June 2015

Iri’s final weeks

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It’s already June and the official start of winter. It started here in Gisborne some days ago and most probably where you are too. Hope it’s not a sign of a harsh winter ahead. Iri is going to get a shock when he lands back in New Zealand but the jackets and jerseys which had been stored in the container for ten years are now all freshly washed and hanging in the wardrobe waiting. The process of unpacking the container and turning an empty house into our home has been a good project for me and there aren’t many sleeps to go now!

Iri is busily tying up the ends to his time in Kondoa, setting up the final exam timetable, paying final visits to villages he loves, and having visitors come to see him there before he says his final goodbyes and leaves for the last time. He’s trying to get away without farewells but I don’t think that will happen! On a recent return trip to one village he found that the local Christians had made such a wonderful effort to build their own church that we sought funding for the last of the timber from faithful Auckland supporters who were able to help complete the building. The local congregation had hand made the bricks and built the church themselves, saved and purchased the iron sheets and transported them three at a time by bicycle from Kondoa town – a trip of three hours by car so probably all day on a bike.

Sacks of maize have been purchased to be sent home with village pastors, boxes of Bibles bought and distributed, the vehicle serviced and repainted and a household inventory made of goods to be kept by the Akesters.

Would you join with us to cover everything with prayer for Iri and the Akesters including

safe travel safe storage of the household goods and vehicle safe transport, distribution and storage of maize supplies safe sharing of emotions at the time of leaving and arriving

We love and honour you for sharing this special time with us. May the Lord bless you abundantly.

Our Story book review by Bob Robinson

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The following review was originally published in the Latimer Fellowship Magazine .

This very attractively produced book from NZCMS is a fine addition to the current burst of interest in the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the gospel in Aotearoa New Zealand. The 23 succinct chapters, from some twenty different writers, not only go over aspects of missionary arrivals here, but also outline the continuing impact on both Maori and wider society. This is history at its most appealing; it is well-edited, wears its undoubted scholarship lightly, and includes a set of contributions by or about Maori dimensions and perspectives as well. Latimer readers will realise, once again, how much our nation owes to its evangelical Anglican heritage. The book finishes with half a dozen reflective chapters before a concluding challenge from Steve Maina about the changing nature of global mission. The rather fuzzy b&w photo stretching around the front and back covers is disappointing when the contents are far more dynamic and include some wonderfully appealing photographs and other artwork, often in colour. Don’t judge this book by its cover! Instead, rejoice that it is available and for a very economical price—and with stimulating reading in each of its interesting chapters.


A bound copy of Our Story: Aotearoa can be yours for just $10 + $2.50 shipping.

There are two ways you can order your copy. First, you can contact Heather in the NZCMS office by emailing heather@nzcms.org.nz. Otherwise, use the NZCMS giving form: fill out your details, under “What would you like to support” select other, and in the space “Other project or Mission Partner” fill in “BOOKSTORY” plus the number of books you wish to order.

Making Social Change a Joke

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I like comedians. But I never really linked comedians with social change, until recently.

In an earlier post Kirstin shared about how she discovered she was the ’employer’ of 36 slaves. For a long time we’ve known about sweat-shops and the ‘modern day slave trade.’ And events like the 2013 Bangladesh garment factory collapse remind us about these relatives, but it seems we’re quick to forget. Thankfully, I’ve seen a growing number of solid Christians making decisive efforts to do our part and change the way we shop, which is absolutely fantastic. But how can we bring about mass social change, like Wilberforce and his buddies did years ago?

Perhaps through comedy..?

I’ve become a fan of John Oliver, not just because he’s funny, but also because he’s been able to tackle some difficult issues head on: the death penalty, America’s nuclear arsenal, the struggles of chicken farmers to name a few. And what’s impressed me is that he seems to be making real change (or at least call people to account) all while making us laugh. Which raises the question: if he can do this, presumably because it’s a niche in the entertainment space that he’s filled, then how much more should we be engaging these issues as people motivate by the Gospel?

(Note: Not everything John says is… as polite as we might find in Christian circles. It goes without saying that NZCMS does not endorse everything he says!)



Should we seek to bring about change the way John Oliver is? What difference should the Gospel make to the way we approach these sorts of things?


Watch the video. Share this with some friends and ask yourself whether you should make changes to the way you shop.


Join the discussion at the #NZCMS Facebook Group.

Camping in the Balkans

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We’ve decided to go to gathering of spiritual-seekers in the Balkans. We’re having a fantastic time. We’ve been here for two and a half weeks with two weeks remaining. We came early to set up and with eight other internationals we built a kitchen, chain space, tipi, healing space, meditation space, bread oven and fire bath. We are now up to 40 people with the numbers growing everyday.

We’re having amazing times with seekers from all over the world. Many here are exploring different areas of Buddhism though some are looking into other religions as well. We’ve been adopted by all as mum and dad. Nigel has especially enjoyed building and having conversations on Sufism and peace. A highlight for me is time with a Eastern European man who had quit his heroin addiction three days before he arrived. We’ve met so many amazing people but Nigel and I fall into our tent exhausted at the end of each day. Part of this is the intense conversations. I think the low protein vegan diet at the shared meals contributes as well. Our kids are having a blast and have made many friends.

Please be praying for wisdom, strength and protection. It’s nice to know we are being prayed for.