We wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
This past month has been one of the toughest that I have ever had to go through in ministry. The issues that arose within the church were relentless. It has been a refining and pruning process, but at the same time, an exciting journey. During this type of process we not only grow personally but the congregation grows as well.
We encountered many obstacles with Immigration concerning Jennifer Bailey’s visa. It was frustrating dealing with the government on this issue. Her two year religious workers visa was denied, but the Lord is still on the throne and Jennifer will be joining us here shortly in Australia on a different type of visa. We are definitely blessed to have her back.
The Election Result
As you may have heard in the news this past week, we now have a new Prime Minister here in Australia (which is like the President in the U.S.). The Labor Party has taken over the cabinet and is similar to our Democratic Party. The voting system is quite a bit different from the states. In Australia you are required and expected to vote and can get fined over one hundred dollars if you fail to do so. The new government is endorsing same-sex couples, and they will now enjoy many of the same rights as married couples do under these new laws. This allows gay and lesbians to register their relationships. We definitely need prayers concerning the new government and the new policies they will bring.
We just had our second men’s retreat this year. It was an awesome time seeking the Lord together and to examine some lessons on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Along with that I handed out a spiritual inventory for personal evaluations. It was an eye opener for all, and a turning point for many of the men in there walk with the Lord.
Women’s and Children’s Ministry
What’s new in Women’s Ministry! God is doing some wonderful work through this ministry. Over the past month, I feel that the Lord has begun the healing process for many of the women. They are beginning to understand what it means to put the past behind them and run in the freedom that Christ offers. They are growing stronger in God’s Word, and building Christ centered relationships.
We had an exciting end of the year concert for the CRE (Christian Religious Education) Program. Over 300 children attended this Christ centered Christmas concert. It was so amazing and overwhelming to see all of these kids having a wonderful time worshiping the Lord and hearing the real meaning behind Christmas – Christ’s birth. Please be in prayer for next year’s program. Many of the volunteers will not be able to teach next year due to other commitments. Please pray that the Lord would touch the hearts of those in the congregation and help us take hold of this wonderful opportunity to teach the gospel in the schools.
Plans for the next year
We have 6months left on our current visa, and are planning to renew and file for an extension for another 2 years. Please keep this process in your prayers. For the next six months, we will continue to push and focus on training, equipping, raising up and pouring out all that we have into the leaders here. I say that just in case immigration doesn’t allow us to renew our visa. It is an overwhelming thought, but we know that this is the Lord’s Church and He is in control. Our hearts desire is to continue the work here in Australia, but we do need to be prepared just in case we have to transition out.
We would also like to take a home leave for the month of June. The first week is the annual Senior Pastors conference in Murrieta that I would love to be able to attend, and the next two-three weeks would be visiting and vacation time. It’s been over two and half years since we took our last real family vacation which was only four days long. We are trying to save each month and put this money toward buying our tickets. We are almost half way there in funds, but would appreciate if you could keep this up in prayer. If you felt led to contribute financially please send these contributions through Saving Grace World Missions. We are looking forward to spending as much time with family and friends as possible.
Just to let you know
Here is our churches web site: http://www.ccmelbourne.com/
Thank you for another phenomenal year!
In my devotion in the other day, I was reflecting on when David commissioned Solomon to build the house of the Lord. “The people rejoiced because they had offered – willingly and made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart…..”
I thank God for your willingness to cover us in your prayers and in the financial support. It’s has been a joy to serve the Lord in this ministry with you. Thank you for holding the other end of the rope and for being on our team.