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A Mission Partner’s Miraculous Story

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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.  

Mission – Not for the Faint of Heart

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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.

Anne McCormick

NZCMS Archivist

Are You Our New Finance Manager?

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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 rosie@nzcms.org.nz by 19 November 2021. The role will be open until the right person is hired.

Celebrating Lesley

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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

The Wheeler’s Ongoing Adventure

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Hello all! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I first wrote this almost three weeks ago, but we had a 7-day block without any internet and then very poor signal since then. Also, the humidity and a sneaky ant colony have both upset my keyboard and rendered a third of my laptop keys useless. I was tempted to write this missing a third of the letters as a Lockdown entertained test for you all, but I decided against it as I confused myself while writing it! So I’ve waited till I could fix my laptop and here we are. The multifaceted work Scott is doing is overflowing with progress and tangible benefits for the community here. The proposals he has prepared and submitted for funding were successful with donors in the Netherlands. From this, a project trialling ten toilets and tanks for the two neighbouring villages will be able to start. Funding for the building of a Grade 9/10 – equivalent to NZ’s year 10 and 11 – classroom has also been secured. Kapuna Life School has recently been approved to offer these grades which will help keep kids at school longer. If these were not offered here, kids would either not finish their schooling at all or, if the families have the resources and family connections, would have to be sent to education centres far away.A plan to build some new staff housing to support the recruitment of quality staff was also part of the funding proposal which will also begin in time. It is so satisfying to see these things happen because of Scott’s work. This also means that many of the building team who were trained for the hospital rebuild will be able to offer work after the first project has reached completion at the end of this year. Thank you to our supporters for getting us here. It is because of you that these things are happening!I, Nikki, have started taking over more of the Shop Manager role here and am learning how to order supplies for the community. All packaged food, household goods and building supplies come on the barge once a month and are ordered through the shop. Of course the ‘shop front’ is more of a window and grate you look through while paying for your goods.There has been less of a need for my expertise as a Physiotherapist at the Hospital. It comes in waves, and fortunately so, as I’ve just recently been asked to take over teaching the Grade 2 class for an undetermined amount of time. The teacher suddenly became ill and may not be able to return, so scanning around, it appeared I am the best option available! It’s funny how things work out because I had a conversation that same morning with our new Dutch neighbours about homeschooling. I was saying that as much as I enjoyed spending time with the kids and knowing what they’re learning, I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a teacher. And then I go and commit to 3, 4, 5 weeks or more of teaching a real class! God must’ve been having a good chuckle that day. But then I’m sure he’ll equip me with the patience and stamina I need. The children will be studying roughly in the equivalent of a New Zealand Year 3 class and are aged between 8-13 years old.A big relief came the day we received our first Covid-19 vaccination. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of resistance here to vaccines that has come from the West, but education is spreading, and free choice is still a priority. We haven’t had any known Covid-19 cases in Kapuna for a month now, so hopefully, that continues, and the Delta variant stays away. Otherwise, the effect could be devastating in this poor, isolated and TB-ridden region.Recently we just received our second jab. A box arrived one day and with two minutes notice, Scott and I were ushered into a room to get them! We’re very happy to have received the full dose, especially with news of a potential Delta outbreak starting in the Capital.The kids are doing well although they did recently have head lice. Levi also had a nasty bout of tonsilitis. Abby’s infected mosquito bites turned into Tropical Ulcers, which were pretty gross and scary looking. You’ll see the scars from those when we get home! Scott is still battling several weeks of Amoebic Dysentry and has just started another round of medication. Prayers for health and protection are much appreciated.The kids continue to enjoy time outside with their new friends. Abby has a group of girls she plays card games with each afternoon while the boys tend to dart around amongst the trees and sugar cane, catching grasshoppers or throwing mud balls. We bought some simple slingshots in the Highlands and have joined the fight against the fruit bats who eat our pawpaw and banana. Scott hit one the other night and our neighbours were very happy. We decided not to eat it and blessed them with an after-dinner snack.So, life here is full of adventures and challenges. We’ve come to recognise how much the heat and lack of food options have taken a toll on us, but we can see the fruit of the labourers who are committed to this place and community. We’re grateful for the longstanding commitment of the Calvert family who are still here in parts, and for the other volunteers who come and go. We’re so grateful for the support, both financially and prayerfully, of all of you in New Zealand and our Whanau and friends around the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.Amid the internet challenges, we’ve set up an Instagram Page and Facebook page to document and share our adventures. We will update as the internet allows. If you’d like to follow these updates search for “wheelers.on.a.mission” on Instagram and “Wheeler’s_on_a_mission” on Facebook.Many blessings,Nikki, Scott, Isaac, Abby and Levi

Fun in the mud Our first pineapple!Coconut break Unloading the bargeLevi’s new toyChoresJab number 2Too many distractions!NutsKapuna HospitalThat’s a big boat!

Where Two or Three are Gathered…

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Jesus said to his disciples “Where two or three of you gather in my name there I am among them.” (Matthew 18:20). What a mystery that must have been for his followers. Can you imagine your leader or pastor saying that to you? How would you have interpreted this statement?The Church Missionary Society was birthed out of a group of men who gathered in the Castle and Falcon pub in London in 1799. Their topic of discussion that day was how to form a new society that would spread the Gospel in a globalising world. And from there an entire missionary movement was born. In just over 220 years there are now Church Missionary Societies scattered all over the world. And that’s not even mentioning the other organisations and causes that have been birthed from this same community. What must it have been like in that pub that day? A group of people had come together in the name of Jesus, to find ways to participate in God’s transforming work in the world. And Jesus was among them. I can just imagine him pumping his fist with excitement and cheering when he saw the passion for mission stirring in their hearts. I can almost hear the Holy Spirit whispering ideas to them and fanning into flame the spark beginning to grow.    A part of a Heavenly Family    NZCMS was born from a group of people who were attempting to live in community as a part of joining God’s mission work. They were people who loved, trusted and were committed to sticking with each other. Not easy stuff sometimes, but it was driven by their desire to see God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. And this vision of family and community has continued to be intricately a part of NZCMS’ DNA. Not as something that we feel we’ve manufactured ourselves, but something that naturally overflows as we live in our identity as the Body of Christ.  Words like ‘community’, ‘family’ and ‘whanau’ seem to be common buzz words these days. When something is over-used it can lose its essence or feel like a fad. However, in using ‘family’ and ‘community’, we’re trying to find words to explain our sense of belonging and serving together, not because it’s a new idea, but because it seems to be God’s idea of how we are created to be as his people in the world. Jesus sent a group of 72 followers out in pairs to preach the Gospel and heal. He chose twelve to be the growth catalysts and leaders for the budding Church. Before he ascended to heaven, he told his followers to pray together for the coming Holy Spirit.    Jesus commands us to work in community. In teams. As family. Just as God’s very nature and being is communal – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – so God calls us to be image-bearers on earth, living in an interdependent community. Where once we have all been strangers to each other we are now God’s adopted children in Christ. To become a family under our heavenly Father. And as we grow in relationship with each other we reflect the glory and majesty of God who has made us. It is a posture we believe God invites us to express in every aspect of NZCMS family. Our NZCMS ‘family’ includes those who pray, those living overseas as Mission Partners, those who give, those who are on staff, those who serve on our Board and those who gather to hear stories about and pray for God’s mission work to extend in the world.   Learning to be an NZCMS Family   At NZCMS we’re constantly attempting to ask ourselves questions like:    “Is what we are doing here deeply relational?”   “How are we participating in ‘family life’ with one another across NZCMS?”   “Who do we need to learn from about what belonging looks like in this cultural moment?”   These questions are often difficult to ask and know how to outwork, as we feel the prodding, and sometimes the conviction, of the Holy Spirit to uphold God’s call to be an NZCMS family. As I’m sure you’re aware, interdependence and doing deep life together with family isn’t easy! Often it can feel like the hardest way to do things. It takes a lot of humility, learning and grace. Sometimes it can get messy. But for the furthering of God’s transforming work in the world, we commit to coming together and remaining together in the name of Jesus. Because this is who Christ has called us to be. And this is how Christ has called us to live.  Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, we’re grateful for the ways we are part of this NZCMS family with you. It is through family that God has chosen to bring his Kingdom to earth. We pray we can continue to grow in understanding of what that looks like for you and me and NZCMS as we come together in the name of Jesus. 

Jairus Robb, NZCMS Communications Officer

Grateful for My 2020 Life

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Many of you had little to be grateful for last year – my heart goes out to you. To those who lost loved ones, your jobs, or even your motivation to keep going, I pray that this 2021 brings renewal and joy. We mourn and laugh together.I was fortunate enough to have much to be grateful for despite the challenges. I express this gratefulness with some trepidation. Not out of pride or competition, but perhaps to spark a little joy and hope for the year ahead. I am grateful for so many things in 2020. Here are seven.Grateful for our home. Simple by New Zealand standards, while opulent in the eyes of many Ugandans. Just being at home can fill our cup. “For the homeless and the cosseted, may your home be simple, warm and welcoming.”Grateful that coronavirus largely spared the poorest region on earth. Here in sub-saharan Africa (besides South Africa), coronavirus hasn’t wreaked havoc. It’s rare to have a global tragedy where the poorest suffer less than the rich, but the respite is welcome.Grateful that we launched 11 OneDay Health Centers this year, and extend healthcare to tens of thousands of people in remote places. I’m Especially grateful for Emma in Gulu, Josephine in Kitgum and Innocent in Lira who overcame dead months and transport challenges to achieve remarkable things.Grateful for my inspirational wife, who will again tomorrow bike 100km on dirt roads to help remote communities both keep their only home and aspire towards an unlikely but beautiful peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”Grateful for the overflowing generosity of people who thought beyond themselves during a crisis to give even more than we needed to live here this year, and to support launching health centers, building health centers, peacemaking and co-vid relief. You know who you are.Grateful for our nurses Elec And Acire, who overcame enormous odds to work with the community and build a beautiful new 4 room health center in Pwunu Dyang. The community now boasts the most remote health center in the Gulu sub-region, more than 4 hours travel from town.Grateful for one of the best holidays I’ve had in years, with a bunch of fine people who both think and care deeply about the people around them.Grateful for discovering John Mark Comer, a spiritual teacher who has sparked new insights into our world, our culture and the sorry state of my own heart. I’ve realized more than ever the need to work first on myself before I leap too fast to judge others.“…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Nick Laing, Mission Partner to Uganda

Missio Dei in the Solomon Islands

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Normally, when I get complaints about my speaking, they are of the “You spoke too long!” variety. Nearing the end of our school-year today, I delivered a short, impromptu chronicle of the year to our school community. So much has happened. I was surprised, however, to discover how difficult it was to fill my ten-minute window. How odd, I thought, walking home. And then the reason came to me this afternoon in conversation with my wife, Tess. For obvious reasons, this year has been short on big events – which usually fill school chronicles and make for interesting stories – and long on the kind of relational drama that you cannot talk about in front of everyone. “Like what happens to a family in quarantine?” Tess offered.  In past years, Trinity STM (School of Theology and Ministry) has been engaged in outward mission weekly by: – Prison visitations  – Praying for the sick in hospitals – Taking Bible studies into people’s homes – Preaching and singing in the marketplace – Reading portions of the liturgy on festival days in other villages The value of this has been unmistakable. But this year we were given something different. Stay at home. Work together daily at close quarters. See the same faces every day for weeks on end.  At the best of times this has looked like: Wake up for prayer. Go to class. Go to work session. Pray before the evening meal. Study. Sleep. Repeat.  At the worst of times it has looked like: Be annoyed by someone. Gossip about them. Be alarmed at the relational chaos that ensues. Say sorry. Repeat.  It has not been easy. But we have, like so many this year, learned some important things in the process. Outward mission, taking the Gospel to places where it has not been heard or is not yet believed, is not total mission. Outward mission can assume a dimension it should not for the Church. We can overlook the work of God that is taking place in our homes and churches among people like us who have believed the Gospel already, but who need deepening. When this happens, we pursue shoots at the expense of roots. The outward and visible replaces the subterranean. Far from preventing God’s mission this year, the coronavirus has opened up to us afresh its grandest scope. God is at work everywhere, but chiefly in the Church.    

Jonathan and Tess Hicks, NZCMS Mission Partners in the Solomon Islands

“People are practically running forward for prayer!” NZCMS Maori Evangelist Says

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NZCMS’ evangelist to Māori, Rev. Hauoterangi (Howard) Karaka, has been busy. During this year, and even during times of lockdown, God has opened up many opportunities to reach out to others with God’s love and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just in the last month, Howard has had the opportunity to lead and minister at five funerals and three unveilings (unveilings are a ceremony held one year after a person passed away).“Due to this wonderful ministry of evangelism,” Howard said, ” I have had the opportunity to lead five people to salvation on the marae and at their homes and also see six re-commitments of faith to God.”   From this group of people, six of these families are now attending the church that Howard leads, Hoani Tapu Anglican Church in Drury, South Auckland. The pews are filling! The worship has been powerful and large numbers are stepping forward for prayer every Sunday.   “If I was to describe the experience,” Howard says, “I would say many people are practically running forward for prayer!”  Howard shared about one couple who walked away from church a long time ago. Their marriage came under significant spiritual attack, and they separated for many years.   “The husband was suicidal not long after leaving the church,” Howard said. “He and his wife then separated as he turned back to drinking and anything else he thought would take away the pain. Now it is so encouraging to see them both reaching out for support, prayer, fellowship and rededicating their lives back to God and each other.”  Howard also shared that he led a gang member to the Lord during lockdown. This young man is now attending church regularly and attending a discipleship program. We invite you to continue praying for Howard and his wife Gladys as they pastorally care for and disciple those in their parish and continue the work of evangelism in South Auckland. Pray that God would continue to open springs of healing and transformation at Hoani Tapu Church and that God would open more and more opportunities for Māori to hear the Gospel.  To read more missions stories and NZCMS updates, subscribe to our fortnightly email newsletter.

Rev. Howard Karaka, Maori Evangelist

Listening and Growing in Partnership

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

Keri-Ann Hokianga, NZCMS Maori Evangelist