Article written by 2019 Better World Participant, Anna Smart.
On February 6 people of various communities gathered at Ramsey House (Anglican Chaplaincy at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington) to launch the Better World gap year for its second year, 2020.
The atmosphere in the room was palpable. Looking around there were life-time supporters of NZCMS, there were clergy members, coordinators of Better World, participants from 2019, friends, family and the team committing to Better World 2020. The youngest in the room was but a few months old, and the eldest belonging to a group of people that have been praying for more than fifty years for the mission of NZCMS. It was a truly intergenerational event, which spoke to the kaupapa of inclusion and community that Better World holds.
This year the team is made up of Sam Tovey, Luca Duckworth (leaders), David Prendergast, Olivia Simes and Mercy Mutio (participants). Individually they have faithfully said yes to a radical adventure with Jesus and we were all there to celebrate with them as they made this commitment to God, each other and the gap year, on Waitangi Day.
Better World participants following in the legacy CMS missionaries
On February 6, 1840, Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed, a symbol of the coming together of two peoples. The treaty was translated into Te Reo Māori by the then leader of CMS in New Zealand, Henry Williams. Without his commitment to making the treaty accessible to tangata whenua, the relationship between colonisers and indigenous people may have looked very different.
The Better World Gap Year and its aim to equip young people with cross cultural skills, missional worldviews and a righteous anger at social injustice, is the carrying on of a legacy. The legacy of justice written into this land by the CMS missionaries who pushed for a treaty between British colonisers and tangata whenua. This year that legacy is going to be carried forward by Mercy, Olivia and David as they delve into the depths of social injustice in the world and at home in Aotearoa. In their introductions each of the participants spoke of how excited they were to be going on this adventure, and that they’re looking forward to all they will learn throughout the year.
The 2020 launch event was special. Commissioning the participants on Waitangi Day, a day so significant for Aotearoa and NZCMS, was a reminder of all that has been and all that is to come in this land. Young people laying their lives in the hands of God, and saying yes to a journey of growing, learning, being challenged and convicted, and ultimately being changed.
Better World 2020
These three incredible young people are intentionally moving into the uncomfortable places so that they are stretched and challenged, and that they might gain new perspectives. The journey begins at Ngatiawa River Monastery, where training and orientation is already underway, and throughout the year the team will spend time in Northland, Wellington, Fiji and Cambodia. In each place the team will be digging into where God is moving there, how they might be able to partner with God in those spaces and learn from those they walk alongside.
Please pray for the 2020 Better World team and all the learning and growing they have to do this year. Also, we invite you to pray with us for Mercy Mutio, our 2020 participant from Nairobi, Kenya. She is awaiting confirmation of her visa applications and was unable to attend our launch event in Wellington. We are praying she will be able to join us soon and that the process will be smooth. We await you with great excitement, Mercy!
Guy Benton (a Better World Program Coordinator) asked the 2019 Better World participants at the launch event if they felt their lives had been transformed over the course of the gap year. The answer was a resounding yes. We are praying for the same response at the end of the year from our Better World 2020 team.
Photo by John Setter
NZCMS is delighted to introduce to you the Wheelers, who have recently been accepted as Mission Partners to Papua New Guinea. Scott and Nikki, along with their children Isaac, Abby and Levi, plan to start serving in Kapuna in the middle of this year.
Kapuna is nestled in the dense jungle of the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea – one of the most unique and isolated places in the world. Built in 1949, the Kapuna Hospital has recently started undergoing a rebuild which the Wheelers will be a part of. Go here if you’d like to learn more about Kapuna.
Scott will be working as a Projects Officer initially, providing administrative and management support to the Project Manager. He will move into preparing an application for funding for a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project for the surrounding villages. He will also act as an adviser to the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) team.
Nikki, a trained physiotherapist, will be involved in helping set up a Physiotherapy Department at Kapuna, which is a training hospital.
Isaac, Abby and Levi will attend the local school at Kapuna and are looking forward to learning ‘Tok Pisin’ (Pidigin English) and exploring in the bush.
Scott and Nikki are members of St Mary’s Anglican Church in Karori, Wellington, and looking for churches in the Wellington region to support them.
On Waitangi Day, I was honoured to speak on behalf of NZCMS at a picnic in Ōtaki, jointly hosted by All Saints and Rangiātea Anglican Churches. This was an opportunity for the Church, both Māori and Pākehā, to gather together and share stories about Te Tiriti o Waitangi from the Kāpiti Coast. There was a challenge for us as the Church to face our legacy from the past: to continue to live into the good, and repent of and leave behind what was not right or just.
I shared that as NZCMS now, we step into the legacy of the CMS missionaries who came to New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Although NZCMS is not the same legal identity, we were formed out of the parent agency in 1892 and they are part of our whakapapa. Like our forebears, NZCMS continues to have confidence that the Gospel is good news for all people. NZCMS sends out Mission Partners around the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ in partnership with local churches. We also support two Māori missionaries from te Takiwa o Manukau (a group of Māori Anglican Churches in south Auckland) who are called to share the Gospel with their own people.
As we step into the legacy from history, we also repent of actions made in the past which did not honour Te Tiriti. NZCMS was involved as witnesses in presenting an official apology, and later signing an agreement to make practical steps forward to restore a measure of justice over the lands lost to Tauranga Moana iwi in the nineteenth century. When I attended a hui in Tauranga in December, I was moved to hear the stories from the tangata whenua, and to see the Church stepping into this space in a powerful way. See more here.
There is a well-known Māori whakataukī (proverb) which says: Ka mua, ka muri. We walk backwards into the future. As we walk, we seek to walk with the twin footsteps of repentance and belief.
The time has come. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15).
The photo above captures the 2019 Better World team, NZCMS staff and NZCMS League of Youth members, gathered together for the Better World graduation. What a great moment! Our National Director speaks on the event below.
Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau a te Karaiti, dear family in Christ:
Welcome to our new look Interchange! We will send these emails out fortnightly to share stories of mission from around the world, and here in Aotearoa. Feel free to send us your stories so that we can share these with the wider NZCMS family.
As was mentioned in the photo caption above, 2019 closed with the graduation of our first Better World Gap Year participants. I was deeply moved to hear these six young women share about the journey that God has taken them on this year. Each of them shared a profound sense of God working in their lives, experiencing the gifts of the Spirit, seeing God at work even in the hard places of the world, and a sense of their own vocation and place within God’s mission. Each of them has made a commitment for 2020 to continue this journey of serving God wholeheartedly, and the majority are moving into missional communities with rhythms of prayer and service.
As I listened to their testimonies, I thought of movements of the Spirit that have been central to CMS – from the members of the Clapham Sect who were moved by the Spirit to leave the UK to share the Good News of Jesus, and those members of the League of Youth who departed these shores to serve around the world. As NZCMS continues to be re-imagined to respond to our ever-changing world, my prayer is that we would always listen for God’s voice calling us, and follow the work of the Spirit.
Jairus Robb speaks with NZCMS Maori Evangelist Rev Te Hauoterangi (Howard) Karaka about what God is doing among Maori.
In 2017, NZCMS was invited to partner with te Takiwa o Manukau (a group of Māori Anglican churches in south Auckland) in supporting Māori evangelists in Manukau, where more Māori live than in any other place in the world. Rev Te Hauoterangi (Howard) Karaka is the first evangelist to be commissioned as a result of this partnership.
Howard understands his ministry to be more than just preaching and leading a church. The most powerful thing he can do as an evangelist is to show others how the Gospel had transformed his own life. He can relate to the apostle Paul who encountered Jesus in a powerful way, and then testified to others that it was only through this encounter that he had become a changed man.
Howard often provides counselling to those he meets, and leads them through a process of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. Many Māori have a negative view of the Church as a result of the history of this land, and in these conversations he often needs to break the chains of misinformation that many have come to believe. The way that he lives his life is essential, he says, so that other people can see the reality of the Gospel that has changed his life. As he has evangelised and pastored those in Manukau, he has been blown away by God’s capacity to work in the lives of Māori.
A Powerful Invitation
Recently, Howard attended a tangi at a marae which in the past has not welcomed Christian worship. As is Māori custom, the deceased person’s casket was carried into the marae’s meeting house. Surrounded by whānau, the casket was laid down, with many of the elders seated on the paepae which is where the kaumātua and chosen speakers of the marae sit. Normally the kaumātua would conduct a non-Christian karakia (service). Wonderfully, however, the six of them seated there requested that Howard conduct a Christian karakia. This was an incredible honour and blessing, especially to be given by the kaumātua of a marae with such a deep history. For many years, this marae had been opposed to Christian faith, but Howard was asked to openly acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the next three days of the tangi, Howard was given freedom by the kaumātua to conduct the karakia, including the burial service.
This is just one example of Māori responding with openness and joy to God as Howard has continued to build relationship with them. He said he has even repented at times of his own unbelief as he has seen God breaking down impossible barriers to the Gospel that has been there for so long. This year, Howard planted a church, Te Rama o te Ao (the Light of the World).
“God will make a way through the desert place…Where there are places we think may be out of bounds or where there is no hope, God has continued to open doors in the dry waste land and several have received salvation and are receptive to the word of God more than ever before. The places we think are dry waste lands have become places of harvest, it is springing up, like Isaiah 43:19 says!”
Prayer for the Future
Howard’s hope and prayer is that more people would come know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. However, this often means first offering and ministering healing to the many Māori who have been hurt by the Church. Unhelpful boundaries, limits and religious spirits still live in many churches today, he says and he asks that we would pray for his ministry and for the wider Church of New Zealand, that the Church would live in the vision set out in Psalm 133.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
He also asks that we would pray for the right people who have a heart for God to partner with him in his work. Let us continue to uphold Howard Karaka and his family in prayer as they work to see those streams of living water saturate Aotearoa.
For the past 18 months or so, as we’ve been preparing on this journey into full-time mission you’ve known us as “Zane, Karen, William & Amelia – working in SE Asia.” We’re excited to say that is about to change.
One of things that we do continually here is monitor our security status. Due to the level of our security status until now we’ve kept the name of where we are working, and our surname out of print. We haven’t been profiled on the NZCMS website, and the only way to get information about us has been through us.
We are really pleased to say that after a recent security review we are now able to publish what we are doing, and where we’ll be doing it in print.
So what will change?
You’ll now receive information about our country in our updates. We’ll name the places we are working or visiting. You can feel free to get in touch without worrying about the kind of language you use in terms of Church and faith. We’d still ask you to be sensible about where you post details about our work, and mentioning the majority religion here.
Be assured that we will always maintain the very best security and safety practices, and follow the advice given to us by NZCMS and our embassy here.
So, what can we tell you?
Probably not much you didn’t know already. We still will be working in Jakarta, the Capital of Indonesia.
Ada gula, ada semut – where there is sugar, there are ants!
This Indonesian proverb sums up Jakarta well. People flock to Jakarta in their millions from every island of the Indonesian Archipelago. Jakarta is where fortunes are made, and better opportunities are sought.
Jakarta is the heart of arts, education, government and commerce. We think it’s an exciting place to be based for the work we are engaged in here.
With a metropolitan population of more than 30 million and rising, Jakarta is one of the world’s largest cities. Known as “the Big Durian” it is the largest city in Southeast Asia, and the commanding urban centre of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country. It is also an overburdened developing metropolis struggling with problems of overpopulation and inadequate housing, employment, transportation and environmental quality.
The Good News of Jesus has something to offer the megacity we’ll be calling home.
We’ll still be strengthening the body of Christ.
We’ll be doing that at an Anglican Church called All Saints’. All Saints’ is an Evangelical Anglican church catering for members of the English speaking community in Jakarta. Established in 1819, All Saints’ Church Jakarta is the oldest English-speaking institution in Indonesia.
All Saints’ was first used as a base for the London Missionary Society’s mission to China, then as a colonial chaplaincy and for the last seventy years as an international church, All Saints’ has both witnessed and participated in Indonesia’s colourful and turbulent history.
We have two sites where people meet for Sunday services. One in the heart of the CBD, and one in the South of the city. We will still be based in the South of the city looking after the congregation there.
As part of the Anglican Church, All Saints’ is a parish within the Diocese of Singapore. The Diocese and All Saints’ endorse the Jerusalem Declaration (2008). Rt. Revd. Rennis Poniah is the current Bishop of the Diocese of Singapore. This diocese is part of the Anglican Province of South-East Asia. Check us out at https://www.allsaintsjakarta.org.
The work we’ll be doing will be the same.
Karen will still be aiming to walk alongside women who want to deepen their understanding of the Bible, and sharing hospitality. Zane will still be teaching and preaching, and helping people make time for God in the busy-ness of life in the fast lane in the Big Durian. William and Amelia will still be going to school – sorry kids – and hoping to live out their faith on a daily basis.
So, thanks for all of your hard work until now, helping us maintain the security level we needed to while we prepared for work here in Indonesia. We are really excited that we can be more open about the place where we live and work. Now you’ll see even more information and detail in our newsletters – available here http://eepurl.com/dD04bP
Our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/286277871930533/
And our Instagram feed https://www.instagram.com/buah.kiwizkwa/?r=nametag
Christine and Peter were Mission Partners with NZCMS in Tanzania on two separate occasions. They were based in Dodoma for 19 years from 1979 to 1998, involved in pharmacy work and teaching and, more recently for three years from 2015 to 2018 based in Kondoa supporting the work of Kondoa Bible School. The following tribute was written by Peter Akester which he also read at Christine’s funeral on January 9.
Names are a significant part of any person, I believe. Christine Joy – or Griptine as she was fondly known by her mother – morphed into Chris in her teenage years. In Tanzania she was Mama Peter before we had Pendo come into our family. She was then called Mama Pendo and most still call her that there. Christina was what some close friends would call her. Mwalimu – which means teacher – had significance to many. Back in New Zealand she became Chizzy to our girls and many of their friends. To our grandchildren she is known as Bibi. Over the last three years in Tanzania recently she took on another name after I was ordained: “Mama Mchungaji” which means “pastor”. Those tell a bit of her history but only touch on who she was.
She was passionate about music and enthusing others to appreciate and express themselves in music. She was someone who always wanted to give time to show she valued every person she had contact with. For example, on the last night before our wedding she insisted on seeing a student of hers to care for her and listen to her – two hours later we left that home despite all the other preparations that were left on hold until the early hours of the morning.
She was always keen to learn something more about her faith and the Bible and its relevance to her and to others. An encourager and supporter of many with the hope that they would grow in their faith and work. She valued family even though we often found ourselves far apart geographically. Her weekly letters home over all those years in Tanzania were witness to that.
She was involved in Sunday School, Bible in Schools, numerous children’s choirs, teaching in the Tanzanian Girls’ Secondary school for their Christian education and more recently being part of the Teacher’s College Christian gatherings in Kondoa, Tanzania.
A passionate and loving mother and my partner for 45 amazing years. She never minced words and was always ready to tell me and others what she thought. Many times, she was a listening ear for me to hear what God was saying to us and had a faith grounded in knowing the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ and the sure certainty of God’s presence and guidance in her life.
When told about the probability of Motor Neurone Disease affecting her body last year, she assured them about her lack of fear in facing that, because she knew that God was in control and where she would ultimately be in an eternal life.
She has lived out her faith by not being afraid to just be who she was. Gentle, patient, cheerful and willing to persevere with any task she was given. Uncomplicated and sincere. As a mother to Pendo and Sarah she always wanted the best for them no matter what that meant in terms of time or energy. As Bibi, she loved Jamaine and Skyla and Nathan to bits.
She never pretended to be an enthusiastic cook because she always had more important things to be involved with. She was so innovative in Tanzania when she devised a cookbook for recipes in the times of shortages of almost everything. A big frustration to her was a husband who left a carefully prepared, hot meal to attend to some other pressing need.
She was very good at feeling car sick and three days after we were married I had my first hand experience of this when she made me stop the bus we were travelling in so she could feel more comfortable. An evangelist once received a very generous offering from her on a bumpy, dusty road! Fluttering birds were also public enemy number one to her which I sometimes forgot much to her horror. But give Chris a Bible, a piano and Boggle, that would make her day!
She wanted me to thank family, and that means extended family, from many parts of the world, friends from near and far for all your expressions of support and love in so many practical ways. People of her church, you have all been amazing, and examples of true disciples of Jesus, who asked his disciples to love one another so others might know Him.
Thank you, God, for such a precious gift of a person you gave me to be my companion and inspiration.
God bless you all.
Complied by Bishop Henry Paltridge from out of St. Martins.
We first met Gordon through the NZCMS League of Youth over 50 years ago. Gordon had come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord as a young man. He had a zeal for the Gospel as a teacher being involved in the follow-up of the Billy Graham Crusade in 1959 and taught at Middleton Grange in 1965. During this time he led the Sunday School at St Martin’s, Spreydon, where within two weeks, he had visited every child’s home and made notes about the children’s interests, including sports. Often he even went to watch them play.
After theological training at Ridley College in England, he was ordained and served a curacy in England before return to New Zealand. Soon after he married Annette and had two sons and a busy ministry in Taita, Wellington.
After ten years in Taita they went with NZCMS to Singapore from 1982-1983. Gordon wrote that it had been a privilege and a thrilling experience to join the Singapore Diocese. It has developed a strong missionary commitment, especially in South East Asia. But it was not all easy! The heat, some relationships and expensive schooling impacted their decision to come home to New Zealand. When revisiting Singapore in 1995, a small church plant that they had been involved with had become three large congregations. “They certainly did not need us”, was Gordon’s reaction.
They returned to parishes in Christchurch with an evangelistic and pastoral zeal and always had a heart for people on the fringe! Gordon was a faithful member of the NZCMS Support Group in Christchurch as well as a regular participant at the weekly CMS Prayer-meeting.
Gordon greatly supported Annette’s passion to befriend overseas students. Their contribution to mission did not end when they left Singapore, having visited many churches of different nations, fulfilling Jesus command in Mathew 28:19. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”
Recently, we published the final issue of our quarterly magasine Intermission that is now being sent to hundreds of mail boxes around the world. The publication focuses on the theme of the Holy Spirit and how our Mission Partners have seen Him at work. So how can you partner with the Holy Spirit? It’s so easy to read an article about what another Jesus follower is doing, or hear a good sermon about how the Holy Spirit is empowering someone, and respond with “well that’s so great for them!”. And that’s it. But one of NZCMS’ goals is not simply to share stories of our Mission Partner’s work around the world but to call you, the reader, to action. How can you, as part of the Church of Aotearoa, partner with the Holy Spirit’s mission in the world today?
I was asked recently to preach at my church and I’ve been thinking about using a clip from “The Hobbit”. In this clip Gandalf the Wizard is trying to convince the protagonist, Bilbo, to join him on an adventure.
“The world is not in your books and maps,” Gandalf says to Bilbo as he gestures to the fields outside his living room window. “It’s out there!”
How often do we refuse to take a step outside of where we’re comfortable? A step into the unknown. Into the scary. Into the place where we’re forced to rely on God to help us in our journey. But what if that is exactly the place where the Holy Spirit is moving and ready to empower us, inspire us and teach us? When we take a step outside.
One of the verses that I’ve known since I was a child was Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
It could be that as we take a step out onto the “path”, that’s precisely the place where we will find the Holy Spirit can come alongside and empower us. That’s where we will hear His voice. Sense His leading hand. Be filled with His empowering gifts. I wonder sometimes if we can treat the phrase “trust in the Lord with all your heart” as just a sort of feeling or emotional state. But there is no trust without action! There is no faith without deeds! “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds” cries James in chapter two of his epistle.
Already I’ve found in my short 29 years of life that the Christian life does not stand on the foundation of intellectual belief or emotional highs and lows. To be a Christian is to act on the faith we declare in our Lord. Therefore, is it so hard to believe that when we make decisions where we have to depend on God, that’s precisely when we will see Him “make our paths straight”?
Let’s become a people that shout at the top of our lungs “Holy Spirit, I trust in your healing power!” and then offer to pray for our sick neighbour. Let’s become a people who say “Holy Spirit, I know you’ve forgiven that person for what they did to me,” and then offer to pay for their next petrol bill. Let’s cry out “Holy Spirit I feel so alone, but I believe you are here with me” and spend the beginning of every day thanking Him for His faithfulness.
So what choice can you make today that would cause you to rely on the Holy Spirit? What “path” can you turn towards? What comfortable place in your life can you step out from for a moment?
May the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you as you discern with Him where your next step is. God is calling us to join Him in His mission, but look, He is not calling us to do it alone.
Rev Dr Lyndon Drake is Kaiwhakamana Amorangi (ministry enabler) at Te Pīhopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau. Lyndon is married to Miriam, and they have three boys. Lyndon was an interest-rate trader in London before retraining for ordained ministry, has degrees from the universities of Auckland, York, and Oxford, and is currently studying for a DPhil in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at the University of Oxford.
Ka nuku nuku, ka neke neke
Ka nuku nuku, ka neke neke
Titiro ki nga wai o Tokerau, e hora nei, me he pipiwharauroa ki tua Takoto te pai, takoto te pai Whiti, whiti, tata, tata Whiti, whiti, tata, tata He ra taua ki tua Takoto te pai, takoto te pai
These words have become famous. They come from a well-known Nga Puhi haka. They have a special place in the history of the Gospel in this land. Samuel Marsden preached the first sermon on Christmas Day in 1814 at Oihi Bay, answering the invitation of Ruatara, a chief from the north. In response to Marsden’s message, thousands of Ruatara’s men performed this haka.
Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu suggests that reference to the pipiwharauroa (shining cuckoo) in this context showed an awareness that the good news of Jesus was an outside concept — a cuckoo’s egg being laid. But the response is not a rejection of this new thing, but a celebration of it. The haka is called “Te Hari a Nga Puhi” (“The Joy of Nga Puhi”) and was used to rejoice.
In this, we can see the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who were listening to a message they could not yet completely understand. The Spirit prompted first Te Pahi (another chief) and then Ruatara to invite Marsden. The Spirit also prompted those who heard the message to respond with open hearts and joy.
The Never Ending Work of the Holy Spirit
It is true, and important to remember and re-tell, that even in Marsden himself, and more so in many of the subsequent painful events of church activity, the Spirit’s work was damaged or opposed by human sin. But the Spirit cannot be defeated, and God’s works of aroha noa (grace) have continued to provoke a Spirit-filled response of joy among people ever since that day.
A hallmark of the Spirit’s work was the embracing by early English CMS missionaries of Henry Venn’s vision of indigenous leadership. The English missionaries empowered new Maori Christians to proclaim the good news of Jesus throughout the land, and to in due course lead ministry. This vision was stifled as the “Settler Church” took over, but the Spirit-inspired ambition of a Maori-led church for the sake of all was never entirely lost. In a sense, it went underground and became largely invisible for many years.
Another aspect of the Spirit’s ongoing work was the formation of NZCMS, a work that, from its inception, included both a worldwide ambition and the support of indigenous mission work within Aotearoa. The necessity of ongoing indigenous mission has not always been understood by the Church, but is a true sign of the Spirit’s presence in the church in this land.
A New Initiative
I have had joy myself in seeing the Spirit at work in a new way during the last couple of years. I returned to my own land in 2017 to take up ministry within the Maori Anglican church in Te Tai Tokerau (Auckland and Northland). My hope is to re-tell the broken story of the church. In particular, I want to see Maori evangelists set free to tell the good news of Jesus, and to have the great joy of seeing joyful responses to that message from Maori and tauiwi (those from overseas) alike.
As I looked for ways to enable that vision, now-bishop Steve Maina gave me the opportunity in March 2018 to present an idea of partnership between NZCMS and te Takiwa o Manukau (the group of Maori Anglican churches of south Auckland which I oversee). The idea we brought was to identify and fund two Maori evangelists to work among Maori in Manukau, where more Maori live than in any place in the world. I had the joy of seeing the enthusiastic response of the NZCMS board and wider community. I am quite certain that NZCMS’ response was prompted by the Spirit.
As this work has been established, I have had every opportunity to see the power of the Spirit, not only in the ministry of Te Hauoterangi Karaka who is our first evangelist, but in the spirit of partnership and cooperation that has characterised the whole endeavour.
The Holy Spirit’s Invitation
My conviction, which I believe comes from the Spirit, is that God has not abandoned the story that He began to write in this land in 1814. I am convinced that God still loves this land, and still loves the way He began to form the church here. I am convinced that God still loves Maori and longs to see us saved, and that He loves all those tauiwi who have found a home here and longs for them to come into His Kingdom too. I am convinced that God still sends His Holy Spirit to accompany His word as it is preached, and will pour out his love and mercy on the lost in this land.
My conviction is that we have to give attention to the way the story started among Maori, and to re-tell that story in our own day, repenting of the sins of the past not only in word but in actions which demonstrate our openness to God’s Spirit. I believe that this means we must give ourselves to the renewal of proclamation of the Gospel among Maori, trusting that this will lead to the conversion of Maori and tauiwi alike. I believe that the initiative NZCMS has taken to enable a new expression of Maori-led mission in Manukau is a sign of the Spirit’s presence and power among us.
“Ka pēnā anō tāku kupu e puta ana i tōku māngai;
e kore e hoki kau mai ki ahau;
engari ka meatia tāku i pai ai,
ka taea hoki tāku i unga atu ai.
Tā te mea ka haere atu koutou me te hari anō,
ka ārahina i runga i te rangimārie.”
“It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace.”
On November 21, Thursday at 7:00pm the Better World participants and leaders will be hosting a live video Q & A from their location in Cambodia discussing their experiences of the past year as they come to the end of the programme. To tune in you must log into your Facebook account and find the Better World Facebook page. Or you can follow the link HERE.
This year has been the very first year our Better World gap year has run. Better World is a radical social justice gap year experience for school leavers and young adults that digs deep into the issues of our broken world and journeyed into understanding how our response to these issues is central to the Gospel.
Through out the programme, the participants have learned about ethical consumption, climate change, urban poverty and refugee and migration. They have also lived in community here Aotearoa and also gone abroad for extended periods of time in Fiji and Cambodia.
A great time of celebration happened on November 9 when Rosie Fyfe was commissioned as National Director of NZCMS by Peter Carrell, Bishop of Christchurch.. The newly appointed Bishop from Nelson, Steve Maina, attended and gave his support and encouragement to Rosie as the previous NZCMS National Director from 2009 to 2019. The CMS Australia International Director, Peter Rodgers, also attended the commissioning and spoke on behalf of all the Church Missionary Societies around the world as he welcomed Rosie into the CMS leadership family. There were also many NZCMS supporters staff and board members who stood with Rosie and prayed for her in her new position.
Bishop Richard Ellena, the President of NZCMS Trust Board, gave an inspiring and challenging talk on our need to re-claim the “why?” question of mission.
He quoted Luke 19:41:“As he (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept bitterly.”
He quoted Luke 19:41 which says “As he (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept bitterly.”
“Jesus wasn’t weeping because of what he knew he would experience…” the Bishop said. “He was weeping over Jerusalem. And in the midst of the tears, he said “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it’s hidden from your eyes.”
Bishop Richard went on to explain that the city of Jerusalem was created to glorify and host the praises of God. It was his plan to have Jerusalem as a light to the nations because of the peace and joy of those who lived there. But it was full of corruption, ruled over by the Romans and spiritually led by priests who were motivated by greed and neglected God’s justice and love.
“Our mission begins when we look out over God’s beautiful creation and weep” Bishop Richard said. “Mission happens when we, like God, so love the world that we weep when we see the injustices, the poverty, the violence, the greed, that complete devaluation of life. Mission is our response to the tears, and we support those who go.”
Rosie is already well acquainted with NZCMS, having been a Mission Partner with us for five years in Egypt. She spent her time there as the Director of the Diocesan Partnership Office, responsible for partnerships to support the ministries of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. This involved her in the planning and implementation of health, education, theological, interfaith, and community development projects, as well as communicating what the Church was doing in Egypt. With this history and relationship with NZCMS already in place, she has a deep understanding of our DNA and a passion to see us continue to move forward in inspiring and equipping.
Would you please pray for Rosie as she continues to be led by God in this exciting new venture as our National Director.
Just before I flew to the US for the conference, I had a severe bout of back pain that left me bed-ridden for four days. I did not want to cancel my Bible Study class with the women, and so I had them all come into our guest room and sit around the bed. I had assigned each of them texts from the Bible to lead a short Bible Study, based on seven questions. That day, two women led and I will never forget what happened.
One woman, Doris, led the Bible Study with confidence that she had not had the first time I assigned her to lead. Afterwards she said something to this effect: “I am unschooled and I am ashamed to read at home. Even my husband and children have not heard my reading voice because I don’t want them to laugh at me. Today is the first time I am reading the Bible aloud, and though nobody helped me prepare for leading this Bible study, the Holy Spirit has led me and told me what to do.”
After this, another woman, Hilda, took the lead with another text and again it was evident that she had renewed strength and confidence in the Holy Spirit. As she led, the other women were eagerly looking into their Bibles and contributing to the discussion and trying to see how they could apply the word to their lives. At the end she spoke to me and referred back to how far they had come in their spiritual walk with the Lord. “When we arrived here, you treated us like little babies. You fed us and fed us and now we have teeth and can eat anything!”
Hallelujah! I went up to tell Jon and began to cry with joy at the realization at what God was doing in these women.
We thank God for each of you and pray that as you labour in His vineyard, you will know that your labour in the Lord is never in vain. May His power be made perfect in weakness!
Love from all of us in the Solomons,
Jon, Tess, Avalyn, Cohen, Caeli, Judah, Immanuel, and Moses Hicks
The Hicks family are NZCMS Mission Partners in the Solomon Islands, supporting the training of Church leaders. Jonathan teaches at a Bible college while Tess home-schools their children and engages in ministry with local women.
Andy and his wife Shona along with their children, live in Costa Rica and have served as Mission Partners with NZCMS since May 2018. Andy is fluent in Spanish and works with Movida, which seeks to motivate young people to better serve local churches and to reach out through world mission.
Recently I attended a summit for mission mobilisers for the whole Central American region. Around 500 key leaders from seven countries representing at least 3000 churches were present.
I was expecting to just be a delegate. However, one of the key note speakers, Alex Paniagua, had to cancel at the last minute. This man is one of my mentors. Though we’re similar in age he has 20 years’ experience working across Latin America and is one of the key leaders of the Latin American Mission movement. Alex had to cancel as he fell ill with kidney stones so he “volun-told” me that I was doing his presentation!
He said “Andy the doctor says I cannot travel, but I’ve told the conference that you can take my place, I hope that’s ok!” He gave me three days’ notice and was going to send me his presentation on “New Trends in mobilising the church to the Mission of God”.
I was preaching for three days in another region so I only had a short time to prepare. We had travelled up as a family to Nicaragua; an eight hour road trip from San José to Managua with two hours to negotiate the border.
What Does the Lord Want to Say?
As I prepared the message, I felt strongly that I should speak from Isaiah 49:1-7. This is a favourite teaching of my father and has become very much part of my missiology and sense of calling. The picture of being an arrow is very special for me because for over 20 years I’ve been challenged by Psalm 127:4 which says “…the children of your youth are like arrows in the quiver of a warrior”.
Essentially, my ministry in Latin America is building on the last 40 years of my father’s ministry and passion to train a rising generation of Latin Americans who can effectively engage in the mission of God. Back in 2007, I helped connect a mission trip from The Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Auckland to the churches of the two pastors that baptised me, one in the capital city of Peru and the other in the jungle. At the time I felt very frustrated with God that He was sending them and not me. However, when they returned, we got together and the team prayed for me. The team leader had a picture he felt was from God for me and said “Andy I see you like an arrow poised in God’s bow. You’re drawn back and when the Lord shoots, you will fly true and hit the target”.
We are the polished arrow that Isaiah talks about! It applies to me and you. In fact the passage starts “Here distant coastlands” and you can’t get much further from Israel than New Zealand to the South East or Latin America to the west!
What else does this passage say?
- “Before we were born He knew us”
- “He has placed His word in our mouth like a sword”
- “His hand in upon us”
And lastly, it says “He has made us like a polished arrow and placed us in his quiver.”
A normal arrow was shot as part of a general volley into the enemies’ ranks so this didn’t require great accuracy. A polished arrow on the other hand was honed, practiced with, oiled and kept so that it would fly accurately and hit a specific target when required. Each one of us has specific giftings, upbringings and passions. The Lord uses these, even the painful processes of our lives, to shape us into the arrows He needs in His quiver. In fact our painful or shameful experiences are often the most relevant as they teach us dependence on Him.
A Word in Season
When I shared this message at the conference I knew it had hit the mark! It resonated with many people and a number of deep conversations ensued over the next few days.
Being on the speaking team changed everything about this conference for me. All of a sudden I found that God was answering one of my deepest yearnings. I had prayed “Where can I find mentors who really understand what I’m called to do?” Well now I was spending quality time with the other speakers, all of whom are mobilising networkers like me with similar gifting but 20 years more experience. During this time I was also interpreting for the key note speaker in private meetings with the leaders of a church denomination. It was an intense time of learning and of developing new relationships. This speaking engagement had opened up more opportunities and was challenging me to expand my thinking.
Now, this is where the Holy Spirit blows my mind.
On the last day of the conference, their intercessory team brought me to one side to tell me they had a word from God for me.
They had written this word down on September 19. It was Isaiah 49:1-3. And they had added the imperative for me in particular to press on because “The Lord Himself would direct me as His polished arrow to His targets”.
How could they possibly know I was going to speak on that passage and what that verse meant to me, ten days before the conference began?! On September 19 my friend Alex didn’t know he wasn’t going to be able to make it and it was ten days before I had even thought of sharing that message. I was incredibly moved as the intercession team proceeded to pray for my family and our ministry.
The Holy Spirit directs us and goes before us and, sometimes, outrageously demonstrates that we are in the centre of His will. You are also a polished arrow in His hands. Each one of us has a part to play in His mission.