The weekends’ festivities commenced on the Saturday morning. Youth had an opportunity to enjoy fellowship with the District Apostle. Despite the rainy weather, youth gathered at a local McDonald’s Café and had the opportunity to get to know the District Apostle. They asked questions about his youth, his time spent as a serving minister, his upcoming retirement and vision for the future of the church. This allowed the youth to gain a deeper understanding of him on a personal level, and helped them to appreciate the time and effort that he has put in over the last 20+ years. Coming away from the fellowship, many youth felt very thankful for the opportunity to spend time him.
The District Apostle, accompanied by the two District Evangelists, then visited the Stebbing Studio where a small group of our musicians were recording a number of tracks for the upcoming CD. The items were instrumental based and included a wonderful piece consisting of saxophone and piano duet. The District Apostle expressed his deep-felt admiration and thankfulness for the gifts and talents which were used to God’s honour and praise. He then wished them well for the remainder of the afternoon and much success in their contribution to the Australia district’s new CD.
A surprise visit then followed to one of the senior sisters, who was overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness. She had expected a visit from her District Evangelist and priest, but could not believe it when the District Apostle and two District Evangelists knocked on her door. She expressed some beautiful experiences, and the District Apostle provided a word for strength and her blessing.
The Saturday concluded with Rectors and their wives enjoying an intimate dinner with District Apostle. He shared many experiences of faith and recalled his first visit to New Zealand as a District Evangelist. He also shared many wonderful memories since that first visit. The evening was concluded with the rendition of “We shall remain united.”
Sunday morning saw the culmination of the weekends festivities as members gathered for the divine service. While there was a hint of emotion, as many members reflected on the thought that this was one of the last opportunities to come under the serving of the District Apostle, everyone was filled with great joy and thankfulness. This was reflected in the choirs’ anthem, “The Heavens are praising.”
District Apostle commenced the divine service with a word from
39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
The message for the congregation was about opportunity. The Lord presents us with opportunities for a reason and he expects us to take those opportunities, because he wants to develop us. If we do not take the opportunities, they will pass us by and someone else will seize them. District Apostle reminded the congregation that the Lord always provides everything to the maximum – we however, determine how much we take out of it. He encouraged everyone to seize the opportunity to serve the Lord and not look to others to do the work.
He continued his teaching by impressing the importance of parents teaching their children and their wider family and community. We are each responsible for teaching each other, and it is important to not take offence when we ourselves are taught.
He shared an experience of a youth sister who wanted to achieve her degree but was not motivated. He advised her to hang an empty frame on her wall to encourage her to work towards filling the frame with her certificate.
District Apostle impressed on the importance of true thankfulness. Sadly, in society today, there is a stronger sense of expectation and less showing of thankfulness. Expectation has started to outweigh thankfulness and we need to ward against this. Our offering to God is very important, and not only in the monetary term. We offer our talents and time to the Lord.
District Evangelist Van Wyngaard
The District Evangelist touched on the hymn rendered by the Sunday school, “Make me a servant.” He reminded the congregation that we need to be true servants of God. He referred to the book of Ezekiel, where the people needed to turn from their old ways, because God would judge them. Ezekiel himself received a warning from God, he would be held accountable for the blood of those who died in their sin. We need to pass on the legacy, the experience and emotion from one generation to the next. As children of God we know what is expected and what is right or wrong, and when our Brother or Sister does something wrong, we need to tell them what wrong has been done because the sin not only falls on them, it falls on us too.
District Evangelist Thomas
Moved by the rendition of the orchestra, the District Evangelist reminded the congregation that God desires one thing from us, “Come share the Lord”. He reiterated the words of the District Apostle for members to seize the opportunity and not allow them to pass by. We need to be inspired by Gods promise to us, to propel us to complete his work.
In closing the District Apostle touched on the service theme about seizing opportunities presented to us from God. He reminded parents of their duty and responsibility to their children. It is not the responsibility of the ministers or Sunday school teachers or leaders to teach their children. It is the responsibility of the parents. Even though times are changing, Gods work does not change and we want to serve God always.