Assemblies of God Empowered Magazine God's Eternal Word - Page 18

FEATURE r ea ch chu rch ha m ilt on Donna Te Rongomau, Reach Church Hamilton, NZ In June 2015 Reach Church Hamilton was birthed out of Reach Church Te Awamutu, whose Senior Pastors are Ariki and Pam Ashford. From our small beginnings with a weekly evening service at Nga Taiatea Wharekura, we have journeyed through the sometimes difficult task of establishing a new church. We have seen several major changes; from evening to morning services, the induction of our Senior Pastor Pare Kokiri and a change of venue to where we believe the heart of the Crawshaw community lies. Crawshaw is a mainly Maori community, known as a bit of a ‘hood’ that needs a lot of TLC.   More than half the team released from Reach Te Awamutu to build Reach Hamilton are of Ngati Maahanga descent; tangata whenua. Beautiful Samoan and other Pacific Islanders make up the rest of the Church whanau. Although there was an excited expectation for salvations in the community, we have also seen God growing our Kingdom whanau by extending salvation to our natural whanau whanui (extended whanau).   Our brothers, sisters, in-laws, children, nieces, nephews, etc have been drawn into church by the invitation to a service followed by a shared lunch. (Us brown folks can't resist a beautiful kai with beautiful people, where they experience the power of God's Word and the presence of God's love.) A future son in-law sat in the car for a couple of months while his children and partner attended our church services. However, he came into our Father's Day service and two weeks later accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour... Gone are the days of waiting in the carpark!. Reach Hamilton was privileged to help put on a beautiful wedding for one couple: a recommitted sister who is now growing in leaps and bounds in the worship team and a brother in-law who has been struggling with addictions. We are blessed to hear his testimony of getting to know the truth and the truth making him free layer by layer. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit a leader who runs the canteen at Nga Taiatea Wharekura started sharing the Word of God with the teenage boys who liked to hang out in the canteen. A group that now gathers once a week in their lunch break has grown from a few to almost needing a classroom for their meetings, and the salvation count is up to five so far. There are a number of ideas in the planning pipeline for the rest of the year and for 2018. To top off this year we look forward to combining with another local church to help provide a Kai’n’Carols night of food, fellowship and fun for the community. The tangata whenua of Reach Church Hamilton had been praying for a powerful move of God for several years before Ps Ariki announced his intention to plant a church in the city, and they have continued to do this consistently. Our leaders are currently praying and fasting for heart cleansing in preparation for the harvest we know the Lord has prophesied for Reach, all to the glory of God! 18 | EMPOWERED MAGAZINE