Christmas in New Zealand is low-key compared to my experience in the States. Where I live now people don’t decorate their houses with lights or do much more than put up a tree inside. Because it falls near the longest day of the year, it’s typically about visiting with family and friends, firing up the BBQ, and heading to a nearby beach or lake. It feels more like a typical July 4th celebration. The food is different, too, because the people here eat what’s in season in the summer.
This year two Kiwi friends invited me to spend the day with them and with two Canadians, two Aussies, and two Israelis. It was such a lovely time, as they say here. Interestingly, the Israeli girls had called up our church office to ask if any family in the area might host them for Christmas and take them to church. They had been staying with other Christians in New Zealand during their travels and have visited other churches. It was such a good experience that they wanted to learn more.
What a privilege to be able to water the gospel seeds that others have sown. Since we were a group of people who didn’t know each other well, we played some” get-to-know-you” games. As we did, the girls learned that the Aussies had just become Christians 3 years ago. This was a surprise as many Israelis believe all Christians are just born that way. I also got to share that putting my faith in Jesus changed my life. As we all sang our national anthems (our host insisted!) the Israelis were shocked to learn that each one acknowledges God. Many Israelis have a skewed view of Christians and Christianity, and it was a blessing to be able to help dispel those misconceptions. As they continue their journey in New Zealand and plan to stay at one of our facilities with Hebrew speaking believers, I pray that those gospel seeds will be watered further.
This is not an isolated event. More and more Israelis are seeking out believers here to learn more about what we believe. Please pray that this trend will continue, that God will bring those who want to know the truth and will help them find us. More importantly, pray that they will seek and find Him!