Hi there. A few items of news, prayer requests and updates this week.
Zoom Services: It was great to have ten members from Fiji and two from Tonga join our service last Sunday. Along with those from NZ and Australia, the total was around 60 attendees. The Order of Service for this Sunday will be sent out tomorrow or Saturday.
Death: Bob Ineson, a longtime Wellington member, died on Tuesday afternoon at his rest home, in his 90th year. His daughter Jenny drove from New Plymouth and was able to be with him when he passed. His other daughter, Robyn, had seen him that morning (dressed in PPE gear of course). A small family burial service is being arranged.
David Wong's sister: From Marilyn Wong on Thursday: "We had Nellie's funeral service and burial yesterday. David and his siblings were able to join Nellie's family while the rest of us caught the live stream of the service at our individual homes in Auckland and Melbourne. The pandemic has certainly opened many opportunities and shrank the world where we can still be together while apart just like our online church service."
Scott Steenepoorte: Dennis Gordon sent the following report from Rollin Kennedy on Wednesday:
“Good news from Wisconsin: last week, a day after a seizure that put him in ER for half a day and seemed to leave him with no concerns medically, Scott has begun to smile, his speech was noticeably more coherent, and he greeted Hendrik the next morning without being prompted. Hendrik lit up, hugged him and exclaimed "He's back! My daddy's alive again!"
"What wonderful news from a far country!”
Birthday: I'm sure you'll all wish to join me in expressing our hearty congratulations to Barry Nottingham, who reached the milestone of his 80th birthday at the end of April. As most of you know, Barry is undergoing a serious health condition: please continue to remember Barry and Gael in your prayers.
Fiji: Isei Colati reported earlier in the week that there have been 18 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Fiji, with no loss of life as yet. Church services have been suspended there because of the lockdown, with schools (and possibly services) reopening on June 14th. Relaxing of some lockdown measures enabled the Colatis to visit the members in the West of the main island, where they were able to baptise two of Sailasa and Tabua Tora's children.
Our cyclone-affected members on the island of Matuku have expressed their gratitude for the love and concern shown to them in the assistance sent by the Fiji church. They listed items that they needed urgently, which were purchased and shipped to them.
Receipts: I am now able to send out receipts by email as well as by post. One of the members mentioned that he was able to use his emailed annual receipt very easily to make an online request for his IRD rebate, and the refund arrived within a couple of days. If anyone (who has not yet done so) would like their receipts by email, please let me know.
Finally this week, Dennis Gordon has suggested that the following observational piece from the NZ Christian Network was really good and worth sharing, and I certainly agree with Dennis:
What are we learning (or re-learning) from this current COVID-19 crisis?
That our lives are not as safe or as predictable as we presume to think
That our only enduring anchor and hope is God
That crises can usefully prompt us to reflect
That basic human relationships of marriage, family and friendship really matter
That the church also matters, both for Christ’s message and the community of his people
That both work and rest are important (many of us rush around too much, and some time-out at home is good for us)
That leadership makes a difference, and that Christians remain called to pray for those in authority
That God is able to work for good in all circumstances
That many churches have rediscovered basic pastoral care
That the core tasks of the church do not depend on glitzy performances and outstanding facilities, but on faith, hope, love, the Gospel, the word, prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit
That many in the church have been moved by this crisis to a greater prayerfulness
That on-line church can reach a lot of previously unreached people
That many people seem to have greater openness to God in this time
Warm regards to all, Rex