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Are we Dragons?

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It’s 4:00am“Doctor, please come now”I sleep poorly on a bamboo mat in our most remote health center Pwunu Dyang. The rain starts pounding on the roof, and soon also on my conscience. Midwife Scovia has fear in her eyes and since I know how tough she is, her fear soon becomes mine too. To cut a long story short, Lucy* is in labour. She had 4 previous cesarian section operations to remove babies from her womb, so there’s no way Scovia can safely deliver her baby in the health center. If Lucy doesn’t get an operation in the next few hours, her womb might rip open and kill her and the baby.Except that the hospital which performs the operation is 4 hours awayAnd the road is close to impassable, even on a motorcycleAnd the rain poursAnd its 4:00amBut we can overcome these challenges. Scovia’s husband had hired a motorbike for a couple of days, and is willing to brave the rain and the road to take Lucy to a halfway point, where she can catch a NGO ambulance the final two hours to the hospital. You might scream “how can a woman in labour with scars on her uterus travel two hours on the back of a motorbike on terrible road?” To which I can offer only an insufficient answer.Because she mustBut one challenge remains – Lucy has no money. And the motorbike transport needs money, as does the ambulance driver. She needs about 20 US dollars in total, not a huge amount even here but still money Lucy doesn’t have. But this time everything might just be OK, because the rich white man is here.This dragon who hoarded his wealth, is about to flick one of his thousand gold coins towards a suffering mother who might then survive the day. Should this dragon feel good about that? Am I somehow a good person because I “helped” someone with 20 dollars?

Loads of money in this worldThere is in fact loads of money in this world, more than enough to go around. The per capita GDP on this humble earth is US$11,000 a year for every woman, man and child, more than enough for us all to live very well. There’s more than enough money in this world to transport this woman to hospital today and every day.

We are dragonsA lot of us are dragons of various sizes, hoarding our wealth as we build our personal or family empire. Us dragons pour our money into bigger and bigger dragons dens (houses), bank accounts with many zeros and the kind of lifestyle the other half of the world can only dream of.Most of us are rich, perhaps richer than we realise. If you own assets worth more than just $90,000, you hoard more gold than 90% of humans. If you have just $4000 of assets to your name, you are richer than half the people on the earth. I’m not saying this to evoke guilt, only to bring us to the realisation that yes, you and I might just both be dragons.

How did I become a dragon?Well most of it was probably chance. There may have been sound decisions and hard work along the way, but your path to a healthy hoard was largely decided even before you were born. You won the lottery, congratulations! Two lotteries define the lions share of how rich we will become.Lottery 1: Your birth country. I spun New Zealand and straight up won the lottery. Your birth country usually has the biggest effect on how much money you will be able to earn and save. A minimum wage earner in New Zealand might not feel lucky because they will understandably compare themselves to their richer neighbours. But by age 40 or 50, many minimum wage earners in New Zealand will find themselves in the top 10% of the world’s richest people.Lottery 2: Your parent’s wealth. Even here in Uganda, if you are born to the tiny percentage who are rich, you will have a decent chance to amass a healthy hoard. While Uganda isn’t rich enough to provide your children with the ingredients for financial success, the good education and healthcare your children need can be bought.Lottery 3, 4, 5 etc.. Your race, gender, orientation, neural make up and countless other dice were also rolled before you were born that might affect your potential to stash cash in this harsh world.

So how can we shed our scales?Realise you are a dragon. This may be the hardest step of all. It’s tempting and easy to tell ourselves and others that we are in fact one of the financial strugglers, usually by comparing ourselves to an even richer dragon. I’m afraid there’s always someone richer, unless you are Jeff Bezos!Disperse your hoard. Whether through personal connections or high impact charities, it might be time to start dispersing your hoard, giving money to people or organisations that are transforming lives. I want to personally thank a growing group of insanely generous churches, partners and friends who have given away huge portions of their stash, often thousands of dollars at a time towards launching health centers like Pwunu Dyang through OneDay HealthShift our future focus away from stashing gold and towards making a better world. We are so blinded by all our dragon friends with their huge hoards, we feel the need to keep up with the Jones’s by making our hoard bigger and bigger and BIGGER. When we realise we have more than enough to thrive, we can choose to change our life’s trajectory. Whether it’s through choosing a job which makes the world better, volunteering for charity or our struggling neighours, or even earning money for the purpose of giving it away, we can shed our scales or at least become better dragons.And while the committed, talented, skilled and grossly underpaid Scovia rushed around to orchestrate the saving of Lucy’s life, I put my head in my useless hands and cried. I cried at my own iniquity, I raged at the unequal, unfair and unnecessary state of this precious earth, but in the end I allowed myself more than a sliver of hope. Despite all my own issues, I trust that Jesus has the power to transform us and peel off our scales, no matter how painful that might be.Aslan peels of the scales of Eustace –“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off … And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been… and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again…”* Lucy is not her real name* Conservative estimates of over 7 billion dollars spent by Bezos and Musk on their space race would have been enough to buy enough to vaccinate the 1.4 billion Africans twice.

A Japanese Connection

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Did you know that the very first NZCMS Mission Partner, Marie Pasley, went to Japan as early as 1893? “Miss Pasley was farewelled on her departure for training at Dr Warren’s Institution in Melbourne, with a view to working in heathen lands”(i)   “Her’s was a most faithful ministry, chiefly among women and children” (ii)Miss Pasley served in Gifu and Hamada, from 1893 until her retirement in 1922. She died in October 1942.And did you know that now, 128 years later, Luke and Naomi Sinclair are preparing for ministry there?Japan has been on their hearts for a long time. Naomi lived there with her Australian CMS missionary parents from the age of two until returning to Australia for university. Luke studied Japanese at high school and went on an exchange there at the end of Year 11. When they two met and married at Bible College, they saw how God had shaped and prepared them to head to Japan in the future. What an amazing God we have, orchestrating the circumstances and preparing the way for other Mission Partners to influence young people in Japan. Luke and Naomi will partner with the KGK (Kirisutosha-Gakusei-Kai), Christian Students’ Fellowship, encouraging Bible study on campus and training students, labouring to see the next generation of Christian leaders raised up in Japan.Former Mission Partner, Anne McCormick, has put this story together. Anne is currently serving NZCMS by sorting through our archives.(i)  Nelson Church Recorder, July 1st, 1892(ii) “Stretching Out Continually” by Kenneth Gregory, p. 131.

Members of the Japan Church Missionary Conference, 1894.

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!

Stories of How God is Still at Work

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NZCMS has always been an on the ground, sleeves rolled up, gritty, get in and get it done type of community. These “Impact Stories” from our Mission Partners are just a few examples of how the Holy Spirit continues to call our community, and us all, to participate in the Kingdom breaking out onto the earth in real and authentic ways. These stories have been taken from our Annual Report. Download the full report here. Nick and Tessa – Uganda  It was nearly Christmas, but Emma was determined to launch remote Te-Olam Health Center before the new year rolled in. Te Olam was two hours away on terrible dirt roads, and after the long motorbike ride, Emma was delighted to find that the house was looking great. The floor was cemented, the rent contract signed, and the health centre was ready for launch.But Emma’s job wasn’t finished. On the ride home, God had something more important in-store. Or should I say, someone. The rest is in Emma’s own words.  “As I was riding, I passed a boy on the road. Something just told me to stop, so I turned the motorbike around. The boy was 16 and was looking for transport to Gulu town.  Boy: “How much can I give you to take me to town?” Emma: “No, it’s OK. I don’t need any money.” The boy was keen to talk. He used to attend a prayer group at school, and two years ago gave his life to Jesus. But soon after, he got a new group of friends who didn’t care about school or prayers and would instead sneak out of the boarding school to drink. Sometimes they would even stay out overnight, bribing the security guard not to tell the teachers. His parents had even been called to school three times to talk about his bad behaviour. He was going to meet those friends far from the village in Gulu town to have some drinks. I asked him what had changed? Why did he leave prayers? Why was he not taking school seriously? He wasn’t sure but had just followed what his friends were doing. We talked for the whole two-hour journey home about school, life, friends and faith. He really opened up, and it was an amazing conversation.  When we reached the centre before I dropped him off, it seemed he had realised that his life had gone off track, and there was a better way. I asked him if he would consider changing his life path and if he would return to the God that brought him so much joy and motivation just one year ago? He said he would go to church at Christmas for sure and talk with his friends from prayer group again.  He gave me his number, and I promised to call him in a month. Unfortunately, when I called the number, it didn’t go through. The phone was out of service. I still believe that conversation stirred something in his soul. I pray that he returned to the God who had so recently saved him.” Andy and Shona – Costa Rica  Our local church has three seasons of 21-days of prayer and fasting every year. We follow this by launching our small groups and to encourage the congregation to join and or lead small groups using a bible study or hobby. The aim is to build a community and create a place for transformation. During the 21 days of prayer, we decided to hold a Monday morning prayer meeting on Facebook Live from 5:00 am-5:30 am. I did not expect the result we got. Over 30 people attended the live stream and, when we posted the recording onto Facebook, more than 200 watched through that day!  Fast forward to January this year, and we again led the morning prayer meeting for 21 days on Facebook live. But this time, we challenged those present to step up and lead five other days in the week to have small groups running and praying all week. And immediately, we had the volunteers we needed!  From February to May, our group grew to 20 people, with about six to nine turning up every day. By the middle of June, we had 13 leaders running prayer meetings every evening with 17-20 people turning up and new people appearing almost every day. We named these groups “Ora Primero” (Pray First). It has been such an empowering experience because, in the midst of so much sickness, death and joblessness, we have resources from heaven. Prayer doesn’t just inspire hope but we see God answer prayers in very personal ways.  One way we’ve seen God answer our prayers has been the massive growth in our small groups that we mentioned at the beginning of this testimony. The church had, on average, 600 people attending two services the weekend before Covid-19 hit. But only 70 people were regularly attending seven small groups. Now we have 776 people filling 56 small groups, regularly committed and inviting their friends! We are amazed by the grace of God through a season of great hardship. Mission Partner L. serving in Pakistan  Unexpected circumstances and lives opening up to God are among the places where God’s Kingdom was seen in 2020. From international to local partnership, lives have been impacted and changed. The following stories give you a glimpse of how. A student who recently wrote a reflection for his Leadership Certificate wrote the following. “I always heard or read about the epidemics in the past but never had any experience. It was such a huge lockdown. Everyone was shocked, scared and wanted to rescue their own life. But suddenly, people came out to help those who started starving.  The same happened in my life. After staying home for a month, I thought, “why shouldn’t I go to my church people and get to know how they are living.” I came to know that they are living on water and rice, having nothing left at home. Suddenly I got a phone call from a wealthy man of God who asked me what I am doing for the church. I told him the whole story, and he sent me some money to distribute food items among the needy. Thus this work of welfare started, and many other people came to know that I am doing such work, and they also sent me money to distribute among those who are really in difficult situations.  Thus, I worked three months continually in the church, and thus God was glorified, and we were able to reach those to whom the government was not reaching.” God also provided for a hostel of the Hyderabad Diocese, whose situation became uncertain when promised financial support was suddenly unavailable. Thanks to God’s leading and work through an NZ church, a way was opened for support to be raised despite economic constraints. Without the pandemic, banking transfers had been blocked due to changing regulations, but a small window of time was opened during the first wave of Covid-19 where they allowed transfers to happen! Because of this the hostel did not close, but was able to support its students between lockdowns as they worked towards their Matriculation and College exams and continue to grow in faith and life skills.  In response we say thank You God for giving us our daily bread. Thank you for allowing us to see glimpses of Your kingdom coming here on earth. Tessa – Solomon Islands  I was invited to address 200 girls in the first-ever Girls Friendly Society meeting on the Island of Malaita. I met up with a few other women early in the morning and drove our Toyota Hiace van for two hours down the gravel road to the other side of our port town. The Scripture I shared was from Ephesians about our identity as beloved children of God. I shared about how we’re given many different names as we grow – daughter, sister, friend, student, wife, mother etc – and how these names may come and go as seasons change, but that in God’s eyes we are always his children. I shared about being wise in our relationships and how God wants us to lead pure and holy lives for him.  The subject of abortion came up, and one of the leaders stood up with tears in her eyes. She shared how she had encouraged her pregnant teenage daughter to get rid of a baby and how she felt guilt and fear that God would punish her. She asked, “Who will God punish for this sin? Me or my daughter?” I told her that if she repents and asks for God’s forgiveness, she can rest assured that the Lord loves her and will restore her. I then quoted Romans 8:38 – 8:39 to her and the rest of the group, which talks about how nothing can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. It was an incredible experience to comfort this mother with God’s word and reassure her that her sins are forgiven in Christ.  Adrienne – Cambodia  The Handa Academy (T.H.A.) school was closed for ten months in 2020. I remained focused on staying in Cambodia as I wanted to get the Learning Center set up and ready by the time the school re-opened. Jesus has still used me to show his love to the students in ways that don’t use spoken words.  After three months or so of not seeing the students, I wanted to encourage them somehow. God gave me the idea of making ‘Educational Care Packs’ for the students to pick up. Management approved this, so worksheets were prepared, copied, and put together along with some craft materials, a bar of soap and a small gift for each of the 80 students. I also made a card for each student with an encouraging note inside written in Khmer for them. I put the contents in a plastic bag with their name on the outside and packaged them in a box ready to distribute at the T.H.A. gate.  I was able to do this a couple of times, and I felt like God used the packs to show our love and care for the students even though we couldn’t be together at school. I was also able to make encouraging signs to hang in the Learning Centre so that the students knew that they were loved, that we believe in them and to encourage them to keep learning. DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE

2021 Annual Report: Still Sent

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THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED AS PART OF THE ANNUAL REPORT. DOWNLOAD ANNUAL REPORT HERE I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever.With my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.I declare that your steadfast love is established forever, your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.(Psalm 89) Tēnā koutou katoa,As I look back over 2020, I join the writer of Psalm 89 in praising God for His steadfast love and faithfulness. There have certainly been times of grief as we walked alongside global Mission Partners and the people they serve in the midst of a pandemic. There was also uncertainty for all of us, with flights grounded, lockdowns around the world, and plans constantly changing. In the midst of all this, we look back and see God’s faithful hand over us at NZCMS, a faithfulness as firm as the heavens. And, like the generations of CMS before us, we continue to proclaim God’s faithfulness and steadfast love. As a community passionate about mission, we know God’s calling on us as ‘sent people,’ sent into the world to proclaim and live out God’s faithful love.NZCMS has always been about sending people globally. Despite the challenges that 2020 brought, many of our global Mission Partners have been able to stay in country and continue to serve. In times of crisis, there is even more need for people to know God’s saving love, and our Mission Partners have found creative ways to serve in changing circumstances. While some Mission Partners were forced to return to New Zealand, we continue to receive applications from people discerning a call to long-term service in global Mission. Even as we send globally, we seek to support the church in New Zealand in mission. Our heart is for the whole church to live as ‘sent people’ wherever we find ourselves. NZCMS is now partnering with two Māori dioceses to support the ministry of Māori evangelists to proclaim the Gospel amongst their people. Over the past three years, we have partnered with the Wellington Diocese in the Intercultural Communities project, helping churches engage with people from different cultures. We continue to be passionate about discipling young people with a missional heart. In February 2020, we kicked off the second year of the Better World Gap Year, only to have to cancel it due to Covid-19. We plan to relaunch Better World in 2022, with the same vision but located within New Zealand. We took advantage of lockdowns to start ‘Happy Hour,’ online conversations about mission. Mission Partners joined our panels from global locations, and hundreds tuned in to join these conversations.Thank you for your support during this challenging year. As I look back over the year that was, the hymn that comes to mind (one known to many in the NZCMS family) is ‘How Great is the God we Adore’.“To Jesus the first and lastwhose Spirit will guide us safe homeWe will praise him for all that is pastAnd trust him for all that is come.” May the Lord bless you.DOWNLOAD ANNUAL REPORT HERE

Rosie Fyfe National Director

A Tribute to Former Mission Partner, Anthony McCormick

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This tribute was written by Anthony’s wife, Anne.Anthony joined the NZCMS family by association when he married me (Anne Giles) in 2004. Prior to that time, he had considered short-term Mission. After my six years in Pakistan (1989 until 1995) when I returned home to care for my elderly father, I felt that Global Mission wasn’t yet over for me. We decided to pursue mission service together, applied to NZCMS as a couple and were accepted as candidates-in-training at the end of 2008. My father died in 2009 and the following year, we went to St Andrew’s Hall in Melbourne without any clear idea as to where we would serve.While at St Andrews Hall, our attention was drawn to Cambodia. After much prayer, thought and discussion, we concluded that Cambodia was indeed the place for us. In April 2011, we left New Zealand for Phnom Penh and spent almost two years studying the Khmer language. Although Anthony didn’t find language study easy, he persevered and learnt to read, write and speak Khmer, but didn’t achieve the proficiency he would have liked. We moved to Battambang early in 2013 and took up roles at the World Mate Emergency Hospital, a trauma hospital for victims of landmines, traffic and workplace accidents.Anthony set up a social work department at the hospital, writing policies and procedures before recruiting and training Khmer staff to carry out social work amongst patients and caregivers. After two years at the hospital, he handed the programme over to Khmer leadership. He then spent his remaining years in Cambodia training social workers in non-government organisations. With the help of a translator, he devised and delivered training on almost 50 topics on social work theory and practice which were very well received. Anthony enjoyed this teaching role, valuing the opportunity it provided to upskill Cambodians to face the challenges that arose in their lives.Anthony formed friendships with a number of Khmer people he met through his work, as well as at church and frequently found himself in a mentoring role, particularly to younger people, many of whom lacked older role models in their lives. In his quiet way, Anthony drew alongside these folk and they were very appreciative of the advice and encouragement he gave them, sometimes also having an opportunity to share his faith with them.Anthony struggled with aspects of life in Cambodia, particularly the corruption, dishonesty and extreme poverty prevalent there. He missed the outdoors, the New Zealand bush and activities such as camping and tramping. He encountered challenges in both life and work but he faced these head-on, in the knowledge that God had called him to work there and had equipped him for this work.As I have reflected on the obvious influence Anthony had on peoples’ lives, reading and listening to many kind words since his death, I have been humbled to realise again how privileged I was to be his wife and am so thankful that God brought us together for a season, albeit too short. Sharing some of what was expressed to me seems a fitting way to end this tribute to Anthony.Anthony was funny, definite, caring, interested and interesting, a visionary, risk-taker, a good sort. He was a safe, solid presence to his siblings in what was often a chaotic home. He faced life’s challenges and overcame many obstacles particularly during times of untold sadness in his twenties. He had a mystical nature, didn’t suffer fools gladly, fell short in his own eyes and was sometimes misunderstood. He was a curious observer of people who valued actions more than words. He was astute, intuitive, sensitive and wise, possessing both earthly knowledge and spiritual sensitivity. He had the ability to stand alone, yet also valued community.His life story was one of searching, adventure and transformation and he demonstrated fidelity in living out the phrase from Romans chapter 1, about being transformed by the renewing of his mind. He allowed himself to be moved by the suffering of others and knew how to serve others well.Throughout his 15 month battle with cancer, Anthony refused to acknowledge the seriousness of his illness, remaining steadfast in his trust that God would heal him so that he could continue the work in Cambodia he believed God still had for him to do.  Sadly, this was not to be. He allowed no negativity or pity about his situation even as he became increasingly vulnerable and didn’t like how fragile his body had become. I, along with two of his sisters, was privileged to be able to fulfil his wish to remain at home, nursing him there up until his peaceful passing on 26th May.Mission accomplished, Anthony. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Couple Find Window of Opportunity

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Words by Jairus Robb, NZCMS communications  Pocketed away on the corner of Gayhurst and McBratneys Rd in Dallington, Christchurch, a humble Op-Shop sits between the local diary and fish and chips shop. If you were to walk past without going in you would think nothing more. But if like me, you received an email from the owners and were invited to visit you would be immensely surprised to find out this newly opened shop is supporting cross-cultural missions around the globe. Jan and Tony Rawstron opened the Window of Opportunity Op-Shop in March 2021 with the following mission statement: to be a volunteer charity, selling second-hand goods, with all profits going to overseas Christian workers, to improve the well-being of those in need.” Despite only being open for a couple of months, this establishment is a hive of activity. As I introduce myself, Jan quickly ushers me past the rows of clothes, changing room and bookshelves and behind the front counter where a high school student on work experience is regularly ringing up customer’s items.  It seems as if I’ve stepped into another world that is at odds with the relatively quiet and unassuming street corner that the shop is on. I almost feel disorientated at the number of people in the wee shop and the hustle and bustle going on inside.Jan introduces me to the four volunteers in the back who are busily sorting through the newly arrived stock generously donated by the Dallington public.  “This place has been empty since the earthquake,” Jan said. “It was a chemist shop. A guy came in one day, and I said ‘Are you ok?’ and he says ‘Oh yes I used to run the chemist shop. I was here for forty years!’” With the help of St. Stephen’s Church, Jan and Tony et up the business and were able to get charitable status through them.I find out that Jan and Tony attended a missions course run by two of NZCMS’ own staff members, Mike and Ruth Robb. Having completed the course they headed off with Servants Asia on a short term trip to Manilla for six weeks. But it was when a friend of Jan’s went away to do missions work in Korea that Jan was inspired to find a way to support her. It was then that the idea to create an Op-Shop to raise support was born. Having volunteered in a Salvation Army, Jan had already picked up a lot of the skills needed to run Window of Opportunity.  “With my love of Op-Shops,” Jan said, “I thought they must be able to make some money because there are enough Op-Shops around! If you had an Op-Shop in a church that would be great because you wouldn’t have to pay rent. You would just pay electricity.” At the moment Jan and Tony rent our current space.” So far the business has been able to make generous donations to three Mission Partners serving through NZCMS and other organisations, with several more donations due to be given. The response from the community has been fantastic. In just a couple months Window of Opportunity is already well known and is by no means struggling to get enough stock. “All this has just come this morning,” Tony said, gesturing to the large collection of items that the volunteers were sorting through out in the back. “And it’s good stuff! The quality is really good. We’re not a dumping ground for people clearing out. It shows the Lord’s got his hand on something here.” When asked about what inspired the name of the shop and the front window display Jan replied it is a bit of a secret.  “My idea is that the green, and the red and the white are symbols of Jesus’ blood, eternal life and the white, washed clean,” she said, referring to the flags set up in the store’s front window. She chuckles to herself. “It’s a secret code.”  When asked if she would ever have imagined the shop being this successful and busy after only four months of being open she was quick to respond. “No. Not really. But as I say you couldn’t do it without a team. They (volunteers) are great.” “But we’ve got a few years left in the shed. And we wanted to do something for the Lord. And we were thinking, if we don’t do it now, time will pass by.”  For a couple who have named their new shop the “Window of Opportunity,” it’s no surprise that Jan and Tony are living out that ethos themselves.  You will find the Window of Opportunity Op-Shop at 148 Gayhurst Rd, Dallington, Christchurch. It is open Wednesday to Friday at 9:00am – 2:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm.  

Open for business Some of the stock availableThere is all sorts here!Front desk ready for actionSome of the incredible volunteers Jan and Tony chatting with some locals

Meet our New Staff Member!

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We are very excited to announce that NZCMS has employed a new staff member! Anna Smart will be our new Promotions Officer, working part-time with our Mobilising team to promote Better World gap year. In this article, she shares the incredible way God has led her into this role. Ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi tōku kawenataI tipu ake ahau i raro i te maru o ngā Remutaka maunga ki te taha o Te AwakairangiKo Te Ati-Awa te mana whenuaKei Te Whanganui-a-Tara ahau e noho anaKo hāhi mihinare te whare karakiaKo New Zealand Church Missionary Society te rōpuKo Ngāti Pākehā te iwiKo Anna Smart tōku ingoaKia ora tātou, say hello to the new kid on the block! I am delighted to have just accepted a role with NZCMS as a Promotions Officer! But before telling you more about this role, I wanted to share some of my personal history and story first.  Involvement with CMS is a family tradition, it seems, with my maternal grandparents, Ross and Pauline Elliott, paving the way for me with their years of mission abroad. My mother and her siblings grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, which has not only shaped them profoundly but also blessed me with a deep sense of connection with such a rich and beautiful nation. I have memories of praying for my grandparents as a child while they were living in Uganda, reading books that they sent back to us about life in East Africa, and mum cooking us her favourite dishes she learned from her childhood in Kenya. I’ve been undeniably shaped by the ways my parents and grandparents have chosen to partner with God in their context, and what a joy it is to recognise and draw strength from that.In 2019 I ditched university and took a gap year with NZCMS, Better World’s pilot year. So many things were learnt, new experiences had, and friends made, all of which I will be writing and speaking about over the coming months. During this time, I realised how little opportunity most young people get to engage with the world’s brokenness in helpful forums. There are not many safe spaces for our rangatahi/youth to wrestle with that brokenness, engage with truthful historical narratives, and practice participating with God in bringing his Kingdom to earth. Better World is one of the few. Sadly, the global pandemic has thwarted a lot of plans and elicited logistical gymnastics the NZCMS Mobilising team never knew they could accomplish. But God has been present in all of that. There is something peculiarly special about Better World, and I am convinced that it is here to stay.So, cut to 2021, and I’m sitting in a café with our director Rosie Fyfe and suggesting to her, with all the zest you can possibly imagine, that if ever there was an opportunity to work with the Mobilising team, I would be extremely keen. And folks, a few months later, here we are.So what does my role as Promotions Officer for NZCMS look like? I will predominately be promoting the Better World gap year to schools and youth groups across the mōtu/country. It is my privilege to be involved in the mobilisation of future change-makers, knowing that there have been some phenomenal mentors in my own journey who have helped me recognise my own giftings and strengths that I have to offer the Kingdom. Special thanks and acknowledgement of those people. You know who you are.I am full of hope for the ways in which young people can be drawn to connect with the heart of NZCMS, and Im hopeful for the future of Better World. Ultimately, it is my hope that people, young and old alike, come to see the hand of God in their neighbourhoods, whether that be in Aotearoa or abroad. And upon noticing that presence, having the passion and the tools to work alongside our good God to see justice, healing and restoration come.I’ve recently been thinking a lot about spiritual ancestry and the ways in which we are connected to the spirituality of those who have gone before us. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it does not escape me that I am standing on the shoulders of giants, especially those in my own whānau.  It is an immense privilege to be invited to work with NZCMS and to be part of the story that my whānau was writing long before I arrived. Who we are really matters because we are each created for different purposes, are shaped differently by our contexts and families, and have different gifts to bring to the table. Who I am and the people I come from has led me here, and I am excited for the journey ahead. To quote one of my favourite characters, Rafiki from The Lion King, “The question is: who are you?” We all know (and if not, watch The Lion King, you will not regret it) how much the answer to this question phenomenally changes Simba’s life. I wonder how much more it might change ours?

Anna Smart, Promotions Officer

Mission Partners Miraculous Arrival to Papua New Guinea

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Recently, the Wheelers wrote an update on their arrival to Kapuna which you can read below. If you’d like to receive more of these updates, contact office@nzcms.org.nz.Hello everyone! We are excited to say that we have safely arrived in Kapuna, Papua New Guinea.  We’re currently quarantining in the home that has been built for us by the team here. We are incredibly aware of all the things that lined up perfectly for us to get here.  We managed to slip through into Brisbane on a quarantine free flight during a two-day window when the borders were open. That meant we were free to go out to the shops as well, buy a few more supplies and play at a new playground near our hotel. We felt hugely blessed to have all our luggage with us, as a large number of bags had to be left in Auckland as the plane was full.  Once we’d made it to Port Moresby, our transfer to the hotel went smoothly and quarantine began. Fortunately, we only had two nights before travelling to Kapuna because one hotel room felt very small for a family of five! The kids were a bit challenged by the food we were given too – Rice and beef for breakfast, rice and fish for lunch and rice and chicken for dinner! But we are fortunate to have food. Cross-cultural learning has started!  God blessed us again with our travel from Port Moresby to Kapuna. The forecast was for lightning and storms which would make the small plane ride dangerous and the long dingy ride very uncomfortable but the sun shone the whole way and we enjoyed a seamless transfer. The river ride was lovely and kept the kids entertained as they watched for crocodiles the whole way.  We have had an amazing welcome to Kapuna. We are required to stay in the house for the remainder of our 14 days isolation, so fresh fruit, (pineapples, pawpaw and coconut) have been brought to us as well as a few meals and lots of socially distanced chatter and coconut husking demonstrations.  We’ve inherited a kitten called Hobbs from a kiwi couple who left just before we arrived. He is very sweet and a huge source of joy for the kids. I was hoping he’d be a spider and rat catcher for us but he’s not showing signs of being a hunter just yet!  On that note, I’m not feeling brave enough yet to talk about the insect situation. The saucer-sized spider I came across in the bathroom in the middle of the night and who reappeared in our bedroom a day later has my heart racing even while writing this! I’ve been told it may be a Huntsman. All in all, we’re so grateful for the many many blessings along the journey to get us from Wellington to Kapuna. There were so many opportunities for things to go wrong and nothing did. Travelling to this isolated place is tricky at the best of times but in these times of Covid-19, there are so many more rules and socially distanced queues. And oh the paperwork! We thank God for his facilitation of all this. We’re humbled to be quarantined in a beautiful, tropical, super hot home.  The internet is currently very intermittent and only accessible when leaning, arm extended, over the balcony. Hopefully, that will get better once they can install a repeater but we’re not sure when that’ll be.  We’ll be in touch once we have finished isolating and are able to look around, be introduced with handshakes rather than waves from afar and put to work!Appreciate your prayers for health over this time. We’ve had two minor tummy bugs in two different people as our guts adjust. We have twice daily check-ins to the PNG Covid Controller on our tracking device app and also daily temperature checks. So far so good!Thank you for your prayers and support all.  Blessings to you , Nikki and Scott, Isaac, Abby and Levi from Kapuna, PNG  

Update From Mission Partner to Spain

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There’s been quite a quiet spell recently as I work with NZCMS on what this year will look like. It’s good to be able to share with you now about what has been decided. Thank you for all your prayers!After a lot of prayer, thought and discussion, NZCMS and I think it is best for me to remain in New Zealand for this year. It has been a tough season in Spain and we both see that what I need is some quality down-time in NZ to recover and refresh before looking at the next season. We agreed that as of April I’ll be on an extended Leave of Absence until November 2021, when we will seek to jointly discern God’s leading around a possible return to Spain.I’ve chosen to begin a wee part-time job at a Farmers branch in Christchurch to have some finances coming in and some routine. The job is three days a week so there is time still time to rest and as energy permits, be involved in other things that I enjoy and where I can use my giftings.Thanks, friends, for all your continued prayers. I feel a bit anxious but also curiously expectant about what this year and beyond holds for me. It has been incredible to see God’s hand at work and he keeps bringing me back to that simple yet profound truth of trusting in Him. Please keep praying with me for my Church in Gijón, Spain and also for the ministry of the Shop. My church still only meets online but thankfully the Shop has been able to remain open and continues to be a beacon of Jesus’ light in the community.During this year I’ll still send out updates on the ministry in Gijón, Spain and also how things are going here.In Christ,Katie.