Report: Ministry Training/Deeper Walk New Zealand 2017
GCI in New Zealand was honoured to host Dr. Larry Hinkle and Gracie Johnson of Odyssey In Christ ministry over this past weekend.
While in Wellington, Dr. Hinkle was invited to introduce OIC to members of the congregation and give two evening presentations attended by 9 from the congregation and 2 other friends involved in prayer ministry locally. The two topics presented were “Transforming Prayer: Restoring Body, Soul, and Spirit” and “Spiritual Discernment in Leadership: Discerning the Presence of God in Group Decision Making” which were warmly received. Indeed, Louis Smith later commented in an email, “Larry’s language and thought and approach is very embracing and pleasing to the ear” and that he and Gracie “have a powerful ministry transforming lives and developing leadership and spiritual transformation.”
Dr. Hinkle began with an overview to the what and why of OIC that circled around three passages of Scripture (John 17:3; Eph 1:17; Rev 3:20), drawing out how close is the relationship God consistently seeks with us, and how through the pathway of prayer our issues and fears may be healed, bringing our lives into balance and productivity. Indeed, he said, “In Jesus pain has somewhere to go.” Along the way we were introduced to new forms of praying, one being the Safe Place Prayer. He introduced also the perspective of balancing left- and right-brained thinking so that we might live and worship God more effectively and productively. These thoughts were picked up again in the second presentation on discernment with an emphasis on our seeking God as core to our lives and the work we do. Gracie Johnson participated also in the presentations and gave a moving and refreshing testimony of her own experience of God’s protection, healing and transformation that now underpin her life and worship.
A 3-day Deeper walk retreat hosted by our Filipino brethren was also held in Masterton, New Zealand. The purpose of the retreat was to outline spiritual formation practices that enhance a deeper personal relationship with God. Solitude and silence, discerning God in the creation, sacred reading of scripture, spiritual journaling, creative expression in play, keeping Sabbath, meditation and various types of prayer were some of the practices expounded.