NZCMS

Ponder Anew what the Almighty can do!

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Three months ago, news media started to fill up with the rapid spread of COVID-19. We were hearing stories of over-flowing hospitals and morgues in different parts of the world. New Zealanders were filling planes to get home before airlines grounded their fleets. And in the middle of this, each of our Mission Partners – wherever they served – faced uncertainty and unpredictable situations.Just as New Zealand entered full lockdown, I sent out an email update challenging us (including myself!) to turn towards God in the midst of fear and uncertainty, and ask: “Lord, what are You doing here?” and “What new opportunities are there to extend Your Kingdom?”As I look back over what has happened with NZCMS over the past three months, I can see some answers to those questions:“I’m showing you that I miraculously provide”When I wrote the update in March, some Mission Partners who had chosen to return because of visas or pre-existing health conditions, had not been able to get flights back. We are thankful for the provision of flights for all who chose to return to New Zealand, including the unexpected provision of a seat on a private jet for one of our Mission Partner’s – a picture of God’s abundance and generosity!One family was forced to buy three sets of air tickets as the planes from their location kept being grounded. Fearful about the amount of money spent, when we sat together to look at their finances, we found that somehow their budget balanced! “I’m showing you that I still want you to bring others to know my love”We are encouraged by our Mission Partners and their commitment to service. About half of our Mission Partners remain in their communities and countries of service, with others in New Zealand temporarily.We are encouraged by people applying to serve as Mission Partners, in spite of this season of uncertainty. We are encouraged by churches continuing to support the work of global mission.“Here’s an opportunity for you to be generous – just like I am”Our Mission Partners make financial sacrifices when they are sent out to serve the global Church, and the staff team at NZCMS has a duty of care to them. Because of the generosity of the broader NZCMS community, we have in turn been able to be generous to the Mission Partners who now find themselves in New Zealand because of COVID-19.Over $10,000NZD was given through NZCMS Mission Partners Nick & Tessa Laing to support emergency needs of the Anglican health centres in northern Uganda. This has been used to buy supplies in the fight against COVID-19, to pay for transport for patients, and to contribute to critical shortages at the local Catholic hospital. One of our Mission Partners, currently in New Zealand, ran a full marathon to raise money to support vulnerable people served by their ministry in Asia. Running alongside him was the Bishop of Nelson, Steve Maina, (ex- NZCMS Director).To date, $13,785 has been given to support the urgent needs that local partners of CMS Africa are seeing in the communities they serve. When we give, we live the nature of our God who gave Christ to see us transformed. “Here’s an opportunity to do new, creative things – just like I do”Our staff saw new opportunities for innovation during this season. As we entered lockdown in NZ, along with most of our Mission Partners, we saw new opportunities to connect. Happy Hour zoom gatherings provided a platform to connect as NZCMS family, and to engage in global mission topics.These meetings continue on a monthly basis: see here for more details. “Here’s an opportunity to know that I am God”We are called to trust God in a global situation which is outside our individual control, and when our own lives have not looked as we expected in 2020. I am deeply thankful to our God, who does all things well, and to you, our NZCMS family, who have supported, given, encouraged and served in these months of change and uncertainty. Let us join together and praise the Lord our God with the words from this hymn:“Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee,Who from the heavens the streams of His mercy doth send thee.Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with His love doth befriend thee.”Yours in the love of Christ,Rosie Fyfe  

Missional Opportunity in Fiji

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Are you passionate about growing the Church? Skilled at managing finances? Interested in working cross-culturally? Are you a team-player keen to train others? NZCMS, in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia, is looking for a Finance and Trust Manager who can improve and manage the assets and finances of the Diocese, and train up others with these skills.The primary function of the Finance and Trust Manager is to manage the assets, finances, and property of the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia. The Diocese has not been successful in appointing a suitable person locally for this role and have therefore approached NZCMS. In addition to fulfilling the role responsibilities, the goal for the NZCMS Mission Partner would be to work themselves out of the job. They would have an additional responsibility to train a small group to equip them with skills to fulfil this role and others in the Diocese and community.This role is located in Fiji. The successful applicant would serve the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia as a NZCMS Mission Partner. The length of service is negotiable, although it is expected that this role would require at least 2 years commitment.Further DetailsThe Diocese of Polynesia is responsible for the Anglican mission in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa (within the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia). The Anglican Mission in the Diocese focuses on evangelism, stewardship, development and education.The functions of the position include:– General trust office administration including property and financial management– Evaluation and reporting of all assets and properties, and maintaining database records– Analysis of investment opportunities available locally and internationally– Property management– Coaching others with financial and asset management skills.The successful applicant will have:– Experience working cross-culturally– Experience in training and coaching others and excellent communication skills.– A proactive attitude.– Excellent organisational skills.– Experience in managing assets.– Ability to provide sound investment and policy advice.Does this sound like you? We would love to talk more about this missional opportunity with you. Please contact NZCMS at office@nzcms.org.nz for more information. You can download a printable, pdf version of this job description here.

God at Work in the Ordinary

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Hearing for the First TimeWe gather together at the end of the day, sitting on grey plastic chairs, our open Bibles illuminated by one solar light. I look around at my sisters in Christ, women from different language groups, representing diverse cultures yet together nonetheless to share in the hearing of the Gospel.We start with a few praise choruses accompanied by an eight-string hand-made ukulele. After a brief prayer of thanksgiving, we open our Pidgin English Bibles to The Sermon on the Mount. As I begin to read aloud, they turn toward me, attuned to the words of Christ: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. As we meditate upon and discuss the text around our circle, the words of Scripture come alive in the tropical evening.As a missionary in the Solomon Islands, a chain of islands in the South Pacific, it is my joy to work with my husband as teachers at an Anglican Seminary. The enrolled students are all men and many of them bring their wives and families to the school for their last two years of study. Their wives are then able to join the Women’s Ministry Program, which equips them to partner with their husbands.All but one of my women students have only a primary level education, and on average they finished formal education after the fourth grade (approx age 10). They struggle with feelings of inferiority and ineptitude when it comes to studying anything, especially the Bible, a realm that they are more than happy to leave to their soon-to-be ordained husbands.However, it is a beautiful thing to behold these women, despite their fears and insecurities, showing up every Monday night and opening themselves up to hearing the precious word of God. Many of them are unable to read fluently, so instead they open their ears to let the Gospel in. Their attitudes represent what it means to be poor in spirit, in a place of emptiness and need at the feet of Jesus. Most of the time, they are hearing the words being read for the very first time.Listening WellIn an oral culture, listening is a far more practiced art than the act of reading. Sometimes I am shocked when someone repeats back to me something I said in a context where I thought nobody was listening.At feasts, when important guests are given a turn at the microphone for a speech, I look around at the crowds of people sitting around in the shade of fruit trees, eating roasted pig, sweet potato and fish. Most of them seem oblivious to the man talking. Many of them are even talking loudly amongst themselves, chewing and spitting betel nut, barely even looking at the speaker. But rather than not paying attention, these men, women, and children are actually tuned in and could tell you exactly what was said if you asked them afterwards.When Jesus went up on that hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee and sat to teach the crowds, I’m guessing it was a very similar scene to the Solomon Islanders sitting around at a feast. Over the din of playing children, squabbles between siblings and chitchat, those Israelites had their ears tuned in to hear the Master’s words. They were the very first ones to hear what we as modern Christians have the privilege of reading again and again.Poor in SpiritAround our little circle of chairs, we read Jesus’ words to those who would hear and open their hearts to the transforming power of the Gospel: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Those who are poor in spirit are those who do not think highly of themselves, but rather come to Christ ready to be filled with his Holy Spirit. Men and women who are poor in spirit will see God’s will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven. They will get a glimpse of what is yet to come.The women in my Bible Study are hearing the Word of God in clear Pidgin English for the first time and are soaking it all in. One of my students has said to me several times, “Before, I just heard the words being read from the Bible. But now I can actually understand them!”Reading together in a common language is making the Word alive to them. As I said farewell to a woman leaving the school yesterday, she tearfully told me that when she came to the school, she came with an “empty heart.” She continued by saying that she had learned so much, especially about the Bible through our classes and Bible Study.These women have never had access to Bible Study guides, inspirational Christian books, topical studies or video teachings. Instead, they sit in dim light, holding an open Bible, allowing the Light of the World to shine on them and show them the path of discipleship.What about us?We as Western Christians can’t fake poverty. No matter how hard we try to simplify and reduce the clutter of our physical lives, the fact still remains that we are privileged to have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. So how can we become “poor in spirit” when we are just too rich in comparison to our brothers and sisters in the 2/3 World?When the rich young ruler comes to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark and asks how he can enter the kingdom of heaven, Jesus tells him to sell everything he owns and give it to the poor before following him. The young man leaves downcast and bereft, knowing all to well that his heart and very life are set upon his wealth and that he is not willing to give that all up for the sake of following this Saviour.Where do our hearts lie? For many of us, our status, education and wealth are dearer to us than the voice of Jesus. We are like the rich young ruler in this story. “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mark 10:23). While he could not make the choice to follow Christ, we can! When the disciples ask Jesus in dismay, “Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26) Jesus lovingly responds, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” – Mark 10:27.We can make the choice to follow Christ, to hear his voice in the Scriptures and to come to our Heavenly Father as children with empty hands and supple hearts.Simplify for a SeasonI recently met a retired missionary pastor who was reminiscing about how many books he had owned at the height of his ministry. As he prepared each Sunday Sermon, he would pore over numerous translations, commentaries and other Christian texts in an effort to get to the heart of the passage that he was going to preach to his congregation. Upon his retirement, he sold his entire library to a budding seminarian.He thought he would dearly miss his faithful leather-bound companions, yet what he found was quite the opposite. He was delighted by the simplicity of reading a passage of scripture and allowing the words to seep into his heart, mind and spirit. He still preaches occasionally and an NIV Study Bible is his only resource. He has found freedom in dwelling deeply in the Word of God.What if we were to set aside our books, study guides and other devotional materials for a season and simply allow the Word of God to speak to us? Take a week or month, to de-clutter your devotional library and focus solely on the Bible. Join together with millions of brothers and sisters around the world who hunger and thirst for righteousness and find real food and drink in the pages of Scripture.Look at it as a spiritual fast. When the noise of the words and opinions of others are quieted for a while, perhaps we are able to hear afresh what God wants us to hear.Refocused and RenewedWhen you return from your time of fasting, you will have fresh eyes and ears. You will have feasted on the Word and found how it feels to be “poor in spirit.” As you reintroduce other books and materials to your reading, you will be able to better discern those resources that nurture your love for God’s voice and those that distract you. Just as you might return from a physical fast to face a plethora of tempting food choices, you will have feasted on what is good and necessary and know which things you can live without. Let’s be more interested in what the Bible says than what others say the Bible says.Come to Jesus in his Word as beloved children, setting your gaze upon him and opening your empty hands towards him to be filled to overflowing.

Tess Hicks, Solomon Islands

Listening and Growing in Partnership

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Tēnā koutou te kāhui ā te Atua,Greetings to all God’s people. Kāhore he Hūrai, kāhore he Kariki, kāhore he pononga, kāhore he rangatira, kāhore he tane, wahine rānei; he tangata kotahi tonu hoki koutou katoa i roto i a Karaiti Īhu.There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) This Sunday marks Te Pouhere in the Anglican church calendar, which celebrates our life as a three Tikanga Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.  What is Te Pouhere and Why Was it Formed?What is the meaning of Te Pouhere? The Māori word ‘Pou’ is translated ‘post’ and the Māori word ‘here’ is translated ‘bind’. Te Pouhere is a revised constitution established in 1992, which provides an opportunity for each of the three partners to express their tikanga – their way, style, or cultural model. These three partners are Tikanga Māori, Tikanga Pākehā and Tikanga Pasefika. They are to express their minds as equal partners in the decision-making process of the General Synod and to exercise mission and ministry to God’s people within the culture of each partner.For Māori, the 1857 constitution and the 1992 revised constitution has not been truly honoured in terms of partnership and resource sharing. However, in recent times we have seen that there have been some promising steps that we are working towards in achieving an equal partnership. Below are some examples of the turning of the tide.Te Pouhere in Te Takiwā o ManukauMission and Ministry Continues Under Lockdown The Māori ministry team has been blessed to continue proclaiming the Gospel throughout this period of lockdown in New Zealand through the use of live-streaming networks and media platforms. From the 24th of May 2020, Howard Karaka – fellow Evangelist to Māori with NZCMS – along with Archdeacon Lyndon Drake and myself (Keri-Ann Hokianga), have started offering a weekly 30-minute worship service called “Karakia Rātapu” onto Radio Waatea here in Auckland. We collaborate with our Pākehā brothers from the Christian Broadcasting Association who use their resources to pre-record the service for us. They have also created a podcast for the service and we are so blessed that they’re using their gifts to help us proclaim the word of God in our context. We are receiving communication from some un-churched people who are now subscribing to our podcast and letting us know that they will be listening every Sunday. Praise be to God!This has been made possible by the grace of God through Te Rangapū (Partnership) between Te Takiwā o Manukau, the Christian Broadcasting Association, and Radio Waatea.Te Pouhere in the Context of Māori EvangelismThe roots of the Gospel being shared in Aotearoa began through friendship and partnership. At Oihi Bay on Christmas Day in 1814, Reverend Samuel Marsden from CMS preached from Luke 2:10, with Ngā Puhi chief Ruatara translated into Te Reo Māori. This partnership to preach the Gospel message began a journey of many Māori being converted to Christianity and this continued to grow as Māori became pivotal evangelists to their own people. The pattern of this partnership between Rev. Samuel Marsden and Chief Ruatara to effectively spread the Good News of Jesus Christ here in Aotearoa is still being realised today. Praise God that I am one of two Māori Evangelists to partner with NZCMS in 2020, proclaiming the Gospel to our nation. God is doing a powerful and wonderful thing and we are so excited to be part of His plan as we work together. Keri-Ann is one of NZCMS’ Mission Partners evangelising to Maori. Click the photo of Keri-Ann below to learn more about her life and ministry.

Keri-Ann Hokianga, NZCMS Maori Evangelist

The Borderless Bubble-Popping Body of Christ

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Life in New Zealand is starting to feel more normal for many of us. Recent months have been hard, especially for those who have lost jobs, but there is also a strange sense of normality – we can visit cafes, go shopping, and gather at church. However, there is also a sense of disjuncture knowing that even as life goes on here, in many countries COVID19 is causing untold a suffering.What does it mean to be part of the global Church at this time? This question stirs us. In our church calendar this week we celebrate Trinity Sunday. We are reminded of the community of love in God’s own being: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is a relationship and community that extends beyond the Trinity to include us – the Church. Like the God in whose image we are made, our identity is communal. As a member of the global Church we are part of the one body of Christ. This is language that we are used to hearing, and it has become very familiar. But the implications of living into this reality are radical.When we are baptised, we become united with Christ and we become a member of Christ’s body, the Church. At baptism, this membership becomes our primary identity: “for in one Spirit, we were all baptised into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). Our identity as a Christian, part of the body of Christ, comes before our nationality or any other human marker of identity. We are ultimately citizens of the Kingdom of God and this identity comes before what’s written in our passport.Another implication of our membership as Christ’s body is “if one member suffers, all suffer together.” (1 Cor 12:26). When I wrote funding proposals for development projects in a previous role, it was common to use language such as ‘beneficiaries,’ or ‘developing countries’ that signifies the otherness of those in need. These designations, which categorise humans into ‘us and them’ are ultimately invalid in the Kingdom of God. There is no ‘us and them’: there is only one body. We are to experience the suffering of our Christian brothers and sisters like it is in our own body.As members of the global Church, we do not have the option of sheltering ourselves in a safe New Zealand bubble and forgetting the rest of the world. We are called to live into our membership of the global Church, a body with Jesus Christ as our head.At a missions conference last year, I sat at the same table and prayed with Bisoke from Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tess Hicks, one of our Mission Partners serving in the Solomon Islands. Recently, I shared with Tess messages from Bisoke about the situation in Bunia, and she immediately wrote back asking how to give. This is what it looks like to live as the body of Christ: to live out this metaphor in our actions.As a family with a heart for global mission, NZCMS intentionally looks out and engages with the global Church. New Zealand is facing an economic recession, and we know that NGOs like us will face financial challenges. At the same time, we want to not only look to our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil 2:4).In this context, I want to share with you some needs from our CMS counterparts in Africa. NZCMS is part of a global CMS network – we are sister societies who seek to support and learn from each other.The director of CMS Africa, Canon Moses Bushendich, shared with me recently the needs that their local partners are seeing and responding to. He writes:“Many states have instituted lockdowns in response to Covid19 without capability to support those who live on daily wages. Many people have lost their jobs, a means of survival. Pastors in churches cannot get paid because congregations cannot meet and raise the usual offertory. Many families have a real threat of hunger.Several communities, especially in Northern Uganda, have been suffering drought the last few months and when the rains came, there were fresh invasions of desert locusts that are ravaging crops.In Bunia, DR Congo, Local Partner Bisoke has sent distress calls over war and killing that has hit him closely. Conflict has displaced 400 families coming to his peace centre for refuge. Normally food for the centre comes from the surrounding villages, but now there is no food coming which means that life is so hard. More children are developing malnutrition.Images coming from Kivu Province in DR Congo show floods with many feared dead and hundreds displaced from homes. Our CMS Africa Local Partners are on the frontline all over the continent calling for prayer, for practical relief, and supporting efforts to alleviate suffering.”It hurts us to read and hear this account of our body suffering; it’s overwhelming, and it challenges our own sense of comfort and safety. Together we are brought to our knees in prayer as we bring our concerns before a loving, present, and redeeming God. We pray that God would show us how we can be the hands and feet in this world at this time, with whatever we find in our hands.  We invite you to continue to pray for our brothers and sisters around the globe who are experiencing so many devastating challenges. We also invite you to consider how you might offer what resources you have to the global Church.Relational Relief GivingWe are opening an appeal for giving to CMS Africa’s Local Partners who can distribute shopping vouchers to families in need.Here is how a small amount can make a big difference: One shopping voucher worth KEs 2,500 (Approx $40NZD) buys basic food and sanitation needs for a household of 6 people for 1 month.Directions for how to give:– Go to the “What would you like to support?” drop down menu – Select “Other”– Go to the section”Name of Mission Partner or Project”– Type “CMS Africa Appeal”As a member of Christ’s body, we are on a journey of learning what our identity as citizens of God’s Kingdom looks like in this Covid19 world. We pray that God would continue to teach us what it means to suffer, reach out, give, receive, and see beyond our own borders. As we live into the reality of ‘one body and one Spirit,’ we ask God to shape our hearts and to be ever-transformed into the likeness of the triune God. Your sister in Christ,

Rosie Fyfe, NZCMS National Director

Miriam’s Moments in Mango

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Miriam runs the Pharmacy at the Hospital of Hope in the town of Mango in Togo, Africa. Life in Mango has been affected by the Covid-19 virus as has most of the world. Borders, airports, roads, schools, mosques, churches and ‘disco techs’ have all been ordered closed by the Togolese government. So far we have been fortunate not to have any confirmed cases at the Hospital of Hope. However the number of cases do continue to climb slowly in Togo and the surrounding countries. Worldometers is now a daily addiction… when the internet works.The closure of the airport has meant that short-term volunteers are no longer able to come and with scheduled furloughs upon us we have drastically reduced missionaries on the field. This has increased the workload on the remaining long-term staff. Please pray for stamina, grace and patience for those who stay behind.Ministries outside of the hospital such as village churches, French club and prison visits have been suspended due to the government regulations. We are very grateful that the radio ministry has been able to continue, including broadcasting sermons from a local church on Sunday mornings. Groups of up to 15 people are still able to meet so we are able to visit our Togolese friends. Please pray that people are able to tune in to the radio and continue bible studies on their own.I felt a little left out from all the hoarding that I heard about going on around the world but as you can see I was able to join in a little bit ‘Mango Styles’.Read more about Miriam’s life and ministry in Mango by clicking the image below.

Miriam Tillman,

Mission Partner in Togo, Africa

Better World Update

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Kia ora everyone, Guy and Summer here. We are excited to bring you an update about what Better World Gap Year has been up to during and post Covid-19 Lockdown.In February, as the circumstances surrounding the pandemic began to escalate, our team were in Fiji. We made moves to bring them back early for their safety and managed to get them back to New Zealand on the last commercial flight out of Fiji just days before our country went into Level 4 lockdown (a bit of unexpected excitement for our crew!). In the days that followed, as decisions came down from the government, we made the very difficult decision that Better World 2020 could not continue under the current global circumstances. We got our team back home to their bubbles and debriefed them via zoom. We are also currently helping to support them as they make choices about how to spend the rest of their year, and working with ministry partners to provide opportunities for discipleship and community that don’t depend on open borders and international travel.Our leadership team spent levels 4 and 3 in prayer and discernment, asking God to show us our next steps for the future of Better World as a programme. With so much unknown both here and around the world, it has been quite difficult to know how to move forward. Now that things are feeling a bit more certain for New Zealand, however, we have been working hard to re-imagine Better World for next year.Better World was designed and founded on the principles of discipleship through deep engagement in mission and social justice both in New Zealand and around the world. We seek to take young people on a journey full of adventure, discovery, and a deepening relationship with God. At this point we have no idea when it will be safe to travel overseas again, but we do know that we can still do all those things and go on a radical journey together right here in New Zealand in 2021.Together with Sam and Luca, our amazing Better World leaders, we are in the process of designing Better World 2021 to take place right here in New Zealand. We will explore the same deep and important issues of social justice from and in our own backyard. We will travel around the country to meet phenomenal people, be a part of radical communities of Christians who are doing their part to bring about God’s Kingdom here on earth and find plenty of amazing adventures.Are you or someone you know interested in joining this once in a lifetime, local edition of Better World Gap Year? Get in touch with us at info@betterworld.org.nz. Details on applications are coming soon. Or check out the Better World website here.Better World 2021 is going to be huge!

Guy & Summer BentonNZCMS Mission Enalbers

Tending the Mustard Tree

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Waiting. We’ve been doing a lot of that the last six weeks or so haven’t we. Some of you will remember I waited three years for a visa to go to my country in South Asia between 1989 and 1992. That was hard. Hard because I didn’t know why it was delayed or if I’d ever get it. Hard because God had placed before me a vision of what He had for me to do. Would I ever get to do it? And if not, then what has He been saying? Have I got it all wrong?The other reason it was hard was because some of those around me began to hint that it was time to move on to other things, that I was wasting my time and that there were other urgent needs out there and I was in the wrong place. How did I answer them when those thoughts were already whirling around my mind. But they just didn’t ring true.Well, there was an anchor. A promise and a sign that was given. And God gave me instruction to wait for the visa. And when it finally arrived he gave more instructions: “Don’t try and begin what I’ve shown you. Do what you’re asked to do. Wait, and I’ll begin everything at the right time”.That time, waiting for God to start the new things, was another seven years. And now, since serving the original vision He gave me, it has taken another 15 years for that vision to come into being. And, in truth, there is still a lot yet to unfold.So now that I have returned to New Zealand, how am I responding to the wait now? Will I ever get to go back? What about the unfulfilled vision and expectations I have?A Generational PerspectiveOver these many years I have learnt that God’s ways are not like our ways. His timetable is way, way different. We think in terms of months or a few years. Maybe even a decade or two. He spans generations. Just like the mustard tree in the parable, the Kingdom of God grows. But it may not be possible to see its progress in the short time we have on this earth.I’ve also seen Him keep me in a country where fellow workers have had to leave. I’ve seen him time and time again nullify the plans of others that interfere with His plan.Now I’m more relaxed about the future than I would have been 30 years ago. I know that if I rest and trust and remain ready to obey, then God will do something amazing. But it might not look like what I was expecting. It seldom does.Our Part to Grow the KingdomBeing able to rest in this truth means I’m not so driven about being in the centre of it all. Because God’s Kingdom is far larger than my role. Like Jesus modeled, I’m expected to do my part and to follow the guidance given. To see the mustard tree grow in and through my work. Then I need to leave the rest of the results for God to work out into future generations and see its final beauty from the perspective of Heaven.So often we tend to try to wrap it all up and ‘finish’ the work in our lifetime. But we need to see the Kingdom from a multigenerational point of view.I know many who came in years past to my town and area who never got to see fruit in their time. The mustard tree didn’t seem to grow at all. Some left disillusioned. Others trusted that seeds sown would, in time, come to fruition. All of them sacrificed much to be there. Some stayed only months. All contributed to where the mustard tree is now.I’ve been the fortunate servant who has seen many of those seeds sown now start to sprout and become fruit. Was it my doing? No! We owe it to the generations before us to honour their hard labour, tears and prayers in the desert.Seeing our labour in Kingdom terms for many means jagged endings. Unfinished, unresolved issues, questions and situations. It doesn’t gel with our need for closure and tidy endings. It means trusting that our unresolved ending is, in fact, another part of the growth of the mustard tree. We trust God will fit it in the right place. And we wait and trust God with the ambiguities.This Article was written by a Mission Partner who serves in South Asia. For security reasons, names and places have been omitted or changed.

There is Purpose in the Waiting

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After Jesus was raised from the dead, he spent forty days with his disciples. During this time he proved to them that he was alive and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3-4). What an incredible time this must have been! Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures”. They were finally getting all the answers to the questions they’d had for the past three years of Jesus’ ministry.When eating with them one night, Jesus suddenly says “do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” The disciples respond “are you going to restore the Kingdom to Israel now?”.But Jesus again tells them to wait, saying “…and you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”.  And, as the Church remembered this week, Christ then ascends to heaven.What would it have felt like to be one of the disciples? Perhaps after hearing years of teaching about the Kingdom of God, and witnessing signs of the Kingdom, they felt ready to do the work. But, then they’re told to wait. To not preach the Gospel. Not pray for people. Not make themselves public. Do nothing. Stay where they are. And wait.The Fruit of Faithful WaitingIn the Gospel accounts, the disciples continually wanted to ‘do something’. They wanted to extend God’s Kingdom. They wanted to change the world! Their lives and perspectives were ruled by action and seeing societal transformation. And that is not inherently a bad thing. But at this crucial transition point, Jesus told them not to do anything, no matter how good they thought their ‘doing’ was. Incredibly, this waiting culminated in a powerful moment in church history. In fact it led to the very birth of the church! And what happened next was exactly what was needed for the Gospel to create transformation: God showing up and empowering them in a way that was completely different to what they had ever experienced before.The result of the disciples’ faithful waiting and obedience to Jesus was the tangible, experiential power of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of their faithful waiting was the formation of the Church. The fruit of their waiting was, ultimately, the transformation of the world.The Inside Impact of WaitingWhy did Jesus ask the disciples to wait before sending the Holy Spirit?Of course, let’s be clear, their waiting did not somehow ‘qualify’ them to receive God’s blessing. Earning the Holy Spirit denies everything Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished. But rather, perhaps the natural by-product of the disciples’ faithful waiting was that the very shape of their hearts were transformed into vessels that could receive what God wanted to give them. And it was through their faithful, obedient, surrendered waiting that they were able to receive it. What we can do while WaitingOver these last few weeks we’ve all done a lot of waiting here in Aotearoa. We, like the disciples waiting in the Upper Room, have been holed up in a house waiting for change, and not knowing what might come next. But now our country is beginning to get ‘active’ again. Shops are opening. Alert levels are lifting. Church small groups are meeting. ‘Stuff’ can start happening again. And it’s exciting.However, during this time, I’ve been blessed to be a part of the NZCMS staff who, in amongst all the various tasks and roles that we still must complete, haven’t rushed off to do what we’ve always done before. But we have been using this time to ask each other questions such as:“What are the new opportunities that are available now?”“What will cross-cultural mission look like in the future?”“What is the prophetic call of God to the Church right now?”The disciples weren’t asked to wait when things weren’t possible. Jesus asked them to wait when they could have started preaching the Gospel. And now we find ourselves in a similar space. Our alert levels are dropping. But I believe that now is the most important time for the New Zealand Church to wait on God.The temptation is so strong to just ‘go back to normal’. But what if, now, God is not calling us to rush back into doing what we’ve done in the past but to wait on him and be open to seeing the ‘new things’ that He wants to birth in us and the Church? Maybe now is a good time for all of us to lay our strategies, tasks, and attitudes before the feet of Jesus, surrender them to Him and ask for the Holy Spirit to speak. Because, I believe God takes our willingness to give Him our ‘doing’, and turns it into the gift of an obedient heart, more fully able to live and serve in His power to achieve His mission of bringing God’s kingdom to earth. If only we would just wait for a while.

Jairus Robb

NZCMS Communications

Thy Kingdom Come Around the World

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Prayerless Striving. I used to work for a global anti-slavery organisation. The founders of the organisation were passionate, faith-filled, Jesus followers who were dedicated to seeing God’s Kingdom come through the rescue of men, women and children around the world. They were willing to pay the price to follow God and serve His world. Yet after several years of giving their all, there was little to show for it.When one of the founders talked to his mentor about this frustration, the mentor described their deep commitment to their work as “prayerless striving.” They were desperate to see God’s Kingdom break through but spent little time in prayer. When I joined a decade later, the work day for the entire staff began in personal devotion and prayer. Later in the day, every office around the world stopped their work as investigators, lawyers, social workers and administrators, and gathered to pray for God’s Spirit to move powerfully.

Setting aside “productive time” to pray saw more fruit than we could have imagined, breakthroughs in places where there had been resistance, and thousands of people rescued into lives of freedom. The work remained as challenging and costly as ever before, but was now under-girded by prayer and that made all the difference.Praying as One Many of us already have rhythms of prayer in our daily lives individually and as local faith communities. Many of us already pray faithfully for our Mission Partners, and for the places and communities they serve. We pray because we believe that God’s Spirit is active and working to bring about His Kingdom. We pray because we believe that prayer makes a difference – in this world and the one to come. What we do here has echoes in eternity!But sometimes we forget the power of praying together. In Chronicles, God says to his people “[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (Chron 7:14),  God makes this promise to a collective. Jesus affirms this when he says “when two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them”(Matt 18:20).Yes, God hears and responds to our individual prayers. But when God’s people come together in agreement to pray for the things of God’s Kingdom, something happens, something shifts.This year, the NZCMS Intercultural Communities Project is helping to lead the Wellington Anglican Movement as they engage in Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement from Ascension to Pentecost. After Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples “along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers”(Acts 1:14) joined together constantly in prayer. When the day of Pentecost arrived, God poured out the Holy Spirit on these followers and sent them to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.We know that our world still needs the transformative work of the Spirit. We know that frequently the movement of God’s Spirit has come through a movement of prayer. The most powerful thing we can do, to see God’s Kingdom come, is to pray together; to pray as one people in the name of Jesus.

One of the founding principles of the Church Missionary Society is to begin with prayer. As a global mission movement, the call is to begin with prayer before acting, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide our actions. This is part of our DNA as NZCMS, and it is a constant challenge and reminder to pray for our global partners in mission, and for the transformative work of God to break through in the communities where they serve.The Global ChurchThy Kingdom Come helps to connect us with our brothers and sisters in the global church in a way that we don’t often have opportunity to do. Joining our brothers and sisters in this way is an act of loving care, mutuality and solidarity. It reminds us that we are all part of the one body – and that we are united in both our joys and suffering in Christ, through the one Spirit. Likewise, we can be encouraged that others will be praying for the things that we long for, interceding on behalf of our friends and family, community and country.Praying with the global church also helps to reinvigorate our own prayer lives.Have you ever been in a room with someone fervently interceding and been inspired to pray with more boldness?Have you sat in silence with others, the air thick with thepresence of the Holy Spirit?Have you heard testimonies of healing, of freedom, of miracles and had your faith enlarged?Have you spoken words of a liturgy that feel like they were written just for you?Praying with others who are different from us reminds us of God’s goodness and faithfulness, refreshes and redirects our energy, and enlivens and re-energises our own faith. Will you join us in this global movement of prayer?Join the Global MovementYou can access the resources created through the Intercultural Communities Project and Anglican Movement Wellington here: https://movementonline.org.nz/blog/thy-kingdom-come-21-31-march-2020Or connect with the global movement here: www.thykingdomcome.globalAs NZCMS, one of the gifts that we offer to the church in New Zealand is our connection to those engaging in God’s mission throughout the world. We have curated these multimedia presentations from our partners sharing from around the world to be used over Thy Kingdom Come.

Ana Fletecher, NZCMS Intercultural Communities Enabler

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