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End of Year Ramblings...

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Well we missed a month. Can't really think of an excuse! Sorry...


> We celebrated 3 baptisms last Sunday - Jimmy and Nicola are an engaged couple who joined the church plant team for cession while still sorting out their allegience to Christ. They were believers but still very much on a journey toward becoming disciples. Imagine the celebration we had when they announced their decision to become engaged and to live apart for their engagement to honour God and each other. The community wrapped around them and provided accommodation for Jimmy when he moved out of the house they had been living in together. So it was great to celebrate their baptism together. I marry them in February '05. Leana has been a bit of a faith-wanderer. She connected strongly with the community this year, joined a small group, established a mentoring relationship with Melissa (our associate pastor) and has served in various helping roles since. She invited her family and heaps of friends to her baptism which was very cool. A touching testimony of how her Father had died when she was young and that she had raged at God for much of her life only to discover that He was a true father to her

> Kids Musical - a great occasion after much hard work by the director and her cast - Kristen took the end of year musical to a whole new level. It was great to see so many grandparents turn up - many from a non-Christian background.

> Our November cafe outreach was a huge success with around 120 people in attendance - not bad for a community of about 70 people. We've been encouraged by the number of friends who attended and by those who have subsequently returned. One young woman Rachel has been to the last 2 gatherings - her background of a recent relationship break-up and a long period away from God leaves her with a huge distrust of the church but we are seeing the power of loving community in action!

> A great story that really captured for us what we want the cessionIcommunity to be about involved Brett's sister Kim and her husband Brad. Brad helped us with our Abraham/Isaac video project. He was totally blown away when Pete (who was baptised back in April) turned up with me to help paint his house. Now he expected me to turn up(!) but had no idea Pete was coming - Pete had played Abraham in the video so this was an awesome way for him to live his faith. Nice.

> We have a small groups Team leader for 2005 - Melva and her husband Frank joined the cessionIcommunity back in October - Melva brings wonderful gifts in the areas of leadership development and administration to our small group's ministry. This will help us to go to the next level with our small group's ministry (cessionIcell)

> Brett will be full-time in ministry next year! The cessionIcommunity's giving has continued to grow (in the last 3 months we have exceeded budget) and we are blessed by ECW's continuing commitment to the vision of the cession plant. So praise God for the end of this 5 year stretch of (often exhausting) bi-vocational ministry! Brett will continue to serve as worship pastor to the ECW congregation on a 10 hour per week basis.


> In New Zealand, Christmas marks the end of the ministry year - pray that we would finish well with our Christmas services - a Christmas Eve service @ midnight for cession. A Christmas Day service @ ECW...we've invited family to join us...

> Pray for Daniel who Brett has been meeting with as he continues in his seeking of God

> There has been much planning for 2005 with more to go - pray for God's leading in this ongoing preparation for a new ministry season

> Kristen is doing well with Jones Junior just 12 weeks away. Pray that this new life would continue to grow in a healthy way

> Brett has noticed a drain in energy since the pressure came off with the end of the law teaching work - these next 2 weeks of vacation will be important times of refreshment

> Pray for the Hinterman family in NZ (1) and abroad (many) as they spend Christmas in different hemispheres

What a great year this has been. We've seen the community grow from around 25 to 75 with 7 baptisms along the way. The opportunity to see real lives enounter real truth has been amazing. Thank you to all of those who partner in prayer and financially with us. You have been a huge part of this and you'll probably never know the times in which your prayers have helped carry us through difficult moments. We face 2005 with a great sense of optimism!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Brett & Kristen

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