Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18–19 NIV)
God’s words of comfort and reassurance spoken through the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 43 take on new meaning in these troubled times. It’s a real challenge to hear God’s voice in the midst of the pain and chaos of global pandemic, economic turmoil and civil unrest. And yet, we can see God at work in and through us in many new and surprising ways.
Our church here in Aotearoa New Zealand held its first in-person worship service on Sunday 7 June after being on lockdown for over two months. Ann began serving as Interim Pastor in late February just before the lockdown began, and it has been an amazing, exhausting, frequently surprising and even blessed roller coaster ride for her and the church. The church is reflecting on what we have learned about “being the church” – lessons that will guide us as we move forward into a “new normal.” God has made a way!
Bruce defended his PhD thesis at an oral examination (through Zoom!) at the end of May. By God’s grace it went well and the panel of examiners approved his thesis! We praise God as he wraps up the doctoral journey he began in late 2015. Bruce is looking forward to applying what he learned to help churches and faith-based organisations meet human need and effect positive social change as part of God’s mission in the world.
Like you, we’re asking “what’s next?” and wondering how God can use us in this radically changed world. May God give us all new eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to respond to the new realities and opportunities before us!
Ann and Bruce
Praises and prayers:
We are so thankful that our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter — along with their two greyhounds! — were able to move in with us for the duration of the lockdown. Now that they have moved back to their own place our house feels so empty!
Praise God that Bruce’s doctoral thesis was approved. The title is “The Context and Enactment of Faith-based Social Entrepreneurship.” If you’re interested in a summary, let us know.
Pray for Ann as she continues to serve as Interim Pastor at our local church during these unusual times. Pray also that the church will be able to find a new lead pastor.
Pray for us as we discern the new thing God wants to do in and through us to support Baptist partners around the world.