An essential component of every Discipleship Training School is a local outreach into the community. With the recent earthquake in Christchurch, our program is focused on that. Today we took 4 vans and headed to a place called Grace Vineyard Church to do whatever they had for
us. They are located on the coast in a town called New Brighton. The church has been operating non-stop since the quake. I’ve been there several times and every day they are doing “Meals on wheels” delivering food to people without power and water, and pretty much loving by meeting needs.
We showed up and were divided into groups. One group stayed at the church and the other went out to shovel silt from houses and yards around the city. I have done the shoveling and was in the church group this time. The project was restoring the church to a place where services could be held. They had absolutely spent the building in every way to accommodate people in need. There were boxes of canned food delivered in the back and sent out the front
for weeks now. They have a continuous board in the lobby with sing-up sheets and tallies with people working full time to stay organized. People are offered free coffee and regular meals along with prayer and counseling. It’s amazing. Since we had so many hands, we organized rooms, stacked spare furniture to the ceiling, and made rows of extra canned food and other groceries in spare rooms. The main sanctuary hasn’t had a service since the quake. They are shooting to have one a week from Sunday. We ended up clearing it all out, vacuuming all the rooms, and giving the place a pretty nice overhaul. it is nice to work on something and see tangible results.
We finished this by about 2pm, divided into teams of 4, and walked through town to check with local shop owners and see if there was anything we could do to help. I
wore a red shirt marked, “crew” to let people know we were with the church. The 4 of us walked from one store to the next, prayed with shop owners, and stood in front of ruined buildings and prayed for those affected. I have found this to be one of the most difficult types of ministry. Results are tough to see and virtually impossible to prove. We are results-oriented people, so we are stretched. Some people are resistant to prayer and some welcome it. People have been hurt and who are we to barge in from a place of comfort acting like a prayer will change things for them? I suppose it takes discernment to have the right words or no words at all. We pray and trust God to help and he does. It’s simple I guess, but it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Our staff (Sarah and Justin) work hard to make this happen and we are grateful.
Today was gorgeous so we walked out to the end of the pier before coming back to Oxford…