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They pay us to do this…

by on January 13, 2012

Reflecting on our first year in Canterbury, the word that keeps coming to me is, ‘incredible’. What I mean is, it’s hard to believe that we’re here doing this.

For one thing, this was our dream gig. We literally dreamed up this ministry, and hoped and prayed that we’d be able to come and do it. And now here we are, doing it!

But it’s not just the pleasure of living the dream – it’s far more than that.

We love being here. We love Canterbury. We love our quiet street and the park at the end. We love our Nepali next door neighbours, and our Italian over-the-road neighbours, and our half-Brazilian round the corner neighbours, and our Greek/French across the park neighbours, and our Chinese down the street but walk past six times a day neighbours. And various Anglo neighbours too! I’m away on hols at the moment, and I miss them.

We love how it takes ages to walk anywhere because everyone is so friendly, and stops and says hello and has a chat. We love it how many people walk past our place on the way to Aldi, and how ready they are to come in for a coffee. We love it how so many of our kids’ friends live nearby, because the school is a truly local one.

We love the fellowship of doing mission here as a team. Some people talk about the loneliness of mission ministry. Haven’t experienced that yet. We have about a dozen people who share the same vision. We minister Christ to each other, and together we share him with our neighbours. And there always seems to be someone at our place. Maybe I’m being naïve, but – how could it be lonely?

It’s been a great boost, too, having Christian co-leading with me. For one thing, he keeps me honest. But more than that, so many times when I would have felt lost or disheartened, but he’s been there to talk things over with and get strength and advice from. I would never want to do this as a sole leader. And we love our team. They are the best. They just give so much. And there’s so much maturity and servant spirit among these guys. It won’t always be like this, but right now it’s a pleasure working together. We work together pretty well too. We’ve been able to pull off some pretty big events with a fairly small team (a dozen or so) – I think it’s what they call synergy, where the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

We love the food. There’s always eating and drinking and cooking going on – strictly for ministry purposes, of course! We feed a lot of people – it’s pretty fun. The coffee machine is usually running hot.

I get to spend my time praying, reading the bible, reflecting and helping other people to pray and read and reflect. When I’m not doing that I’m visiting neighbours, and receiving visits from them. We try to help people around here as much as we can, which is also a great joy. But half the time, they end up helping us as much as we help them!

And the people seem to respond well to everything we try to do. The Scripture class kids love learning to tell Bible stories. The local Indians loved the Subcontinental day so much, they want to have one every year. So many neighbours look forward to our visits, and welcome us in. Mums love the Playtime Cafe. We put on a pretty standard carols night and people come out of the woodwork to sing about Jesus. And so on and so on… I’m quite sure it’s them, not us.

I’m not saying it hasn’t been hard – it has. There’ve been disappointments and frustrations. There’ve been heaps of communication problems, and not just across cultures! Some of our new friends have at times puzzled and perplexed us. Probably we have them, also. There’s been heartbreak. At times I’ve wanted to give up. But so often this great joy and delight in being here doing this, in this name.

Perhaps best of all – and this is the most incredible part too – there’s the awareness that somehow as we be these weak, unimpressive, ordinary people doing these weak, unimpressive ordinary things, we’re taking part in God’s kingdom arriving in Canterbury. Somehow being agents of God’s new creation which is taking place right here before our eyes.

I’m amazed that anyone gets to do this stuff – it’s hard to believe that we get to. And they actually pay us to do it…

Go figure.

From → General

One Comment
  1. Hey Jono, what a beautiful post to read! I can feel your joy as I read, and it makes me so excited to be joining in this fellowship and work. Ephesians 3:20-21- And now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

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