Some good friends of ours, Mike, April & Elijah, had decided to leave New Zealand to be used by God overseas. They sold the house that they had lived in and paid the mortgage on for many years, and bought tickets to go to the Philippines to visit April’s family. Their rough plan was then to go to a kickstart in Hong Kong in late April, then Denmark in July for some training, and then permanently migrate to Fiji after that to spread the gospel there.
It was sad for us to know that they would be leaving us because we have done a lot together. We have prayed together, worshipped together, shared the gospel together and have basically done life together for around a year. They were the first people we contacted through The Last Reformation map on their website. I didn’t actually find out until later that the day before I sent them an e-mail through the map, Mike had prayed for God to send like-minded people to them.
The last weekend before they were due to head overseas we decided to have a farewell party for them. We invited a whole lot of people around and planned to start the party at 4pm, which would give us time for fellowship before having dinner and needing to get children back for their sleeps.
4pm came and went, and there were no signs of Mike and April. Other guests started arriving and chatting. 4:30pm came and went and there was still no sign of Mike and April. We weren’t sure what to do so we just continued chatting. They often turn up late to events so we weren’t too worried. Normally they’re not this late though. I checked my phone and realised I had a message from April to say that they were preaching the gospel to some people around 10 minutes away and would be late. They were hoping it would lead to a baptism. I told everyone this so we just kept waiting and enjoying each others company. It was a little bit strange without the guests of honour but we knew they were doing work for the kingdom so we were happy enough.
At around 5pm I received a message from April to say they were finally coming over. She also said that they were bringing with them 4 extra adults and 3 children, and they wanted to use our bathtub for a baptism! I told this to everyone gathered and informed my wife there would be 7 extra people for dinner and she said, “Ok.” What an amazing wife I have! It didn’t faze her at all. Then I went and filled up the bathtub in preparation for the baptism.
Mike and April finally showed up at around 5:45pm with 2 cars following close behind them. We crammed the extra 10 people in our already busy house, and decided to have some dinner first and then do the baptisms. This gave us a chance to get to know the people and hear first hand what happened leading up to all of this. It all started with Mike and April going to visit some friends of theirs, and their friend saying that she would like to speak in tongues. As this was happening, the neighbours popped over to say hello, and Mike and April ended up sharing the gospel with them. After that, the neighbours decided that they wanted to be baptised too.
So after having dinner together, I put some more hot water in the bath and we baptised those who wanted to be baptised. Then they got changed, and we prayed for all 3 people to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit while they were sitting on our bed. It was quite a sight to walk in and see 3 different people being prayed for by 3 groups all around our bed!
It took a while for all of them to be baptised and speak in tongues, but all 3 of them did eventually get there. We finished praying for them at around 7:30. During this time all of their children were happily playing in the rest of the house. The other guests who weren’t praying were happy to be the impromptu babysitters for something as important as this.
It was an amazing night of seeing God move. Baptism, repentance and baptism of the Holy Spirit all in one night. And it all started with some followers of Christ visiting some friends in their home and taking the opportunity that was open to them. God is so good. Thank you Mike & April for being obedient to share the gospel even though you were late for your own party. The work of the kingdom is so much more important. Thank you also for leaving us some more people to disciple! We will miss you, but we know that in Christ, we are never far apart. Whether we see you again on this earth or in heaven, we know that your joy, and ours, will never be lacking because we are sons of the most high.