October 2010 Newsletter from the Vanns in New Zealand

____________________[All photos are from Jachin Mandeno]

This is the Newsletter of Jeff and Penny Vann, missionaries with Advent Christian General Conference, currently serving in New Zealand as pastors-at-large with the Advent Christian Conference of New Zealand (ACCONZ). We serve as teaching pastors at Takanini Church of Christ, and Christian LIFE Church, Takanini, Auckland.

Decisions, Decisions. Jeff and I have had to make a number of decisions in the past couple of months. Jeff and I as of early February will be leaving the church here and New Zealand. We will also be resigning from the mission effective 3 months after we get back to the US. We have served the mission department for 14 years but we feel it is time. Our hearts still beat for the lost and for those who lack the opportunity for theological training. We are praying for ministry opportunities in the States as well as time and money to go on in our education. Hopefully getting our doctorates at sometime before Christ comes back. As to where in the States that we will be, we have not a clue. For those of you who have been praying for us all those years, you have helped us through victories and trials, thank-you. But, please don’t stop praying for us.

We are blessed to have Ernie Schache as part of our ministry team here in Takanini. He serves as an elder. Ernie has many years of experience with churches here, and a passion for missions. He presently serves as a Mission Manager for ACGC, overseeing the missions work being done by our partners in Myanmar, India, Thailand and Malaysia. You can find out more about Advent Christian Missions from the New Zealand ACMissionz website: http://www.acmissionz.org.nz/

I (Jeff) have been teaching a Greek class on Thursday nights to a small group of youth and adults. Penny and I have also been part of a Hebrew club that meets in a local seminary. We have been grateful to share with those who have a special interest in biblical languages. It is just one more way that we have found to be an encouragement to believers here.

Our church has lots of kids of all ages. This is something different for Penny and me. We are used to a college campus, where the only small kids were ours or those of the other faculty, or those who attend the campus preschool. It has been a joy to get to know this new generation of believers. It has also been challenging to adjust our teaching and preaching to meet their needs. The picture is of less than half of the children who come to church.

Penny will be teaching her Old Testament seminar again on October 31st in the city of Hamilton. Some of the attendees of the previous seminar asked her to teach it again at their church.

Penny also taught a very informative and enjoyable seminar on public speaking at Takanini Sunday afternoon, October 10th. That was designed to train those who have speaking parts in our worship services. Takanini Church integrates the young people into worship sessions by having them read the scriptures before the message. Other members take part by testimony, prayer, music and leading communion.

Some thoughts: The Bible speaks of God’s power “at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). We have noticed that God brings certain people into our lives to help us with a problem we did not anticipate. For instance while driving down the motorway (interstate) the car started to make a strange noise. So, we pulled off and exit and onto a side street to find we had a flat. Just as we started to get out the spare a teenager stopped his walk home from school to see if he could help. He stayed to help through the rain and hail getting soaked in the process, but definitely shortening the time it would have taken for Jeff to change it alone. We have also noticed that as we planned to teach or write on a certain topic, suddenly people come into our lives who illustrate the need for a biblical understanding on the same topic, affirming that we are right to study it. This is seen in that recently after finishing a lengthy study in Galatians Jeff met a man who was in bondage to the very things Galatians warns about. This shows us how sovereign God is in our lives. He is not just a transcendent God who is watching us “from a distance.” He is involved in our lives. He’s not just a supervisor. He’s a shepherd.

On the Internet:

Our Newsletters: http://vannnews.blogspot.com/

Jeff’s blog: http://jeffersonvann.blogspot.com/

Jeff’s theology book: http://anadventchristiansystematictheology.blogspot.com/

Advent Christian Conference of New Zealand: http://www.acconz.org.nz/

Takanini Church blog: http://takaninichurch.wordpress.com/

Jachin Mandeno’s photo site: http://mandenomoments.com/

Please Pray:

1) Penny and I will be returning to the United States and transitioning from mission work starting February, 2011. Please pray that we find jobs and that Jeff finds the right seminary to pursue his doctoral studies.

2) Pray as the Takanini Church looks for someone to serve in the teaching and preaching ministry after we leave.

3) Pray for Naomi as she continues to study at Columbia International University and is presently seeking a missions internship.

4) Pray for Elizabeth and Connie, that they continue to serve the Lord, and take care of their families.

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