Lines from Elizabeth – Spring 2009
It is Easter week as I write. Recently in studying more about the life and times of Jesus and His disciples, and the political, social and cultural – as well as the religious – elements at play during that critical time, I have come to understand so much better what Easter is all about. Only God could have engineered those events; only God could bring life from the chaos and disaster that followed over the next decades as the fledgling church made its way into history. It has been sobering, enlightening and challenging to go back and look at people, events and historical writings that we looked at way back in Bible School days, and to have one’s eyes opened even more to just what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant, and what was accomplished.
Now that the Teen Missions New Zealand summer brochure is out, registrations are coming in for our first New Zealand Boot Camp, which will be run at the end of this year. We made it possible for Kiwi kids to sign up for either a New Zealand Boot Camp team, or if they prefer, an Australian Boot Camp team – and vice versa. So it is now interesting to find that we have more Australian young people signed up for the New Zealand teams, and the New Zealanders are signed up for the Aussie teams. It is going to be exciting to see how it pans out. In the meantime, we have more volunteers signed up to help at this first Boot Camp than we do team member registrations! Some of you reading this will have been on teams to Kiwi Ranch back in the ‘90’s and this is where we are going to be running the training program. It is now known as Lakes Ranch and we have been working out where and how we are to construct the obstacles for the Obstacle Course, where to put the tent sites and so on. Every day I think of something else that I need to check on and I am finding there is much more to running this Boot Camp than ones I have been associated with in Central and South America. A few weeks ago I was able to take a quick trip to the Kingdom of Tonga to do the setup for the team project we will have there later this year. Being my first trip there, I found it fascinating for several reasons. Firstly, the main island of Tongatapu is flat, which is so very different from other Pacific islands I have been on. Then it is considered a Christian nation, and there are chapels everywhere, including a great number of Mormon churches and schools. It was such a blessing to be taken to the landing site of some of my forebears, who in 1822 brought the Gospel to that island, and to even have a pastor thank me that they had! It has been 15 years since we had a team to Tonga, but people remembered them and were excited about having another team. We have been praying that the team’s being there will activate vision and interest in the nominal Christian young people on the island so that they will be enthused and encouraged to step out in their own communities to live for and serve Jesus.
At the end of January we attended NZ’s huge Christian music festival PARACHUTE, with a booth manned by me and some former team members. We are already seeing the fruit of our labours after chatting with both adults and teenagers who are interested in short-term missions. One leader and a couple of girls have already signed up for this coming summer.
Disappointing news has come from Ecuador; the couple who settled in there with so much promise back in July last year has left, so the two lads from Honduras are once again ‘holding the fort’. This means I will be going on down to Ecuador to run the Boot Camp at the end of July. When I first learned this my reaction was “I can’t!” You see, we’d already planned for daughter Cathy, granddaughter, Jessica, and great-grandson, Ethan, to fly to New Zealand in July when I returned there from the Florida Boot Camps, so that we could introduce my mother to her first great-great-grandson and take some five-generation photos.
God has been very graciously working things out, but it is going to mean a lot of extra travel for me, as I will now fly back to NZ with them and then return on that long flight to the States and on down to Ecuador. Steven, Jessica’s husband, and her sister Stephanie will be travelling as well, so we’ll be quite a party. Please be praying. Boot Camp (in Florida) is just around the corner. Big Tops are going up, finances are coming in and volunteers are signing up. Can you help? Call the office if you can (321-453-0350); I’ll be very glad for any help I can get in the First Aid Station. Maybe you’d like to come and help with the Ecuador Boot Camp? Let the office know.
GOD IS GOOD TO ME! God is good to me! Remember the old chorus? I pray you are experiencing His goodness too.
Rejoicing in that goodness,
Elizabeth Little, TEEN MISSIONS INT’L in NZ