Our history with Gateways dates back to early 1998 when Mark was invited to speak at your leaders’ camp. Mark didn’t realize it at the time he accepted the invitation, but he had already met Jono and Mary Turner at a conference in Auckland in 1995.
A year later, when Mark returned in 1999 to minister over Easter weekend, the whole Banyard family joined him. By then, we were completing an interim leadership role at a church in Yokohama, and it seemed God was connecting us with this church. At Jono’s invitation, we made our home among you for the next few years. As itinerant ministry took Mark out to nations throughout Asia and Australia, as well around New Zealand, Jane and the young children enjoyed a base on the same side of the world as he was. During that time, the elders of this fellowship mandated Mark, along with Jono, to also help the church make a leadership transition in preparation for a new season.
When we left in late 2001 to plant a church in Makuhari, Japan, Gateways blessed us with many copies of Japanese New Testaments to support the work. Jono and Mary represented you by visiting a number of times to minister to the fledgling church.
While we were back in 2005/2006, we helped support Gateways’ Awapuni Outreach that was meeting every Sunday evening. Our three teenagers hosted weekly gatherings at which teens could worship, pray for each other, and experience the Holy Spirit together.
We’ve joined in numerous church conferences over the years, including The Father Loves You in 2000, along with Peter Jackson from Toronto; Joel 2 Assemblies in 2005 and 2006; and more recently, Becoming an Apostolic People with Ed Delph in 2018.
It’s because of our time among you that Oliver’s first trip after his marriage was to show Emily New Zealand; that Rachel chose Massey for her teacher training; and that today Rebecca can speak in a perfect kiwi accent, at will.
Opportunities to minister have repeatedly brought us back to this nation. Although names and faces have changed, Gateways has always felt like our home church in New Zealand.