In early June of 2011, my wife Marcie and I travelled to New Zealand to visit the Missler’s newly founded ministry headquarters at The River Lodge. As a Koinonia House Board Member, I had heard a lot about this new venture and wanted to see it for myself. At the end of our three-week stay, Chuck asked Marcie and me to move to New Zealand and join them. Although we were profoundly honoured by the offer, we politely said we’d pray about it and returned to our ministry in England. By mid-July, Chuck had renewed his urgent request for us to join Nancy and him. To be honest, the cost and risk of such a venture for us seemed crazy. Finally in late August of 2011 Marcie and I made the long journey from England to New Zealand with the full intention of seeking the Lord for the right way forward.
To our amazement, as we began to talk and collectively seek the will of God, Nancy became the prime mover in our conversations. Her passion for this new ministry opportunity was infectious. Chuck, who most see as the voice of the Missler family, sat back and listened with all of us while Nancy waxed lyrical on their vision for ministry from their New Zealand base. Marcie, who previously had expressed to me that she did not see how this whole relocation would work, was now very excited to take the leap of faith in spite of the obvious risks. After days of conversation and prayer, we agreed to move toward a ministry partnership that would see us stepping down as the pastor of Calvary Chapel Portsmouth, selling our house, and moving everything to literally “the ends of the earth.”
On Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 5:26 PM, Nancy Missler wrote on the Kings Highway website:
“Most people our age are looking forward to moving into nice, quiet rest homes; we’re flying all over the place like ‘crazy people’, but having the time of our lives!”
“The wonderful news is that Ron Matsen and his wife Marcie (from our London office) are going to be joining us here in New Zealand. We are ecstatic about this! He will be helping to start Lyonshead Media Center, which will film all that goes on here at the Lodge. One of the names Ron suggested we call The River Lodge is ‘the L’Abri of the South Pacific.’ L’Abri is a French word that means shelter or rest. The first L’Abri community was founded in Switzerland in 1955 by Dr. Francis Schaeffer, who was a very well-known Christian theologian and philosopher. The L’Abri communities are study centers in Europe, Asia and America where individuals have the opportunity to seek honest questions about God.”
Nancy continued, “Since L’Abri means shelter or rest we thought Psalm 23:1–3 would be a very appropriate description of our vision for The River Lodge.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name sake.”
- The River Lodge will be a place people can come to rest beside the “still waters.” (It’s a beautiful piece of property, surrounded on three sides by the largest river in New Zealand).
- The River Lodge is a place where souls can be restored (One of our main purposes will be to help people be refreshed, renewed and re-filled in the Lord).
- The River Lodge is a place where Christ can lead us in the paths of righteousness (It’s a place where God’s Word will be taught, shared and prayerfully “lived”).
“We again appreciate your love, support and prayers so very much. We need them! The enemy does not like what we are doing here. Yet, with your prayers and by God’s hand, the enemy is being overcome. May the Lord lead you into green pastures; may He lay you down by the still waters; may He restore your soul; and may He lead you into the paths of His righteousness.”
“You are always in my prayers… Agape, Nan”
Our prayer is that God will fulfill the Missler’s vision of making their home at The River Lodge in New Zealand a place where the Body of Christ can be refreshed, nourished and strengthened.