March 16, 2017

South Island Outreach – Week 3 (25 Feb – 4 Mar) @ Christchurch

The final week had the South Island team seeing that God can change things up. Even if we thought things would be similar to the past 2 weeks, He kept us on our feet by allowing us to grow in our flexibility to change. On Sunday, we spontaneously visited a meeting of disabled/handicap people and shared with them God's love through a sign language song and a short sharing by Fr Francis. In the evening, we met with the two youth groups of the parish and touched upon the issue of their identity as a child of God in this day and age. The team had a good time mingling with the different groups and it was a good start to the week in Christchurch. 

 From the presentations during the different masses in St Gregory's Church, the team was invited three other groups during the week. On the 27th of Feb, we shared our joy of music with young children under the age of 5 and their parents through the presentation of 2 sign language songs. On Tuesday, we continued with our primary school program at St Joseph's primary with various teachings around God's love and friendship with Him. All the children from the different classes were encouraged to share the love they have received from God to others around. The same message was shared with the students of St Patrick's primary in Kaiapoi on Thursday. While on Friday, the team was invited to the school assembly of New Brighton Catholic School (Mary Immaculate) where in following the school's theme of the year of 'knowing you, knowing me', we presented skits and sign language song that revolved around one's identity as a beautiful child of God.

1st of March marked the start of Lent and the team was invited to participate in the ecumenical service for Ash Wednesday. It was an eye-opening experience for the team as we saw Catholics and Anglicans coming to start lent together. During the service, the team also presented a sign language song to all in attendance and it was well-received with some saying to the team that they will attend the parish seminars as well. 

The parish seminars held for St Joseph's Parish, Papanui, ran for 3 days. Each day's seminar was so well received that members of the congregation invited others to join for the following seminars. Fr Francis focused on the topics of 'knowing the light, receiving the light and being the light' in his sharing of God's love and compassion and the acceptance of all into the kingdom of heaven is regardless of past deeds. And that God uses our failures and setbacks to glorify His name and we should not be laden down by these past setbacks. 

In this final week of outreach, we hope that that 'spark' we created in the parish would start something new and stir up the hearts of the parishioners to do even more for the kingdom of God!