The photo above captures the 2019 Better World team, NZCMS staff and NZCMS League of Youth members, gathered together for the Better World graduation. What a great moment! Our National Director speaks on the event below. Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau a te Karaiti, dear family in Christ:Welcome to our new look Interchange! We will send these emails out fortnightly to share stories of mission from around the world, and here in Aotearoa. Feel free to send us your stories so that we can share these with the wider NZCMS family.As was mentioned in the photo caption above, 2019 closed with the graduation of our first Better World Gap Year participants. I was deeply moved to hear these six young women share about the journey that God has taken them on this year. Each of them shared a profound sense of God working in their lives, experiencing the gifts of the Spirit, seeing God at work even in the hard places of the world, and a sense of their own vocation and place within God’s mission. Each of them has made a commitment for 2020 to continue this journey of serving God wholeheartedly, and the majority are moving into missional communities with rhythms of prayer and service. As I listened to their testimonies, I thought of movements of the Spirit that have been central to CMS – from the members of the Clapham Sect who were moved by the Spirit to leave the UK to share the Good News of Jesus, and those members of the League of Youth who departed these shores to serve around the world. As NZCMS continues to be re-imagined to respond to our ever-changing world, my prayer is that we would always listen for God’s voice calling us, and follow the work of the Spirit.Blessings,Rosie
Jairus Robb speaks with NZCMS Maori Evangelist Rev Te Hauoterangi (Howard) Karaka about what God is doing among Maori.In 2017, NZCMS was invited to partner with te Takiwa o Manukau (a group of Māori Anglican churches in south Auckland) in supporting Māori evangelists in Manukau, where more Māori live than in any other place in the world. Rev Te Hauoterangi (Howard) Karaka is the first evangelist to be commissioned as a result of this partnership.Howard understands his ministry to be more than just preaching and leading a church. The most powerful thing he can do as an evangelist is to show others how the Gospel had transformed his own life. He can relate to the apostle Paul who encountered Jesus in a powerful way, and then testified to others that it was only through this encounter that he had become a changed man. Howard often provides counselling to those he meets, and leads them through a process of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. Many Māori have a negative view of the Church as a result of the history of this land, and in these conversations he often needs to break the chains of misinformation that many have come to believe. The way that he lives his life is essential, he says, so that other people can see the reality of the Gospel that has changed his life. As he has evangelised and pastored those in Manukau, he has been blown away by God’s capacity to work in the lives of Māori.A Powerful InvitationRecently, Howard attended a tangi at a marae which in the past has not welcomed Christian worship. As is Māori custom, the deceased person’s casket was carried into the marae’s meeting house. Surrounded by whānau, the casket was laid down, with many of the elders seated on the paepae which is where the kaumātua and chosen speakers of the marae sit. Normally the kaumātua would conduct a non-Christian karakia (service). Wonderfully, however, the six of them seated there requested that Howard conduct a Christian karakia. This was an incredible honour and blessing, especially to be given by the kaumātua of a marae with such a deep history. For many years, this marae had been opposed to Christian faith, but Howard was asked to openly acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ. For the next three days of the tangi, Howard was given freedom by the kaumātua to conduct the karakia, including the burial service. Open DoorsThis is just one example of Māori responding with openness and joy to God as Howard has continued to build relationship with them. He said he has even repented at times of his own unbelief as he has seen God breaking down impossible barriers to the Gospel that has been there for so long. This year, Howard planted a church, Te Rama o te Ao (the Light of the World). “God will make a way through the desert place…Where there are places we think may be out of bounds or where there is no hope, God has continued to open doors in the dry waste land and several have received salvation and are receptive to the word of God more than ever before. The places we think are dry waste lands have become places of harvest, it is springing up, like Isaiah 43:19 says!”Prayer for the FutureHoward’s hope and prayer is that more people would come know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. However, this often means first offering and ministering healing to the many Māori who have been hurt by the Church. Unhelpful boundaries, limits and religious spirits still live in many churches today, he says and he asks that we would pray for his ministry and for the wider Church of New Zealand, that the Church would live in the vision set out in Psalm 133.“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” He also asks that we would pray for the right people who have a heart for God to partner with him in his work. Let us continue to uphold Howard Karaka and his family in prayer as they work to see those streams of living water saturate Aotearoa.
Christine and Peter were Mission Partners with NZCMS in Tanzania on two separate occasions. They were based in Dodoma for 19 years from 1979 to 1998, involved in pharmacy work and teaching and, more recently for three years from 2015 to 2018 based in Kondoa supporting the work of Kondoa Bible School. The following tribute was written by Peter Akester which he also read at Christine’s funeral on January 9. Names are a significant part of any person, I believe. Christine Joy – or Griptine as she was fondly known by her mother – morphed into Chris in her teenage years. In Tanzania she was Mama Peter before we had Pendo come into our family. She was then called Mama Pendo and most still call her that there. Christina was what some close friends would call her. Mwalimu – which means teacher – had significance to many. Back in New Zealand she became Chizzy to our girls and many of their friends. To our grandchildren she is known as Bibi. Over the last three years in Tanzania recently she took on another name after I was ordained: “Mama Mchungaji” which means “pastor”. Those tell a bit of her history but only touch on who she was.She was passionate about music and enthusing others to appreciate and express themselves in music. She was someone who always wanted to give time to show she valued every person she had contact with. For example, on the last night before our wedding she insisted on seeing a student of hers to care for her and listen to her – two hours later we left that home despite all the other preparations that were left on hold until the early hours of the morning.She was always keen to learn something more about her faith and the Bible and its relevance to her and to others. An encourager and supporter of many with the hope that they would grow in their faith and work. She valued family even though we often found ourselves far apart geographically. Her weekly letters home over all those years in Tanzania were witness to that.She was involved in Sunday School, Bible in Schools, numerous children’s choirs, teaching in the Tanzanian Girls’ Secondary school for their Christian education and more recently being part of the Teacher’s College Christian gatherings in Kondoa, Tanzania.A passionate and loving mother and my partner for 45 amazing years. She never minced words and was always ready to tell me and others what she thought. Many times, she was a listening ear for me to hear what God was saying to us and had a faith grounded in knowing the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ and the sure certainty of God’s presence and guidance in her life.When told about the probability of Motor Neurone Disease affecting her body last year, she assured them about her lack of fear in facing that, because she knew that God was in control and where she would ultimately be in an eternal life.She has lived out her faith by not being afraid to just be who she was. Gentle, patient, cheerful and willing to persevere with any task she was given. Uncomplicated and sincere. As a mother to Pendo and Sarah she always wanted the best for them no matter what that meant in terms of time or energy. As Bibi, she loved Jamaine and Skyla and Nathan to bits.She never pretended to be an enthusiastic cook because she always had more important things to be involved with. She was so innovative in Tanzania when she devised a cookbook for recipes in the times of shortages of almost everything. A big frustration to her was a husband who left a carefully prepared, hot meal to attend to some other pressing need.She was very good at feeling car sick and three days after we were married I had my first hand experience of this when she made me stop the bus we were travelling in so she could feel more comfortable. An evangelist once received a very generous offering from her on a bumpy, dusty road! Fluttering birds were also public enemy number one to her which I sometimes forgot much to her horror. But give Chris a Bible, a piano and Boggle, that would make her day!She wanted me to thank family, and that means extended family, from many parts of the world, friends from near and far for all your expressions of support and love in so many practical ways. People of her church, you have all been amazing, and examples of true disciples of Jesus, who asked his disciples to love one another so others might know Him.Thank you, God, for such a precious gift of a person you gave me to be my companion and inspiration.God bless you all.
We celebrate the life of former NZCMS Mission Partner and long time member and supporter, Rev Gordon Langrell, who recently passed away. Gordon’s funeral will be held Wednesday, 11 December, 1:00pm at South West Baptist Church, 244 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon, Christchurch. The tribute below has been compiled by Bishop Henry Paltridge from out of St. Martins.We first met Gordon through the NZCMS League of Youth over 50 years ago. Gordon had come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord as a young man. He had a zeal for the Gospel as a teacher being involved in the follow-up of the Billy Graham Crusade in 1959 and taught at Middleton Grange in 1965. During this time he led the Sunday School at St Martin’s, Spreydon, where within two weeks, he had visited every child’s home and made notes about the children’s interests, including sports. Often he even went to watch them play. After theological training at Ridley College in England, he was ordained and served a curacy in England before return to New Zealand. Soon after he married Annette and had two sons and a busy ministry in Taita, Wellington.After ten years in Taita they went with NZCMS to Singapore from 1982-1983. Gordon wrote that it had been a privilege and a thrilling experience to join the Singapore Diocese. It has developed a strong missionary commitment, especially in South East Asia. But it was not all easy! The heat, some relationships and expensive schooling impacted their decision to come home to New Zealand. When revisiting Singapore in 1995, a small church plant that they had been involved with had become three large congregations. “They certainly did not need us”, was Gordon’s reaction. They returned to parishes in Christchurch with an evangelistic and pastoral zeal and always had a heart for people on the fringe! Gordon was a faithful member of the NZCMS Support Group in Christchurch as well as a regular participant at the weekly CMS Prayer-meeting. Gordon greatly supported Annette’s passion to befriend overseas students. Their contribution to mission did not end when they left Singapore, having visited many churches of different nations, fulfilling Jesus command in Mathew 28:19. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”
Recently, we published the final issue of our quarterly magasine Intermission that is now being sent to hundreds of mail boxes around the world. The publication focuses on the theme of the Holy Spirit and how our Mission Partners have seen Him at work. So how can you partner with the Holy Spirit? It’s so easy to read an article about what another Jesus follower is doing, or hear a good sermon about how the Holy Spirit is empowering someone, and respond with “well that’s so great for them!”. And that’s it. But one of NZCMS’ goals is not simply to share stories of our Mission Partner’s work around the world but to call you, the reader, to action. How can you, as part of the Church of Aotearoa, partner with the Holy Spirit’s mission in the world today? I was asked recently to preach at my church and I’ve been thinking about using a clip from “The Hobbit”. In this clip Gandalf the Wizard is trying to convince the protagonist, Bilbo, to join him on an adventure. “The world is not in your books and maps,” Gandalf says to Bilbo as he gestures to the fields outside his living room window. “It’s out there!”How often do we refuse to take a step outside of where we’re comfortable? A step into the unknown. Into the scary. Into the place where we’re forced to rely on God to help us in our journey. But what if that is exactly the place where the Holy Spirit is moving and ready to empower us, inspire us and teach us? When we take a step outside. One of the verses that I’ve known since I was a child was Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”It could be that as we take a step out onto the “path”, that’s precisely the place where we will find the Holy Spirit can come alongside and empower us. That’s where we will hear His voice. Sense His leading hand. Be filled with His empowering gifts. I wonder sometimes if we can treat the phrase “trust in the Lord with all your heart” as just a sort of feeling or emotional state. But there is no trust without action! There is no faith without deeds! “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds” cries James in chapter two of his epistle. Already I’ve found in my short 29 years of life that the Christian life does not stand on the foundation of intellectual belief or emotional highs and lows. To be a Christian is to act on the faith we declare in our Lord. Therefore, is it so hard to believe that when we make decisions where we have to depend on God, that’s precisely when we will see Him “make our paths straight”? Let’s become a people that shout at the top of our lungs “Holy Spirit, I trust in your healing power!” and then offer to pray for our sick neighbour. Let’s become a people who say “Holy Spirit, I know you’ve forgiven that person for what they did to me,” and then offer to pay for their next petrol bill. Let’s cry out “Holy Spirit I feel so alone, but I believe you are here with me” and spend the beginning of every day thanking Him for His faithfulness. So what choice can you make today that would cause you to rely on the Holy Spirit? What “path” can you turn towards? What comfortable place in your life can you step out from for a moment? May the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you as you discern with Him where your next step is. God is calling us to join Him in His mission, but look, He is not calling us to do it alone.
Rev Dr Lyndon Drake is Kaiwhakamana Amorangi (ministry enabler) at Te Pīhopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau. Lyndon is married to Miriam, and they have three boys. Lyndon was an interest-rate trader in London before retraining for ordained ministry, has degrees from the universities of Auckland, York, and Oxford, and is currently studying for a DPhil in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at the University of Oxford.Ka nuku nuku, ka neke nekeKa nuku nuku, ka neke nekeTitiro ki nga wai o Tokerau, e hora nei, me he pipiwharauroa ki tua Takoto te pai, takoto te pai Whiti, whiti, tata, tata Whiti, whiti, tata, tata He ra taua ki tua Takoto te pai, takoto te paiThese words have become famous. They come from a well-known Nga Puhi haka. They have a special place in the history of the Gospel in this land. Samuel Marsden preached the first sermon on Christmas Day in 1814 at Oihi Bay, answering the invitation of Ruatara, a chief from the north. In response to Marsden’s message, thousands of Ruatara’s men performed this haka.Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu suggests that reference to the pipiwharauroa (shining cuckoo) in this context showed an awareness that the good news of Jesus was an outside concept — a cuckoo’s egg being laid. But the response is not a rejection of this new thing, but a celebration of it. The haka is called “Te Hari a Nga Puhi” (“The Joy of Nga Puhi”) and was used to rejoice.In this, we can see the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who were listening to a message they could not yet completely understand. The Spirit prompted first Te Pahi (another chief) and then Ruatara to invite Marsden. The Spirit also prompted those who heard the message to respond with open hearts and joy.The Never Ending Work of the Holy SpiritIt is true, and important to remember and re-tell, that even in Marsden himself, and more so in many of the subsequent painful events of church activity, the Spirit’s work was damaged or opposed by human sin. But the Spirit cannot be defeated, and God’s works of aroha noa (grace) have continued to provoke a Spirit-filled response of joy among people ever since that day.A hallmark of the Spirit’s work was the embracing by early English CMS missionaries of Henry Venn’s vision of indigenous leadership. The English missionaries empowered new Maori Christians to proclaim the good news of Jesus throughout the land, and to in due course lead ministry. This vision was stifled as the “Settler Church” took over, but the Spirit-inspired ambition of a Maori-led church for the sake of all was never entirely lost. In a sense, it went underground and became largely invisible for many years.Another aspect of the Spirit’s ongoing work was the formation of NZCMS, a work that, from its inception, included both a worldwide ambition and the support of indigenous mission work within Aotearoa. The necessity of ongoing indigenous mission has not always been understood by the Church, but is a true sign of the Spirit’s presence in the church in this land.A New Initiative I have had joy myself in seeing the Spirit at work in a new way during the last couple of years. I returned to my own land in 2017 to take up ministry within the Maori Anglican church in Te Tai Tokerau (Auckland and Northland). My hope is to re-tell the broken story of the church. In particular, I want to see Maori evangelists set free to tell the good news of Jesus, and to have the great joy of seeing joyful responses to that message from Maori and tauiwi (those from overseas) alike.As I looked for ways to enable that vision, now-bishop Steve Maina gave me the opportunity in March 2018 to present an idea of partnership between NZCMS and te Takiwa o Manukau (the group of Maori Anglican churches of south Auckland which I oversee). The idea we brought was to identify and fund two Maori evangelists to work among Maori in Manukau, where more Maori live than in any place in the world. I had the joy of seeing the enthusiastic response of the NZCMS board and wider community. I am quite certain that NZCMS’ response was prompted by the Spirit.As this work has been established, I have had every opportunity to see the power of the Spirit, not only in the ministry of Te Hauoterangi Karaka who is our first evangelist, but in the spirit of partnership and cooperation that has characterised the whole endeavour. The Holy Spirit’s InvitationMy conviction, which I believe comes from the Spirit, is that God has not abandoned the story that He began to write in this land in 1814. I am convinced that God still loves this land, and still loves the way He began to form the church here. I am convinced that God still loves Maori and longs to see us saved, and that He loves all those tauiwi who have found a home here and longs for them to come into His Kingdom too. I am convinced that God still sends His Holy Spirit to accompany His word as it is preached, and will pour out his love and mercy on the lost in this land.My conviction is that we have to give attention to the way the story started among Maori, and to re-tell that story in our own day, repenting of the sins of the past not only in word but in actions which demonstrate our openness to God’s Spirit. I believe that this means we must give ourselves to the renewal of proclamation of the Gospel among Maori, trusting that this will lead to the conversion of Maori and tauiwi alike. I believe that the initiative NZCMS has taken to enable a new expression of Maori-led mission in Manukau is a sign of the Spirit’s presence and power among us.“Ka pēnā anō tāku kupu e puta ana i tōku māngai;e kore e hoki kau mai ki ahau;engari ka meatia tāku i pai ai,ka taea hoki tāku i unga atu ai.Tā te mea ka haere atu koutou me te hari anō,ka ārahina i runga i te rangimārie.”
“It is the same with my word.I send it out, and it always produces fruit.It will accomplish all I want it to,and it will prosper everywhere I send it.You will live in joy and peace.”Isaiah 55.11–12
On November 21, Thursday at 7:00pm the Better World participants and leaders will be hosting a live video Q & A from their location in Cambodia discussing their experiences of the past year as they come to the end of the programme. To tune in you must log into your Facebook account and find the Better World Facebook page. Or you can follow the link HERE. This year has been the very first year our Better World gap year has run. Better World is a radical social justice gap year experience for school leavers and young adults that digs deep into the issues of our broken world and journeyed into understanding how our response to these issues is central to the Gospel. Through out the programme, the participants have learned about ethical consumption, climate change, urban poverty and refugee and migration. They have also lived in community here Aotearoa and also gone abroad for extended periods of time in Fiji and Cambodia.
November 9 was a great time of celebration as Rosie Fyfe was commissioned as National Director of NZCMS by Peter Carrell, Bishop of Christchurch.. The newly appointed Bishop from Nelson, Steve Maina, also attended and gave his support and encouragement to Rosie as the previous National Director from 2009 to 2019. The CMS Australia International Director, Peter Rodgers, also attended the commissioning and spoke on behalf of all the Church Missionary Societies around the world as he welcomed Rosie into the CMS leadership family. There were also many NZCMS supporters, staff and board members who stood with Rosie and prayed for her in her new position. Bishop Richard Ellena, the President of the NZCMS Trust Board, gave an inspiring and challenging talk on our need to re-claim the “why?” question of mission. He quoted Luke 19:41:“As he (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept bitterly.” “Jesus wasn’t weeping because of what he knew he would experience…” the Bishop said. “He was weeping over Jerusalem. And in the midst of the tears, he said “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it’s hidden from your eyes.” Bishop Richard went on to explain that the city of Jerusalem was created to glorify and host the praises of God. It was God’s plan to have Jerusalem as a light to the nations because of the peace and joy of those who lived there. But it was full of corruption, ruled over by the Romans and spiritually led by priests who were motivated by greed and neglected God’s justice and love. “Our mission begins when we look out over God’s beautiful creation and weep” Bishop Richard said. “Mission happens when we, like God, so love the world that we weep when we see the injustices, the poverty, the violence, the greed, that complete devaluation of life. Mission is our response to the tears, and we support those who go.”The new NZCMS National Director, Rosie, is already well acquainted with us, having been a Mission Partner with for five years in Egypt. She spent her time there as the Director of the Diocesan Partnership Office, responsible for partnerships to support the ministries of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. This involved her in the planning and implementation of health, education, theological, interfaith, and community development projects, as well as communicating what the Church was doing in Egypt. With this history and relationship with NZCMS already in place, she has a deep understanding of our DNA and a passion to see us continue to move forward in inspiring and equipping. Would you please pray for Rosie as she continues to be led by God in this exciting new venture.
Just before I flew to the US for the conference, I had a severe bout of back pain that left me bed-ridden for four days. I did not want to cancel my Bible Study class with the women, and so I had them all come into our guest room and sit around the bed. I had assigned each of them texts from the Bible to lead a short Bible Study, based on seven questions. That day, two women led and I will never forget what happened. One woman, Doris, led the Bible Study with confidence that she had not had the first time I assigned her to lead. Afterwards she said something to this effect: “I am unschooled and I am ashamed to read at home. Even my husband and children have not heard my reading voice because I don’t want them to laugh at me. Today is the first time I am reading the Bible aloud, and though nobody helped me prepare for leading this Bible study, the Holy Spirit has led me and told me what to do.” After this, another woman, Hilda, took the lead with another text and again it was evident that she had renewed strength and confidence in the Holy Spirit. As she led, the other women were eagerly looking into their Bibles and contributing to the discussion and trying to see how they could apply the word to their lives. At the end she spoke to me and referred back to how far they had come in their spiritual walk with the Lord. “When we arrived here, you treated us like little babies. You fed us and fed us and now we have teeth and can eat anything!” Hallelujah! I went up to tell Jon and began to cry with joy at the realization at what God was doing in these women. We thank God for each of you and pray that as you labour in His vineyard, you will know that your labour in the Lord is never in vain. May His power be made perfect in weakness! Love from all of us in the Solomons,Jon, Tess, Avalyn, Cohen, Caeli, Judah, Immanuel, and Moses Hicks The Hicks family are NZCMS Mission Partners in the Solomon Islands, supporting the training of Church leaders. Jonathan teaches at a Bible college while Tess home-schools their children and engages in ministry with local women.