for the adults to do such a decisive act and invite all thier families and it is easy to put it off and not bother. Pray for them also as we make as sure as possible  that they understand this Christian Faith that we are teaching and what we believe. It is going well.

“M,” the 44 year old taxi driver whose wife and two boys come to the Shalom church continues to learn about the Christian faith. If Murray doesn’ call him to meet up, he calls Murray, which is really encouraging.