May 2015

Tautua nei mo sou manuia a taeao

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Talofa lava. This week Kiwis around the country will be celebrating Samoan Language Week. The theme this year is “Tautua nei mo sou manuia a taeao” which means “Serve now for a better tomorrow.”

My parents came to NZ and didn’t understand or speak any English so naturally at home we spoke Samoan. But at school I spoke broken English – a mixture of Samoan and English. At church we spoke, read the Bible, sat exams and sang hyms in Samoan. Speaking the Samoan language was imbedded in every aspect of life.  I could read it, write it and speak it.

It helped me cross between two cultures: the Kiwi way and the Samoan way. It was useful when I needed to interpret the “white man’s” thinking and translate this to my mother and siblings. Speaking Samoan with a Kiwi accent meant that I was part of a generation breaking new ground. It meant that I could use this gift from God to serve in my family, in my community, in my workplace and in God’s church.

Where does language come from? It comes from God. It is a gift of God to us.  It reflects and reveals him. The first time we see God speaking in the history of the world is at creation. Our Father is the one that speaks, Jesus is the Word and the Spirit is associated with the effects of the words spoken. God invented language, whether it be in English, Samoan or any other language. And God is part of every conversation because he’s our Creator, the giver of our language-ness – no matter what language we speak. Isn’t that amazing!

The Samoan language, like other languages from small Pacific nations, is under threat. If we lose the uniqueness of any language we will lose the gift from God to help share the Good News that brings transformation to indiviuals, families, communities and nations. And we’ll miss out on what God wants to reveal to the world through the Samoan language and culture.

Tautua nei mo sou manuia a taeo – Serve now for a better tomorrow.  To my beloved Samoan community I pray that we continue to embrace the Samoan language as God’s gift, using this to advance his Kingdom and to bring him glory. To serve for a better tomorrow means for us to make the Samoan language a gift to our children.

Fa’afetai tele lava le Atua mo le meaalofa o le Gagana Samoa ma isi gagana esese i le lalolagi (Thank you Lord for the Samoan language and other different languages around the world).



If you speak another language, what are some of the ways you utalise this gift in everyday life? Or have you been tempted to ‘bury the gift’ because of the dominance of English in New Zealand?



If you don’t speak another language and are willing to learn, why not find someone bilingual in your workplace, community or church and ask them to teach you some new words.


Join the discussion at the #NZCMS Facebook Group.

The Evolution of Golden Oldies (Issue 22)

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For the past three years Graeme and Jane Mitchell have led teams of ‘Golden Oldies’ on short mission trips to Fiji. Each year this group, consisting mostly of retirees, discover that participation in God’s mission is for everyone. They even take a nurse with them to make sure everyone can participate. The Golden Oldies have returned inspired and now see new ways they can help with the variety of mission projects in and around Fiji.

The short-term Golden Oldies mission trips are expanding. Previous years’ Golden Oldies are being inspired – and energised – to return for further mission adventures. Last year’s trip became a bit of a ‘McDonalds Combo’ with our returning Golden Oldies being known as the ‘Graduates’ and the first-timers as the ‘Interns.’


The Interns spent the time visiting and learning about mission projects in Fiji. Like previous trips we visited ministries focused on everything from housing to education to health. We also expanded to include aged-care and even a prison ministry. One of our rather nervous Golden Oldies found the prison visit especially engaging: “We were the first people to visit this so-called juvenile prison… only to find out the age range was actually 17-80 years old. That was a shock before we even got through the gate! But what a wonderful experience it was.” As a result of this visit, a new prison ministry with a local Anglican church is being established.


Meanwhile the Graduates used their years of experience and skills to transfer knowledge to a number of ministries. Teachers were able to pass on their wisdom to teachers and students. Biblical teaching was offered to students and ministers at the Bible College. Medical training and support was given at a village hospital. Sulus were sown for the girls at an orphanage. And a woman’s craft day was run to teach ladies a range of crafts.

Rev. Amy Chambers, principal of St Johns Bible College in Suva, says “the Golden Oldies are no longer strangers to us, they are family. We are encouraged by their missions and it is building a special partnership with the churches of Fiji and New Zealand.”

Youth Mission

Prior to this trip, a short-term youth team was sent to Fiji as well. The NZCMS Haeranga interns joined up with the team and together they visited a number of mission projects. One of the interesting observations was how much Fijian students value their education. Basden College, an Anglican School, offers second-chance education to students who have fallen off the rails. These students shared their testimonies of been given a second chance at school, and this impacted our youth significantly! As a result of this trip, several team members are now looking at joining the Haeranga Mission Internship in the future.

In July this year we will be running another youth mission trip, and in August, another Golden Oldies trip. Please get in touch if you are interested!


Contact Graeme and Jane Mitchell          021 460 338


Originally published in Intermission (Issue 22, May 2015)

Meet Margaret

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We are delighted to be able to announce the recent acceptance of Margaret Poynton as a Mission Partner. Margaret comes to us with a wealth of experience. For the past 13 years she has been the National Administrator for the Interchurch Council for Hospital Chaplaincy and, in addition, for 11 years, their National Training Adviser.  This has meant she has travelled extensively around New Zealand visiting hospitals and their chaplaincy teams.

Margaret has been accepted to fulfil the role of Executive Assistant to Archbishop Clyde of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea. Margaret is currently finishing her Cross Cultural and Mission studies at St Andrew’s Hall and will be returning to Wellington before heading to Port Moresby at some time in the near future to take up this role.

Opportunity in Bangladesh

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A busy dynamic rural health project committed to the poor in a remote area in Bangladesh is in need of a facilitator-trainer for English communication necessary to sustain its funding. Almost all its funding comes from private donations from New Zealand and America.

The Kailakuri Health Care Project ( provides essential health care for a very poor community. It is run by the poor for the poor. English communications are currently managed by an elderly New Zealand doctor together with a young Bangladeshi with computer skills but insufficient English. The language medium of the project is Bengali and none of the staff has sufficient English for overseas communications.


Job Description:

1. English communications on behalf of the Medical Coordinator. 2. Discussion and explanation of correspondence (working though the interpreter/computer worker). 3. Letter preparation. 4. Writing English newsletters and reports. 5. Advocacy and fund-raising. 6. Correction of staff’s English  (especially that of the computer worker/interpreter). 7. Working with key staff to improve their conversational English.

Duration of Commitment: One to two years.


For more information please contact the NZCMS Office or email

Mustard Seed

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I know a lot of great people with sh#! lives.

Abusive partners. Dads who are complete eggs. Twelve year olds using pot to get to sleep. 15 year olds whose friendship groups have more self-harmers than not.

So, I have a world of respect for the people I know.

People who keep loving their kids when their partner’s just bringing them down. Who, from ten years old, are sussing out how to be different to their dad. Who plot a course away from addiction and confront the fears their drug use was hiding. Who comfort their friends and counsel them through their pain, as well as dealing with their own.

Most days, knowing the people I know, I come home inspired. Tired? Often. But exhausted? Not yet.

It’s tiring to keep seeing the best in people, but it’s exhausting not to.

Jesus says that he is so close to everyone who suffers. If we ignore them, then we ignore him too. And he said that his Kingdom is like the smallest seed (Matthew 13:31), the type of seed you have to be really close to in order to see. Seek first that Kingdom.

I’ve found again and again that if you stand back and look at the life of someone who’s struggling from a distance, you’ll just see their struggles. But if you’re brave enough to know them and love them, you’ll find all kinds of hope.

You’ll find tiny seeds of hope that God’s planted and he’s waiting for someone to water.

Seeds like someone who has decided to change for the better. Seeds like a new charity that might have a solution to an old problem. Seeds like an older brother or role model in a family. Seeds like a memory of how life used to be. There are always seeds.

I’ve found those seeds in crazy homes, in unfair laws and political structures, in CYF facilities, with gang members and with people winding down from fights in the local park.

We just have to be close enough to people’s lives to see the tiny seeds of hope God has sowed amongst everything else that’s going on.

And if that closeness scares you, remember that Jesus is already there with that person or in their situation, waiting for you to join him.



Are you willing to actually love someone in pain – love them enough that it hurts you too until you find the seeds of hope in their life?


Help someone to hope for themselves in ways they wouldn’t have without you. If you’re struggling to find a ‘someone,’ just have a closer look at your Facebook feed.


The photo is of a poor neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, where a French artist called JR lived for several months photographing the faces of local women and printing them onto the sides of buildings. Look from a distance and see a slum – look close and see the beauty.

Join the discussion at the #NZCMS Facebook Group.

Christchurch Mission Expo (13 June)

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NZCMS has the privilege of being involved in an upcoming Mission Expo in Christchurch run by Mission World. A number of the event’s teaching sessions will be run by NZCMS people, looking a various contemporary mission issues.

This is an opportunity to learn and be challenged, to research and to glean information. It’s for church leaders, mission teams, prospective mission workers long or short, supporters, students, families – there is something for everyone interested in global mission. This is also an opportunity for us Cantabrians to show the rest of New Zealand how passionate we are about mission. So let’s invite as many people as we can and make this a truly engaging day.

Date: Saturday 13 June 2015 Time: 9:30am-4:00pm Where: Riccarton Baptist Church, 80 Rattray St, Riccarton, Christchurch Cost: Free entry

*    Displays from mission organisations *    Speak with those who serve overseas *    28 ‘Soundbyte’ seminars on all things global mission *    Glean advice on how to get involved *    Hear the stories of those involved

For more information click here. The event outline can be found here.


What not to do in Spain

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Katie is currently in Spain learning the language and culture. Here’s some highlights from a blog post we’ve stumbled across that give some insights into the culture she is learning… and how it differs from the culture back in New Zealand.

The original blog is called 10 Ways to Totally Humiliate Yourself in Spain.


Go barefoot anywhere.

Spaniards have an aversion to bare feet. Even in their own homes, Spaniards wear slippers, so don’t even try to traipse around the pool at the gym without flip flops on!

Dress weather appropriate, rather than season appropriate.

Spaniards dress according to the season, not the weather. This means that even if it’s 27 degrees in winter, you’ll likely be gawked at on the street for wearing shorts and sandals. No matter how high the winter temperature, that is summer attire only!

Eat while on the go.

Spaniards like to make every meal a sit-down meal. Chow down on the street or in the metro and you might find yourself the subject of baffled gazes, feeling like the oft-stereotyped “fat tourist” who simply can’t wait to get to a table before shoving food down her gullet.

Try to get dinner before 9 pm.

Most Spaniards don’t even start thinking about dinner until around 9pm and usually don’t eat it until 10 or 11. Show up to a restaurant around 7 or 8 pm expecting to get dinner and the restaurant will either be empty, closed, or filled with Spaniards enjoying some after work drinks well before dinner.

Wear gym clothes outside of the gym.

In other parts of the world, it’s completely fine to run errands in sweatpants, walk down the street in your less-than-best outfits, or even grab lunch with a friend in yoga pants. In Spain, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you so much as enter the grocery store in your gym or lounge clothes. Don’t do it.

Attorney-General commends NZ’s Christian Heritage

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The following is reposted from The Christian message Samuel Marsden introduced 200 years ago has been positive for this country and is one which must be repeated with optimism and conviction year in and year out. – Hon Christopher Finlayson QC, Attorney-General, 21 December 2014.

The following speech was delivered by Hon Christopher Finlayson QC, Attorney-General, during the Gospel Bicentenary commemorations held at Oihi in the Bay of Islands, Christmas Week 2014. It should be an encouragement to Christians in all walks of life to know and tell our Christian story.

1814 was a very interesting year. The most noteworthy event was the abdication of Napoleon as Emperor of the French on 11 April, preceded a few days earlier by the Bourbon restoration. George Stephenson tested his first locomotive, Blucher, successfully in England. Pius VII re-established the Society of Jesus all over the world. Some here may say that was a very bad move by His Holiness; others, including me, say it paved the way for the election of Francis, the first Jesuit pope.

The British continued to have a bad time in the United States. On September 13, their failure at the Battle of Baltimore was a critical turning-point in their war with the Americans. The American defence of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem later set to music as The Star Spangled Banner.

The year ended with the Congress of Vienna, which sought to settle many issues arising out of French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. Schubert’s First Mass and Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony had their premieres and, on 25 December, just down the path from here, Samuel Marsden brought Christianity to New Zealand.

As we all know, Marsden introduced to New Zealand what is arguably the gentlest form of Christianity: Anglicanism. Shortly thereafter, the Catholics arrived bringing French Catholicism and, some years later, Irish Catholicism.

With settlement came the dour Scots and Presbyterianism. Then the social justice advocates, unimpressed with establishment Christianity, who brought first Methodism and then the Salvation Army.

And this introduction of various forms of Christianity continued into the twentieth century. Orthodoxy came with our first Greek immigrants and in due course the Serbs, Romanians and Russians. Most recently, the Assyrian Christians, uprooted from their homelands by extremism, have brought their religion and liturgy spoken in the language of Christ.

This [the Christian heritage of New Zealand] is a rich and interesting story and it is not recounted enough.

Despite the odd outbreak of sectarian hostility, the churches have worked pretty well together over the years. I think of the first parish priest of Saint Mary of the Angels in Wellington, who conducted funeral services for the Presbyterians at St John’s in Willis Street when their minister was absent. Today, St John’s gives its church to St Mary of the Angels’ parishioners so they can celebrate Mass while their church in Boulcott Street is repaired.

All these churches continue today. Many appear to have fallen on hard times. They seem lost and perplexed by the modern world. They try to adapt, not always successfully. For me, the Judeo-Christian tradition, which Marsden inaugurated on Christmas Day 1814, and which has continued to this day, is underscored by four main points:

First, that the individual is made in the image of God and that, accordingly, everyone has worth.

Secondly, that one should respect individual effort and creativity, a key idea, particularly following the Reformation and the Enlightenment. In medieval times, and even in some corners of Christianity today, independence of thought is not cherished.

Thirdly, that a successful society is one governed by laws, not men and women – that we are all subject to the rule of law no matter how powerful or how rich. An ancient value, admittedly, but one reinforced by the Reformation and the American Revolution.

Finally, above all, the Christian message is a very optimistic one. It is a story of reconciliation and forgiveness.

As Pope Francis recently told the Council of Europe, in order to progress towards the future, we need the past, we need profound roots. We either preserve a country’s foundational being or it dies.

I am pleased to be here today and, to use an overused word, ‘celebrate’ the arrival of Marsden and Christianity into New Zealand because the Christian message he introduced 200 years ago has been positive for this country and is one which must be repeated with optimism and conviction year in and year out.

The Christian churches should be proud of these traditions and their message; they do not worry about reinventing themselves and trying to be relevant. Of course they have to adapt to changing times, but they can and must hold fast to unchanging principles and have the same gritty determination of Samuel Marsden.

This is a great day for New Zealand.


Glyn Carpenter has been National Director of New Zealand Christian Network since March 2003 and attends Northcote Baptist Church in Auckland. He is married to Christine (married in 1981) and has three sons – two in their last year at medical school and one working in computer science.

“He sells his land to drink”

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‘What problems does alcohol bring in this community?,” Geoffry asked an old lady leaning against the edge of her hut, picking tiny stones from a shallow basket of rice.

“Alcohol breaks up families. Liver disease. Young boys steal from their families to buy alcohol. It makes men do nothing, no farming, they just sit drinking” Then solemnly she added.. “Impotence. Women are not satisfied these days.”

Wakonye Kenwa (our community organizing group) has been out and about with our survey, asking our community in Lacor about alcohol. What kind of alcohol brings the most problems? What time should bars open and close? Do you support a ban on sachet alcohol (100ml of ready to drink 40% spirits sold for 20 NZ cents)? And the trickiest last question… “Do you know anyone who is negatively affected by alcohol? Can you tell us about their life?”

Our survey served two purposes. 1) To hunt out keen people who care to recruit to our group. 2) To collect evidence to support our campaign for new alcohol laws in Gulu District.

Our research taught me a lot about alcohol use in my community. But I’ve learned more about how (and how not) to do research with keen but new-to-research volunteers. Take that last question. Each volunteer was asked to try and capture an example, a story, about how alcohol impacts on people’s lives. We did role plays to drum it in. Yesterday I translated and typed our 98 questionnaires into excel. Approaches to answering to that last question were varied…

The most unhelpful response: “Yes I know someone” or “I know lots of people!” (no elaboration)

The break-all-confidentiality response: A list of names (but no stories), usually followed by a plea of sorts “they need help.” One lady wrote, “my neighbor, David Komakech.” The next form I picked up was..wait for it…was David Komakech. In response to the last question he answered “Yes. Alcohol is a problem for me. I’ve lost all my money.”

The story response: And of course, some interviewers understood the question properly and got their interviewee to give a detailed example. Here are a few:

“I know many people, but the one closest to me is my mother. Any money she gets, anything you give her, she just sells it to drink alcohol… sugar, food, anything. If she drinks a lot then she gets accidents. I have taken her to hospital many times. It disturbs me so much. She is always asking for money. I don’t give it to her, because alcohol is killing her:” (41 year old man)

“Yeah, me. It can be a problem for me. Yesterday on the way back from the bar I stubbed my foot. My foot still hurts.” (24 year old man)

“My husband drinks, he uses all our money for drinking, and he is hardly ever home. When he is home he hits me when he gets drunk. I know he sleeps with other women. I’m worried I will get HIV aids” (30 year old woman)

“My uncle drank so much he passed out and has now been in hospital for one week with liver problems. He has drunken alcohol for many years now. He doesn’t work, he sells things like his land to eat food and drink more. Last week he sold his motorbike. He no longer sends his children to school” (32 year old woman).

I did 20 interviews myself with members of our group. So, so many people had stories like this.

CMS UK In Nepal

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The following is from the CMS UK website, written by one of their Mission Partners in Nepal.

Ram Prasad Shrestha is a CMS Timothy mission partner and director of the National Mission Commission of Nepal. He reports from Kathmandu on the scale of the disaster and the early response.

My heart cries when I see people desperate, watch the news and see the television report. There is a shortage of food, water and tents to sleep. Almost 90 per cent people of Kathmandu valley are sleeping on the street and open space, but very few have got tents.

Markets, banks, transportation and business houses are closed. People are queuing to rush for the food and water in Kathmandu, I cannot imagine what might happen to the hardest hit regions like Gorkha, Dhading, Kavre and Sindhupalchol. They do not have food, water and shelter to hide.

The nature is completely against us, after the earthquake it started raining, which has put lives in misery. The rescue team has not been able to reach into the affected area to deliver the food and medicine due to lack of transportation. Due to the dead bodies of human beings, animal decaying under the rubbles and lack of safe drinking water the people are getting sick and there is warning of a possible epidemic outbreak.

Some hospitals in the Kathmandu valley are already seeing many children and adult with diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation and water.

We slept in a shelter for two nights, before that we slept in the open field. Many families had to find whatever shelter they could to sleep at night.


On Saturday, 25 April, it was a worship day in Nepal. While Christians of Nepal were worshipping in the churches, suddenly a killer earthquake hit the nation. Some churches have been destroyed and almost 100 Christians have died. One of the churches with 100 members was having fellowship on the fourth floor of a seven story building in Sukedhara, central Kathmandu. The whole building collapsed and more than 25 believers were killed and many were injured.

Likewise, two churches have been totally collapsed in Bhaktapur. One of the pastors of Bhaktapur shared, “More than 40 families have been badly affected by the Earthquake. Their houses are totally collapsed.” He further says: “More than 200 Christian families are seriously affected by the earthquake.”

According to a local pastor, one church has collapsed, killing nine church members on the spot.

Many churches in Kathmandu have been affected, but confirmed report still to come.

Relief works.

The government, together with several internal agencies, is trying to get rescue materials to the affected areas, but due to landslides, rain and remote areas the rescue work has been very difficult.

The helicopters are trying to land with the rescue works, but they have not been able to land. The rescue operation and relief materials are not enough, many people are without tent, medicine, food and water.

Our plan. We are planning to get involved in restoration and rebuilding though there is immediate need of buying foods, clothing, utensils and plastic tents.

We have missionaries in those affected areas; we are going to form a team and work with them to serve the people. Our prayer and hope is to get involved in rebuilding the houses and provide the support for the widows and orphans caused by the catastrophic earthquake.

We had an emergency board meeting: the board has unanimously approved to go ahead with relief works. Funds started coming to us. Please join us in prayer.

We are planning to distribute to meet the immediate needs for each family as follows: 5 kg of rice 1 kg of Dal (beans) 0.5 kg of sugar 1 pkt of tea 2 pcs of soap Few packet of spices And one box (20 packets) of noodle.

Our plan is to distribute to 1000 families immediately.

Now, I would like make and heartfelt appeal to you all and pray for the helping these people and building the community through the love of Christ. Kindly pray and help us with financial support and possibly by sending the team to build the community soon.


The original article can be read here.