Greetings from the ends of the earth! The current time here in New Zealand is 8:27 AM, September 18, 2012. Today is the second official day of our externship. I arrived in Tauranga on Sunday at 7:30 PM Which would have been 1:30 am Sunday for all my Florida friends. Things are going relatively smoothly so far. Jet-lag isn’t so bad. Mornings feel like mornings, but the strange part is that early evening feels like 2:00 in the morning so I’m able to get to sleep without a problem. I’m sure I will be in the swing of things in the second week of my externship.
All of the people here at THOP have such a genuine love for Jesus. The first thing I noticed coming here is their faithfulness to stand in the place of prayer no matter what it takes. They have all been caught with the vision of biblical prayer and will do whatever they have to do to keep it going. Most of the people in the THOP community work jobs and only work enough for them to survive and the rest of their time is given to the house of prayer. They have such a hunger for God and faith to believe that He wants to visit their city. It’s a little different not having the prayer room open 24/7 and a little refreshing. Almost everyone comes to the prayer room for the 10am intercession sets and they are jealous for their time in the prayer room. They don’t take the prayer room for granted because it is only open in the morning for a short period of time.
There seems to be a central theme that I have noticed in the prayer room here, and that theme is the worthiness of Jesus. That is what sustains them. They have been caught with the vision that the Man who sits on the throne is worthy of their time and effort. I saw this most when I went to the 6 AM prayer set yesterday morning. Nobody is required to go to the 6 am set and nobody leads worship. The set is run by a worship playlist playing random songs with revival as their theme. The set is attended mainly by those who are going into work at 8 am and have woken up early before a full day’s work just to spend time filling the bowls of heaven with their intercession. They have given up their energy to sit in a room and ask God to visit their community. The 6am set had a total of 16 people including their sound engineer, HOP director Aaron Walsh, and two of us externs.
Aaron was the first person I heard pray on the microphone at THOP. He prayed from Malachi 1:11. The Lord reminded me of all the words He had spoken to our team concerning Malachi 1:11 and how He desires that His name would be lifted high from the place where the sun rises. Just to remind everyone, New Zealand is in the very first time zone. The sun rises here first every day. That is the vision of this externship: to lift the name of Jesus high in this place, from the rising of the sun.
After the prayer room the team and I went on a tour of Tauranga with a man named Steve Hanson. He took us to Mount Maunganui and we walked up. That was quite a workout! We walked up and had an amazing view of the city of Tauranga. When we made it to the top there was a rainbow that stretched all the way from the harbor to the ocean. I will post a picture below at the end of this blog.
I’m still just getting used to everything in New Zealand. There will be plenty of time for all that though being here for 3 months and all. I have been learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road which has been messing with me. It’s much different but still easier than I thought it would be.
This is the team at the top of Mount Maunganui. That’s David Rich in the back, Allee Shepherd, me and Meghan Tuck in the middle, and Elisabeth Montague in the front.