One Body, Many Gifts

I mentioned in my last post that Matt and Jacqui had given me a beautiful gift basket filled with loads of thoughtful gifts representing different elements of my stay in New Zealand. Both of them surprised me with even more kind words in front of the youth group on Friday as I shared some encouragements with the students about how God will often give you more than you can handle but that he shows up to demonstrate his power in mighty ways.

Matt gave me another shout out at church this morning letting the congregation know it was my last week, and I had lots more people come up to me to wish me safe travels and encourage me about the progress they’ve seen in my time here. Mark’s first service sermon highlighted for everyone how God blesses us with great gifts that are actually people, and Matt mentioned that I was a gift here at RCC. I am so touched to know that I made a small difference in the lives of any people here, and it was an absolute joy to cheer on three youth and one intermediate student who chose to get baptised at the second service this morning. What a perfect send off.

The passage Mark was preaching from emphasized the unity of the church; we are all one body. I’m so richly blessed by the global body of Christ as I have family here that have offered me so many gifts. One of them was one last adventure driving around for me with my friend Jennifer who kindly included Jorie in the sightseeing of Lyttleton and Christchurch on a quick drive through the Port Hills after lunch. Another gift came in the most unlikely way as I brought up during our lunch conversation how excited that I was that during my last service at RCC, we sang both of my favorite songs. In a conversation way back at Easter camp, I’d mentioned to Dave who is on the worship team that my favorite worship song is “Be Thou My Vision” with “In Christ Alone” being a close second.

“But I really like the Rend Collective translation of ‘Be Thou My Vision,'” I’d added.

“What?” he’d scoffed after his first positive impression of my solid hymn choice.

I love teenagers. I love literature. Languages are living, and my colloquialisms are on fleek. Except I’m keen enough to know “on fleek” is so 2014. Here’s what I love about “You Are My Vision” because I actually prefer the older style, but the newer lyrics capture the power of the message in the song for a whole new generation that doesn’t understand “thee” and “thou” language but still needs the same Savior. When I sing the updated lyrics, it connects my favorite hymn to my love for youth.

This morning, we sang the Rend Collective lyrics, and Dave was leading worship. What are the odds he remembered me saying that two months ago? Chatting with Jennifer at lunch, I mentioned how I doubted the connection, but she confessed to knowing Dave’s strong preference for the old lyrics and being on worship team this morning, she was quite surprised to find him insistent upon using the updated lyrics. What a beautiful gift.

I’ve been so loaded up with gifts this past week, and really the past nine months as I’ve jumped into Kiwi culture and learned so much about the wider body of Christ and how to love Jesus and love others better. I’m going to miss so much about this place, but I’m taking incredible memories and some beautiful reminders of my time here back to Germany.

With just a couple days left, I’m going to cherish my last lasts while introducing Jorie to a tiny bit of this country I now love so much. I’m also gifted with a great travelling buddy because as a TCK, Jorie loves packing, so she’s already told me she’s excited to help me with that last critical step of my exit.

I know I’m returning to one of my now many homes as I journey back to Germany, and I’m so grateful for the extended body of Christ that will help me resettle when I get back to Kandern. There’s still a lot of details in the interim that I would love prayer for as I say my last goodbyes and adventure across the globe to make it home again.

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