Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
The Indiana Wesleyan Mission’s(IWU) Team arrived at 5:45am on Wednesday and it has been nonstop since. One of my favorite moments was them helping me clean up the soccer club that I intentionally play on with outreach in mind. Non of the team is religious from what i know. The manager and the owner of the club, both asked what the team was doing here, what church, and both responded with a contemplative “huh…” as they watched the team work hard and have a good time. Great witness to willing hearts ready to serve. I only took photos the first few days, so the pictures reflect them relationally and culturally, not the hard work they have also been doing.
I just came down with a scratchy voice and congestion this morning so the team is off with out me. We are preparing for the big Wesleyan Family Camp called "The Gathering" this weekend where they will serve with the children's and youth ministry and I will teach two youth seminars. Tuesday next week is reserved for the IWU team experiencing nature and the outdoors of New Zealand which should be a fun time to enjoy and rest.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The IWU Team: Kaitlin Hill, Carmen Record, Amy Licata, Matthew Guerin, Alecia Rapp, (left to right) Rachel Nigro came from work and hung out for awhile with us too.
We walked along the water to the downtown areaAfter that the group did a random poll of strangers downtown to get a feel for people's general reactions to Christianity and church in downtown Auckland. They enjoyd it and we had a good conversation about the diverse reactions of people
While they were meeting people I stopped into a book store for a few minutes downtown.
I found it quite interesting that:
The Bible ranked fifteenth behind the Da Vinci Code at fifth (Based on the Whitcoull's top 100 list voted on by New Zealanders).
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
First, i met Ron and Phil Last Tuesday… they sat in the two chair beside me in the picture belowRon takes his old golfing buddy Phil out every Tuesday for coffee since he has Parkinson’s disease.
Phil could talk fine, he was just very soft spoken and it took him a little while to answer although he seemed to be hearing everything.
Ron was from Scotland and moved to New Zealand some 40 years ago.
They were in their late 70’s or 80’s
Ron struck the initial conversation by asking me if my small macbook.. “small computer could do everything his huge old computer could do?”
He asked me why I was hear and I mentioned studies and also to help out with a church. I told him that I thought that New Zealand could use more Christians living in everyday life so that people could see Christ lived out.
Ron was shocked asking, “what is it that makes Americans so open and comfortable about bringing up God like you did in this first conversation? People in New Zealand and Scotland are so much reserved about talking about religion because you can often have a negative reaction and judgment by people.”
He leaned back over to his friend at his table and said, “we are talking Philosophy over here, Phil.” (He did this about 3 or 4 times when he thought the conversation was too intense or wanted to include Phil)
He continued on, “no, what you did might make religion appealing but often times it seems like people are just out to convert someone.”
“You know the way I see it, you know how people think they see the life beyond when they are drowning or about to die? Well, I believe that this is really their whole life being brought back before them and what I think will matter at that point is whether you have devalued a human or not. Not whether you cheated or lied to someone, but whether you truly devalued another human. That is what I think.”
“What church background do you come from? Are you Jehovah’s Witness?” (That’s a first!)
(Since Jehovah’s Witnesses may call themselves Christians too I said)
“No, I am a part of the Wesleyan Methodist church which has a protestant background.” I know a woman Methodist priest, is that the same things.”
(Too complicated, so I conceded)
He asked where I was from and we talked California with Phil who was a banker earlier on and went over to California when Visa cards were first being introduced to the public.
“You know Ron, I don’t think we are too much different. I really just care for helping people and I don’t believe I can do that on my own when I am honest with myself. I need something bigger.”
He leaned over to Phil and said, “We are talking philosophy over here.”
Ron said, “Well, I think religion is one of the hardest things to sell. I reckon, selling a broken down used car would be easier to sell.”
“Let me ask you one question, do you believe there is an after life? Do you believe there is something beyond this world. You see spiritists on TV that can tell things about the future or talk to the dead, what do you think about that?”
“I believe there is definitely an after life,” I replied. “I think most people here in New Zealand, Christian or not would agree with me that there is something spiritual beyond this world that they have experienced or seen in dreams or seen something weird happen. They just do not want someone to claim they know exactly what and that they have the only answer.”
I could tell he felt awkward because He was leaning over and saying, “We are talking…
So interrupted and asked where they play golf and we talked about sports for awhile. Soon after they left, but apparently they come to esquires for coffee every Tuesday so I might just intentionally happen to be in again and to “bump into them” sometime in the future.
Seconds after they left another guy just asked me how to get on to the internet, but it intrigues me how many opportunities we have in a day to engage in conversation with people or how at least how often God seems to send opportunities my way. So cool.
Also a third guy just came up and asked about the internet a minute after that. Maybe the sleekness of the macbook makes me just look like I should know what I am talking about! ☺
And for those of you that are thinking that it is just Brent, he just has random things like this happen to him… maybe… but I think it is more a matter of just keeping one’s eyes open and being willing to talk. I may not accomplish much but I truly do enjoy every chance I get to have a conversation with someone because it is a chance to get to know someone, to enjoy them, to show them I care for them, and possibly to help them if the opportunity arrives.
As I was writing this, the conversation almost seems to surreal or staged, but I think there is a lesson to learn.
I think we often elevate certain stories into dream world or textbooks too quick. It was a very natural conversation… shocking… but natural. Some people would be disappointed that I didn’t push hard enough, others would have felt completely embarrassed sitting next to me thinking I pushed too hard, but all I know was that I was obedient to with the knowledge and abilities I had to the best of my ability at that point and that that is enough.
It is funny what your mind sees when you are cooped up too long, this chair was making faces at me...
My Tuesday at Esquires in the Botany Shopping center continues.
I have never seen the Terminal, but Tom Hanks must’ve felt or gone through something similar to what I am going through.
A girl looked lonely and I had just bought a big Mac so I asked her if she was waiting for somebody or just biding time until something and she said, “waiting on my partner” as she pointed and her partner and two kids were coming up the escalator. I said sweet as casually as possible and went back to my seat completely embarrassed on the inside although I got over it fast as I often do.
The next thing I know RJ randomly comes up and says, “hi.” He ends up buying me diner and hot chocolate for dinner. Awesome, I love free food and I love chocolate although I am not sure it was my most nutritious meal. Had a great talk to RJ about girls and life…
During that talk Amy Donovan was walking nearby looking kind of lost and so I said, “hi.” Turns out she was looking for something to do since she was waiting for her husband to get done with a meeting with one of his teens and was just killing time. So she sat down and joined our conversation for 15 minutes or so.
Then 10 minutes after she left, Kim and Jake from Elim ended up passing by waiting to go to there movie “Ghosts of girlfriend’s past.” Obviously it was Kim’s night to choose the movie. Got to catch up with Kim and Jake for a little while. They are awesome, I love talking to them.
Then they all left and now I am back to work until cell at 8:30.
I helped show the Mazellans around- my friend Evy Mazellan’s parents Ron and Jil visited and I was able to take them up to bowling with the youth at Shoregrace where I served as the youth pastor in the past and try to help when possible. There were amazed at one point when I pointed out that they had been introduced to about 7 or 8 nationalities in a matter of a couple hours that night- people with backgrounds from America, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Korea, and Vanuatu
I organized and a rugby outing for the church where 17-20 people showed. How funny is that, the American rallying up the Kiwi’s for a rugby game…. Just a little backwards The game was close but not the most exciting of games. Great invite opportunity.
I had a great conversation with about eight others after church. The topics ranged from prosperity gospel, charismatic worship, entire sanctification, ghosts, what eternal life will be like, how judgment will work, and a few others!
I also had a great conversation at the coffee shop. I will post a blog on this later this week.
Ryleigh Jones was born- Brett and Kristen Jones are the new parents of Ryleigh Jones after an early Monday Morning (Picture attached).
IWU Missions Team- Also I took Monday off since a team of five students from Indiana Wesleyan University come over for a missions trip Wed May 20 at 5;25am and stay until June 4. I will be overseeing their schedule with the help of the other GP missionaries (the Fussners & Donovans).
Monday, May 18, 2009
2 Ways that Love affects People:
1. People Want to be Known- This is where God can be so incredible if the scriptures are fully understood(Psalm 139:11-18; Romans 8:26-27) People desire for others to truly know them. To understand them and how they came to be: their life, background, where they come from, memories, etc.
2. Show that you are a Lover before a Judge- “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Prov. 27:5-6). Much like Jesus(John 3:16-17), if people know that our first concern is to love and help them as a person and not to judge or look down on them, people will open up. People are constantly testing others with there comments to see how others will react and whether it is worth the risk of being truly open with potentially embarrassing, ostracizing, and vulnerable information. Your reaction will determine whether they are more closed or open the next time(1 Peter 3:15-16). In reality…
3. Most People Just Want To be Truly understood or heard- I believe that the majority of conflicts can be resolved without having to completely think the same thing. People are not always wanting everyone to have the same beliefs, they just want their side to be truly heard and understood. If someone feels that you know them and understand what they are saying, the trust and impact level is much deeper. This is why it is important to…
4. Be Interested and excited about the person and what they have to say- A person is going to be 10 times more likely to share something with you if they know you care about them. This is a big reason why it is important to be known by the other person, to be an encourager, and to be a good receiver. It is great to know about the topic someone is telling you about, but even if you just care about the person and know nothing about the topic you still have more of an ability to care and get excited.
5. Everyone needs an Essential Role- Everyone wants to know that they are needed, and that their input matters. They want to know that they have a unique role to fill and that there is a significant purpose for them being here. Simply by God creating that person and allowing them to wake up today should be a sufficient enough reason that there is a specific purpose for why they are still alive on this earth, but the world is becoming agnostic.
6. Instill or Show Value- People have trouble seeing victories or the good. You could even say they are blind to it. Intentional people who analyze life add value to the small things. They will be more likely to notice and recognize the small answers to prayer. They will notice the small victories in one’s life and note how significant that it. My common practice is when someone tells me about a “small” important change in their life to say, “that’s huge!” and to continue to tell them why. People need help to see the significance of decisions. To instill the meaning into certain situations that would evade the common eye. This is Insight.
7. Be Real- people know if you are faking care. Some people want cordialities, but most people would rather you to be honest. Share struggles to be opened up to and deepen relationships. But don’t try and use these tips below unless you really care about the person. If all you care about is getting what you want, then using these tips is more manipulation than caring.
8. Be Selfless and Don’t Manipulate- The best way you can love someone else is to love them just as much if not more than yourself (Phil 2:3-4; Luke 10:27). A person will trust you almost every time if they believe you truly have their best interests at heart. If all you care about is getting what you want, you are flirting with manipulation.
9. Get Embarrassed- Sacrifice your Comforts- A great way to know you are caring others is if you get embarrassed trying to help them. It means you are going out of your way and sacrificing your personal interests for the sake of making someone else feel accepted or comfortable. An example of this would be going up to the new guy at a party and engaging in a conversation that could be awkward (because you know you have been there before and how much you wished someone would’ve done that for you) or sticking up for including someone else who is socially awkward at the expense of others complaining to you or ridiculing you. This is a good way to be almost certain that you are not being selfish or manipulative.
10. Be a Good news sharer- This is essentially what Christians are since the gospel means “good news,” but there are not enough people who pass on good news in this world. They say it takes something like 7 positive comments to reverse or equate the impact of one negative comment. People appreciate other who build up their self-esteem and give them hope and encouragement(Ephesians 4:29; Philippians 4:8).
11. Be a Good receiver- Appreciative people are fun to buy for because they make you feel good. They love you by showing you what it means to them by their reaction. Your positive reaction shows others their impact on you and makes others know they did something good. This reaffirms and encourages them to do it again. An easy action step is to learn how to say “Thank You” and to express your appreciation in a non-awkward manner.
12. Remember & Notice Details- A name is the first step towards a personal friendship. Knowing that a person is truly praying for you or thought about or who has gone the extra mile and out of their way to help you is BIG. This could be a small letter in the mail or a thoughtful gift or noticing something that person has done from changing their hair to reversing their life around. In the same way, Being a good receiver (#8) of people who do this for you is Huge as well.
13. Help them Grow/Progress/Become a Better Person- Everyone like progress and has something they would like to improve. Also, everyone likes to learn or talk about themselves on some level. By equipping and helping someone to improve from where they are, you are showing them that you care about their wellbeing. I believe restlessness and an unsatisfiable emptiness are the curse of sin. I also believe God intentionally created us with the capacity to grow because it pleases him. So I believe this desire and need will always be there.
14. People appreciate a shared vision/purpose- People truly appreciate a person that helps them find a common passion and people who they can share and work with. It gives them a purpose to work towards, people who they know care about the same thing, and they don’t have to do it alone. You are essentially creating teams/community.
15. Work alongside others, not over them- When people know that you are competent, capable, willing, and excited to lead, but they also see that you are not “Too good” or “Too busy” to get down in the trenches with them, they will appreciate you.
16. Simply Acknowledge Someone’s Significance- Simply telling someone why they matter to you or to the team’s success helps to fill the need for Significance(#4)
17. Go out of your way for someone- Go the extra mile. It can be small or big. It can be a rose for your mom. It can be you typing out your thoughts to a friend in a letter. It can be taking someone out for coffee who needs a friend. It could be a present from the 2 dollar store.
18. Understood expectations & Boundaries- Boundaries show you care and allow you to do so the most appropriately. Without proper boundaries being set you run the risk of being misunderstood. You could be trying your best to love someone but if they have unrealistic or selfish expectations of how much time you should give them you will most likely never be able to show them how much you care. Often people think arguments revolve around problems with the other persons, but often times they are not a directly personal conflict. It is proposed that the vast majority of problems would be solved by the time you got to interpersonal relationships if someone were to filter their problems chronologically through the GRPI Model:
i. Goals (Differing goals)
ii. Roles (Differing views on responsibility)
iii. Procedures (
iv. Interpersonal Relationships
19. Be as approachable as possible- Work to make yourself availability where you realistically can. An expressed willingness to help, desire to help, and availability to help says a lot about you caring.
20. Loyalty- A long-term or more permanent presence says that you care more in that person than a one stop investment, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6; 17:17)
21. Having TIME for people- time is the biggest commodity. Unlike money, time is the only thing “that once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”-Henry Mackay If people understand how much you value time, they will deeply appreciate the time you give them.
22. Fulfill their Needs: Fulfill a person’s needs and they will love you for it. First this is found in God and that is why we ultimately want to introduce them to Him to find true Acceptance and Help. After that this could be: speaking to them in their love languages or maybe helping them fulfill an inner purpose. Wild at Heart says that every man has: 1) an adventure to live 2) a battle to fight and 3) a beauty to rescue. The woman’s are conversely 1) an adventure to share 2) to be fought for and 3) a beauty to unveil. If you help a man or woman in one of these areas I am sure they will see you care.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The main meeting hall for a night service.
Wesley Groups were small breakout groups to get to know eachother. We had a mixture of Kiwis, Americans, Tongan, & Samoans. So much fun to hear the different backgrounds.
These are my late night Rummikub and card playing buddies that i talked a lot of trash with!
The worship team one morning, i helped by playing keys, but you can't see that.
here is a closer up shot to see some faces.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
"You mean i can't tell the teens to turn to Genesis?!"
I mean, just like i am a fan of someone reading one verse rather than zero verses, i am a fan of giving out a New Testament over no Bible and it probably costs a little bit less, but doesn't this kind of go against the idea that the Old AND New Testament are the Word of God.
It almost seems like New Testament Bibles are saying, "Here is the New Testament which is the Word of God and if you really are more interested we can get you an Old Testament which used to be the Word of God..." Is it right to prioritize the New and Old Testament this way?
I don't know, i could get in trouble with this post, i just found it quite odd when i really thought about it. Why would someone only give an interested person only the New Testament when they believe that the whole Bible is the Word of God and necessary for a person to know God's intent for their life?