Dean was in CNP again yesterday after an almost 3 week break (he did comment towards the end of the break that he needed to get back to work to get some routine into his life!) in which he has really missed his friends in the community. Apparently they missed him too, but we'll have to take their word for that!
Dean spent the first hour with Dina who had several issues she needed to deal with, so it was good to be able to spend some time with her talking through theses issues. One of the best things to hear Dina say was that she'd tired of all the fighting and gossiping in the community and that she no longer wants to fight with Sandra (Sandra is one of the community leaders and unfortunately she and Dina have clashed constantly over the last few years). Please pray for Dina as she so desperately wants to be an effective witness for the Gospel but she really struggles and finds it hard not to get involved when people request her help, often to the detriment of her own family life.
After spending time with Dina, Dean saw another church member who unfortunately just wanted to gossip about Dina and one or two other folk, primarily other church members! So 2006 pretty much carries on how 2005 left off with gossip and jealousy being the dominant issues which need to be addressed in the community. Over the Christmas break we spent some time reflecting on our first 18 months in CNP and what have we achieved? We came to the conclusion that we're still dealing with exactly the same issues now as we were then, namely gossip and jealousy particularly amongst our church members. So we will continue to plug away at these issues, hopefully with a view to supporting and equipping the Christians in the community to make a stand against these divisive issues. If the Christians won't stand up for the Gospel and stand against these issues then there really is very little hope for the community.
Each time Dean is presented with a situation like this he challenges the issues directly but so far we've seen little sign of people changing their behaviours. Therefore we're going to really focus on this in the coming year and try to impact the behaviour of Christian's so as to stop gossiping and being jealous. After all; "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Mt 4:4, as such we're full and satisfied in our needs and have nothing to be jealous of!
Please pray for us and our church members in CNP, pray that together we might be united in the gospel as a force for change in the community and as a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus! Pray too for all the Christians in CNP that there might be unity amongst them as they seek to serve God and glorify his name in Chris Nissen.
Dean has also decided that he's going to cycle to the office and to CNP a lot more this year in his efforts to get fit (the gym was a total loss for him as it's not located anywhere near where he happens to be, his excuse and sticking to it!), the good news is that he is able to cycle through a fruit farm between our house and the church building so he is only on the roads for about 1km, also, there has been a lot of building work along the railway line at the back of CNP so the crime rate on that stretch has plummeted making the ride in much safer.