Hope International Ministries

Faith-Stretching Season

by Grace Ho, Hope Auckland, New Zealand

Kia ora from Hope Church Auckland! It’s been more than half a year since our last updates, and right now we’re in a faith-stretching season as a pioneering church. Our church-planting team of 4 that started in August 2022, are currently down to 2, with Nicole having completed her mission and is now back in Brisbane, and Gabriel who is also in Brisbane waiting for the next open door to get a visa back into Auckland. And our other team mate, Phuong, was in the hospital for 12 days in December because of inflammation from her only functional kidney, transplanted 10 years ago. But we thank God for sustaining her body and bringing her back to Life Group again since the new year.

Yet in the midst of all these, when I look back over the past 6 months, there were so many milestones and evidence of God moving in Auckland. Just to share a few:

  • During our 1st Church Anniversary in August last year, we saw our biggest service turnout of 25 people, including 2 families and 6 kids. Our ministry house was almost hitting full capacity!
  • We witnessed our very first water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism as a church. And a special shout out to Marion who visited us for a weekend, and prayed for Hazel to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • We saw two friends saying the sinners’ prayer and receiving Jesus into their lives during campus outreach. And during the altar call on Global Service last month, a girl who visited us for the very first time raised her hand wanting to explore a relationship with God!
  • We also praise God for one family who decided to commit themselves and make Hope Church Auckland their spiritual home, and that’s why we are now running a kids’ program every service.

Along with these, I also want to ask for your continual prayer partnership with us:

  • Pray for Gabriel to get a long-term visa and job so that he can come back to Auckland.
  • Pray for Phuong’s health and complete healing over her kidney. We are believing in God for a miracle and a fully restored, 100% healthy kidney.
  • Pray for Nicole as she transits back to Brisbane, for God’s direction and strength in the new chapter.
  • Pray for our church in Auckland to grow together as a family in Christ. We are asking God for healings and breakthroughs, and we want to see people rise up to serve God willingly out of their love & obedience to Him.
  • Pray also for more key guys and mentors by the end of this year, so that we can double our current size and multiply into two life groups.

And I just want to put it out there for those who have a heart for church-planting and missions. Stepping out to start a church in a new country 1.5 years ago was one of the craziest yet most God-encountering decisions I’ve ever made. The spiritual battle in the mission field is real. Oppositions and challenges are inevitable. But when I see someone raising their hands to receive Jesus into their lives, when I witness someone stepping into the water and getting baptised, when I watch the kids bowing their heads and praying for one another, I know God’s mission is worth my whole life. The impact on every person we sow into is far beyond our lifetime. It is eternal. 

You don’t need a Bible College degree or a pastor’s title to be a church-planter. You just need to obey and step out in faith when He calls. May the response of Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 inspire you, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”