Kia ora Ministry Partners!
Greetings from cold, damp, dark Dunedin. We’re in the heart of winter, but Jesus continues to be our light here in the south of the South Island. God has been doing some amazing things we’d like to share with you!
God’s Grace in Hunter’s Life
Hunter E. is 18 years old and has been significantly disabled since birth. His parents Cam and Anna farm just a few kilometres from our house and attend Riverside Chapel in Henley. Hunter is in his last year of high school and having a really good think about what he wants to do with his life (check out his YouTube channel). Hunter reluctantly came to our first worldview camp last October. After the first day, he felt really lonely and didn’t want to come back for day two. But his mum Anna encouraged him. She also messaged us and asked us to reach out and personally invite Hunter back. He came that afternoon, and the rest is history! That day Hunter made a really close friend, took some amazing drone footage (which we used for our camp video), and completed the camp. Three months later in January, he attended our second worldview camp.
One of the disciplines we teach campers is quiet time HEAR journalling. Because Hunter is not the academic sort, journalling was a real challenge for him. But he persevered and started reading the Bible and HEAR journalling with another camper. Fast forward six months, and Hunter and his friend are HEAR journalling just about every day! Hunter got baptised a couple months back and is growing spiritually by leaps and bounds. He has plans to start a new job very soon. Hunter has days when he is down, and he will have to deal with his disability for the rest of his life But his attitude is great, and he is really trying his best, by the Spirit, to follow Christ. I have the privilege of mentoring Hunter about twice per month, and each time I see him he is little happier and understands the Bible a little bit more. Hunter, we are proud of you. Keep going! You are an inspiration to us all. Please pray for Hunter!
God’s Grace in Sarah’s Life
Another story of God's grace is Sarah D., age sixteen. Sarah is the eldest from a sizeable Christian family and began attending a progressive Christian parochial school four years ago. Rainbow ideology was pushed hard at the school, and Sarah’s friend group began to influence her toward the Rainbow community. She began to get involved with the Pride group at school and even considered transitioning her gender, hiding most of this from her parents. Around this time she visited our Tu Kaha youth group for the first time. At first, she didn’t connect with the group, but the Scripture and the love of everyone started to speak to her. She kept coming, along with her two younger sisters. Three years later she left the school and began homeschooling, and her time at Tu Kaha became one of the social highlights of her week. She is older than most of the other youth at Tu Kaha, and it wasn't easy to tell if she was having a good time. But about two months ago, she came up and told me (Jeff) she wanted to get baptised at our Tu Kaha retreat in Wanaka. I was absolutely shocked! With her parents’ permission, we baptised her in Lake Wanaka three weekends ago. In sharing her testimony with our other youth, Sarah said three of the things that really helped her were reading J. Warner Wallace’s Cold-Case Christianity, coming to Tu Kaha every week, and attending two of our worldview camps where we dealt straightforwardly with sexuality issues from a biblical perspective. Sarah wants to use her spiritual gifts to discipline others and is ready to be a youth leader one day. Isn’t it amazing what God is doing in Sarah’s life? Please pray for Sarah (she’s in the back row below).
God’s Grace in Beverley’s Life
A third grace story is our sister Beverley L. Beverley is in her seventies and has been through a long series of traumatic events in her life, including rape, breast cancer, a brain tumour, and a murder attempt on her life. She is known around Dunedin as the lady in pink who walks a bevy of small dogs. She has attended several churches in Dunedin, but for various reasons, she never felt quite at home. Then she began attending Caversham Community Church, around the same time our family did. She has faithfully attended Adult Bible Class, been present at church almost every Sunday, and often offers a public prayer during our morning worship service. Her life motto is “excellence.” As an older single women who lives alone, doesn’t drive, and has little computer skills, the practicalities of life can be very difficult for her. But she is an inspiration to us all. Her three life mottos are: (1) have a strong spiritual faith, (2) have an attitude of gratitude, and (3) don’t live with regrets. If and we leave Dunedin, we will deeply miss this woman of faith. This is yet another story of God’s grace.
The single thread in these three stories is overcoming significant challenges through God’s grace. Whatever you and I are going through today, we can get through it with God’s help, just like Hunter, Sarah, and Beverley.
Weekly Life Group
We have been teaching through John Cross’s Stranger on the Road to Emmaus with two local families on Wednesday nights, and it is making a huge difference. The book and video series walk through the story of the Bible with a focus on the substitutionary blood atonement provided by Jesus. These two families are really coming to understand the Scriptures and how everything fits together. Pray for Cleveland, the dad of one of the families, who is so close to trusting in Jesus and becoming a Christian.
Our Family Journey
Another story of God’s grace is our own family journey. Early this year we felt the time for our next ministry assignment may be coming due. Out of blue popped in three really good ministry opportunities, one near Nelson on the South Island and the other two near Tauranga on the North Island. We got to visit all three ministries on a three week vision trip in May, and it seems clear Tauranga is the place God wants us to be. We are sad about leaving our brothers and sisters in the Dunedin area, but we are proud of what God has done around use over the past 4 1/2 years. Once we finalise the details of our move up north, we will let you know our plans. It’s looking like November will be the best time for us to make the big move to the North Island.
Travel in July and August
In July and August, Jeff will be serving for six weeks with the U. S. Air Force in Kansas. Please pray for Jeff to readjust to life in the military during this time period. In August, Averil will be visiting a fasting clinic in California for 21 days. Please pray this boosts Averil’s health. Averil’s parents in Timaru will be looking after the children for two weeks. Please pray God will strengthen them for this blessing to us.
Jeff has had the privilege of teaching 14 teens about history and literature in the 16th and 17th centuries, focusing on famous people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther, Galileo Galilei, and William Shakespeare. The class has been a complete hit. We have tried to evaluate the lives and accomplishment of these men from a Christian worldview perspective. A big thank you to the families who have been involved, and we look forward to continuing in terms three and four!
Sophia’s Grow Magazine
Sophia, now age 14, has launched her own Grow Magazine website and published a new issue. We are so proud of Sophia’s diligence and consistency. Her new website is: https://www.growkidsmagazine.com.
Thinking Matters worldview camp planning has kicked into high gear. It looks like running worldview/apologetics/leadership camps will be one of our major ministries going forward. We’ve got four camps in the planning stages, all for the 15-20 year old age group. We are recruiting campers, camp staff, camp cooks, speakers, donors, and prayer warriors, so let us know if you want to be an active part in our worldview camp ministry in some capacity. By 2025, we want to be running eight weeklong camps per year throughout the country at these locations:
We’ve got dates, locations, and costs for the next four camps, please save these dates and start spreading the word. The enrolment sites will be ready soon!
Current Events in Aotearoa New Zealand
Please pray for Christian teachers, who are under significant pressure to surrender their biblical beliefs around gender and sexuality.
Please pray for New Zealand’s national election, which takes place later this year. New Zealand follows the British parliamentary system, and there are multiple parties for Christians to consider voting for. Please pray for wisdom.
New Zealand is experiencing a severe cost of living crisis. Please pray for Christians to be provided for and that the church will meet the needs of the poor around them.
Donating in the United States
Tax-deductible through ICC-Eurasia (https://icceurasia.com/donate)(designate FFNZ)(you will receive an end-of-year donor receipt every January)
Donating in New Zealand
Tax rebate through Thinking Matters NZ (https://www.thinkingmatters.org.nz/give/): 38-9014-0025437-05 (designate Coleman)(you will receive an end-of-year donor receipt every April)
Jeff, Averil, Sophia, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David Coleman