Lauren + Nigel, March 2010
During this past visit, Nigel and I swapped computer tips. Nigel's a real gadget man. He researches new technology, sources it from China and sells the products on ebay. With the samples sitting around his house, he could demonstrate everything from the latest electronic muscle toner (ouch!) to a anti-barking dog collar.

We were sad to say good-bye to Nigel and Melinda this morning. However, a couple weeks ago we received an notice to a gathering on the Gold Coast which we just didn’t want to miss.

After being out of touch for about two years, we received an invitation from a man who coordinates house churches in the local area. Just after Calista was born, we visited his home church and also another group that was meeting in a bayside suburb. However, the distance prevented true fellowship outside of the scheduled gatherings, and so we decided to pursue something closer to home.

G kept David’s business card and included it on a long list of people that he emailed, inviting all to a gathering at the Gold Coast botanical gardens this afternoon. He wrote:

For some time now, I’ve sensed a need to gather together as many like-minded believers outside of the regular church system as possible in order to mutually encourage each other on the journey of following Jesus in simplified forms. All of us feel isolated now and then and meeting others with similar passions and convictions can make a big difference. So whether you are knitted in with a home brew of fellow sojourners, doing it alone or, would like to network and perhaps find a spiritual family, then join us and see what God does.

Especially with the timing of the invitation, we knew we were supposed to go along, so we drove the two hours from Maroochydore down to the Gold Coast in time for the gathering. One other couple came from the Sunshine Coast, others arrived from Brisbane and the greater Gold Coast area, and we met another family from northern New South Wales.

There was no agenda, no one in charge, no one to introduce newcomers around, no one to organise the food, no one to initiate “ice-breaker” games. Instead, each person took the initiative to go up to people they didn’t know or re-connect with those that they did.

The uni-aged students gravitated together, and the women mostly managed to check each other out, comparing statistics on family. Most conversations started with an exchange of how or where people were finding other believers, and I met two women who live very close to us.

I’m not sure if anything will come out of it, except that David and I came away greatly encouraged by the people that we met. We were given a book, and I noted some networking websites I want to visit.

Mostly we want to continue to pursue our relationship with God without being hijacked by men who trust themselves over the Holy Spirit. Whether we do this within a house church or not, I am certain that God will continue to provide wonderful opportunities to be encouraged by other believers, just as he has over the last couple of days!

Delaney, 3 months old, March 2010
Dell slept in the shade for most of the morning. About fifty people turned up for the informal gathering.