Aotearoa, or Long White Cloud, is the Māori name used for New Zealand. This name describes what the original voyagers saw as they approached the country’s North Island. For the three of us, while initially unexpected, our journey to New Zealand has also been one of discovery, adventure, and transformation. In December we celebrated our family’s one year anniversary of living and serving God in this wonderful country. We have been so blessed by God’s power, faithfulness, and love during this incredible season!
Please read on as we share some ministry highlights, what Moira has been up to, and how you can partner with our work here in Aotearoa!
Tauranga is filled with creative people! One of the ways that we interact with this community is to host Open Mic Nights. Noah has been leading this ministry for almost a year. During these events our team gives people the opportunity to share a song, a spoken word poem, a story, or even a joke. In addition to providing a platform for young people to show their talent, these events also give us the opportunity to develop relationships and share about God’s love for them!
We currently have two types of Open Mic Nights. Once a month during the NZ Spring/Summer (October – April) we bring the event outdoors and build a stage along the waterfront downtown. These Open Mics easily attract 100+ people and have become part of the rhythm of the city. The city of Tauranga even helps us get the word out by promoting these events online! Every month we are able to connect with many local and international young people and invite them to attend our other regular events, such as our weekly Community Potlucks.
Our indoor Open Mic Nights at The Barrel Room create a more intimate setting.
Twice a month we also put on Open Mics at a local downtown bar/restaurant, The Barrel Room. While smaller in size, these events allow us to connect with the local Open Mic Night scene and continue to provide opportunities for local and international young people to have a voice. Recently we had a young backpacker come in to see the Open Mic since she had heard the music from outside. Once inside we invited her to sit down, enjoy some food, and listen to the songs people were performing. After some time together, she shared that she needed a place to stay. We immediately invited her to stay with us upstairs at The Wharf Community House! She said “Yes,” and we were able to host her for a few days, share the Gospel with her, and bless her as she continued on her journey through New Zealand! Many of us have kept in contact with her over Social Media, and we are hoping to see her again in the future. This is just one story of the many people who have been significantly impacted with our Open Mic Night Events!
As you may know, we had the blessed opportunity to visit Europe and attend the Steiger International Gathering at the International Center in Krögis, Germany in October/November! During our time at The Gathering we attended incredible workshops about many amazing topics, such as working through conflict in a cross-cultural context, healthy boundaries in ministry, and managing tension. These proved to be valuable resources for as we continue in our new season of international ministry in New Zealand.
We also had the time and ability to have fellowship with some close friends and fellow ministers from Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, and England. It was so wonderful to reconnect, share about God’s faithfulness in each of our works around the world, and encourage each other in what lies ahead in 2019. The value of this time was definitely heightened by the fact that we now live on the opposite side of the world!
We enjoyed an impromptu SMS 2016 reunion!
A part of our time in Europe that was especially important was the ability to connect with some old classmate friends that work at All Nations Bible College in England where Noah studied for his Masters Degree in Leadership with Mission. With many students looking to move directly into missions after graduation, it was wonderful to share about the opportunities currently available with Steiger around the world!
Not a day goes by where we are not surprised and blessed by Moira! She is the truest example of courage, compassion, curiosity, and boundless energy. During our time in Europe we were so amazed and encouraged by her love for others, her desire to learn from everyone around her, and her ability to live in an incredible variety of environments and cultures. She is turning out to be very international!
As we have reached the midpoint of Moira being 4 years old (Christmas is her half birthday), we are enjoying her last months in pre-school here in Tauranga. When she turns 5 she will move forward to Primary School. While she loves her teachers and friends at the “Kindy”, Moira is actively looking forward to what is next. She has a seeming unending passion for life and the hope for what is tomorrow … especially if it is a play-date with a friend or a sleep-over!
Moira at her natural pace of life and at the rare state of stillness. We love her passion!
We hope that this update has found you well. God was incredibly faithful in 2018! We look forward to the work the Lord has for us as we pray about 2019 and what this year has to offer. God never rests!
As always, to find out more of what we are doing with our life and ministry in New Zealand please check out our social media links at the bottom of this newsletter.
Thank you for all of your love, encouragement, and support. God is good!
Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Manawanui
Be Strong, Be Steadfast, Be Willing
Noah, Wendy, and Moira Schneider