November 2014

Tough to Love

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I once heard a story of a missionary who was having a particularly difficult time. It wasn’t just that things were rough, but there was a particular person who was doing anything he could to make life miserable.

 

If there’s ever a time to respond with bitterness and resentment, this was it! Yet when this missionary’s friends asked him about the situation, his response was quite remarkable. He said that he didn’t know the extent to which un-love still lurked in his heart, and he praised God for using this person to reveal to him this lack of love. Rather than becoming bitter, he realized that God could use this difficult situation to transform him even further into Christ’s own likeness.

Learning how to love the people in our life that we find challenging to deal with is often very difficult. In a recent sermon Greg Boyd looks at some biblical examples and instructions on how to love our enemies in the same way we love our friends. And here’s a little snippet to get your thinking. (Full Sermon Here.)

 

 

THE MUSE

Why is it difficult to love our enemies? Why is it difficult to love our friends, family, loved ones? What can we do to reflect God’s love better?

 

THE MOVE

How about we all try putting into practice the most radical statement that’s ever been uttered this week: love your neighbour as yourself.

A Crossroads in New Zealand

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In this latest edition of NZ: Myths and Realities Keith Newman shares about the critical crossroads that we are at as a nation.

Throughout the year NZCMS is putting together a series of short videos where reputable Christian thinkers address the myths and realities of the Gospel in the New Zealand story.

For more information about New Zealand’s Gospel-bicentenary click here. Celebrate with us 200 years of the Gospel in Aotearoa.

Wheels for Judith

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One of our partners, Judith, will need a car from the Auckland area as from the beginning of March for a month or two.. We’re wondering if anyone has or knows of a car she may be able to borrow for that time.

If you know of anything that may be suitable, please contact us.

Haerenga 2015

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The deadline for Haerenga Mission Intership 2015 applications is fast approaching. If you or anyone you know might be sitting on the fence, now is the time to knock them off the fence and encourage them to get their application in.

And, as if any extra incentive is needed, it’s looking likely that Haerenga will be NZQA approved for next year thanks to our partnership with Laidlaw College. We’re also offering a few partial scholarships to worthy candidates.

 

More information, along with instructions for applications, can be found at nzcms.org.nz/haerenga. Alternatively you can contact kirstin@nzcms.org.nz

Our Latest Mission Partner

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We’re delighted to welcome Miriam Tillman to the NZCMS family.

In her 30 some years Miriam has visited over 30 countries. Between the ages of 5 and 17 she, with her family, was part of numerous cross-cultural Kings Kids (YWAM) trips that took her as far afield as Venezuela. At 21 she lived in a small Tanzanian village for three months where she served at the local dispensary. And she’s spent three years working for Mercy Ships on the African Mercy as a pharmacist, visiting various African nations including Togo, West Africa.

Miriam is returning to Togo to join a team starting a new hospital – the Hospital of Hope – in the town of Mango, about 12 -16 hours north of Togo’s capital, Lomé. The Hospital of Hope, due to open in March 2015 is run by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), an organisation that has served in Togo since 1974. Miriam will be tasked with setting up and running the hospital’s pharmacy along with training local pharmacy technicians. She aims to arrive by mid-January in order to commence training before the hospital opens.

Christians are a minority in Mango which means Miriam will not just be able to serve the people through her pharmaceutical expertise, but will also be able to shine Christ’s light to some who have perhaps never seen it.

#YourIdeas

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Here’s a second chance you share your thoughts on the following:

What do you like/dislike about #NZCMS? Should it be posted weekly, fortnightly, monthly? What do you think of the topics? Are we speaking to missional issues relevant for young adult kiwis?

This’ll help us know how to approach #NZCMS as we approach 2015! Share your thoughts below.

Our Story resources

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The Our Story Hui over Labour weekend was an absolute success. We were able to dive into our history, we heard stories about the incredible things God has done in our nation and around the world, and I can’t have been the only one who left with a renewed sense of excitement for what God is doing around the world.

Many people have been asking how and when we will make resources from Our Story available. We are still in the process of working through what we have and making transcripts out of some of the messages. As soon as we have something ready, we will let you know.

 

Kisiizi Hospital

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Kisiizi Hospital lies in South Western Uganda not 2 hours drive from my previous setting, Kisoro. Almost bizarrely it is really a hospital in the middle of no-where with the nearest significant town at least an hour’s drive in any direction. Despite this it has a name unto its self and has developed a good reputation for quality health care in the region.

Kisiizi is a Church of Uganda hospital with some government connection also. The hospital was first opened in 1958 and gradually grew and developed there. From early on, a huge advantage to the rural situation of Kisiizi Hospital was the access to the Omukinyata waterfall which, as well as providing the water requirements for the hospital, powers the hydro generator and source of power for the hospital. The waterfall itself has a morbid history in that historically, unmarried woman who were found to be pregnant were thrown from it. Despite this gruesome origin, it now powers not only the hospital, allowing for the care of so many, but also, through the Kisiizi Power Project, provides affordable electricity to the surrounding area.

The moto of Kisiizi Hospital is “life in all its fullness” from John 10:10 and, within that, comes the aim to care for societies most vulnerable. The hospital consists of 3 operating theatres, a surgical inpatient department, general medical inpatient ward, isolation ward, paediatrics, maternity, special care nursery and inpatient mental health. The inpatient mental health ward is particularly novel in being the only one of its kind in a non-government hospital. In addition to this Kisiizi has extensive outpatient facilities, community out-reach projects, child sponsorships scheme, clinics (HIV, Eyes, dental, antenatal, immunisation etc.). To further increase the accessibility of health care, Kisiizi Hospital has Uganda’s oldest health insurance scheme, a scheme which caters to 34000 people and means that sudden health-care needs will not reduce a family to destitution.

Education is also a key element of Kisiizi which runs the Kisiizi primary school – started for the purpose of retaining staff by providing quality education for their children – and the Kisiizi school of nursing and midwifery.

So… in this extensive project, where do I fit in?

I will be at Kisiizi for 3 months, until the end of January, during which time I will be working in the paediatric ward and special care nursery. Kissizi offers me a very different image of health care to my pervious location and, within that, valuable learning experience for how effective and quality health care can be provided in a low-resource setting, on a larger scale. In addition to some unique and very valuable learning opportunities which I will have in my time here, I am also hoping to contribute, particularly within the special care nursery, in staff education and practice development.

Please do pray that my time here in Kisiizi will be a fruitful one and thank you for your on-going support of my work here in Uganda.

If you get the opportunity please do have a look at the Kisiizi Hospital website to get a more vivid picture of my current location!

The work I am doing through NZCMS is strictly volunteer work – I am not paid by NZCMS nor by Kisiizi Hospital in Uganda. I am able to do this work through the generosity of every-day people who want to support me to be able to be here and help with this incredible work.

If you want to find out more about supporting me in this work please either contact me directly or click here for more details as to how you can support me. Every bit of support of every kind helps.

Even sorbet gets lost in translation

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Feeling like an ice cream I went to see what flavours a local shop was selling. I decided on a zesty looking lemon sorbet and so when a lady came over I asked for a scoop in Spanish and pointed to my choice. She said something back and I replied “si, si” ( “yes, yes”) and so she took a cone, scooped out a berry flavour and gave it to me.

My thoughts of walking away enjoying a zesty lemon sorbet had to change quickly to a sweet berry scoop.

It wasn’t a big deal and it made me chuckle a bit inside but it does give a little taste of what it’s like living life in a new language and culture. Most days I’m trying to understand and be understood, sometimes I have to readjust my expectations (lemon to berry) and often I feel more like a child than an adult. In two months there has been many highs and lows but I am so grateful that God is not like me and that he is always a strong rock and a secure fortress who doesn’t change. We can find true rest in God alone.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken (Psalm 62).

 

A few weeks ago I signed up for crochet classes as a creative way to learn Spanish and to spend time with people from the community. I go twice a week and join a table of nattering Spanish Women who are all working on their own knitting or crochet. My teacher is a very friendly and patient lady who seems to be the ‘go to’ person in the neighborhood if you need craft advice. She teaches me how to crochet in Spanish with drawings and small demonstrations thrown in, we laugh a lot. I am very thankful that it has been such a joy to sit and listen and to try using my Spanish with these women.

 

To learn more about Katie and the work she is involved with in Spain click here.

 

The Day of Sacrifice

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A story from a partner in Asia.

The annual day of sacrifice is typically a colourful event, but the escaped cow running loose into the crowds around the mosque forecourt made it even more so.

The mosque was to slaughter many cows and even more goats, and after the all-night prayer vigils (amplified by loudspeaker), the early-morning sermon (also amplified), and the reading of the donor’s names, the moment had arrived for ‘cow number one’ to be sacrificed.

A bustling crowd of a few hundred looked on around the edges. Vendors selling iced drinks, fried egg-pancakes and balloons were out in force. With the promise of copious amounts of fresh meat for all, there was an air of happy festivity.

The initial signs of struggle came while they were trying to figure out which legs to tie first so it would lie down the right way (facing Mecca). The imam worked up his best sholawat, a triumphant oratio of “God is great!” over the loudspeakers. In the confusion, the cow panicked, jumped loose from the bonds, and bolted straight across the yard where the crowd screamed and shrank back as one. The spooked cow made a U turn, dodged one of the quicker guys, and made several circuits of the yard. The crowd squealed in laughter and terror, men holding ropes and running in disarray, all while the imam continued his urgent soul-lifting mantra undeterred.

We stood behind a concrete barrier, just in front of ‘cow number two’, chewing his grass and lazily looking at us with those beautiful bovine eyes, seemingly unaware of the drama behind him. One of our children stroked his horn, animal-lover that she is. Eventually ‘cow number one’ was persuaded to offer its life in a different corner of the yard. It took considerable effort to drag its carcass across to the correct butchering area.

We laughed about the incident with friends that evening as they seared goat sate sticks over a scrap-wood fire. The country is glutted with red meat, paid for by the rich and dispensed free by mosques. The feast (Idul Adha) coincides with the climax of the hajj pilgrimage events in Mecca, and is the second main highlight in the Islamic calendar (the first being Idul Fitri, the post-Ramadan festivities).

“Do the donor’s keep any for themselves?” I asked. “No, that’s not allowed!” a friend replied, offering another stick of meat. “Why do they do it?” “There’s a story, about the Prophet … who was it? … Ibraham nearly sacrificing his only son, the Prophet Jesus.” “Don’t you mean Isaac, or Ishmael?” “Oh ya, one of them. God gave him a goat to sacrifice instead.”

Either way, it’s a few days of rare abundance for our neighbours. Beef is a treat, usually only eaten once a year at this occasion. Even though our neighbours often receive less desirable cuts, they seem grateful enough. One of our friends opened several bags of offal – heart, liver, guts. Another man chopped up every last piece of a goat’s skull for what he hoped would be a delicious soup.

“Is there this much meat back in the village?” I wanted to know. “No, nothing like this.” Another reason to migrate from the country. The promise of the ‘trickle-down effect’ in the city is obvious on a day like this.