Pacific

Samoan Kiwis in the Philippines

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We are in mourning: The Kiwi-Samoan team from Christchurch has left us! We all enjoyed the team, led by Watari Maina and Ropeta, so much. Even our neighbours knew somehow that we had visitors.

They took songs and testimony in every place and gave a three day session for our staff on Basic Counselling Skills with an easy to use model. They took six sessions with the children in the Home using a TREE as their model. The children all drew their own trees and wrote in all sorts of things about their lives, ending with their dreams for the future. The children are still talking about their trees!

Then on the last day the team gave a Tofa Soifua (Farewell dinner). Not only that, but afterwards they gave out gifts of appreciation that they had brought from NZ – including tapa cloth, fans and lollies. Now I know why the suitcases were so big! Our staff commented: “we have never received anything like this before!”

Pacific 2 Nations: a Report

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NZCMS Office Intern, Ropeta, recently attending the Pacific 2 Nations conference in Auckland, a conference focusing on calling Pacific people into global mission. Here she shares her reflections from the event.

If my people….

never had the chance to hear the Gospel, I wonder how different my life would be.

If my people…..

have heard the Good News of Jesus, how has this shaped and transformed their lives, their families, their communities and their nations?

This year’s P2N conference theme was ‘Awakening the Warrior.’ Leading up to the conference I had pondered the above questions. What did it take for someone that was so on fire for God to leave the comforts of home and overcome barriers such as language, finances etc. to venture out and take the Good News of Jesus across the Pacific ocean? I truly believe it came down to their first love, knowing who Jesus was and what he had done for them and wanting to share that with others. The Great Commandment and the Great Commission – they go hand in hand.

Seems so simple, yet so daunting. I guess that’s what makes a Warrior.

My definition of a warrior: Someone who is loyal, gets the job done no matter what the cost is for them. They are often the hero in the making on the verge of doing something great. They are misunderstood at times but always pull through. They are forceful souls; they embody qualities of strength, courage and determination. They rise to the challenge because there are causes to serve and struggles to overcome, battles to be won. They like to be on the front line with their trusted comrades. Their basic drive is to uphold what is right and defeat what is wrong. They are honourable, faithful and a true witness to the mission. This is the warrior.

I have come away from the P2N conference challenged, stirred and out of my comfort zone. The speakers were great, the worship was on point and the message has hit home for me: be available, no more excuses and it’s time to take part in what God is already doing. I don’t want to be the disobedient one. I want be a part of God’s plan to be a blessing to others. Because I have heard the Gospel, I see how it has transformed and shaped people’s lives, communities and nations. I want to be a warrior for mission and be a part of God’s story, one that brings hope, love, transformation and grace to all his people and creation.

The Pacific drum for mission is beating from the north in Hawaii, from the east in Tahiti, from the west in Papua New Guinea and to the south in New Zealand. It’s getting louder and louder but will my people hear it?

God is awakening the warrior.

 

(The above photo is from Amy Huffaker on Flickr.)

Almost there!

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Jon’s work permit has been granted. Now we’re waiting for the visas to be approved.

We have moved out of Tess’ parents’ home in Boston, and are now in Stony Brook, New York with Jon’s parents while we wait for our visas to be approved by Immigration in the Solomon Islands. Thanks be to God, we have 98% of our funding raised.  Next Monday we will begin homeschooling Avalyn (4th grade), Cohen (2nd grade) and Caeli (Kindergarten). We bought Ava and Cohen ukuleles for music this year, and Tess will be learning guitar along with them. Judah is quite taken with the uke, so we may have to get him one of his own.

Please pray over the next few days for a quick approval of our visas so that we can buy tickets for mid-September. We are so excited to arrive in our new tropical home and to be able to worship with our Christian brothers and sisters in Malaita.

Our training in Toronto was wonderful. Thanks for your prayers. The children were encouraged by their age-appropriate lessons and field trips. They learned about paradox, or “pair-o-ducks,” while moving to a new culture. They were given two ducks, a “yay” duck and a “yuck” duck, to illustrate that there will be “yay” moments and “yuck” moments during our transition. There are good things and hard things about saying goodbye to friends and family here, and hello to new family and friends. Pray that all our kids will know how much they are loved and be secure in Christ while they experience transition.

Jon and I were encouraged to lean on Christ’s strength and let his power be made perfect in our weaknesses. A sentence that kept coming into my mind was a petition to God to “expand the borders of my heart.” I truly feel God breaking down existing boundaries and letting me receive grace and love from an ever-increasing community of believers. I also feel like he is leading me to go where I have not gone and trust him to give me the words to share his good news with those who need to hear them. God give us grace!

If you wish to receive monthly email updates from the Hicks, please email jon@nzcms.org.nz

A little old church with a big punch

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An update from the ‘Golden Oldies’ in Fiji. 

St Lawrence Church is the oldest Anglican Church on this island and is over 150-years old – and it looks like it! But this small church wants to spread God’s love into a town where over 50% of its community lives below the poverty line.

Situated in the heart on the main street it is a ‘light of hope’ for the locals that comprise a large number of Hindi faith. A woman’s ministry to new young mothers at the local maternity hospital is one example. Ladies visit weekly and deliver clothing and blankets to the new Mum’s at this bustling hospital that has an average of 3 births/day -on average! The Golden Oldies went and met the nurses and the new Mums with two Mums with one-hour old babies.

This followed to a visit next door where Archer nurse Adele and Junior Golden Oldie Andrea have been working in a 24/7  Health Centre where they attend to 500 patients/day. The medical equipment from Archer residents donations and fundraising was gratefully received and is highly valued. This equipment will increase the number of patients they can see daily and it was heart warming to see how much difference it will make in this community

For more updates from the ‘Golden Oldies’ click here.

 

Pacific 2 Nations: Ropeta’s Reflections

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It’s been almost two weeks since NZCMS and St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church hosted the Pacific2Nations Pastor & Leaders breakfast in Christchurch.

Pastor Lui Ponifasio and the P2N team travelled from Auckland to share the P2N vision with Pastors & Leaders from Christchurch’s Pacific community. It’s been an amazing experience as throughout this process God has weaved together at the right time people, organisations and churches to make this happen.

A highlight of the breakfast was seeing pastors and leaders come from different denominations and ethnic groups – including Samoans, Fijians, Papua New Guineans, plus a couple of token Europeans and a Kenyan (Steve). Steve reminded us that Pacific people were born to be missionaries: we can sleep anywhere, we can eat anything and we can blend right in because we’re neither too black nor too white.

Hearing the vision of P2N was refreshing. It was a reminder to the Pacific faith community about the legacy of our forefathers who spread the Gospel throughout the Pacific. Theirs was a passion that stirred their hearts so much that they conquered language, cultural and financial barriers to undertake the task that was set for them by God.

The challenge that’s been put out to the Pastors and Leaders by Lui is simple: will you and your church be the Goer’s, the Sender’s or the Disobedient ones? Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast,” the fast of the night, as it’s the first meal after sleeping. Some pacific churches are already engaged in local and global missions, praises to God, but the majority are still sleeping. God is slowly awakening them out of a deep sleep and helping his people ‘break the fast,’ directing them towards the ‘morning meal’ of mission involvement locally and globally. I’m excited about the follow-up from this breakfast as key leaders in Christchurch work with NZCMS and P2N on the where-to-next questions.

On September 11 & 12 the second P2N conference will be happening in Auckland and NZCMS will be there too. We’re expecting over 2000 people and some are coming from all over the world to attend. The theme this year is “Awakening The Warriors.” Will you pray for this up-and-coming event, that God will awaken many to what he is up to and how they can partner with him, and that by his power he will release the next generation of workers into the nations. For more info about the (free!) conference click here.

Partnering with the Pacific

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On Saturday 8 August 2015 a Pacific 2 Nations (P2N) Leaders Breakfast is happening in the South Island for the first time, in partnership with NZCMS and St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church. The purpose of the breakfast is to build relationships, sharing the vision of P2N with local church ministers, pastors and leaders.

So who is P2N and what is it all about?

The Pacific2Nations movement is about mobilising Pacific people for God’s mission in the nations. It’s about stirring the hearts of Pacific Island people, especially the younger generation, with the legacy of mission that came from the Pacific so that a fresh wave of Pacific Islanders may be sent into the nations of the world. P2N is partnering with mission agencies and churches in NZ, Australia, USA and the Pacific Islands to share this vision.

The Christchurch community will have the privilege of hearing from Pastor Lui Ponifasio (the P2N Chairman) and also from Steve Maina (NZCMS National Director). I’m excited about how God will use this event to gather leaders of the Pacific Island community – this will be history in the making, not only because we will hear the vision for the first time, but because this is the first time Pacific Island leaders will be coming together in Christchurch as one and sharing one heart for mission.

 

Would you pray that through this breakfast leaders would hear God’s voice to work together to see a new generation of Pacific young people  released into their God given calling.

 

For more information about P2N click here.

The Evolution of Golden Oldies (Issue 22)

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

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

Interns

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

Graduates

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

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

Youth Mission

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

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

 

Contact Graeme and Jane Mitchell          021 460 338         graeme@goldenoldiesmission.com

www.goldenoldiesmission.com

 

Originally published in Intermission (Issue 22, May 2015)

Meet Margaret

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

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

Who are the Hicks?

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Jonathan and Tess Hicks are American Third Culture Kids, both coming from ‘mission families.’ Jon was raised in the Solomon Islands and Tess in Germany, Kazakhstan and China. Not surprisingly, they both grew up with hearts for mission. For a long time they’ve felt God calling them to the Solomon Islands, and in 2010 Jon received an invitation from the Bishop of Malaita to teach at a Bible College there. To prepare for this the family moved to New Zealand so he could pursue a PhD in Theology at Otago University which was completed in 2014. They returned to USA later that year and were accepted as SAMS USA Mission Partners in November. Because of the Hicks’ prior connection to New Zealand and our strategic placement within the Pacific, NZCMS is partnering with SAMS USA in sending the Hicks to the Solomons.

One of Tess’s primary roles will be to home school their kids – Avalyn (9), Cohen (7), Caeli (4) and Judah (3) – while Jon is teaching, though she also sees herself getting involved with leading women’s Bible studies, doing one-on-one mentoring and having an open house as she loves offering hospitality.

The Hicks are currently in the States, fundraising as they prepare to arrive in the Solomons around August.