My wife Shona sensed the call to global mission at 12 years old at her home church in Auckland. In her 20’s she did mission trips to Tanzania and Colombia. I grew up as a son of British missionaries in Peru and we later met in Spain in 1999. We bonded over our shared experience living in Latin America during very dangerous times. Shona had always had a conviction that she would marry somebody with a passion for global mission and he would decide where we would go. Our question at the time though was “Where?” I met a key leader from the Middle East and asked him how I could strategically serve the Muslim world. Without flinching he gave me an answer that changed my life. “Andy with your background and bilingualism, mobilise the church in Latin America! This one conversation mobilised me. I married Shona in London in 2000 and we moved to New Zealand in 2001 to start a family. We thought that after 2-5 years God would call us to be part of facilitating a missional movement from Latin America to the unreached nations.Upside DownAt that time I felt God had told me it was not time to leave but to work on my character as I had been struggling to control my emotions for a few years. Unfortunately, I just didn’t know how bad it really was. In 2002 my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In that instant, despite the strong sense of calling Shona and I had received, I disqualified myself for service in global mission. How could I take my family to a foreign country away from our support structures if I was emotionally unstable? So I decided that we would serve in the church in New Zealand.In 2005 I received a very strange prophetic word. A friend of mine said to me “Andy, somebody is going to give you a pair of shoes and it will be a sign to you that you will travel across many nations with a message from God.” I thought it was weird at the time but it impacted me and I held onto it.After spending some time serving as youth pastors in Tauranga, we moved to Christchurch in 2009 and I made a serious attempt to understand the bipolar diagnosis, researching with doctors, Christian counsellors, and psychiatrists. What followed were some of the hardest years of my life. I had terrible side effects from all the medication and even went on the sickness benefit for a time. We got to the point where my medical team and I agreed that it wasn’t working and in 2013 I came off all my medication slowly. I felt like I had no solution. My mood swings wouldn’t stop and every three weeks I battled with suicidal thinking. During this period Shona started training as a teacher and I became the house husband, looking after the kids, working part-time, and serving at church in the children’s ministry and small groups. Again, I felt disqualified from global mission and quite ashamed. The MiracleIn 2015, I was invited by my friend Gabriel, to a meeting run by a healing evangelist named Susan Pillains who was visiting from England. I didn’t want to go but I knew Gabriel wanted me to translate and was hoping I would be healed. Gabriel is a passionate intercessor and over the years he had prayed with many tears for God to heal me. I had experienced God’s healing over the years in other ways, but it had been 14 years since my bipolar diagnosis, God had not healed me and I was feeling a little jaded. I decided to attend the meeting, telling Shona I would change my attitude.It turned out Susan had an amazing ministry with miraculous healing meetings across India and Africa. She began to pray for me but after a couple of times of commanding the sickness to leave, I apologetically said to her that I felt no different. She asked if we could pray and wait on God. So we did and I stood there with my hands stretched out before me as she quietly prayed. After about ten minutes Susan said she believe God told her that my illness had been passed down to be me from previous generations. So she began to methodically go through my family generations one by one, asking Jesus to release me from any sickness that had begun there. When she counted to the eighth generation I suddenly collapsed on the floor and began to scream!I am not going to give you more of an explanation or an interpretation of this story because I simply cannot. I can only tell you the story as it happened. All I can say is as Susan prayed, the power of God began moving in my life in a way that was beyond my understanding. After a while, Susan began to pray for peace and said “I think something significant has happened.” I replied, “I think so too.”I knew it would be very easy to check because for the past 20 years I hadn’t gone three weeks without facing a cycle of uncontrollable depression and elation.From that day on March 8, 2015, the mood swings stopped. One Christian psychologist told me that’s impossible as a bipolar diagnosis is incurable. However, I know what I was like then and I know what has changed and there is no way I would be taking my family to a foreign country and away from our support networks if God had not healed me. A miracle had happened.The ShoesIn June of 2015, I was invited to speak at a combined service. I was at the church social event on a Monday night and the Pastor, Pastor Jorge, decided to pray for some people. All of a sudden the social event became a ministry time and he began to pray for me. Incredibly he said that I would have a ministry travelling across Latin America and countries where Christians faced persecution.“Like the valleys are raised up and the mountains are lowered and the favour of God goes before you and you are walking in some shoes…” Then all of a sudden he slowed down for a bit before continuing. “Like my ones…” He stopped for a few seconds again. Finally, he said “This is going to sound very odd to you. But I believe the Holy Spirit is saying that I am to give you these shoes and they will be a sign to you that this will come true.” I couldn’t believe it. That was it! When I got home I chatted to Shona and within a month I had resigned from my job.Jesus’ ScarsJohn 20:20 and 20:21 have been a theme for me over the last couple of years. Jesus enters a room where the disciples were hidden away from the world for fear of death. Jesus surprises the disciples and meets them at a point when they had been blindsided by the unexpected. They had been ravished by the trauma of the death of their hero, the hero that most of them had abandoned. All were overwhelmed by their circumstance and totally baffled by the apparent news of the resurrection of Christ. And then, suddenly, he appeared to them.Jesus showed them his hands and he said “As the father has sent me, I am sending you”. Jesus shows them the scars of wounds that should have declared his demise but now proclaimed his victory. I believe this point is relevant to all of us. God sends us fully aware of our weaknesses, frailties, insecurities, and our quirks. And yet God still calls us to go and be an incarnation of the Gospel to the world.Andy and Shona have been Mission Partners with NZCMS since 2017. They work with Pro-meta (an online Christian university) to train leaders and work alongside missional organisations across Latin America to Mobilize the church into the call of God. Andy and Shona believe passionately that Latin America can be a powerhouse to accomplish the great commission among the remaining 7000 unreached ethnic groups around the world.
These last few months have been a real whirlwind for me as I have juggled both busy weeks at work and a major life change. Next Waitangi weekend, I will be moving to live near my Wellington-based daughter and her husband, prior to the arrival of their first child in early April. This also brings me closer to my Taupo based son and his wife. It was really valuable to take time in September to attend a retreat and experience a real sense of call to go, to live life as a hands-on grandmother and to dig deep into the community-life building that is happening in the Wellington Diocese. I feel very privileged to have been appointed as a project accountant for the Wellington Diocese for the coming year. It feels like a really logical progression from having dug deep into the missional life that is NZCMS. Pray for me, that I will transition well. The turnaround from one job to the next is rather short! I have committed to finishing both the Annual accounts and audit before I finish at NZCMS on February 4 and start my new role on Feb 15. Pray also that I will make wise decisions as I evaluate accommodation options.I have enjoyed my time with NZCMS very much. What an amazing group of Mission Partners, staff, Board and supporters you are. Your passion for mission and working out your faith actively in a way that is both merciful and just is outstanding. Kia Kaha- Stand strongJanet
Whether way back when or more recently, missionaries face many varied challenges. References to so-called “one-way missionaries” abound in historical records on mission. Aware of the dangers on the field, these people booked one-way tickets to their location. Expecting to die overseas they sensibly and practically packed their belongings in coffins in anticipation of needing them one day. While I can’t be sure that the earliest NZCMS missionaries actually did travel with a coffin, I do know that over the years many have faced significant challenges. Take, for instance, Miss Della Hunter-Brown, the second missionary to be sent out by us who, along with Marie Pasley, went to Japan. Della went first to Nagasaki and later to Kagoshima, where she taught English. This work provided much scope for evangelism and it is recorded that “four bank clerks, who really came to learn English, were so moved by the story of Christ’s life as recorded in the Japanese Bible, that they dropped English in order to learn more of Him. Of the four, two definitely became Christians.” (N.Z.C.M.A. Annual Report, 1896). “The Devil seems to have resented this, for both these missionaries were shipwrecked on a small Philippine Island on their return from furlough in 1900 but were rescued after a week” (Stretching out Continually: a history of the New Zealand Church Missionary Society 1892-1972” by Kenneth Gregory).A search of the spreadsheet of archival information I have worked on over the last few months, reveals other challenges faced by Mission Partners, of which the following is merely a small selected sample:Rev. C. Godden was murdered in Norfolk Island by a tribal person in 1906.Violet Latham worked in India in 1918 against heavy odds of plague, cholera and famine.Margaret North was interned from China to Hong Kong by the Japanese in 1942.Jocelyn Broughton was sent home from Pakistan due to malaria in 1955.Dr Ian Hulme-Moir died of an infection contracted performing surgery on a patient in 1980.Pilot Paul Summerfield was killed in a plane crash in Papua New Guinea in 1985.Murray Ruddenklau died from injuries sustained in a fall in Cairo in 2006.Health events took the lives of Jane Morrison while in Tanzania in 2000, and Allan Coussell in an undisclosed location in 2017.
Many Mission Partners suffered ill health on the field, possibly the least of these being temporary ailments such as diarrhoea, variously “Delhi belly” or the “Murree Hurries” and undoubtedly other colloquialisms depending on the location. Tropical complaints such as giardia, malaria and dengue fever were also common.Engage any returned Mission Partner and they will no doubt recount various challenges ranging from humorous incidents to real dramas. Whether in 1900, 2021 or any time in between, these challenges were all par for the course for Mission Partners while still always being under the watchful eye of a sovereign God.
How do you get from growing up in rural mid-Canterbury to Global mission in the megacity of Tokyo? This is week one of a four-part miniseries “Small Steps Towards Mission” following NZCMS Mission Partner, Luke Sinclair. In this series, Luke highlights four key turning points in his life and four small steps of everyday discipleship that God can use to send each of us out on mission. This is week 2 in the series. You can read the first article here. My first car was certainly no head-turner – a light blue 1989 Hyundai Excel granny-hatchback affectionately named “The OG-mobile” after the first two letters of the number plate. Yet the second turning point on my path towards Japan involved this car – both metaphorically and physically. The big change came about when I finally understood the second half of a single Bible verse.The verse was 1 Corinthians 12:31 and the first half I understood well, “Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” At High School, I had spent a lot of time reading this chapter and the similar passage in Romans 12 about spiritual gifts. I had tried to work out which ones God had given me and which ones I hoped he would one day give me. Although I would have said I’d be content with whatever the Holy Spirit gave, in reality, I wanted the more impressive, more powerful, more ‘spiritual’ ones. The gifts of serving or giving money described in Romans 12:7 -8 seemed like drawing the short straw!But as I came back to following Jesus while at University, I spent time in 1 Corinthians again and began to spot things I hadn’t seen before. Previously I’d read chapters 12 and 14 as “Paul’s guide to spiritual gifts” – almost as if it was an instruction manual. But I’d never stopped to ask what chapter 13 was doing in the middle of them – that famous passage about love. Reading through the whole letter I saw how the Corinthian Church was full of the Holy Spirit and very gifted (1 Corinthians 1:5-7). And yet Paul said they were “still worldly” and “mere infants” (1 Corinthians 3:1). They were a church divided over many things, one of which was spiritual gifts that they appeared to be using to gain recognition, status and power. And so smack in the middle of his teaching on this topic in 12:31 Paul says, “Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” This way is the way of love. Not the romantic kind, but the love that sinful people at church are to show to each other and to build each other up to persevere in following Jesus.All of a sudden my understanding of this passage was flipped upside down. In my eager desire for the most ‘impressive’ spiritual gifts, I was acting just like the Corinthians! I realised that rather than looking inward to ask ”What is my spiritual gift?”, the most excellent way was to look outward and ask “How can I love my brothers and sisters at church one step more?’”Around that time I had been helping with the church logistics team which set up and packed down the primary school we met in each Sunday. Rather than this just being a ‘good thing to do’ I started viewing this as one way the Holy Spirit had gifted me to love my brothers and sisters. And as I kept looking at what the needs were in front of me, I didn’t see any ‘impressive’ upfront roles, but I did see that the logistics team needed more leaders who could take on responsibility for the Sunday set-up. Not quite what I had imagined or desired (being a non-committal 21-year-old). I had wanted the spiritual gift equivalent of a Lamborghini – impressive and powerful! But God had given me a Hyundai. Literally. Yet this was the way to love at that time. So, I and the OG-mobile started turning up early to transport gear to the school and organise set up.If you had told me back then that I would later become a cross-cultural Mission Partner sent overseas, I would have laughed. That was not something I wanted to do nor believed God had gifted me in. And yet, looking back now, I can see how that season of meditating on 1 Corinthians was a key turning point. God had transformed my mind by his Word to change the way I approached service, putting love at the centre. And by his grace I’ve (imperfectly) tried to keep asking the question and remaining open to God’s answer – “How could I love my brothers and sisters one step more?” Who knows where God will lead me, or you, next with such a question!?Do you know someone discerning what it means to be “Sent by Jesus”? We invite you to share this series with them. We will be publishing one article a week here on our website and Facebook Page.
Luke & Naomi Sinclair Preparing for Ministry in Japan
Earlier this year we ran an appeal for a hostel in Pakistan. In order to house and disciple the next intake of students, the hostel needed $10,000. You and others raised over $18,000. Our Mission Partner who serves there reports back on the powerful impact this will have for these students and their communities.In order to protect her, the ministry she is involved in and the communities she interacts with, the Mission Partner who wrote this article is kept anonymous.No room at the Inn. What difficult news that would have been to hear when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. Yet we know the events, and that God made provision for where baby Jesus would be born. In 2021 it seemed the Diocese would have to tell new students wanting to continue their studies that there was no room at their hostel. But this is not how the story unfolded.Thanks to God’s provision, through your generous response to the appeal, the way was made for our new intake of hostel students to come from their villages to continue their studies. Nine new students were accepted and joined the Diocesan Hostel.After another covid-delayed start to the new school year, the boys joined 9th grade classes at St John’s High School in late August. They have since all received their covid vaccinations, which is now mandatory for senior students. Since joining the hostel one of our students has lost his father, being in the hostel will enable him to continue his education thus building a stronger foundation for his family’s future.The opportunity to be part of the hostel family opens up new doors for these students. Computer literacy in NZ is very high, in contrast, most of these boys have never had computer access. The hostel laptop lab gives these boys the chance to build basic computer skills. Our College students this year were needing to put in their admission forms online. I watched the senior students helping one another fill out their applications and they said, “it is because we learnt computer skills at the hostel that we are able to do our online applications.” These skills are important for their future prospects.Along with computer literacy, the new students will have opportunities to grow through a variety of hostel activities, exposure visits and trainings. They will develop self-confidence, life, faith, leadership and vocational skills. Even the short term impact on others might be like Arjan (name changed) who last year learnt about girls’ rights. He said, “I told some of my relatives about girls’ education. Now they are motivated and agree to send girls in to school. Four girls take education because of my little bit of effort. After this training, I feel more respect for my sisters.”Thank you for enabling these students to benefit from being part of the hostel family, and for the overflow from this which will reach into their own families, their villages and the wider community. Your support is changing the trajectory of these boys’ lives… and they are deeply grateful. Thank you for making ‘room at the Inn’.
I wonder how many “Interchange” readers were present 15 years ago at “What a Mission!”, a presentation to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Christchurch? The small publication made available at that time, to which I am indebted for some of the following snippets, contains many ‘firsts’ for NZCMS which it is interesting to recall.The first known CMS supporter in Canterbury, Dr A.C. Barker, arrived in 1850 on the Charlotte Jane, one of the First Four Ships to arrive from England.The beginnings of mission among Māori in the Christchurch Diocese happened nine years later, in 1859, when the Rev. James Stack, a close friend of Tamihana Te Rauparaha, migrated south from the North Island, was ordained by Bishop Harper and became the Diocesan Missioner to Māori.The first NZCMS missionary to be sent overseas from the Christchurch Diocese was the Rev. W.G. Ivens, who went to Melanesia in 1895.The first NZCMS missionary to become a bishop in an overseas diocese was Rt Rev Maxwell Wiggins, also of Christchurch. He was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza in 1963.The first Missionary School was held in Nelson in 1926. It was chaired by Canon Lambie of Melbourne, as Nelson’s Bishop Sadlier, was away.The first Spring School took place in August 1948, organized by Rev. Hugh Thomson, who, with his wife Margaret, spent ten years in Tanzania from 1952–1962. It was held at St Margaret’s College, with evening meetings at St Mary’s, Merivale.On a slightly lighter note, and not related to the Christchurch Diocese, it is rumoured that Mr Don (later Rev.) Corban, was amongst the first NZCMS Mission Partners to travel to his field of service by air.Emails have made inter-country communication considerably easier and faster than the earlier alternative – letters and aerogrammes. At first, the immediacy was difficult to accommodate. For example, it was during Rev. Michael Lawrence’s tenure as General Secretary, that the use of email became more prevalent. Apparently, on at least one occasion, a Mission Partner sent an email and, when it had not been answered one day later, emailed again to enquire why he had not received a reply. Michael’s answer was along the lines of “My goodness, I need time to pray about the matter before answering the email!”To end on a financial note – in 1924, the Home Allowance for a single missionary for 6 months was an impressive 3 pounds sixpence!
How do you get from growing up in rural mid-Canterbury to cross-cultural mission in the megacity of Tokyo? This is week one of a four-part miniseries “Small Steps Towards Mission” following NZCMS Mission Partner, Luke Sinclair. In this series, Luke highlights four key turning points in his life and four small steps of everyday discipleship that God can use to send each of us out on mission. We begin with Luke’s first article “Saved and Sent by Jesus”. The most radical step I have made on my path towards Japan was to invite some classmates to go and watch Batman at the cinema. That may seem like a mundane, everyday affair but in the journey God has led me on, this became a significant turning point. To see how the Dark Knight fits into the picture, let me first backtrack to earlier in my story.I grew up in mid-Canterbury and had followed Jesus my whole life. Through encouragement at youth group, I had loved sharing the message of Jesus with my friends at school and did outreach in our community and in short term mission trips to Fiji. Yet, after moving to Christchurch to study at the University of Canterbury, it took only six months for me to walk away from Christianity. The shock and loneliness of living in my hall of residence coupled with the challenge of vocal and provocative atheists made me unsure whether I could trust anything about Jesus. And so, I quietly withdrew from Church, from Christian friends, and from seriously trying to engage with my questions.After 18 months or so of drifting, I finally admitted to myself that I was miserable and needed to find answers. I had heard of a new church for students and so I started attending. At the same time I was continuing to think through atheism and agnosticism and, to keep my mind open, also joined some Buddhism classes. While comparing and contrasting all these worldviews I increasingly saw how the Bible’s answers to the big questions of life fit best with my experience of the world. And as I went back to the Bible I was brought face to face with Jesus again and was amazed by Him. There wasn’t an individual moment, but over that year God slowly brought me back to being a follower.Then one morning as I sat reading my Bible, I came across a passage speaking about God’s judgement. And the question rose in my mind for the hundredth time – “Do I really believe all this again?” So I worked through my findings: Do I have good reason to trust these words are the reliable records of the eyewitnesses? Yes. Do I have good reason to trust that Jesus rose from the dead and that His words can be trusted? Yes. And on top of all that – is it good? Absolutely! I hadn’t learnt anything fundamentally new about the Gospel over that year. But what I now had was a deeper view of grace. I had turned my back on God, but He had not stopped loving me. Jesus, the good shepherd, had left the 99 and had come after this one sad, lost sheep.Then along floated in the next thought – “This matters for all my Uni classmates who don’t know any of this!” And as I prayed I came up with one very small but totally radical step: Batman.We were a reasonably nerdy bunch who only talked about assignments, sport, and TV shows. However, we didn’t do much together and our relationships weren’t at a depth where we could discuss what really mattered to us. If I wanted them to know Jesus, something would have to change, and the new Batman movie seemed a good start to connect with each other more and grow in friendship. Though I was shy and disliked taking the initiative, I invited them, organised the event and got them all along to watch the movie.That small step of everyday discipleship was the turning point God used to get me praying for and, timidly, trying to tell people about Jesus. I knew that as a disciple I was saved by Jesus and sent to tell the world about Him (John 20:21). But it was only until I knew how good His good news was for me personally, that I became motivated to go outside my comfort zone to do this. Saved and sent by Jesus – how could I not want the people in my life to know the good news He offers them too?Do you know someone discerning what it means to be “Sent by Jesus”? We invite you to share this series with them. We will be publishing one article a week here on our website and our Facebook Page.
Luke & Naomi Sinclair
Preparing for Ministry in Japan
What happens when you remain called and fully committed to overseas mission work but believe God is leading you to return “home” to New Zealand? Are you, then, still a “sent” mission partner?NZCMS took a brave step when it approved the Weymouth family returning to New Zealand while allowing me (Rick) to remain fully engaged in Middle Eastern theological education by extension (T.E.E.) and in tertiary level theological education quality assurance ministries in the Middle East and Asia. I work from a home base in a small country town in the North Island, with Anne contributing locally (may we say, at the “home” end?) and re-engaging in local church and community ministries. And, of course, I would be able to travel back to the Middle East and Asia reasonably frequently each year. Three years ago, pre-Covid-19, that was a reasonable assumption!So, how does it work when a pandemic means, for an extended time, that you are effectively locked up and cannot travel overseas, or, if you can, you will struggle to find a way back?How did the Apostle Paul Serve in his ‘lock down’?Intriguingly, the Apostle Paul found himself in a similar, yet far more severe, situation when he was imprisoned in Rome, facing the death penalty. Was he still a “sent one,” while chained to a Roman soldier and under house arrest? (Our Covid lockdowns seem somewhat trivial in comparison!) Could his ministry, the work of the Gospel, continue under such circumstances? Had it all come to an end?That was the no. 1 question of the Philippian Christians when they heard of Paul’s arrest and imprisonment in Rome. They had a special friendship and a supportive relationship with the Apostle, which he describes as a “partnership” (koinōnia) in the Gospel (Phil 1:5; 4:15). So, they sent Epaphroditus from Philippi to Rome to bring Paul a financial gift, meet some of his practical, physical needs, and to especially ask about the work of the Gospel. Had it now come to an end?At the same time, Epaphroditus brings news to Paul of disunity in the Philippian congregation amid growing opposition, leading Paul to become concerned about the work of the Gospel in Philippi! To answer their concerns, give thanks for their gifts and the practical service provided to him, and to address the crucial issue of unity, Paul writes the letter which we call Philippians.Contrary to what the Philippian believers had expected, Paul reassures them that Gospel ministry has continued and was not merely continuing but was advancing while he was imprisoned! Not only has the entire imperial guard heard that his imprisonment is for the sake of Christ, but local believers have been emboldened in their proclamation of Christ (Phil 1:12-18). Gospel ministry is going on, and their shared partnership in the Gospel can also continue (Phil 1:7), even if the pending trial leads to Paul’s death (1:19-26).Overseas Missions from HomeIn the same way, also contrary to natural expectations, it has been surprising to find that after two decades of mission based in the Middle East, some of the most significant things I have ever done in ministry – by God’s grace(!) – have been accomplished in the last two years, while sitting at a desk in a small home office on the edge of a small town of about 5,000 people in rural New Zealand. We should note, though, that these God-enabled contributions have been built upon our 22 years of physically living in the Middle East and a similar period of active involvement and service in theological education there. Back in 1996, our language school director used to say, of the Arab-world, that maximum effectiveness in cross-cultural ministry required a minimum of seven years of living there. While serving now from home here, continuing mission impact is possible precisely because we have been there – for many years of living, learning, loving, and serving cross-culturally.And, since April 2020, this has all taken place without any overseas travel possible! It is amazing what can be done in our digital age, with virtual networking and synchronous video conferencing! The global pandemic has forced us to rethink not only mission, but many facets of what used to be “normal” life, work, ministry, and education!It has given huge impetus and relevancy to the programs of e‑Learning and, much more recently, doing theological education by m-Learning through mobile devices such as smartphones, both of which we’ve been seeking to establish in the Middle East. There is significant need for appropriate quality measures, standards and guidelines for online evangelical theological learning as theological schools re-think their delivery of Bible, theology, and leadership education, without compromising in any formational area.Of course, these new ways of education bring up all sorts of other challenges! In the online environment, how do you ensure that learning remains holistic and transformational? How does one tap into processes of personal, spiritual, character, and ministry formation from an online, educational point of view? These are issues we have been carefully addressing, but I digress. We will need to save that discussion for another article!The Challenges and the Benefits For sure, there are limitations to mission work, whether from prison (as in Paul’s case) or “home” in New Zealand, including some previously unheard-of tech-hazards, such as “Zoom burnout”. Working relationships with colleagues require additional efforts and time, including many evening video conference calls, necessitated by the 9- or 11-hour time difference between New Zealand and the Middle East, and occasional middle-of-the-night calls, most of which I try to avoid.Yet, it is a blessing to remain actively involved in ministry in the Middle East and Asia from New Zealand. With appropriate care and effort, home-based, overseas-focused mission is not only possible but can bring unexpected outcomes.With the Apostle Paul, his imprisonment led to a bolder witness from believers in and around the Roman capital. For a home-based Mission Partner, the personal time and energy saved through not regularly travelling overseas are significant. And it is valuable, too, that not being present on location in the Middle East means that my co-workers are less dependent upon my presence, which is a good thing. It also means that my inputs can be more thoughtful, considered and strategic. Indeed, that is what I call “the crazy thing” about serving from home – finding that significant things can still happen! Probably a “God thing,” wouldn’t you say?As it has happened, I now have several roles in Middle Eastern and Asian theological education and serve in them with a heartfelt passion. Whether an overseas-based or a home-based Mission Partner, it is incredibly rewarding, and a privilege to follow in the footsteps of the model Servant, sent by the Father, who “came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).“As the Father has sent me, I also send you”In this respect, I am encouraged by Don Carson’s insightful words about Jesus’ saying, in John 20:21b, “as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” He notes that the perfect tense of the verb “has sent” (apostellō) suggests that “Jesus is in an ongoing state of ‘sentness.’ Just because he ascends to his Father does not mean he is no longer the ‘sent one’ par excellence. We as Christ’s disciples do not take over Jesus’ mission, replacing him, but rather his mission continues and is effective in our ministry.So yes, one can be a ‘sent one’ as a home-based, overseas-focused Mission Partner, for the work we do, wherever and however we do it, is carrying on Christ’s work of mission, not our own. Our service, placed in Christ’s hands, is to continue his service as “the sent One” within this world, so loved by God.Footnotes(1) “Home” is in fact a very relative word. For our two (then) teenage sons, who grew up in the Middle East, returning from that part of the world, early 2018, to live in New Zealand was not returning “home”; it was leaving their home! But the important matter of TCKs (Third Culture Kids) and their experiences is the subject of another article, another time. This one is written from not-a-TCK perspective! And, to muddy the waters further, it is penned by a West Islander, for whom New Zealand has become an adopted home.(2) God willing, that may change in 2022, if/when quarantine free travel is permitted again for vaccinated travellers.(3) D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Pillar NTC; Eerdmans, 1991) 649; cf. also Luke’s introduction to the book of Acts, with the ministry “that Jesus began to do and teach” now continuing through the apostles (Acts 1:1).
Rick & AnneMission Partners to the Middle East from NZ
Finance Manager10 – 15 hours per week – Christchurch.Our Finance Manager of four years, Janet, is moving to wellington to be closer to family. We are sad to say goodbye but excited for her to enjoy this new season of life. This also creates a new opportunity in our office.Are you good with finances and looking to put your skills at work? Have you ever wanted to have a role within a global mission organisation? This role is an opportunity to connect financial skills with the big picture of what God is doing around the world! We are looking for a Finance Manager to join our Christchurch-based team.The New Zealand Church Missionary Society (NZCMS) is a Christian mission organisation that currently equips and supports 23 Mission Partners in 12 countries, and in mobilising New Zealanders for mission.You will be responsible for all aspects of finances of NZCMS, taking ownership of reporting and audit, budgeting, systems development and improvement. Accounting skills and/or relevant financial qualification necessary, as well as the ability to use accounting software programs. Database management experience is desirable.A passion for Christian mission, cheerful disposition, effective organisational skills and a good eye for detail are attributes needed to do this job well. For more information, please download the job description.Finance Manager at NZCMS – Job DescriptionDownload
Send your application to email@example.com by 19 November 2021. The role will be open until the right person is hired.
Let’s start with the basics. When did you begin work for NZCMS and what was your role?I started with NZCMS in Feb 2012 as Personnel Director. The role was to support all the Mission Partners that were overseas and journey with those who were interested in becoming Mission Partners, both long-termers and short-termers.What was it that interested you about working for NZCMS?I knew almost nothing about NZCMS when I applied for the role! But I knew a lot about living cross-culturally overseas having been overseas myself for 25 years. Additionally, I had been doing a similar role for 2.5 years with a Mission organisation in the UK called Latin Link. Whilst the job description for the Personnel Director role at NZCMS seemed to fit me like a hand in a glove, I made the hard decision to return to NZ principally to be closer to my parents who were in their late 70s/early 80s.What are some of the ‘stand out’ memories you take away from your time at NZCMS? Can you think of any specific moments or stories that stick out to you?For me the ‘stand out’ memories without a doubt are the opportunities I had to visit our Mission Partners in their locations overseas. To become a part of their worlds for a few days and be truly inspired by them as people, the relationships they had built with those they were living amongst, the ways they had adapted to the often-difficult realities of their context, and how they were a part of God’s transforming work in those places.As I remember all those visits what remains with me most deeply are the many occasions in which I sat with Mission Partners as they interacted with the people around them, sensing the mutual respect and care that spoke more loudly than the words that were being spoken generally in languages that I didn’t understand. Whether that was in a small home-based bible-study discussion group in a small city, encouraging international students in a large city, sitting with neighbours in a slum, having a meal together under a starlit night in a tiny rural village, opening the bible in a cafe, listening to patients in a hospital clinic, teaching children English in a small hut, supporting the Master of a Boys Hostel, enthusing young people into mission or sharing knowledge with assistant pharmacists, respect and care flavoured their interactions with those around them.I was also impacted by how the Mission Partners persevered in the face of many challenges; heat, bugs, corruption, mind-numbing ‘shifting sand’ bureaucracy, lack of consistent water, electricity and internet, team difficulties, tough security restrictions, bribery, language learning, misunderstanding and feeling misunderstood, loneliness, and more recently lockdowns and all the uncertainties of a covid-19 world to name a few.I have been challenged and enriched by sharing in the lives of these truly inspirational people.Over the past 9 ½ years with NZCMS, what changes in global missions have you noticed? What do you think will be the future understanding and practice of “missions” in the Church in the coming years? At one level nothing has really changed. I believe global missions as I have seen it through the eyes and lives of Mission Partners has continued to be about God-loving people being willing to step away from the relative security of life in NZ, and share their lives, their love of God, and their God with those they have chosen to live amongst; and in the process allow God to transform them and bring transformation through them.Obviously, Covid-19 has brought tremendous change for many of our Mission Partners and will have an ongoing impact especially with regard to the reality of travel and living in a Covid-19 world. I believe that there will always be a place for God-loving people to reach across cultures to be channels of transformation and in the process be transformed, whether that is overseas or here in NZ.NZCMS is about to publish a series asking people in our community to reflect on John 20:21: “Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” So, what does being a “sent person” look like for you?For me, a ‘sent person’ means someone who is in relationship. Jesus’ sense of ‘sent-ness’ came from his relationship with his Father, for us to be sent we too need to be in relationship with the triune God; that must be at the very core of who we are.Being ‘sent’ also suggests movement; being open to going outside our comfort zone, and that will look different for each of us. And the movement is not an aimless wandering, although where we end up might look nothing like what we had imagined or thought and that would be true for most of our Mission Partners!, It has a purpose, which isn’t just about the destination; the transformative journey is as important, perhaps even more important than the destination.Anything else you’d like to say?Being a part of the NZCMS family has been a huge privilege; there have been challenges, joys, laughter and monotony. I am thankful to God for growing me as I have journeyed alongside our Mission Partners, been a part of a great staff team, and been inspired by many faithful supporters. Thank you to you all!
Lesley, NZCMS Personnel Manager 2012 – 2021