Affiliate News

Stories of How God is Still at Work

NZCMS - Fri, 13/08/2021 - 11:59

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

Categories: Affiliate News

2021 Annual Report: Still Sent

NZCMS - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 15:58

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 last
whose Spirit will guide us safe home
We will praise him for all that is past
And trust him for all that is come.”

 
May the Lord bless you.

DOWNLOAD ANNUAL REPORT HERE

Rosie Fyfe 
National Director

Categories: Affiliate News

A Tribute to Former Mission Partner, Anthony McCormick

NZCMS - Thu, 15/07/2021 - 13:28

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.

Categories: Affiliate News

Couple Find Window of Opportunity

NZCMS - Thu, 17/06/2021 - 17:47

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.  

Categories: Affiliate News