New Zealand

Personal Update

What a ride we have had in the 40+ years since the Gray Eagle conferred his blessing on us and sent us out into the unsuspecting world - and, yes, the unsuspecting church as well!

Focusing On Missions

Several of us at Sunset were blessed to be together at the Global Missions Conference in Arlington, Texas. It was a great gathering and many of our mission partners were there. Brenda, along with her mother and her sister Sharla, taught the third through sixth graders who attended the conference and several of us (Truitt, Jay and I) were able to teach classes there.

It was great to be reunited wth several of our graduates, including David and Olivia Nelson who are on their way to Kharkov, Ukraine as a part of a church planting team from SIBI and MRN. They met while Olivia was an AIMer in New Zealand. David had lived there most of his life as part of a mission family and was raised as a 'Kiwi'. David and Olivia graciously offered to come a assist in teaching the third through sixth graders about missions.

Danger! Keep Off!

Mission work is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, boldness and a faith willing to take a step where most in the world would retreat to safety. Daniel Peters from the Auckland AIM team probably shouldn't be in the hanggliders ramp, but his picture reminds me of the heart that you have to have to choose to leave what is comfortable and be thrown into a new and different world for the cause of Christ.

The Sun Sets On Another Wonderful Mission Journey

This will likely be my last blog entry for this missionary journey. My next one will be from the Global Missions Conference in Arlington, Texas this coming week (make plans to come and attend my class if possible - should be a great time for all). Pictured here is the sun setting over the city of Adelaide, Australia. As I was listening to Ron Bainbridge and Craig Peters speak yesterday (Dwight speaks today), I was reminded all over again that "the sun never sets on the work of Sunset". While we are sleeping in Lubbock, our co-workers are already at work on the other side of the world. In fact, with students in 37 countries around the world, there is likely not an hour of the day when a Bible is not being read or a prayer is not being offered by one of our students around the globe. It's awe-inspiring to be a part of such an effort and I praise God for his providencial care of our work and his continued blessing.

Fishing In A Large Pond

As we overlooked the ocean with the Auckland church planting team, a fisherman walked by us with his tackle box and pole to fish.  It was a reasonably long and sturdy looking pole, but it looked small in comparison to the rocks and the waves. I couldn't imagine what was in the tackle box, but the man seemed resolute, despite the obvious lack of size for such a task. As I watched him walk bravely to the waters edge, I began to see some parallels. We, whether we are discussing the South Pacific or any part of the world, are fisherman facing a giant ocean filled with a variety of incredible fish (or in our case men and women). We cross the rocks of this world and throw what seems to be a small hook from a small pole into the vast sea before us just hoping that someone will react to the incredible gospel that dangles from the hook.

Enjoying Auckland

Greetings from Auckland! After a wonderful day of worship and relaxation with our brothers and sisters on the Auckland church planting team, we went to the beach and a tasty Portuguese restaurant. Jennifer Cherry was not able to be with us due to an illness, but the rest of the team took Dwight and I to the beach and it was a beautiful site to behold. Pictured here (left to right) are Dwight Whitsett, Morgan and Skylar Ely, Elijah and Kristen Peters, Justin Cherry and little Rylee Cherry (a little shy at the moment). This team is doing a great job of assimilating in the community, making preparations for the actual church plant next month, and setting the stage for a church planting movement in this area of the world.

AIMers in Napier, New Zealand

Greetings from chilly, yet extremely cool, Napier! The AIMers in Napier have dealt with some adversity regarding coordinators and other things, but are serving God mightily and doing great things for the Kingdom in Napier. Pictured here (from left to right) are Michael, Michael, Daniel, Rashawn, and Smokey (bottom). They are innovative and diligent and we should all be proud of their efforts. As you can see, when it is summer up there, it is winter 'down under'. Brrr!

Dwight and I left Napier and are now safely with the church planting team in Auckland. We will worship with them this morning and enjoy two and a half days together. Last night, we watched New Zealand and South Africa play Rugby on TV together (congratulations to Jerry Hogg and the other South Africa fans) - bit of a downer here.

AIMers in Tauranga, New Zealand

Greetings from New Zealand where you can enjoy the beach all winter long! Here I am pictured with our Tauranga AIMers: Jana, Kristi, Ashtin and Kayla (in that order - left to right). As you can see, the water is blue, the trees are green and this quartet of young ladies are very happy to be on the AIM field in New Zealand. They are doing a great job of contacting and conversing with non-Christians, getting to know and minister to their church family, getting settled in their new home, and becoming an active part of the local congregation. Dwight and I have both been very pleased with the comments that we have heard regarding these young Christian ladies and it's obvious that the congregation here is being very responsive to them. I feel confident that their time in new Zealand will go well.

Heading Down Under

Greetings. I am, once again, on the road. I am presently in the LA airport awaiting a flight to Sydney, Australia. I will be visiting the Macquarie congregation, meeting with MSOBS (Macquarie School of Biblical Studies) personnel, having a seminar in Adeliade, Australia, meeting with our 2 AIM teams in New Zealand, meeting with the Auckland mission team, and speaking at the Macquarie lectures. What a great opportunity!  I will be meeting the Mark Samsill family (Mark, Kelle, Tyler, Colton and Katie) there and will enjoy being with our good friends from College Hill in Fort Worth.

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