So summer project was fantastic. It was so good to get to work and do ministry in New Zealand! Nelson has the nickname "Sunny Nelson" for being the sunniest place in New Zealand. Well, when we arrived it was anything but. Most of the south island was actually flooded and the students had trouble driving north because roads were closed.
Anyway... once everyone arrived, we had a blast! Project lasted 12 days, and on each of those days the students usually had some sort of evangelism training, and then we would do outreach and put those skills to use. We were right near the beach, so naturally most of our sharing was on the beach :) Students learned how to clearly communicate their testimony, or their journey with God, and how to clearly communicate the gospel of Grace. From there, we would pair off and try to start spiritual conversations with uni students on the beach or in the Nelson area. Our students learned so much, and the gospel was shared with about 250 people! Isn't that amazing? That means that possibly 250 people were hearing about Jesus for the first time in their lives. And several of those decided to place their faith in Christ and walk with Him.
I actually got to have a really awesome conversation with a girl named Merle who had heard about Christianity over the past few months but really felt like God was trying to show himself to her. She believed He was real and had a plan for her life and wanted to have a relationship with Him. It was so neat to see her make that decision right in front of us, and then get to meet up with her several more times while we were in town to talk about the bible and answer some of her questions. Merle has an awesome story of what God has been showing her over the past few days and months, and it was so cool to be a small little piece of that to be able to share truth with her and tell her how she can have a relationship with Jesus.
Some of the best parts of the trip were with my action group (or bible study) that I led. There were 6 girls, all with very different backgrounds that just really wanted to learn more about God and how they can serve Him on their uni campuses. I was blown away and humbled by their desire to grow in their faith and how much they loved the Lord. And I know Ryan felt the same about his group of guys.
One of the other highlights was date night! Ha, where each of the boys action groups are challenged to take one of the girls action groups out one a "date" as sisters in Christ. It was so cute to see how the boys stressed out a little bit, and how the girls loved being treated so well! Our action group was blindfolded and taken to a lookout spot over the city (as seen in the picture below) and then served a beautiful dinner. The boys were awesome.
In the evenings students would usually just hang out and play cards and talk a bit about what they were learning.
One of the evenings, we had some time to talk about "eternal perspective". We took the students to a cemetery (sounds creepy, eh?) and had them spend some time thinking through some questions about what are we living for here on earth? How short is our life here compared to eternity? And how should we live our lives to reflect that? It was a really challenging time for my self personally too, just thinking through what really matters and how we should live our lives with an eternal perspective. At the cemetery:
Another highlight was Ryan and I being asked to give the relationships talk. Woohoo, the fun stuff! We talked about what it should look like to have healthy relationships with other believers in general as the body of Christ, and how we take that one step further in romantic relationships. It was a lot of fun and the students had a million questions, but we were really encouraged by their feedback and pray that something we said will stick with them.
And finally we had to say goodbye to Nelson. Sunny Nelson we will miss you :)