God's Blueprint

Linda Grigg for the LYN Network

28 March 2010

God's Blueprint

 

Redhills1.jpgWhen a small group of believers heard about the financial difficulties of a friend and family member they responded by delving into their own pockets. It was an act of love that set in motion a series of events that grew more remarkable with every stage, and which ultimately blessed not only those directly involved, but their community too.
 
Together the group raised $300,000 to help builder Des Vince pay off a pressing bank loan. Seven years later, with his business back on its feet, Des responded in kind. He gifted a section of land worth about $350,000 to become the site of a future Wesleyan Christian Centre, in Papakura, South Auckland. The fledgling church used a former show home moved onto the section for their Sunday worship and other activities.

In prayer for their low-income and troubled neighbourhood, the church felt led to begin a ministry for the community's children. As part of God's unique handiwork and timing, the congregation already had two qualified Early Childhood teachers, and the government of the time was offering a massive 90 per cent subsidy to establish a centre. God also brought into the congregation a man who could offer needed advice on community demographics when applying for funding.

“God seemed to be weaving the strands of the dream into a pattern. People and circumstances were more than just coincidences. God had placed these resourceful families in a low socio-economic area where there were little or no community facilities,” writes Edgar Hornblow in his booklet about the history of what would eventually become the Redhill Community Centre.
 
redhills3.jpgThe timely and serendipitous grace of God continued. Church members made generous loans or donations of tens of thousands of dollars for the centre and carpark costs. A regional trust gave a donation to purchase equipment. Finally, the 'Little Sunbeams Christian Early Childhood Centre' opened on 9 October 2005. It eventually led to the church starting parenting support and training groups, play group, Mainly Music and Bible studies.

Meanwhile, plans were afoot for a purpose-built worship and community centre; by March 2007, working drawings for the centre were completed. However the chance spotting of a climbing wall in a church in another town caused a change to the building's design. Sensing the vision of how a similar wall could be used in their own community, the church approached Winstone Aggregates to sponsor the climbing wall and equipment, and to provide the rock and sand needed to prepare the site. The sponsorship meant construction on the wall could start much earlier than expected, on 1 December 2008.

“Every time we see a Winstone truck go past we pray that God will prosper one of the most generous companies in our area,” says Edgar.
 
The generosity didn't stop there. The local council made a capital grant of $150,000 followed by a further grant of $300,000, church families and friends continued to give sacrificially, and contractors discounted their work heavily. Other trust and council redhills4.jpgapplications also were successful. Although at times the amounts received were less than hoped for, or funding application deadlines were only met at the last nerve-wracking minute, the church felt God's hand in it all.

Finally, the Redhill Community Centre was opened and dedicated on 20 June 2009. In four years, this small church raised $3.5 million. Sixty to seventy adults and children come through the Centre every day. It contains a cafe, family centre with its own kitchenette, the gymnasium and climbing wall, and a mezzanine 'Upper Room' for youth. The Centre also uses rooms to regularly screen family movies, there being no commercial cinema in Papakura. Little Sunbeams remains alongside the Centre, its income helping to meet ongoing costs.
 
It has been an exciting journey full of what some have called amazing coincidences. However, the congregation of Papakura Wesleyan Church knows it to be much more.

“We believe that God had the blueprint and made it happen.   The sponsorship and support was overwhelming. When something is right, it will happen. When God plants the seed He invites us to the harvest,” says Edgar.