October 2017 Krista Noack Update
It has been 3 months as of September 17th that I have been in Sydney, Australia!
These past few months, I have come to realize that, even in the unknown, God has been working in and through me. I am being stretched and pruned. He is showing me how to reach out to people in my day to day - that it doesn't have to be in a scheduled 'outreach' or at church - but that each person I encounter daily gets to encounter Jesus, through me! He is stirring in me new dreams (or maybe old) and even if it 'looks' different than I had thought or planned, it will all come together for a bigger and grander purpose.
So, why am I in Sydney? As most of you know
, I am here to help my friends Danielle & Aaron Carter with Iris pioneering work in the city, and plant a local Iris church, Everyday Church.
I am residing in the suburb of Erskineville which has been deemed ‘the most ungodly suburb’ in the 2016 census. As well, the focus of the Iris base and Iris church (Everyday Church, Sydney) is in Redfern (which has a high population of aboriginal families and homeless). The heart of Iris is to stop for the one, love on the person in front of us, feed the hungry, and encourage those who are down and out and point them to a loving, Heavenly Father. God has placed us in two of the neediest suburbs in Sydney.
As you can imagine, pioneering something within a western society is very unique and has its own sets of challenges. Moving to a new place where you know no one is a challenge in itself. Where do you meet people? How do you build community outside the walls of your apartment? For me this is vital – to build relationships with those within my community, in hope of inviting them into family and having somewhere they can belong. I have been focussed on being intentional with my day to day. Every morning I go to the same café and have conversation with the owners and staff. I am slowly starting to recognize faces that are in there getting their morning coffees as well. At the grocery store - going to a person to check out rather than a machine – making connections. I am asking God each day to highlight someone on my path that I can be an encouragement too. In doing so I have met a very sweet girl who works at one of the local shops and have spent some time in conversation and out for coffee with her (she has done a fair job of encouraging me as well). We are both in similar situations in that have both just moved and gotten settled into Sydney and are now starting to seek friendships. I also nanny two days a week. One morning I take the boys to gymnastics and have been drawn to one mum there, a doctor. In very short, simple conversations, I have found that she has felt comfortable to share some deep personal things, and I have been able to encourage her and cheer her on. I also started taking the boys to a morning play group that is chalk full of fun for them, and has adults for me to engage with. I am looking forward to continue going and building relationships, even while I am ‘working.’
I am thankful that God is highlighting people around me – those who are looking for a listening ear, a compassionate response, and someone to just say, ‘hey, I’ve been there too’, and to encourage them moving forward. It has really brought me out of my comfort to be bold in making connections, but when you live in a new country and know no one, that is what needs to be done! I am believing and praying that, as I continue to build relationships, there will be an ease to invite them into what we are doing.
In June we hosted the first of many ‘Iris Alumni gatherings’. 20 alumni gathered together to worship and connect. At the end, everyone gathered around Aaron, Danielle, Emily and myself and prayed for our pioneering work. It was a powerful moment!
[Being prayed over by Iris Alumni.]
Aaron, Danielle, Emily and I have started meeting on Thursday nights for what we call ‘micro church.’ So far it has been the four of us, but we are believing that as we all continue to meet and build relationships with people in the community, we will start to see more people coming along for a meal, sharing the good news, and encountering Jesus together.
We are also starting outreach to the homeless in the evenings, whether it be a drink, something to eat or just some conversation. I am looking forward to hearing their stories and sharing the love of Jesus with each person we encounter.
As we are in the beginning stages, we have built relationships with local organizations. I am in the process of starting to volunteer with The Salvation Army as well as looking into an organization called ‘The Settlement.’ They provide a range of programs to children, young people, and families. Their heart is for the aboriginal community, providing after school programming for kids, a youth drop in center, and helping families find affordable housing. I am looking forward to seeing God move mightily in these organizations, and in each person who comes looking for support. Connecting with already established organizations is a great way to provide an extra set of hands, and to see what is already being done in the community. It’s also a great way to see where there are some gaps, and how we as Iris Sydney can help fill them.
Iris Sydney/Everyday Church is preparing to host their first official missions team from California, arriving at the end of October. Mark and Cheryl Perry, senior leaders of Everyday Globa,l and a few Iris Leaders’ School alumni will join us for 10 days of outreach in the city and ministry at a few local churches. We will also be hosting Poppa Rolland (Iris Global co-founder) and hosting another Iris Alumni gathering.
OH! And the website just launched for Everyday Sydney - check it out - www.everydaysydney.com
Pioneering something isn’t easy. Pioneering something in a western society isn’t easy. But I am already seeing God moving and working in every small detail. I am looking forward to spending more time in the community getting to know names and faces. I am looking forward to reaching those who are in need of a hug or a bottle of water the most, but also those who aren’t lacking, but are in need of encouragement, compassion, and a friend. I’m thankful for each connection and each person I meet to share a bit of the heart of Jesus with.