FUEL provided a great opportunity to meet people as we moved into a new neighbourhood. We rose to the challenge set around a certain weekend and had all our new neighbours in for a drink, 7 of our son’s university friends who were flatting nearby over to dinner and gave away sticky buns at our garage sale. While sticky buns at the garage sale created some fun and community and the neighbourhood drinks quickly established us as part of the community,  it was the meal with the boys that was the most significant. We have continued to go on and feed and  build friendships with the boys and I often reflect how the impetus of FUEL was the starting point for that.

After months and months of meaning to get our neighbors over, we finally did it with the encouragement of the Fuel initiative. It was lovely getting to know two families on our street for many reasons, including the  practical support of having more helpful neighbors. Also you could see that they were relieved that Christians actually like to have fun! This time round I am thinking of asking some school or kindy famililes over for long lunch. And if you feel a bit nervy about it, just think how nice it is to be invited along to someone's house for a meal. It's great! 

We had an awesome week hosting a whole bunch of people! Thanks so much for encouraging us to open our home and invite people over who'd we'd been meaning to get around but hadn't quite yet. We ended up hosting...

We had an awesome week hosting a whole bunch of people! Thanks so much for encouraging us to open our home and invite people over who'd we'd been meaning to get around but hadn't quite yet. We ended up hosting...

1. Two missionaries to Japan who are back on home assignment. We invited them for lunch and they stayed for 4.5 hours! We shared a meal which the husband said was awesome, and then talked for hours about their ministry, God at work in Japan, Japanese outreach in Auckland, and how we can support them and vice versa.

2. I had the girls and babies over from our ante natal group for the first time. I'd invited them for morning tea and they also stayed well into the afternoon! When one of the girls asked whether she could invite her friends who had babies at similar times and who aren't in coffee groups, I extended the invitation to them as well :) Everyone was very relaxed and we had a great time sharing our lives and hearts, with those of us who are Christians feeling the freedom to talk about our church involvement.

3. We invited the neighbours over for a pot luck BBQ and everyone came!!! Someone even drove back from Whangarei in the afternoon to be there in time. Everyone thanked us for organizing a get together. They all love the community we're building. We invited everyone from the other six townhouses in our strip and the families from the two houses that border our particular townhouse. We had ELEVEN nations represented from NINE households all down ONE driveway!!! NZ, Iraq, England, China, India, Japan, South Africa, Scotland, Germany, Chile and Iran! We had many different taste sensations including sushi, a German butter concoction for cooking the meat in, middle eastern desserts, Chinese rice. Our son Ivan loved staying up to be held by a Chinese Granny who can't speak English, our Iraqi neighbour in her Muslim veil, and a 13 year old girl from the end unit who loves babies. The neighbours settled in for the evening, some pleased that they didn't need to order taxis to get home after having a few glasses of wine. One man even came back after settling his daughter into bed at home with mum. A highlight was having big hugs from our Iranian neighbour, and that we were able to touch our Iraqi neighbour by buying halal meat so that she could share in the barbie too. We also loved it that they enjoyed talking to one another.

On Friday Ivan and I'd gone to the local Japanese play group to find that we need to wait until he's one before we can return. Over the course of the evening, as I spoke with the Japanese mum over the fence for the first time, I found out about a Japanese mainly music equivalent being run at a North Shore church which Ivan and I can go to while he's still a baby - a group which this mum is going to with her three-year-old. I'm excited about the opportunity to spend more time with her :) We also had the opportunity to share with an engaged couple who live down the driveway about the pre-marriage counselling we had. They've been looking for something similar so we were pleased to be able to point them in the right direction.  

4. We've kept the momentum and last night we invited over a Christian friend who we've been meaning to have over since we've been married… 3.5 years! She loved spending the evening with us and was brought to tears as we wrapped up the evening by praying for her x 5. You've helped us open our home, and we've now naturally extended the invitation to the members of Wayne's jujutsu club to come over next Saturday! That'll be another Japanese family and a kiwi family too.
We look forward to seeing how God will bless that time :)

Love Carly, Wayne and Ivan

All tanked up to tank others up!