Affiliate News

Introducing Dawn

NZCMS - Thu, 07/12/2017 - 05:55

Hello!  My name is Dawn Daunauda.  What a delight and privilege it is for me to be a short-term associate of NZCMS during 2018! I have two sons; the oldest, Josiah, is an engineer working in Melbourne, and the youngest, Michael, served with NZCMS in 2011 as an intern at Nairobi Chapel, Kenya.  After completing his B. Theol at Laidlaw, he now works in Christchurch.

I will be teaching diploma level English at Talua Theological Institute, a cross-denominational college, on the Island of Espiritu Santo, the largest of eighty-three islands in the Republic of Vanuatu. During school holiday breaks I will research mission and ministry opportunities. 

Why Vanuatu?  Well, for the past nine years I have ministered in the Awatere Joint Venture Parish (Anglicans, Presbyterians and others), situated along the north east coast of Marlborough’s wine country. Seasonally, hundreds of workers come to our region and they are mainly Ni-Vanuatu. Our church has been instrumental in assisting with their Pastoral Care and, they say to me, “Mama Dawn, come to our islands!”  It will be helpful and a real blessing to meet them at home with their families and in their villages. I doubt there will be time to see them all, however I will do my best as these workers are valued and loved by communities throughout New Zealand, many of whom would appreciate being able to sow back given a window of opportunity.

I am an ordained priest in the Diocese of Nelson on a year’s Leave of Absence. Though the preaching / teaching aspect of my skill set will have limited use due to the Reformed Presbyterian nature of Talua, l nevertheless aim to encourage the students, both women and men, to be all that God has called them to be. Other employment expectations include leading weekly devotions and showing hospitality, both of which I love. 

I have been a member of Nelson’s Diocesan Overseas Mission Council for fifteen years, chairing the Tikanga Pakeha arm of Anglican Missions and serving these past six years as a member of the Board. I absolutely believe that in order to make the best global mission decisions on that Board it is good to experience the challenges our neighbors in the vulnerable Pacific Rim currently face and learn to recognise opportunities to serve in other nations. As a teenager I taught at St Andrew’s School, Tongatapu, and am aware that when God plants the seed to serve cross-culturally in one’s heart, it does not pass, but flourishes for a lifetime in a myriad ways for His glory.

Categories: Affiliate News

Introducing the Bentons

NZCMS - Wed, 06/12/2017 - 11:49

Hello and greetings to you all!

We are so excited to get the opportunity to introduce ourselves to you. Our names are Guy and Summer Benton and we’re writing to you from Phnom Penh, Cambodia where we have been serving as long term missionaries for 5 and 8 years respectively. We’re moving to NZ later this week and are thrilled to be joining the NZCMS team as mission enablers for youth and young adults.

Guy is a NZ native and Summer is from America. We met at a mission conference in NZ in 2011 where Summer came to speak about her work with survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia. After about 18 months of ‘Skype dating’ and a few overseas trips, we were married in America in 2013. Guy then joined Summer in Cambodia and began working with the Anglican Church of Cambodia to strengthen the youth program of the church here.

We have three beautiful children: A son, Pirum Isaac (14), who has joined our family through a miraculous international adoption, and two daughters, Quinn (3) and Norah (10 months). Summer is a counselor and Guy is a youth worker. We both love seeking ways to use our professional talents for the Lord and have a passion for youth, mission and for missionary care and cannot wait to join the NZCMS team! Looking forward to getting to know each of you in the NZCMS family over the coming months and years!

Categories: Affiliate News

A giving heart (Issue 33)

NZCMS - Thu, 30/11/2017 - 18:41

“Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness” Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church

A great capacity for giving comes from a generous heart, and a generous heart always finds the motivation and the outlets to love all people (including difficult people). The Bible challenges believers to recognise each person’s value and seek ways to validate each person we interact with.

Not that we need reminding, but throughout Scripture it’s clear: each and every one of us has profound value as creatures made in the image of a God who loves us deeply. Here’s just a few examples that speak clearly of the value given to each and every person.

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)

Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us (Genesis 1:26)

If we as Christians, as God’s people on this earth, fail to adopt a giving attitude of valuing and validating people, we will be a second-rate church.

You see, it’s not just what we believe or what we think that will count in eternity, it’s what we do with what we think and what we believe that’s really crucial. If we’ve heard the Lord and are obedient to him and claim to have become people who have giving hearts, then it must be showing in our lives. Let’s see it in action. Don’t just think it’s a nice idea. Don’t just talk about it – do it!

Learning to Value, Learning to Validate.

The challenge God is putting to us is that we must stretch our capacity to love others by valuing and validating them. It’s not enough to just believe that we should have giving hearts, and it’s not enough just to accept that it’s a good thing for other people either.

A Pastor of a large North Island church whom I’ve known personally for over 20 years recently shared with a group of leaders some of the lessons he’s learned through the years. He told us about when he was transferred from a moderately small church to take over the Senior Pastor’s role in a large, ‘successful’ church. He was quite intimidated by the prospect and was very aware that he had ‘some big shoes to fill’ as he was still quite young and inexperienced. So, he asked God to speak to him about a strategy or leadership style that he should apply.

All that God told him (very clearly) was “Value and Validate.”

These two words were to be his strategy. And this was to apply to every person he met, irrespective of their office, or standing, or position, or ability.

He was concerned about having such a limited statement to work with, so asked God for a broader strategy, or at least a clearer word of explanation. But all he received from God was “value and validate.”

For the last 20 something years, that’s been his primary call. So in everything he’s done, he’s sought to be a source of encouragement, to build people up, to never let a goal or outcome become more important than the people involved. He’s sought to highlight people’s achievements and listen to their hearts. To value and validate a person means listening carefully to them. And it’s more than simply listening, but recognising and acknowledging that everybody has a story and needs a voice to tell it. It’s finding ways to help people recognise that everyone has a gift, and helping each person find ways to express and practice it.

Of course there are strategies, plans, budgets, trust boards, management, vision casting and everything else involved in a large church’s ministries. But he said it all must be deliberately approached, articulated and out-worked from the call to “value and validate” every individual person that may be involved at any level.

This church has gone from strength to strength. They’ve developed the larger church while also building up a number of satellite congregations, a number of local and international missional enterprises, a large private tertiary training institution, and have recently even purchased a fully functioning medical and counselling centre. And all of that has flown
out of the simple challenge to “value and validate.”

For discussion

How are you & your group doing when it comes to valuing and validating people?

What opportunities is God giving you & your group to grow in
this area?

Exploring today’s missional issues from a variety of angles, each edition of the Intermission magazine will equip you and your group to engage with God in your community and beyond. To signup to receive the Intermission in the post, email office@nzcms.org.nz. Intermission articles can also be found online at nzcms.org.nz/intermission.

Categories: Affiliate News

Introducing Jairus

NZCMS - Wed, 22/11/2017 - 12:33

Hello! My name is Jairus Robb and I’ve recently accepted the role of Communications Officer at NZCMS. It’s great to join the team! In my short 27 years, I have lived in many places, including Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and about 6 other locations all over New Zealand. In that time I’ve collated a lot of different skills and experiences, ranging from journalism, teacher aiding, laboring, tax processing, Church ministry, teaching and all manner of youth work roles. I have recently just resigned from my position as Youth Pastor at Westside Acts church after serving in that role since July of 2012. Who knows what the future will bring but at the moment this decision closes 9 years of youth ministry service. How time flies!

I’ve recently become engaged in October of this year to my incredible fiancé Jasmine and can not wait to become a ‘married man’. Engagement has marked a real change in season for me where I believe God will reveal parts of his nature that I’ve never known before. Jaz and I are ridiculously excited to marry each other and both feel a call from God to do ministry together. Whatever form that may take in the future, I’ll tell you right now, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with!  

My main passions include writing, reading, preaching, boxing and being the number one fan for the band twenty one pilots. Given half a chance I’ll give you a pre-prepared, thirty minute lecture on this musical duo (no there’s not twenty one of them) and explain in great detail how ‘amazing’ they are. Seriously, they really are amazing. One of the other things that really gets me enthusiastic is looking at how to translate the Gospel to today’s under 25’s in a way that grabs their attention. Because I grew up as a Pastor’s kid and missionary kid, I get especially excited whenever I’m thinking about how to hook in ‘churched’ people that may be bored or desensitized to Jesus. I believe that there’s always a deeper relationship to be had with God and feel a real desire to see people of all ages transformed by the love and power of his Spirit in tangible ways. Mobilising Christians for mission, I believe, is a key way that we can see this happen.  

I’m very excited to be a part of the CMS team and can’t wait for the various ‘communications officiating’ that I’ll be doing by spreading the vision of mission to New Zealand and the world.

Many blessings,

Jairus.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Affiliate News

A Focus on Fey’s Ministries

NZCMS - Fri, 10/11/2017 - 15:13

“What time is your flight tomorrow?” This is a regular question from me to Féy at this time of year as she has a number of commitments with the leadership team of European Christian Mission (ECM). As you all know, NZCMS has seconded Féy and I to ECM International who work across Europe. Féy has been drafted into ECM’s leadership team, and with over 200 missionaries who work from Spain across to Ukraine, and from Ireland down to Greece she has a significant role. She has three main foci in this work (apart from what she is doing in Albania):

Féy leads a team of five people who approve and oversee ECM’s projects. At present there are around 30 projects ranging from €1000 to €150,00. 

Field Ministries Executive team – this team of three people works with country leaders to oversee the ‘on the ground’ work of ECM’s missionaries. Féy monitors Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Austria, Kosovo and Albania, and lately Greece has also become part of her portfolio. A missionary recently emailed Féy after she visited Romania to say, “Thank you so much!!  And thanks to you for your role and wisdom for our team in Romania… God bless you and Murray!  

Féy is also a member of the International Leadership Team (ILT,) which oversees ECM globally. This team meets twice a year, and last month they had their meetings in Athens, and while there they assessed some of the needs in Greece by seeing some of the Greek Evangelical Church’s ministries and their need for help. To hold the meeting in Athens was Féy’s initiative, which meant she also organised all the ministry visits. 

Leadership roles such as those Féy does are essential for the ‘coalface’ work. We cannot deny or avoid this need and good administration enhances the ‘on the ground’ work the rest of us missionaries do.

Team

Our team here in Tirana is set to grow again in the New Year. Miranda Glasbergen is Dutch and is also trained as a social worker. She will be joining our team for a two year period and has a desire to work with people on the fringe of society. She will also work with children, youth and young adults in both our church and another fellowship in our church network after doing some language study. 

After years of preparation, praying and planning, Josh and Alison (Ali) Reeve are set to join us in January/February 2018. Josh is Australian and is trained as a social worker with a special interest in working with people with special needs as well as church planting. He is in the process of finishing his PHD which will be a great blessing to the growing theological community here in Albania. Ali is from Northern Ireland and is a GP (family doctor). They plan to join our team long-term with their three small children.

Update on Church

There have been three main foci for which we have concentrated on in our work with ‘The Church of God’ where we have been for two years now; disciple making, church leadership team and mentoring. 

Disciple making is spreading to the people we are coaching into this role with the idea that they establish it as part of their church culture, and it is going well. The people we are focusing on are discipling others, and also becoming the leaders in the church, which leads into the second focus we have of helping the pastor develop a leadership team. We have had three leadership team meetings this year which have been a bit tough going but seem to be heading in the right direction. We are beginning to see a group forming who are willing to speak what they think, which is quite difficult from an ex-communist perspective where everyone  feels they should agree with the ‘leader’. 

Mentoring is going well with a couple of people because we have plenty of time with them, but not so good with the ones we do not meet with so often.

Categories: Affiliate News

Cambodia – Teaching Opportunities Available

NZCMS - Fri, 10/11/2017 - 15:06

Two positions are available for January 2018 and a number of positions available in August 2018.

January 2018

Primary Teacher – HOPE Siem Reap

Preschool Teacher – HOPE Phnom Penh

August 2018

Primary Teacher – HOPE Siem Reap

Librarian – HOPE Phnom Penh

Secondary Science Teacher – HOPE Siem Reap

Secondary Business Studies – HOPE Phnom Penh

Secondary English and English Literature – HOPE Siem Reap & Phnom Penh

Learning Support Coordinator – HOPE Phnom Penh

 

Interested applicants should send their CV and cover letter to recruitment@hope.edu.kh or go to www.hope.edu.kh for more information.

Categories: Affiliate News

Cairo visit

NZCMS - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 16:18

I am nearing the end of my studies at Trinity School for Ministry! Originally I wanted to get this degree finished as soon as possible, and then get back involved in things. However, in the first year it became clear that this time of study was much more than just head knowledge, but healing and growing in God. I have two more courses to complete this semester, my thesis is due in April, and (God willing) I will graduate in May 2018.

This year, I’ve been studying courses in Romans, Hebrew language, systematic theology, church history and pastoral care. I’m finally writing my thesis, which will focus on how a theology of the Kingdom of God speaks into the theory and practice of international development.

In July/August, I spent three weeks in Egypt leading a trip with six other students and staff from Trinity. This was a great opportunity to return to one of the places that I call home, and to bring a group of seminarians along for the ride. Some high-lights:

  • Organising services, music, and preaching at the English speaking congregation of All Saints Cathedral (pictured above), filling in gaps while the priest was away.
  • Visiting ministries of the Diocese. It was great to see projects that I had been involved with funding come to fruition, such as a school for Sudanese refugee children and a medical ICU unit. After many delays, the construction of the new outpatient clinic for Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf began this week.
  • The joy of seeing my “Egypt world” and “seminary world” collide. One of our group preached at an Arabic congregation on our first Sunday. 
  • Organising a workshop on the topic of how does theology speak into community development work. This was attended by former colleagues working in refugee ministries, community centres in slum areas, hospitals, seminarians, and a priest. This happened at the invite of the Diocese Director of Development, and modelled on a format of human rights workshops in Norway that a friend had been involved with. The discussion was really good, people gave positive feedback, and it helped me to think through some aspects of what I want to write about in my thesis.
  • One thing that felt very different was the heightened security at churches; a result of the several attacks on churches in Egypt in recent months. A Coptic priest took us around St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, where in December 2016 a bomb killed 29 people. There was still residue from the explosion on the columns of the church, chips out of the murals of saints on the walls, and a bloodstain on the wall of the courtyard where one of the injured had leaned.

Before visiting Egypt, I visited my seminary roommate Grace and her husband in Kenya. She is an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Kirinyaga, a rural area in the foothills of Mount Kenya. She was a wonderful host and the each day was full of surprises: a 7 hour prayer meeting, speaking to orphans on the importance of education, being interviewed on the Diocese TV station, touring a tea factory… We also did a pilgrimage at the “Safari ya Biblia,”a ministry that Grace was leading before seminary. As it is not a culture where people read a lot, the idea is that groups come to visit and the guide takes them around the bible by walking around the site. It was a great visit of learning more about the Anglican Church worldwide, and understand more of Grace’s context.

Categories: Affiliate News

Family Ministry Director

NZCMS - Tue, 31/10/2017 - 17:46

A church in Hong Kong is presently looking for a Family Ministry Director. Resurrection Church is part of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong. It’s an English-speaking, contemporary, evangelical, Spirit-filled church serving both expatriates and locals  in beautiful Sai Kung.

They are looking for a Family Ministries Director who is theologically trained to help  develop and grow their work amongst children, youth and families, helping them to become committed followers of Christ. This role will include leading a team of volunteers, supporting and coaching them to achieve the objectives of the Family Ministry. This is a full-time position. For more information, contact mikeruth@nzcms.org.nz 

Categories: Affiliate News

We’re All Called to Give (Issue 33)

NZCMS - Tue, 31/10/2017 - 15:36

A wealthy businessman had just gone through a heart-wrenching divorce. Burnt out and broken, he went along to a church to try finding some solace. He was delighted when he was invited home for dinner – finally it looked like someone was going to take the time to listen to him. But he quickly discovered he’d only been invited around to hear a business proposal. He needed relationship; they just wanted his money!

When churches and ministries talk about giving, we’re often talking primarily about finances. But the fourth of our NZCMS ‘missional postures’ reminds us that giving involves far more than cash: “We’re all called to give of our time, effort, energy, money, resources and skills.”

Really, generosity is all about our heart attitude, not how many zeros are on the cheques we write. Some of the most generous people I’ve met have very little to contribute financially, but never cease giving in a host of other ways: welcoming strangers, being liberal with smiles, always being available to listen when someone needs it.

Since giving isn’t just about financial giving, this Intermission features articles that explore various dimensions of generosity: What does it mean to be generous with our time? How have cultural shifts influenced how different generations approach giving and generosity? What does it mean to give others value? And is receiving actually one of the most profound ways we can give? We hope this variety will help us see that giving includes what we do with our money, but is so much bigger than that!

Categories: Affiliate News

Snakes in a loo

NZCMS - Thu, 26/10/2017 - 14:16

Here in Kondoa, we have had many warm windy days and nights. Our outside hole-in-the-ground loo, which is surrounded by lean-to corrugated iron sheets, has all but blown apart. A friend espied a baby snake disappearing into the hole the other day, so it is possible its entire family lives down there! Just as well we have indoor, western-type loos too. We can even flush them sometimes! The hot season will be upon us soon, which hopefully will include lots of rain. Some villages had no harvest at all from the last ‘wet season.’

At Kondoa Bible College, we rejoice in the enthusiasm of all our students. Fourteen students began their 3-year Certificate of Theology course in August, and right now are on their mid-term break. Most of them would have preferred to keep going, battling away with their essays, which many of the staff like giving them for their mid-term assessment. There are several pastors in the group; others are catechists who hope to be ordained when they have their qualification. Two more students may be joining them after the break. The two-year course students have all eagerly taken on leadership roles in the college, which is great! They too are working well, and benefiting from the computer lessons that Peter is giving them. Their goal is to be able to write their essays on the computer.

We’re at presently applying for work permits so that we can then apply for our residence permits to be renewed. We had hoped that by now there would have been an exemption granted for us as missionaries with the Anglican church but that will be too late for us now if granted. This week has been occupied with a long journey by bus to Dar es Salaam for Peter followed by two days trying to complete our work permit applications and then a long journey back to Kondoa, interrupted by a night in Dodoma, having arrived too late to go on to Kondoa. We pray that we’ll have a positive response to our application so that we can then renew the residence permit before it expires in mid-November.

Recently Peter led both services at the church in Kondoa and fortunately did not have to preach as well. Our pastor was away at a family funeral so he had to ask for the part-time pastor and myself to cover for him. We had a time of thanksgiving as part of the service for David Pearce, who had worked in the 1990’s in Kondoa and still had many who warmly remembered him.

Over a week ago now we received news that Peter’s translated version of a book on grief has arrived in Dodoma. They are waiting for us to collect and then distribute. Thank you to all who have contributed to help this come about. It will be interesting to see what it actually looks like after all this time!

Since our last newsletter we have had several groups of visitors which involved quite a lot of travelling to different parts of the Diocese. It is quieter here at present on that front as the Bishop is away on Sabbatical leave until mid-December.  Please pray for him that he can have some refreshment while away and safety in all his travelling.

Safety on the roads is a constant challenge here. An example of that is for one of our pastors who was travelling on a bus from Arusha on Friday. He ended up in hospital after the brakes of the bus failed on a steep incline and crashed. Many were very badly injured. He escaped with cuts and bruises.

We really do appreciate your interest and sharing in our ministry here in Kondoa. We would love to hear from you too when you have opportunity. Why not leave a comment below?

Image: The current three year Bible course students.

Categories: Affiliate News

125 years

NZCMS - Tue, 24/10/2017 - 10:50

By Allan Anderson. 

This month we celebrate 125 years of the New Zealand branch of the Church Missionary Society. As part of this celebration the Wanganui Branch is presenting “Our Courageous Forbears,” the story of the life of the first missionaries to New Zealand at Rangihoua, at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands.

This presentation will be given by two direct descendants of one of those first families, Thomas and Jane Kendall. It was first given at the NZ Justices of the Peace Conference at Waitangi in 2014 as Thomas Kendall was our country’s first JP.

Repeated at NZCMS 200 year commemoration at Waitangi later that year, we are now privileged to present this in Wanganui on Friday 27 October at 7pm (Christ Church Anglican, Wicksteed St).

Rev Amanda Neil (4x great grand-daughter) and Laurel Gregory (5x great grand- niece) of Thomas and Jane Kendall are travelling from Christchurch as our guests to do this presentation.

This is not a fundraiser but we do have some costs to cover. Tickets are $10 for adults with students free, and can be obtained from the Anglican Parish Office in Wicksteed St or Allan & Rosemary Anderson at 3421 722.

A plate for a shared supper would be gratefully received.

Categories: Affiliate News

The Mayor Saga Continues

NZCMS - Thu, 19/10/2017 - 18:54

“He has arrived; he is in office.”

Excellent. Against all odds, we have everybody in the same space. Media present? Tick. Religious leaders? Tick. Mayor in his office with no known escape routes? Tick. Ready for ambush.

Since the Mayor intervened and ruined the last sachet alcohol-impounding operation, he had affectively blocked all enforcement by refusing to let his enforcement officers take part in operations. Theres a lot riding on this ambush.

Our District’s former Anglican Bishop (still an influential figure) and Muslim Sheik lead the way with a gaggle of media swarming behind them. At first, I tactically remain outside. The last time I saw the Mayor, we both lost our tempers. I waited. Then my phone rang and I was summoned inside to join the discussion. Things weren’t going well. The Mayor dodged everything, weaving in lies and half truths. His attack was threefold-

  1. He claimed enforcement was unfairly targeting certain businessmen in the town area, and that we should be going out to the villages. This is true but justified- the main suppliers of illegal alcohol are in town!
  2. He claimed that business owners had not been properly ‘sensitized’ to the ordinance, and there should be multiple meetings hosted for business owners to have ‘input’ into implementation of the ordinance. Firstly, the news about the ordinance had already saturated the media since its launch the previous year, and business owners had already had illegal product confiscated! The time for ‘sensitization’ had clearly passed. ‘Sensitization of business owners’ is at best a delay tactic to make sure nothing happens, and at worst, an opportunity for business owners to rebel and swing things to benefit their profit focus.
  3. Most bizarrely, he claimed that the first round of impounded sachets were never actually burned, and that the big public bonfire was ‘faked.’ How on earth he thought this ridiculous claim would even help his position, I’m still not sure. Afterwards I provided the video footage and photographs to the media of the sachets being burnt.

The Mayor completely dominated the discussion. The religious leaders (who I clearly had not prepped strongly enough), folded under his pompous display of authority and importance. Too gentle, too polite, their message demanding the Mayor release his enforcement officers for operations was lost. My own attempts to ‘up the anti’ were shushed. We left, I felt deflated.

Outside, we reshaped things with the media, and managed to rework the message to make it stronger!

Despite having essentially failed in our main mission of influencing the Mayor, our ambush had an unexpected positive result. Perhaps frustrated by failed ambush, the Muslim Sheik called the District Chairman and they went on radio and thoroughly dressed down the Mayor. The District Chairman then resolved to go above the Mayor’s head, and ensure enforcement would go on, with or without the town enforcement officers. Boom.

Most of the media coverage was on local radio, but a local reporter also wrote it up on their news blog. 

Categories: Affiliate News

Communications Job

NZCMS - Wed, 18/10/2017 - 14:10

We’re still receiving applications for the Communications Officer job. This role is all about connecting with people who are working in all corners of the world, and ensuring that their stories are heard. It’s a unique role, and we’re looking for just the right person with both the skills and vision to take us into the future.

Applications close this Friday (October 20), so if you or someone you know might be interested, make contact today.

A job description can be downloaded by clicking here.

For more information please email Janet@nzcms.org.nz

Categories: Affiliate News

Children-at-risk as Co-agents of Mission

NZCMS - Fri, 13/10/2017 - 19:20

By Michelle Sheba Tolentino and Susan Hayes Greener.

After the worship service ended on a recent Sunday, Erika spontaneously came up to me (Susan) and asked with a smile, ‘Can I pray for you?’

I replied, ‘Yes, you can.’ I told her about the Second Lausanne Forum on Children-at-risk and mentioned that all the people coming would be working on issues important to children-at-risk.

She said, ‘Let’s pray,’ and then proceeded to pray for me and for all of the participants. She asked for God’s blessings upon us and that we would do good work for children.

Mission with children like Erika

Erika is not one of the adult women from our congregation. Erika is nine years old. She is slim and olive-skinned, with long dark wavy hair that reveals her Middle Eastern heritage. I have watched her pray aloud through every room as a group of us gathered for the blessing of a church family’s home. I have witnessed her rush to the front of the church to lay hands on and pray for people we are sending out for ministry. I have warmed to her smile as she greets me at the door to the sanctuary, offering a bulletin and a cheerful ‘good morning!’ I have rejoiced in her concentration as she passes the offering basket, taking her role as an usher seriously and fulfilling it with dedication and child-like grace. I have also watched with joy as she plays outside, while keeping a watchful eye on the younger children, gently correcting their misbehavior and herding them away from danger.

As a pastoral couple, my spouse and I have received blessing from her prayers. Our church family does mission ‘with’ Erika, as much as we advocate ‘for’ her and ensure that she is ministered ‘to’ through children’s education and discipleship opportunities. Our church family wholeheartedly embraces and listens to Erika.

She is a fortunate child. She is healthy; she goes to school; she lives in a community that has clean water, transportation, medical care, a public library, low crime, and many other systemic supports. She has two stable parents and a loving Christian home. Although her family is experiencing financial stress while her father is in seminary, entering into that place of hardship is an intentional decision and a temporary situation. Erika offers us an image of a thriving child, fully welcomed into the family of faith, co-laboring with all generations in the mission of God.

Children-at-Risk and their place in the Kingdom of God

Yet, not all children are so blessed. Children face great risk in every region of the world:

  • children live in extreme poverty;
  • children are affected by conflict, violence, and abuse;
  • children are swept up in the refugee crisis;
  • children are trafficked and prostituted;
  • and others face combinations of these and other daunting risks.

Although hundreds of millions of children face risks, each one is much more than a victim or a tragic label. Each child in our broken and messy world is a multi-faceted human being, created in God’s image, endowed with spiritual gifts—a child who can meaningfully participate as a co-laborer in church and mission. The global church is taking notice and rising up to address seriously the importance of children, particularly children-at-risk.

Lausanne Forum

Risks that negatively impact children and their place in the kingdom of God were among the issues addressed at the Second Lausanne Forum on Children-at-risk (CAR) held at Lancaster Bible Institute in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, May 14-17, 2017. The CAR Issue Group gathered 74 specially invited academics, church leaders, theologians, missiologists, practitioners, and representatives from child-focused non-governmental organizations to craft action plans for mobilizing the global church to address issues facing children-at-risk around the world.

We recognize that the move toward action is challenging. It is much easier to talk and write about issues than to mobilize the global church; yet, the CAR Issue Group is dedicated to fulfilment of two of the mandates of the 2010 Lausanne Cape Town Commitment regarding children:[1]

  1. to train people and provide resources to meet the needs of children worldwide; and
  2. to expose, resist and take action against all abuse of children.

To prepare for the gathering in Lancaster and to ensure that our work was theologically grounded, participants responded to two major documents: The Quito Call to Action for Children-at-Risk,[2] and Lausanne Occasional Paper 66: Mission with Children-at-Risk.[3] Both documents, produced out of the 2014 Lausanne Consultation on Children-at-Risk, call for the global church to develop collaborative plans emphasizing and acting on mission to, for, and with children-at-risk.

In keeping with the CAR Issue Group’s commitment to child participation in discourse that impacts their lives, we wanted to hear from children-at-risk about what it means for children-at-risk to thrive. Because we could not bring children into our midst during the forum due to ethical constraints, each participant was asked to conduct a listening exercise with children in their ministry contexts so that we could hear their reflections and view their artwork depicting what human flourishing looks like for them. This was a deeply significant and moving experience for those who eagerly shared children’s drawings and writings for analysis and display at the conference venue. Participants were constantly reminded of children’s capabilities and insights, as well as the importance of including their perspectives in action planning.

Each day a time of heartfelt worship and intentional prayer for children-at-risk was followed by meaningful biblical engagement with particular focus on mission with children-at-risk, an area where participants believe the global church to be less proficient. Plenary presentations during the first day reflected upon the Lausanne Occasional Paper from the perspectives of practitioners, theologians, and organizations. Several speakers, who were former children-at-risk, recounted powerful stories of transformed lives as families, churches, and ministries gave greater attention to mission to, for, and with children-at-risk.

The second and third days of the forum focused on working together in the five designated action groups, where each participant committed to taking on personally the tasks necessary for enacting plans. Children-at-risk were at the forefront of all discussions, as groups demonstrated a high value for their input and acknowledged their God-given creativity and wisdom as they developed concrete action steps to address the pressing issues that affect children.

Outcomes

Group 1Advocacy to the church for children in refugee communities (children on the move): The group plans strategically to educate the church about the perspectives of refugee children by collecting the first-person stories of children through art and interviews. They intend to focus particularly on children with refugee status, and include others ‘on the move’ as well, producing a prayer guide and book for church use.

 Group 2—Amplifying children’s voices: The group is developing a toolkit to be used to help adults in any local church setting to learn to listen to children’s input more effectively. The kit will be coupled with a plan for enhanced intergenerational models for being the church.

Group 3 – Multiplying training programs: The team proposed three important initiatives—creating a platform to share resources between schools and other training organizations; improving communication between seminaries and practitioners; and, finding fruitful materials to translate into local languages.

Group 4 – Regional Lausanne forums: The group will convene conversations regarding best practices for mission with children-at-risk with the goals of educating and inspiring churches in every part of the world for mobilization and collaborative action, starting in the Philippines and East Africa.

Group 5 – Reimagining the children-at-risk paradigm: The group started by sharing life and ministry experiences that caused them to question whether thriving should better be conceived as helping children discover meaning and purpose in their lives. They also recognized the importance of further theological reflection on mission limitations, humility, and failure as ways to better acknowledge how sometimes even our best efforts do not result in the transformation of children’s lives. The group plans to publish theological reflections about these concerns as one part of their action plan.

The forum has achieved an important milestone for the Lausanne Children-at-risk Issue Network in moving from talk to action. Las Newman, Lausanne Global Associate Director for Regions, noted the unusually high level of camaraderie, collaborative spirit, and passion of the forum attendees. We are blessed to gather some of the most influential and committed servant leaders in God’s kingdom working in collaborative partnership with one another, from different parts of the world and across generations, to see God’s heart and purpose unfold in the lives of his precious children in difficult circumstances. We look forward to seeing what each action group accomplishes in the coming year.

The call to minister to, for and with children-at-risk

The church is uniquely positioned to minister to, for, and with children-at-risk because it is present almost everywhere in the world. What changes would need to take place for the church to take seriously the call to minister to, for, and with children-at-risk?

  • Leadership, from the local church level up through institutional structures, can embrace a high view of children and Scripture so that policies and documents reflect the whole of Scripture, regarding children as fully included in the church.
  • Pastors and church leaders can be offered tools that value children-at-risk, not simply as recipients of service, but as co-agents of mission. Formal and non-formal education are necessary to train pastors to transform thinking about children-at-risk in churches.
  • Churches can examine ways in which they value or de-value children within their own church practices. For example, are children participating in worship, or are they sent away to a separate space for the entire service? Are children participating only in the pews, or are they helping to lead singing, take offerings, say prayers, share testimonies, or in other ways?
  • We can examine how the church intentionally engages in ministry to, for, and with children-at-risk within its community, city, and beyond. How might we be a prophetic voice speaking out on behalf of these children and their families? Are there ways that they might participate with us in ministry?
  • Ministry budgets can be analyzed to determine how much money is allotted to ministry with children and youth, and specifically, children-at-risk. What does your budget say about what you value?
  • Theologies that have sustained and justified violence against children or an attitude that they are somehow ‘lesser than’ adults must be reconsidered. How might church-sanctioned harsh punishment, extreme shaming for ‘sinful’ behaviors, or unrealistic expectations for maturity or perfection perpetuate violence and injustice toward children?
  • We must learn how to identify ‘appropriate participation’ of children, especially in evangelism and social action ministries. We must avoid anything that manipulates, exploits, or coerces children to participate based on adult agendas. Clear child protection and participation policies will help the church minimize risks of exploitation or spiritual abuse.

Now is the time to act! We call the global church to pray for us as we continue to seek God’s wisdom in our work together on behalf of the children-at-risk among us. In addition, we ask others to join us on mission to, for, and with children-at-risk, empowering them to flourish and express their God-given gifts and co-participation in the Missio Dei.

 

Michelle Sheba Tolentino is Catalyst for the Lausanne Children-at-Risk Issue Network. In 2011, she co-founded Made In Hope, a non-profit organization that provides educational and work opportunities to women who have been exploited in modern slavery (human trafficking and prostitution) and prevention of child sex-trafficking in the Philippines. Michelle also serves as Broadcaster and Producer for ‘Okiddo: The 4/14 Kids Show,’ a weekly radio broadcast for children and youth (Far Eastern Broadcasting Company, Philippines) that reaches 500,000 listeners. It was awarded a Golden Dove Award in 2015 by the Broadcasters Association of the Philippines. She also travels internationally to speak as an advocate for women and children-at-risk.

Susan Hayes Greener, PhD, is Catalyst for the Lausanne Children-at-Risk Issue Network and currently serves as Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College Graduate School. She has worked in human development for over two decades in universities and NGOs, including Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, One Child Matters, Compassion International, Early Head Start, and Yale University. Susan has trained Christian workers from over 50 countries and authored works on children-at-risk and global human development topics, including co-authoring Effective Intercultural Communication: A Christian Perspective (Baker Academic, 2014) and co-editing a special issue on children-at-risk for Transformation (Summer, 2016).

 

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis and is published here with permission as part of the LGA Media Partnership. Learn more about this flagship publication from the Lausanne Movement at www.lausanne.org/lga

 

Endnotes

[1] The Cape Town Commitment, Lausanne Movement (2011), II.D.5, https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment.

[2] Quito Call to Action on Children at Risk, Lausanne Movement (2014), https://www.lausanne.org/content/statement/quito-call-to-action-on-children-at-risk.

[3] Mission with Children at Risk (LOP 66), Lausanne Movement (2014), https://www.lausanne.org/content/lop/mission-children-risk-lop-66.

 

Categories: Affiliate News

Meet the Millers

NZCMS - Thu, 12/10/2017 - 15:14

I (Andy) was brought up in Peru as a missionary kid during a time of persecution, which taught me that the Christian life is a great adventure! Shona felt called to be a missionary at the age of 12 after hearing the story of John Elliot’s martyrdom. We met in Spain over Easter 1999 when Shona was on a 5 day holiday and I was a student at a Madrid University. We married in London and moved to NZ in 2001, with a sense that at some stage we would be going to Latin America as missionaries.

17 years and three amazing children later, we feel God saying “Go!” In fact, Aliana (13), Jeshaiah (11) and Elías (8) set the ball rolling as they discussed their desire to learn Spanish like Daddy. God is calling us to mobilise and facilitate a rising wave of mission from Latin America. Based in Costa Rica, Shona and the kids will start off learning Spanish and Andy will travel, preaching and networking with leaders of churches and national mission organisations.

Being in Costa Rica will also mean we’ll be close to the grandparents who have been missionaries there with Latin Link over the past 15 years. It’s exciting to therefore be building on my father’s legacy!

We’re excited to join team NZCMS!

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Communications Officer Job

NZCMS - Mon, 09/10/2017 - 15:35

What will it take for future generations to become passionate about global mission? What will it take for the church to re-imagine her place in God’s plan of redemption? What will inspire the next wave of reformation, renewal and revival in New Zealand and beyond?

The answer: STORY.

Stories are what free our imaginations and enable us to dream in new ways. Story is what shapes how we see the world. And story is how we can ensure people not only know about mission, but see themselves a part of it!

We’re looking for a new Communications Officer who can help us capture stories of mission and convey them in a transformative way. You’ll be responsible for planning, editing and overseeing the production of a variety of mission publications that help tell the story of NZCMS and our work today. This requires both creativity and an eye for detail.

 

A job description can be downloaded by clicking here.

For more information please email Janet@nzcms.org.nz

Categories: Affiliate News

A busy month coming

NZCMS - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 14:54

Murray and I have a bit of a heavy travel schedule in October for which we would appreciate prayer for:

From October 5 to 7 we’ll be in Kosovo for a Field Council meeting (oversight group for the Albania/Kosovo ECM missionaries), and to have annual review discussions with the missionaries in Kosovo. From the 7th – 10th we’ll be in Bulgaria to have annual review discussions with the ECM missionaries and national workers there.

From the 17 – 21 October we’ll be in Montenegro, as this year it’s our turn to be the our organisation’s missionary representatives at the annual Albanian Encouragement Project conference and board meeting.

Then from the 24th – 27th Féy will be in Spain to lead the Ministry Direction Group group as they look at all ECM’s missionaries ministry plans for the coming year, as well as evaluating all the new project funding requests.

So yes, October promises to be a busy month! Please keep us in your prayers.

Categories: Affiliate News

Anne’s Absence

NZCMS - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 18:43

By Anne Allen.

It’s with a tinge of sadness I finish up at NZCMS this Friday after having been here for almost six years. One of the highlights of my time here would have to be attending our Hui in the Bay of Islands to commemorate the bicentenary of CMS mission to New Zealand. It was wonderful to get alongside so many members of the CMS family and celebrate this event.

I have really enjoyed meeting and getting to know so many of our supporters in person, by email and by telephone and it was always a pleasure to catch up with Mission Partners when they were home on deputation. I am looking forward to having a short break which includes a trip up to Whangarei before I look for further employment. Janet my replacement is settling in well and no doubt you will have the opportunity to connect with her sometime in the near future.

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Introducing Janet

NZCMS - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 13:46

By Janet Mansell.

It’s good to be here working as the new Operations & Finance Manager for NZCMS.

Isn’t it funny how life sometimes goes around in circles?  As a young adult I went to South Korea on a short term missions trip with OMF. It was a life changing experience for this young lass from Southland – spending time in the large cities of Pusan and Seoul and having my whole world view transformed. Being there helped me develop a much greater sense of the love that God has for the many nations of this world. It became a dream to then share this experience with my husband and children. I visited Lima, Peru with my husband and three children in 2000 where I worked as the accountant for SIM for three months.

It feels very special to be back in this mission space and I look forward to supporting the  team at NZCMS.

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Final reflections from Fiji

NZCMS - Sun, 01/10/2017 - 13:35

Here are some reflections from Graeme Mitchell on the recent Golden Oldies mission encounter in Fiji. The full article, along with many photos, can be read by clicking here.

Farewell Fiji, again.

“Many Fijians have so little, but they have given us so much, to make us feel welcome and part of their families”
“I feel so humbled and inspired from this mission”

These phrases summarise many of the team’s observations of their days visiting and contributing to mission projects around Suva.

Supporters Generosity

The Mission commenced with many residents from Archer, families, friends, supporter groups, churches, previous Golden Oldies members contributing to the mission with donated equipment and materials; donations to purchase specialist equipment to take; and commitments to pray for the mission.

We purchased medical equipment and supplies, laptops, kitchen utensils, guitars, received donated carpentry tools, sports uniforms, childrens bible stories, bibles, school stationery, scientific calculators, teaching instruction manuals on core cirriculum subjects, family packs of childrens books and towels-soaps-toothbrushes, sheets, towels, pillow cases, tea towels, and other items that came to a total of 150kg of excess baggage.

Fiji Airways in their generosity heard about the mission to suppport the people of Fiji and offered to donate the full 150kg of space ‘free of charge’. That has never occurred before, and we were very appreciative of their sponsorship to bring all these treasures to their Fijian people.

We landed in Nadi, Fiji and all 21 boxes of excess freight thankfully were claimed off the conveyor belt, with only 40-minutes to find our ‘ground courier’ who was going to drive all the freight to Suva, 5-hours away. But, there was Customs to get through. We were required to have an Import certificate, Customs broker and pay import tax! An official Customs Officer opened the first box (50 children’s books) and started asking how much each book was valued at. Time was ticking on. 30-minutes before we had to check-in for our domestic flight to Suva. He asked about what we were doing, requiring a description of each box, then suddenly said ‘oh away you go, no charge this time’ There’s a saying in Fiji that says ‘God is good…All the time…God is good’ How very true that was at that moment with the many prayers of people supporting the mission.

Rushing through the terminal, we met our driver, crammed all 21 boxes into his car, and he headed for Suva. We met him at the Bible College 4-hours later! His car must’ve had wings!!
This event was the beginning of many little miracles that we encountered every day of this mission, as we saw God’s presence touch the hearts of people we met.

Bible College Home

The Bible College near completion, after its significant development

The team returned to their ‘spiritual home’ again this year at the St Johns Bible College, after the College has been going through a major redevelopment over the past 2-years. Although not quite completed, the GOM team were the first ‘guests’ to be allowed to stay at the newly expanded College. Some slept in the yet to be completed Cafeteria, to ensure all the team could remain on the campus. The Chambers extended family showered the team in their love, wonderful hospitality and care, with the team being so appreciative, as every other team has felt in previous years. A sanctuary for a tired team as they returned to the college each evening.

Villages become families

The Villages welcomed the team, more as returning friends than visitors or strangers. The benefit of returning each year building trust, and renewing friendships was evident through the continued ‘talanoa’ (conversations) we had.

Arriving one evening to a squatter village on a hillside outside Suva, the village had prepared a makeshift shelter with tarps draped over the bamboo poles protecting us from the monsoon downpour we were encountering. This was the meeting room for that evenings event. From a kava ceremony, to formal introductions, to lovu-cooked food, to children dancing, and then engaging with Golden Oldies to dance under the stars on rain-soaked spongy grass, this became the model for many of the team visits to other squatter settlements we visited.

But there is a serious side to all this, as well as gifting some of the supplies we had brought with us, we wanted to further the partnership to build village well-being and offer spiritual encouragement.

 Micro-enterprises

One of the main projects significantly advanced was the ‘mud-brick’ vision.
To establish training in brick-making and carpentry skills, to then build affordable cyclone-proof housing and church buildings for these squatter villages. In addition to this is the expectation to sell bricks as another money source alongside their fish and veges currenlty sold at the road side.

 

Roger and Thomas, along with Alfred from Fiji, spent all week meeting church and village leaders, developing, revising, then revising their plans that could make the project genuinely feasible. At weeks end, they announced their much anticipated proposal.

 

A Project Manager is being employed by Golden Oldies to oversee the establishment and development of the making of mud bricks in 3 villages, one on the other main island of Vanua Levu. They are importing 2-new mud brick machines from China to compliment the one already about to start operation in making bricks. The first bricks made are going to complete a demonstration affordable home, a new Sunday school and extension to a church.

 

Building materials are scarce and expensive in Fiji , and being the first to offer this alternative cheaper mud-brick to expensive cement-bricks could help take the squatter villages out of poverty and overseas aid dependency, to offer these village-churches some greater self-determination and regular employment for their men folk.
The next 6-months will be a very interesting time for all involved, and something the Golden Oldies are very proud of supporting through fundraising for the seed money needed, technical and operational support as partners in the project.

Crafts expansion and diversification

One remote squatter village we visit relies solely on sales from its minute crops and fishing. The men row for 1.5-hours through mangrove creeks to the ocean, then another 5km out to sea to catch their fish, then return on the incoming tide with their catch. Sadly they are noting a reduced quantity of fish available, and with the sea levels notably rising as they share their concerns for their survival. Furthermore, on their village border demand for new housing is bringing the bulldozers alarmingly closer to invade their village lifestyle of decades. With all that doom and gloom, they challenged us! Get on with what you have and continue to innovate. Last year the team saw them experimenting with making grass brooms to sell. They had made two. And by the end of that mission they had made another 10 and delivered them before the team departed.

 

This year, they were prepared for the GOM teams arrival, and it was beyond our wildest dreams. They had diversified to make a range of crafts to sell. By the end of this visit they couldn’t believe they had sold everything, amazed and proud of their efforts. The value of their morning sales was equivalent to 5-months of selling fish and veges at the road side stall!
Visiting this village every year by the Golden Oldies has brought deepening friendships and  some measure of new hope for the diversification of their micro-businesses.

 

To read the rest of this article and to see the many photos, click here.

Categories: Affiliate News

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