Efforts to help people restore family life and build on their marriages have been rewarded with a special award.

Andy and Nikki Bray, directors of FamilyLife NZ, are recipients of the New Zealand Christian Network Unsung Heroes Award 2013, in the marriage and family category, presented at Parliament on August 27.

“It was a nice surprise,” Mr Bray says. “It’s always nice to find we are appreciated.

“We do feel honoured, but also humbled because the success is being part of a team and we have a great team who have been with us for 20 years.”

Consequently, the full team of six plus supporters journeyed to Wellington. Mr Bray says “it was a grand occasion with MPs there”.

“But we haven’t ever done this for awards, rather the satisfaction of seeing families restored and marriages built up.

“And we’re always learning ourselves. We have the same conflicts and find we put so much into practice in our own lives, we benefit at home.
“It’s a joy really to have the spin-off in our own lives.”

Mr Bray says their 17-year-old son, Ben, is finding his family involvement is rubbing off when mates talk to him about their relationship issues.

The Pakuranga couple are no strangers to rocky patches, especially when their eldest daughter, Natasha, lost her life, along with six others from Elim Christian College, in the Mangetepopo Gorge while on an outdoor pursuits trip in 2008.

The Brays went to their first FamilyLife conference in 1992 and it made such an impression that they decided to get involved and established Family Life NZ in 1994.

It runs conferences and events throughout the country, reaching more than 20,000 people through the Weekend to Remember, Day Together and Understanding One Another events.

The couple are sought-after conference speakers, have authored two books, Treasures in the Darkness and First Things First, and have regular slots on Radio Rhema.

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