Just over a week ago, Dianne miraculously found herself flying back to New Zealand on a private jet. A Mission Partner to the Philippines, Dianne first arrived there 43 years ago in September, 1976. At that time, it was her first flight abroad and she had $80 in her pocket. At midnight on March 29, 2020, she flew into New Zealand for free aboard the jet.After over four decades of ministry in the Philippines, Dianne had recently handed her position over and she was preparing to come to her New Zealand home. A farewell party was planned for her and she had even organised a trip to Israel before returning to Aotearoa. But these plans were all put on hold as the Covid19 pandemic spread across the globe. The opportunity to fly home via Singapore opened up but, just as the plane was booked and the tickets issued, all the borders were closed.“Not only was I disappointed,” Dianne said, “I felt like a deflated balloon. Disappointed doesn’t even go near to how I was feeling! However Matthew 6:33 kept coming to me; “’Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.’” And miraculously, God provided. Out of the blue, Dianne was invited to board a private jet flying directly from Manila to Auckland. With facemask on, Dianne boarded the plane. “The rule given was that the plane could not leave unless I was on it!,” she said. “I felt like the Queen of Sheba!” Nine hours later, the plane touched down in New Zealand!Dianne is currently under lockdown along with the rest of the country. When the time is right, she plans to return to the Philippines for a proper farewell. She would like to thank everyone who has been praying for her.
This article is written by an NZCMS Mission Partner serving in a Spanish community. We asked her to share her reflections with us after two weeks of being in a strict lockdown. I have never been so envious of people with dogs or quite so elated to take the rubbish out to the bin. Spain is in its second week of full lockdown and cabin fever is starting to get real.The authorities have enforced strong measures to prevent people leaving the house for anything other than the essentials. Unlike New Zealand we can’t go out for exercise with the exception of dog owners who can leave the house briefly for doggy business.What was last week considered quite unique is now very quickly turning into a nightmare. We have clocked over 2,500 deaths here and in my region the toll stands at 25. How is God leading me in this? My reflections are not fully formed but I would like to share a few with you as New Zealand moves into lockdown as well. Church Is Still ChurchLike many places, my church here is finding creative ways to stay in communion with each other through online group calls, messages and phone calls. I even participated in an online talent show the other day! God is teaching us how to lovingly serve one another and to look out for those who are by themselves and/or feeling alone. Prayer Gathers MomentumIn these extraordinary times God has been moving me to pray even more fervently for the Church and for those without certain hope. It has been beautiful to see brothers and sisters in Christ praying even more fervently for our very sick and fearful country, for the authorities, medical workers and for those that are suffering at the hands of such a terrible virus. As the days drag on the momentum can wain but I hope we will persevere and stay motivated. Unique OpportunitiesThrough something so devastating God is giving His church here some unique opportunities to speak into people’s lives. In my wee corner of the country a small team of us are using Facebook to share reflections and questions that we hope will engage people on a spiritual level. Please pray with us that people would be in touch and that they would be moved to pick up dusty Bibles sitting on bookcases. God Knows What Will Happen TomorrowBelievers here often say “If the Lord wills it”. I had thought that it got overused but, in these days, the Bible verses that follow that very theme have stuck in my head. I really don’t know what will happen tomorrow because I am not God. Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15.In these unknown times the two words that God keeps bringing back to me are ‘unchanging’ and ‘rest’. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or how long this crisis will go on for but I can always rest secure in Him because He is the one who never changes. I pray for all of those reading that you would come to know this reality in your lives. Please pray with me that the church here would rest in this security and that others would come to know this secure hope for the first time in the midst of tragedy.
Posted on March 19, 2020The current spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 is having a continuing global effect, as health authorities worldwide work to deal with existing cases and limit its further spread. NZCMS has taken a number of steps in response to the information obtained from the World Health Organisation and the New Zealand Government.NZCMS is regularly updating all its Mission Partners and staff and making direct personal contact with all Mission Partners in order to provide ongoing additional assistance and advice.We commend prayer to our God and Father through Jesus Christ as a good and faithful response to this health crisis.
Margaret Poynton recently moved to a new location and new role in Papua New Guinea. She serves in the Women and Children’s’ Ministry in Dogura. Here she shares what her daily routine looks like. It’s over three full weeks since I’ve been to town. It’s 4:00 am and I’ve been up for a while. There was a full moon so it’s an easy 15 minute walk down the hill to the village where the Bishop’s dinghy is waiting. Out of the darkness young men appear to help push it into the water. The outboard motor is checked – all good!By about 5:00 am we’re knee deep in water as we climb aboard and set off to the east, watching the glorious rising of the sun. It’s calm and peaceful and I nearly doze off but am mindful of the ocean just over the side so I take in the scenery as we travel.It’s now daylight and there are several dugout canoes with a solitary fisherman out on the water. Out of the corner of my eye a silver glimmer lands at our feet. He’s quickly scooped up and breakfast is returned to the sea. A moment later there’s excitement. We’ve slowed right down and are among about a dozen dolphins frolicking around the boat!All too soon we beach at Awaiama at around 7:30. The roadside market stall has a kettle boiling over a fire for anyone who wants a cuppa with fresh doughnuts.We wait a few minutes before calling in to see the local priest and his wife. She is already cutting the grass with a long bush knife.Our transport arrives and all four of us climb aboard and we wind our way up the mountain through some fairly dense bush which lies between Alotau and the North coast. Twenty minutes later and the vista changes almost magically around us and the beautiful views of the harbor appear. The sheer drop is now on my side of the vehicle and we’re on the downward run to the coast.A full 5 hours after leaving home we finally arrive in town. A morning with the Mothers Union is followed by an inexpensive BBQ lunch and then off to the bank, then shopping for supplies and an ice block to quench the thirst afterwards. We finally arrive at tonight’s accommodation in the late afternoon and, a quick nap later, we have dinner and an early night before doing it all in reverse tomorrow.“Anina, Umap, Awara” – Goodnight.
How can we New Zealanders live in our identity as a household of God in our culturally diverse context? What does it look like to honour our bi-cultural conventional relationship with tangata whenua, our commitment to tangata pacifica and to extend manaakitanga (love and compassion) to migrants and refugees? Our Intercultural Communities Enabler, Rev Ana Fletcher, shares in this video about the intercultural communities that are flourishing in churches in the Diocese of Wellington.
How is the way we understand and live out Scripture shaped by our culture? What are our blind spots? Are we willing to let Scripture shape us, even if it says something different than what our culture tells us? In this video sermon, Rosie discusses these questions, based on the story of the woman at the well from John 4.
The Dunbar Family have been living in the capital city, Phnom Penh, of Cambodia since late 2018. In this article they share on what life is like adjusting to a new country and what they have learned about the Gospel since they’ve moved there. What’s New?Our family has been in Cambodia for just over a year now and in that time, we’ve had to adjust to many new things. The instant we stepped off the plane we were suddenly surrounded by “newness”. New language, new smells, new faces, new food and new approaches to safety. Even the dogs and cats looked different from what we were used to!As the weeks turned into months, we were continually learning things about our new country and about ourselves. We’ve had to learn how to cope with regular power cuts and water shortages when it’s 35+ degrees outside. We’ve learnt how to break into a locked room using a credit card (thank you YouTube!).We’ve learnt that what may look like chaotic traffic conditions can actually have a zen-like order to it, while at other times, it actually is chaotic and nobody knows how to move!Surprises of Another CountryOf course, it’s fairly obvious that there would be new things for us in a new country. Before we came here, we read books, talked with people with experience and spent five months in Melbourne at the CMS Australia cross-cultural mission training facility. We knew about and were well-prepared for many of the challenges we would be facing in Cambodia. But, despite all of this, there were still things we didn’t expect. We didn’t expect phone apps that make it so easy to get around town using the local transport, effectively eliminating the need to talk to the drivers (but not very helpful for language learning).We didn’t know how easy it would be to get access to many of the things we thought we’d never see until we returned to New Zealand. Yes, you can get Vegemite here! We didn’t realise the extent of the energy drain and tiredness that language learning can bring.And we definitely didn’t anticipate how helpless and distant it would feel living here on the other side of the world and finding that the people of our hometown had endured yet another traumatic event – the mass shooting at the mosques in Christchurch.There has been so much change and so much newness in such a relatively brief time. We’re so thankful to God that we’ve remained in good health and that our children have made friends close by to where we live.There has been so much change and so much newness in such a relatively brief time. We’re so thankful to God that we’ve remained in good health and that our children have made friends close by to where we live.The New “Old” Message One thing that we knew we’d find here, are people who are hurting and broken and in as much need of a saviour as anyone else around the world. Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist country. It’s obvious as you travel around that people’s world view and the way they live their lives is shaped by this. Buddhism around the world comes in many forms and is heavily influenced by previous religions, which produces complex layers of beliefs that vary from culture to culture. In Cambodia, Buddhism is underpinned by Hinduism and held under the various animistic beliefs that saturate that belief system. The Khmer people (Cambodians) exist on a constant treadmill of making merit, seeking prosperity and trying to appease spirits to keep themselves from harm. On top of this, the nation is still recovering from the extreme trauma inflicted by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s. We still have much to learn about how all this forms the Khmer world view and how the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ can break through.It is no surprise then that, though the culture is new for us and the Gospel message is new and still unheard of to most Cambodians, the message itself hasn’t changed. It is this Gospel that brings hope and salvation to the world and it is this Gospel that we pray will be spread throughout this land, bringing real transformation and a hope for a future in Christ. We hope to be here for a long time. Pray for us that we will learn more and more about how the Khmer people see the world so that we can learn to communicate the Good News in a way that they can understand. Pray for the nation of Cambodia, that many people will have the opportunity to hear the Good News and that new churches will be planted and new disciples made.
Article written by 2019 Better World Participant, Anna Smart.On February 6 people of various communities gathered at Ramsey House (Anglican Chaplaincy at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington) to launch the Better World gap year for its second year, 2020. The atmosphere in the room was palpable. Looking around there were life-time supporters of NZCMS, there were clergy members, coordinators of Better World, participants from 2019, friends, family and the team committing to Better World 2020. The youngest in the room was but a few months old, and the eldest belonging to a group of people that have been praying for more than fifty years for the mission of NZCMS. It was a truly intergenerational event, which spoke to the kaupapa of inclusion and community that Better World holds. This year the team is made up of Sam Tovey, Luca Duckworth (leaders), David Prendergast, Olivia Simes and Mercy Mutio (participants). Individually they have faithfully said yes to a radical adventure with Jesus and we were all there to celebrate with them as they made this commitment to God, each other and the gap year, on Waitangi Day. Better World participants following in the legacy CMS missionariesOn February 6, 1840, Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed, a symbol of the coming together of two peoples. The treaty was translated into Te Reo Māori by the then leader of CMS in New Zealand, Henry Williams. Without his commitment to making the treaty accessible to tangata whenua, the relationship between colonisers and indigenous people may have looked very different. The Better World Gap Year and its aim to equip young people with cross cultural skills, missional worldviews and a righteous anger at social injustice, is the carrying on of a legacy. The legacy of justice written into this land by the CMS missionaries who pushed for a treaty between British colonisers and tangata whenua. This year that legacy is going to be carried forward by Mercy, Olivia and David as they delve into the depths of social injustice in the world and at home in Aotearoa. In their introductions each of the participants spoke of how excited they were to be going on this adventure, and that they’re looking forward to all they will learn throughout the year. The 2020 launch event was special. Commissioning the participants on Waitangi Day, a day so significant for Aotearoa and NZCMS, was a reminder of all that has been and all that is to come in this land. Young people laying their lives in the hands of God, and saying yes to a journey of growing, learning, being challenged and convicted, and ultimately being changed. Better World 2020These three incredible young people are intentionally moving into the uncomfortable places so that they are stretched and challenged, and that they might gain new perspectives. The journey begins at Ngatiawa River Monastery, where training and orientation is already underway, and throughout the year the team will spend time in Northland, Wellington, Fiji and Cambodia. In each place the team will be digging into where God is moving there, how they might be able to partner with God in those spaces and learn from those they walk alongside. Please pray for the 2020 Better World team and all the learning and growing they have to do this year. Also, we invite you to pray with us for Mercy Mutio, our 2020 participant from Nairobi, Kenya. She is awaiting confirmation of her visa applications and was unable to attend our launch event in Wellington. We are praying she will be able to join us soon and that the process will be smooth. We await you with great excitement, Mercy! Guy Benton (a Better World Program Coordinator) asked the 2019 Better World participants at the launch event if they felt their lives had been transformed over the course of the gap year. The answer was a resounding yes. We are praying for the same response at the end of the year from our Better World 2020 team. Photo by John Setter
NZCMS is delighted to introduce to you the Wheelers, who have recently been accepted as Mission Partners to Papua New Guinea. Scott and Nikki, along with their children Isaac, Abby and Levi, plan to start serving in Kapuna in the middle of this year. Kapuna is nestled in the dense jungle of the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea – one of the most unique and isolated places in the world. Built in 1949, the Kapuna Hospital has recently started undergoing a rebuild which the Wheelers will be a part of. Go here if you’d like to learn more about Kapuna. Scott will be working as a Projects Officer initially, providing administrative and management support to the Project Manager. He will move into preparing an application for funding for a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project for the surrounding villages. He will also act as an adviser to the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) team.Nikki, a trained physiotherapist, will be involved in helping set up a Physiotherapy Department at Kapuna, which is a training hospital. Isaac, Abby and Levi will attend the local school at Kapuna and are looking forward to learning ‘Tok Pisin’ (Pidgin English) and exploring in the bush.Scott and Nikki are members of St Mary’s Anglican Church in Karori, Wellington, and looking for churches in the Wellington region to support them.
On Waitangi Day, I was honoured to speak on behalf of NZCMS at a picnic in Ōtaki, jointly hosted by All Saints and Rangiātea Anglican Churches. This was an opportunity for the Church, both Māori and Pākehā, to gather together and share stories about Te Tiriti o Waitangi from the Kāpiti Coast. There was a challenge for us as the Church to face our legacy from the past: to continue to live into the good, and repent of and leave behind what was not right or just. I shared that as NZCMS now, we step into the legacy of the CMS missionaries who came to New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Although NZCMS is not the same legal identity, we were formed out of the parent agency in 1892 and they are part of our whakapapa. Like our forebears, NZCMS continues to have confidence that the Gospel is good news for all people. NZCMS sends out Mission Partners around the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ in partnership with local churches. We also support two Māori missionaries from te Takiwa o Manukau (a group of Māori Anglican Churches in south Auckland) who are called to share the Gospel with their own people. As we step into the legacy from history, we also repent of actions made in the past which did not honour Te Tiriti. NZCMS was involved as witnesses in presenting an official apology, and later signing an agreement to make practical steps forward to restore a measure of justice over the lands lost to Tauranga Moana iwi in the nineteenth century. When I attended a hui in Tauranga in December, I was moved to hear the stories from the tangata whenua, and to see the Church stepping into this space in a powerful way. See more here. There is a well-known Māori whakataukī (proverb) which says: Ka mua, ka muri. We walk backwards into the future. As we walk, we seek to walk with the twin footsteps of repentance and belief. The time has come. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15).