Moving forward with Haerenga

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You’ll be interested to know how our Haerenga Mission Internship is progressing. Last year we evaluated and reviewed the programme, and we’ve emerged with something exciting that we hope will produce long lasting fruit. What we offered previously was good, but it wasn’t so much an internship as a ‘gap year’ programme. It’s now been reshaped as an actual mission apprenticeship, where young adults are placed under the care of an experienced Mission Partner to ‘learn the trade’ of cross-cultural mission through an integrative, hands-on experience. We hope it’ll be deeply rewarding for those who feel called overseas long-term and those God is leading to workplace mission in NZ.

We’re now recruiting interns who want to be challenged in their faith as they explore what global and local mission can look like. The Haerenga website tells all: www.missioninternship.co.nz. A promotional booklet is also available from the NZCMS office. If you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know.

Haerenga Update

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At the start of this year we announced that the Haerenga Mission Internship wouldn’t be running in 2015. At first we were quite disappointed by this, but we quickly realised that God had given us an amazing opportunity to review our internship and consider its future. After many discussions, interviews and surveys we realised that we had been trying to do two things with Haerenga: offer a gap year that focused on missional discipleship, and offer a purposeful mission internship.

As it turns out, it’s hard to offer both of these in one package. That’s why we’re launching two pathways, one focused on grass-roots missional discipleship and one focused on cross-cultural mission equipping. We’re still working out the details for the discipleship pathway, but this revised Haerenga Mission Internship will be for those a little further down the missional journey who want to seriously explore cross-cultural mission in a supportive environment. Much like an apprenticeship, interns are placed under the care of experienced missionaries and ‘learn the trade’ through a hands on, guided experience typically lasting 3 – 6 months. Interns will be equipped to live missionally within their callings, whether that’s pursuing a vocation back in NZ or a life of overseas mission.

If you know anyone who might be interested, please contact Jon (jon@nzcms.org.nz)

11.11am for Haerenga

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You’re probably well aware that our Haerenga Mission Internship isn’t running this year. Initially we were quite disappointed when we reluctantly made the decision to postpone it until 2016, but we’re come to recognize God’s hand at work. He has given us an incredible window of opportunity to review, tweak and re-launch our Internship – something we simply wouldn’t have had time to do had the internship been running this year. So praise God that he really does determine our paths as we trust in him (Proverbs 3:5).

Thus far the review has been a long and prayerful process as we’ve laid Haerenga before the Lord and asked him to lead us and place us where he wants us to be. There have been many conversations, questions, prayers, tears, wonderings and imaginings happening over the past weeks as we consider how to best serve the Church in growing up missional disciples for God’s Kingdom purposes. As we got deeper into the process of reviewing – interviews, surveys, many discussions – it felt as if we were in the midst of a deep fog, not quite sure where we should be going. But, thankfully, that fog is lifting. We are beginning to sense where God is leading us with our Haerenga Internship.

This is where you come in. Over the past few years we have had 11 young people journey with NZCMS as Haerenga interns. Will you join us this week, every day at 11:11am, praying for the future of the Haerenga Mission Internship, for the young people of New Zealand, and for strategies for engaging and equipping young Kiwis for mission?

Haerenga 2015

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The Haerenga Internship has been postponed to 2016 – there will be no team this year. The primary reason for this change is due to numbers. We are taking 2015 as a time to review the internship to better it’s vision, content, and partnerships for 2016.

Please continue to pray for Kirstin and the team as they discern God’s direction and how to best mobilise young people for mission

Haerenga Promo Video

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We’ve just release a new promotional video for our Haerenga Mission Internship. If you know anyone who may be interested in it for 2015 or beyond, share this with them!

The Haerenga Mission Internship is something unique. This isn’t just a gap year – it’s real mission! It’s a chance to step out onto the waters for yourself. So if you’re between 18 and 25 and feel drawn to mission or missional leadership, this is for you. It’ll be the most exciting, most challenging, most rewarding year of your life. Plus, thanks to Laidlaw College, in 2015 this will be NZQA accredited.

Applications for 2015 are closing soon!

Find out more at http://www.nzcms.org.nz/Haerenga

If you are a pastor or church leader we have a page dedicated to you and the questions you may have: http://www.nzcms.org.nz/haerenga/for-church-leaders/

This video can be downloaded to show in your church at https://vimeo.com/115033314

God of my Journey

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This week’s blog comes from Natalie Downes – one of our recently graduated Haerenga Interns from 2014. This year has been one of many experiences, challenges, and growth.

You learn many things while living in a new culture – sometimes unexpected things. Learning how to weave a traditional Fijian mat wasn’t on the list of things I expected to learn, but I’ve discovered the process captures something of my journey through the Haerenga Internship.

To prepare a mat, the process involves cutting down the plant, stripping the thorns, and putting in a process that changes the nature of the plant till it’s ready to be woven together… The journey is not an easy one. From comfort to discomfort, undergoing change is painful at times – this year has been a great life changing process. When I think of a mat as my journey I know there’s the Master Weaver who has been faithfully weaving together the strands of my journey, taking the highs and lows, the struggles, learning and joys and weaving it into something beautiful.

My journey is nowhere near complete. One thing I’ve learnt this year is that mission isn’t something we step in and out of. It’s a lifestyle, a lifestyle of open hands, open eyes and ready feet. A readiness to serve when you see a need, to step out onto shaky waters when He nudges.

One of my daily happenings during my final placement at St Christopher’s home in Fiji was to wander with the kids to school, sometimes with two on each hand and one clinging to my sulu! After a week or so of doing this I started to recognise the people we passed every day and began to make some ‘road friends.’ There was the Indian lady on her front porch, an older woman raking, Aunty Va selling veges. One time I met a lady selling milk which somehow led to me running off on a spontaneous fishing trip with her family! You never know where a hello may lead!

I still struggle with the whole conversation/sharing thing. Is it enough to just make friends, to listen to their stories or should I be more ‘evangelistic’, trying to get God in there in some kinda obvious way. Perhaps God speaks anyway whether or not I actually say his name – in the smiles, in taking the time to stop. These encounters allow me to ‘see Jesus’ in the people on my journey. People on the side of the road become ‘road friends’ when we take the time to notice them, and listen to their story. I thank God for weaving these precious people into my story, even if our encounter is momentary.

Engaging in mission like this is not something I’ll leave in Fiji but a way of life I hope to continue. An orientation towards community and sharing, a readiness to invite people home, to chat, to listen. An awareness that I am blessed to share, I am given things so that I can be generous.

My mat still has holes and loose ends, struggles and unanswered questions, but I’ve seen God’s faithfulness throughout this year (often in hindsight!) and I know that something’s taking shape even though often it just looks like a big mess of flax. My mat will probably never be finished but I look forward to the weaving process and I trust my Master Weaver.



Sometimes we are caught in the little details of life and can’t see or trust a bigger picture – the Master Weaver is at work even when we cannot see it. What part of your story do you need to trust the Weaver with this week?


Spend some time with these words and prayerfully enter into the response and trust this prayer invites.

God of our journey remind us that you are near by Joyce Rupp.


As we journey through life, we often face fear of the unknown, doubts, hesitations, anxieties and insecurities.

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Life is an unfolding mystery, sometimes a painful search and sometimes a wonderful discovery

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Our hearts are restless, because we are pilgrim hearts whose Home is not here

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

When our footsteps grow weary, when we stumble along the way, discouraged, and doubt so easily comes forth to meet us

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

We are always learning what to leave behind and what to take with us as we move along the road of life

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

We encounter God continually in the constant cycle of ‘setting out’ and ‘coming Home’. Sometimes we allow life to be so busy as we travel, that we miss this Special Presence

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Expectancy, anticipation and courage rise up in our beings when we are open to the ways of God in the wilderness

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

In our journey we need a strong conviction about the beauty and goodness of life, a vision of hope that endures the pain and the struggle, and a thread of love that weaves through all our dreams…

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

God of our journey, we need a burning bush to set our hearts aflame with deep love of you. When the road of life seems long and tedious; when the dying and rising gets to be too much, be that pillar of fire by night. Be that comforting cloud by day, so that we cannot only see the way but can be confident of your gracious presence which is our strength and our hope. Thank you for your nearness.

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Haerenga 2015

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The deadline for Haerenga Mission Intership 2015 applications is fast approaching. If you or anyone you know might be sitting on the fence, now is the time to knock them off the fence and encourage them to get their application in.

And, as if any extra incentive is needed, it’s looking likely that Haerenga will be NZQA approved for next year thanks to our partnership with Laidlaw College. We’re also offering a few partial scholarships to worthy candidates.


More information, along with instructions for applications, can be found at nzcms.org.nz/haerenga. Alternatively you can contact kirstin@nzcms.org.nz

Haerenga meets Middleton

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After leaving Waidradra village we got one day of debrief and rest before starting on our next adventure: joining twelve Year 13 students and two teachers from Middleton Grange High School, Christchurch for a whirlwind two week missions trip in the West (along with Jon, the awesome and ever encouraging NZCMS communications guy who doubled as one of the trip leaders).

Initially I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing as I went from feeling like we were almost blending in with the Fijian way of life to again being a very obvious group of white foreigners. However I was quickly put at ease by the way the group approached the trip, being so keen to learn the Fijian ways, to grow and be challenged by what they experienced.

I’m still not entirely sure what our official role was with the team but I think I ended up being a kind of blend of cultural advisor/ big sister/ added volume in songs… basically extra hands for whatever came up. And my goodness plenty came up! It was a bit of a shock to go from our more marathon-like pace to the short term mission sprint. There were school classes to take, sports matches to play, assemblies to run (sometimes off the cuff, a true mission experience!), hospital visits, house visits, village visits, meals with priests, sermons, songs, testimonies, swimming, horse riding and that’s just a taster!

Some stand out moments.

Teaching at a primary school in Sigatoka. Basically our team of four was thrown in front of a group of 50+ excitable Year 5 students in a very small room and asked to entertain the kids for 50 mins. 50 minutes later we didn’t want to stop! I think we all had just as much fun as the kids singing songs, teaching actions and acting out David and Goliath (complete with marching armies).

Warm welcomes. These were had wherever we went but a particular stand out was in Lautoka where all 18 of us were welcomed into the Bishop’s own home to stay. It would have been much less of a hassle and intrusion for our hosts if we had stayed in the church building, but in true Fiji style they would have none of that. What a testimony of the Fijian hospitality and love.

Stepping out. I was challenged to step out of my happy, comfort box and preach my first sermon on Fiji soil. Took me long enough!

The team. It was a real pleasure to journey with the team and watch them go from being awkward bystanders to embracing the culture: being swamped with kids, initiating conversations with randoms and diving into new situations instead of hanging back. Please keep the team in your prayers as they settle back in New Zealand and ponder what God has for their futures.

The Happenings to Come.

I’ll spend the next week in Suva hopefully making the most of my holiday time. I think there’ll be plenty of Skype dates and emails as I assure various family members and friends that I am still alive and kicking after my leave of absence! Following that we start our final (what?!) months placement in St Christopher’s Home which is an orphanage just out of Suva run by some lovely Anglican nuns. From what I can gather we’ll spend our afternoons and weekends with the kids and during the day be involved with ministry stuff in the local Anglican Church of St Christophers or helping the nuns…we shall see what excitement pans out!

Natalie’s reflections

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I have found my way back to some internet with time to spare so I’m thinking it’s high time for an official update of our recent goings on. So much has been happening in the past few weeks it’s hard to know where to begin. Last time I left you hanging one week into my village stay so we shall start from there.


Village Happenings.

What an amazing experience. Four weeks of village happenings: an after school program with 50 or so kids. Daily prayer rhythms (starting at 5am!). Swims at the beach and river. Fish caught, cooked and eaten within minutes. A bonfire with kiwi style sausage and bread. Buckets of washing to pound. So much singing, a couple of funerals, multiple breakfasts in one day…


A few things that struck me the most.

The ‘community-ness.’ This has been such a beautiful thing to see and a privilege to be a part of. From what I gathered, community here means no one goes wanting, if you have a little you share. A catch of fish sometimes makes its way around the whole village! When I wandered through the village at a meal time there was without fail a call to ‘Mai vakasiga levu’ (come, have lunch) often from people I hadn’t even met. It’s a real testimony to how big the Fijian hearts are, how ready they are to share their food and lives. I experienced community in joyous times and in struggles, being bound together as we shared birthday celebrations and mourned the loss of someone close. It was wonderful seeing the way the youth and young adults cared for the younger village kids as brothers and sisters and how the kids were welcomed into any house for a meal.

The commitment of Father Demesi (the Anglican priest in the village) to the church. Even though often there were just two or three gathered for 5am morning prayer he still wandered across to church every day to begin thanking his Lord.

The interesting way of washing. Basically they take a huge bucket, fill it with water and clothes and then take a large pipe and pound! Apparently they were just handwashing clothes until they saw this pipe method on a Taiwanese movie (or something like that) and decided to give it a try!


Some musings, wise or otherwise.

Being available. I’ve been learning the importance of making yourself available – approaching houses, saying yes to offers of breakfast and a chat, moving my past fears of awkwardness and intrusion. Some of my most precious conversations have happened when I’ve done just that. A spontaneous chat with an Aunty in the village turned into a nightly family prayer with her and her five kids – where we sang ‘I’m gonna clap, clap, clap, snap, snap, snap and praise the Lord’ so enthusiastically that I think the whole village could probably hear!

Mission is messy. Coated in dust and dog poo, snotty noses and sticky hands. Late nights, heavy eyes, fuzzy brains. Dealing with multiple plans, changing plans, or no plans at all. Embracing the familiar ‘uncomfortableness’ of having no idea what you are doing, should be doing or will be doing next. Yet out of all this mess comes real beauty. Kids’ laughter. Games of duck-duck goose and tag. Beautiful drawings, a shared sunrise, spontaneous worship. Deep friendships, stomach-hurting laughter and shared sorrows. Family, community, love.


A few prayer needs.

Next placement. Our next placement will be with the St Christopher’s Orphanage. It would be awesome to be able to invest into the children in ways that last. They are used to having so many visitors coming into their lives one day and leaving the next and I’m not sure how we can make a real difference. Please pray for wisdom in this.

Myself. In this last month I’m aware that it would be easy to get comfortable and forget to step out and continue to be challenged. It’d be awesome to have prayer that I’ll recognise and grab hold of new opportunities (or even make some!). I’d love to grow more in sharing encouragements with people, in praying for healing and in preaching. All these things make me a bit uncomfortable so I think I’ll need that extra nudge to actually take the step when the time comes.

Haerenga 2015 and prayer

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I’m convinced that if we researched it, we’d find a powerful story about answered prayer behind every story of personal salvation – and I’m certain that was the case in my life! In a similar way, I’m sure that pray has played a significant role in the major life decisions of Christians throughout the centuries. I’m humbled to think of all those who prayed for me when I decided to go into the ‘mission field,’ when I got engaged, when I was considering doing Bible College, when my wife and I moved to New Zealand.

Now, as we approach the end of the year, young Christians across the country are asking themselves (and God!) what they should do next year. High school students may be considering a gap-year. Uni graduates may be considering ‘testing-out’ cross-cultural mission. This is also the best time for people to consider and apply for our Haerenga Mission Internship.

We believe that we have developed an amazing, life-changing, world-influencing programme, and it is our hope that Haerenga will continue to grow. This is why we are asking for focused prayer for those who are currently considering doing the internship as well as those God is calling to do it who haven’t yet heard about it.

A couple of weeks ago I joined our Tuesday NZCMS prayer meeting in Christchurch, and each of us was asked to pray for one prospective intern. Afterwards one of the pray-ers said it was such a great idea, and that he wanted to continue praying for that person for the next few months: that God would uphold them, guide them, and if it was right, that they would apply for Haerenga.


Are you interested in praying for one prospective intern as well? If you are, email Kirstin@nzcms.org.nz.