Monday, November 27, 2006

Details with the New Zealand Trip

This is basically the prayer letter i sent to my close friends and family. i will leave it up as the top post for a week or so then i will go back to the regular postings of my pictures, updates, and thoughts. If you have the time, please read through this. I so desire to stay close to all of you around me that i consider friends and family so please email me or keep in contact!

LOCATION: living in/near Aucklund
TIME PERIOD: Dec 28 '06-June 18 '07 (possibly extended through November)
ORGANIZATION: Going as traveler, but working with the Wesleyan church
GROUP: Traveling with Dan Eggenschwiler (friend from college)
PURPOSE FOR GOING: Mainly to see why God has called me there... for present ministry, for future work, or both? Secondly to live in another culture, travel, enjoy the island(surf, hike,etc.), and to explore how i can best proclaim truth and Christ to others.
PURPOSE FOR THIS POST: So that you can keep up with me. Keeping in contact with you throughout life is most important to me.
FINANCIAL NEED: Feel no obligation to give but i still need a little under $2,000 to ensure first month expenses of getting settled.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Send to: Brent Dongell in care of Plymouth Wesleyan Church 11203 South Michigan, Plymouth, IN 46563

This is my traveling friend Dan Eggenscwhiler and his friend julie collins

So here it is. The moment of truth as I head off to Aucklund, New Zealand in less than two months. It has been a long journey coming, but in early July I stepped out and told another potential job opportunity and blessing that once again it wasn’t my time. God had placed a yearning in my heart for the country of New Zealand and I knew it was time to step out and follow his leading. It did not sound like the ideal plan to success after graduating. I have chances for solid job opportunities, to get ahead financially, to invest in the current relationships in my life, and to continue on to graduate school. There have been multiple times that I have literally gone to my knees and cried out to God “Are you sure?!?” Sure New Zealand sounds great, but now? I am still figuring out how to best minister and proclaim truth to the world in my own life!…. God are you sure?!?

…Yet God has continually confirmed that this is what I am supposed to do. Countless encounters, timely conversations, and encouragement from God through the body of Christ have brought me to this place of peace about going. All of the worry, anxiety, and questioning seemed to stop one morning during my quiet time: I was staring off deep in thought when my body stiffened and my head turned as I distinctly heard in my head the words, “Do you trust me?” There was no one else in the house, and there was no questioning this sacred moment that the Lord chose to speak directly to my thoughts and reaffirm my ever so willing, yet feeble attempts at faith. Is God sending me to New Zealand to shape me in this time? Am I supposed to be there in the future? Big questions that I am continuing to trust God with as I go!

Dan and I will be living in Auckland, NZ which is on the North Island. We have been closely communicating with the Wesleyan/Methodist church plants down there. God is moving in exciting ways, but the Wesleyan churches are relatively young. We will be working with Annie Wright, a Gospel Partners Missionary who is helping us get settled and placed into the right church. We have also been taling to Jeff Fussner and Richard Waugh who oversea the churches in this area of the world. There are multiple opportunities as to where we could serve. Sharing Christ, helping form ministries, leading worship, and supporting the church pastors as needed during these beginning stages will be our main focus.

the Hearts of those in New Zealand
that God will continue to move
encouragement to the Body overseas
Dan and I’s brotherhood on this trip
Guidance as to where my future ministry lies
Community as I leave everything familiar

The Point of this is not to ask for money. I would much rather your support, love, and prayers on this journey and step of faith. The point of this letter is to inform those who are dear to me what the next leg in my journey withholds. I will be working part time to pay for my expenses while overseas. Despite this, some of you have still expressed interest in supporting me in this time. I would be humbled and honored if you chose to support me in this time of vulnerability but please once again, and I sincerely mean this, feel no obligation. You can send money to the address below: For this to be tax deductable please make out checks in order to Plymouth Wesleyan Church For: Brent Dongell

Plymouth Wesleyan:

Send To:
Brent Dongell
Plymouth Wesleyan Church
11203 South Michigan
Plymouth, IN 46563

POPULATION Around: 4,158,657
NEW ZEALAND Is made up of two Islands SouthEast of Australia
LORD OF THE RINGS was filmed in over 150 locations all over New Zealand
A KIWI is a local from New Zealand
RELIGION: over half of the New Zealand population is considered Christian in a 2001 poll, although 4 out of 10 did not specify a religious affiliation
THE CHRISTIAN POPULATION from the 2001 poll was made up of mainly Anglican, the Catholic, then Presbyterian.
SUICIDE RATE among teens is extremely high if not one of the highest.
LANGUAGE: English is by far the dominant language but Maori is the native language of New Zealand

Thanks again for your time and for how each of you have helped shape me into who i am thus far in my life. God bless.

Open Invitation!

If any of you were looking for an excuse to go to New Zealand i will be there!
My good friend trace is already talking about the possibility!

The New Zealand seasons are below
Summer: December-February
Autumn: March-May
Winter: June-August
Spring: Sept-November

When things just go wrong

I decided to tryout the day after thanksgiving christmas shopping this year. I really need a digital camera so i decided to go to best buy at 4am to wait in line for an hour before it opened at 5. on my way there at 3:40 i ran out of gas for the first time in my life looking for a gas station on the way. I showed up a half an hour and 400 people late! It was crazy but i got the camera as you can see below. I then proceeded to work off way too little sleep, with my new toy. I took some pictures(as seen below), but leave it up to me... towards the end of the day it slipped out of my hand about 3 feet of the ground. A little plastic piece that held the battery in place fell off.(right now tape is holding it in place). I have a warranty but to ship it in would take awhile and i leave cali soon and want it for friends and then leave for New zealand and want it then to. Oh those icky days.

The beauty of it which i think us Americans as a whole often forget is that our problems are so minute. So often we never truly give thanks for what we have received and move on to something else we "need" or want. It is so easy for me to move past the fact that i have an amazing labtop, an amazing camera, and the fact that i am getting ready to go on an amazing trip and to think that my computer is too slow, that my new camera is a nuissance and ghetto, and that there are still way too many details about new zealand to figure out to really make me feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Sound familiar to you at all?!?

i love the passage below. God has blessed us SO much. I try so hard to focus on what is unseen instead of these small physical problems. These stresses are so temporary and small compared to how God has taken care of us!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Got a New Digital Camera and Last Day at Ralphs

This is my ralphs hero pose. Oh yeah... it's going on the Ralphs calendar next month!

This is sunshine. She is one of the daughters from the family from Canyon Hills community church that i am staying with in Del Mar who is off at college, but was back for thanksgiving

This is gus. He is one of the greatest things at Ralphs in Del Mar. He was a courtesy clerk(bagger) just like me, but he was also a celebrity. Everyone knew Gus. All the kids looked for him when they came in and he always made people laugh. It's amazing how much you can learn by being around people and letting them ruboff on you. This is a constant reminder to choose wisely your close group of friends.

This is Helen. She was one of my favorite cashiers because she was always so positive. It is amazing how gravitating a consistently positive person can be!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

New Things i learned this year

3 Ways to turn a shopping cart while feet are up and riding on the back of it(courtesy of pushing carts at Ralphs):
1. Grab front corner with right hand, press down with right foot and balance tension of lean with keeping four wheels on ground.
2. While in classic riding position (both feet and hands on cart in crouched position), take foot and brake on the wheel in the direction you want to turn.
3. Go with with classic scooter technique by putting one foot down and pushing

When going through checkout line with groceries:
try to put heavy stuff first so easier to pack in cart

I am working on my breakdancing skills!
I can do a 35 second handstand
I can hold myself up from the ground balanced on one hand
i can almost put up from laying down on ground position

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Two missed shoutouts in the picture timeline

I was a counselor and taught Bible at the Shadow Mountain Summer Kid's Day Camp (June- Aug)

and i got to spend a lot of good time with my friend Trace

Leaving San Diego

Below is a quick update of my life over the past 6 months
I drive back to Indiana December 7
I will drop off my car and possessions in Indiana, visit friends at IWU, and spend the holidays with my family before I leave

Dan Eggenschwiler will travel with me to New Zealand

Dan Eggenschwiler Flies out December 4
My traveling partner will leave a month earlier to get things settled, enjoy the NZ summer, and save on Christmas traveling expenses

Worked at Ralphs and took APU Graduate Classes

I Worked at Ralphs and Took Graduate Classes (Sept-Nov)
To pay for living expenses I have worked at Ralphs the past 2 months
I am also taking two Graduate classes at Azusa Pacific University, SD

Kelly got married

My Beautiful Sister Kelly Got Married on July 16 and became Kelly Benware
The Family came out to San Diego as Kelly married Brenton Benware

Worked at Canyon Hills with Jr. High

Accepted the Summer Job at Canyon Hills Community Church in San Diego
I led the Jr. High Youth Group and helped form the 20’s small group

This is me and three others from the 20's group that meets every Sunday. We traveled to Julian for a night.

I Graduated from IWU

I graduated with a Christian Ministries Major

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Zealand is Coming Soon!

I am leaving in 2 1/2 weeks from San Diego to drive home and prepare to leave for New Zealand on December 28th. There are still a lot of preparations to take care of before leaving and before arriving. Leaving student loans, loved ones, future jobs, and plenty of other important things in my life behind and discussing with those overseas all the logistics of housing, ministry, job opportunities, etc. In the next few days i will have a pretty extensive run down of this trip up on my blog and leave it up for one or two weeks so people can see what i am doing. After that, i hope you will continue to follow me through my journey as i start putting pictures on the sight and talk out my life and thoughts as i go. Today is my last day with the church family that i have become a part of and served with over the last 6 months. It is hard to leave those you love, knowing that exciting things are ahead for them. They have been so loving and appreciative that there encouragement has continued to bless me as i head out and work through the "icky" stuff of leaving. Thanks Canyon Hills.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I posted that i had went to Yosemite a weekend ago. here are a few pictures from the trip. It was me, Amy, Chuck, and Breanne. We had a great time. A few of those pictures are on top of half dome which was so beautiful from the top! I love defying heights, but I did get a little queezy when i got close to the edge! Sometimes it is just amazing to live in God's creation and to remind yourself that there is more out there than the schedule we are living. We know this, but we still often forget!

blessing vs. earned

"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven" This is John the Baptist's reaction to Jesus drawing John's followers to Himself. I love it!!! He gets it.

I wonder what would happen if we started to look at what we owned as a blessing from God When something is a blessing from God, when treated rightly, we see it as God's not our own. There have been a few times in my life where i was given or won something for free. I won a mini ipod. Clothes and other things have just been given to me. It is still hard, but it is somewhat easier to be willing to give these things back becasue i don't feel that i have earned them. I wonder if this is how we should be with everything we own. So often we hold on to what is "ours" and think that it is for us. It very well might be, but i wonder how many opportunities i miss to give because i don't truly consider my possessions as a blessing from God, but as "MINE!" This is way more formulated in my head than with these words but i hope you see what i am talking about

Friday, November 03, 2006


I had to go to Point Loma University's Library to get some sources for a paper i am writing for one of the APU grad classes i am taking. This was the first time i had stepped back into the college lifestyle. This was more weird than going back to my high school alumni's football game a month ago. I am literally jittery and overwhelmed and can't concentrate. College student's just seem smaller to me right now. I see young students that remind me of IWU graduates so i feel like i know exactly what they are going to turn out like. I feel like i am in a completely different world looking in now. I never realized how much i love the college life but it is so weird to be here right now... i am literrally at a loss of words and overwhelmed. I don't know how to explain it but i am kind of giddy. I don't know what to do. I am going to copy off some books and then go sit in their student center for a little while and just watch people. Weird. I felt like i was still at the same level as college students and could jump back into that world no problem until i just came here and feel like an outsider looking in. Weird.