Our 4-week South Island trip was an enjoyable as well as trying time for all of us. All five of us cramped into our 2-person campervan like sardines to sleep most nights while the weather got colder every night as the month of April progressed.
Our first stop was in a little place just north of Christchurch called Sefton. A kickstart was held there with about 12-15 people in a cozy setting of a lounge. Jan and Steve were very hospitable in every way, including letting us sleep in their spare bedrooms. We thank them for looking after us so well.
Our next major stop was in Lawrence, where we were also treated like royalty by Steve and Brenda. Andrew and Steve drove into Dunedin for a one-on-one kickstart on the streets, where Steve experienced first hand healing after praying for someone. They found a person of peace whom Steve is now in contact with. Praise the Lord.
Then we had a much needed break over in Rakaia where we stayed with our family in Christ for a weekend. Andrew and I were able to escape for a few hours, while our children were being looked after, to go on a much overdue date.
Next, we made our way towards the West Coast where we met a new family, Ray and Sharon, in Greymouth. We found their contacts through The Last Reformation map. Again, they were very hospitable. We were fed a 5-course meal at breakfast and left with more food to stock up our camper. Ray and Sharon are also wanting to see God’s Kingdom come. They are actively reaching our to their work colleagues and friends. There was talks about the possibility of a kickstart here in Greymouth in the near future.
Finally, we made it to Motueka, where Reg lives. Reg was the man who made this trip happen. After finding out about our kickstart training in Auckland, he rang, inviting us to the South Island to do the same there. We have enjoyed getting to know Reg and have learnt from him about the kingdom as much as he learnt from us.
Initially, there was going to be a training weekend in Nelson, but as most attendees had already been to a kickstart before, we modified the discussion topics to be more relevant to the people there. There was discussions about finances – what does it mean to live by faith, discipleship, the role of families – specifically how to involve our own children in gospel sharing, living in communities and persecutions. There was also time spent on the streets sharing the gospel, although, Nelson proved to be a very hard ground to break.
In between kickstarts and staying with very hospitable families, we also took time out to explore the South Island. We enjoyed seeing the truly beautiful nature and wildlife of New Zealand, such as the seals in Kaikoura and Oamaru and the Pancake Rocks. There were a few nights where we did freedom camping – these were great when the sun was out, but when it was raining… it was a real test of our patience in our tiny campervan, trying to get the children to go to any space available to stay out of the way while Andrew sets up our beds for the night!
Apart from those already mentioned above, we would also like to thank Anna and Phil for helping out at the kickstarts. But especially to Jude, Steve and Shaz, the Svenssons, Redepenning family, JP and Dina and family, and also James (from North Island) who all looked after us so well, making sure we were always warm and fed. We so appreciate our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Over the winter we have planned to rest in our home in Tokoroa (as we don’t have a working heater in our campervan). Irene is also around 20 weeks pregnant with our fourth child, expecting baby to be born around September some time.
God has been speaking to us for a couple of years now about living in a community with other believers. After this trip it is now something we are seriously considering making happen by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, we are still available for anyone who would like to get in touch with us. Also, we will be ringing a few people as well to see how things are going with them.
We pray that you are busy for the kingdom of God, and not be distracted by the desires of the world. Seek first the Kingdom of God AND His righteousness.
Love, Andrew & Irene