Ironically, the restrictions that Covid has brought to us all this year have also brought some good things for our ISM group in Nelson. When our mid-week ISM meetings had to finish because of Covid, two of the students suggested that we meet informally for a regular dinner and games night every second Saturday. This has developed into a very strong friendship group that other internationals coming to Nelson are welcomed into. Sensing a need for a forum for more intentional large group conversations, it was suggested that the alternate Saturday evenings became a dinner and conversation group. These Saturday evenings are organised by graduates who are working here in Richmond & Nelson, and they plan the dinners and activities, with everyone contributing to the cost.
The Tuesday night dinner and discipleship group has been a joy for all involved, and it was a wonderful experience on the Sunday morning of our Camp last weekend to have each of the discipleship group members sharing in front of 25 campers what they have experienced of God over this last year. For everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, this was a very moving time.
Thank you for your prayers for us all over the last year.
From Sylvia an international graduate involved in ISM ministry in Nelson:
"It has been an amazing year for me. The Saturday games' night group is the main thing I have been involved in.
Looking back this year, I remember seeing J has been drawn to the Lord. He started to ask some questions of God after the long story short, even there is a certain attitude of challenging and questioning, it was still a big step. Being surrounded by God's people and love, I hope his heart will warm up and be drawn to God as mine has.
There is also a young couple who joined us this year. When they first joined, she was so surprised and grateful that asked me how come Philip and Robyn are willing to host such an event, for it involves so much work of preparation and cleaning and so many people in their home. I told her about our Unite International and how we work together with the love of God. They are still not believers yet but are always happy to join us. I am sure they have experienced God's love through these people and the seeds are sown, even they haven't realized that it is from God.
Having this group running means a few organizing, arrangement, and preparation every two weeks. It was absolutely out of my comfort zone but is becoming my comfort zone after one year. Looking back to my journey, I recall there was a question I had around two or three years ago, which is I don't know what I have that I can give people. Thinking about how people have been enjoying this group and developing friendships, the laughter, and the memories we had, I understand that God has set this challenge for me to realize what I can give, which is time, thoughts, and love. By giving, surely I have received much more. With the love from God and these people, my life has become richer and less lonely.
Nelson Ministry Leader