This article is written by an NZCMS Mission Partner serving in a Spanish community. We asked her to share her reflections with us after two weeks of being in a strict lockdown.
I have never been so envious of people with dogs or quite so elated to take the rubbish out to the bin. Spain is in its second week of full lockdown and cabin fever is starting to get real.
The authorities have enforced strong measures to prevent people leaving the house for anything other than the essentials. Unlike New Zealand we can’t go out for exercise with the exception of dog owners who can leave the house briefly for doggy business.
What was last week considered quite unique is now very quickly turning into a nightmare. We have clocked over 2,500 deaths here and in my region the toll stands at 25.
How is God leading me in this? My reflections are not fully formed but I would like to share a few with you as New Zealand moves into lockdown as well.
Church Is Still Church
Like many places, my church here is finding creative ways to stay in communion with each other through online group calls, messages and phone calls. I even participated in an online talent show the other day! God is teaching us how to lovingly serve one another and to look out for those who are by themselves and/or feeling alone.
Prayer Gathers Momentum
In these extraordinary times God has been moving me to pray even more fervently for the Church and for those without certain hope. It has been beautiful to see brothers and sisters in Christ praying even more fervently for our very sick and fearful country, for the authorities, medical workers and for those that are suffering at the hands of such a terrible virus. As the days drag on the momentum can wain but I hope we will persevere and stay motivated.
Through something so devastating God is giving His church here some unique opportunities to speak into people’s lives. In my wee corner of the country a small team of us are using Facebook to share reflections and questions that we hope will engage people on a spiritual level. Please pray with us that people would be in touch and that they would be moved to pick up dusty Bibles sitting on bookcases.
God Knows What Will Happen Tomorrow
Believers here often say “If the Lord wills it”. I had thought that it got overused but, in these days, the Bible verses that follow that very theme have stuck in my head. I really don’t know what will happen tomorrow because I am not God.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15.
In these unknown times the two words that God keeps bringing back to me are ‘unchanging’ and ‘rest’. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or how long this crisis will go on for but I can always rest secure in Him because He is the one who never changes.
I pray for all of those reading that you would come to know this reality in your lives. Please pray with me that the church here would rest in this security and that others would come to know this secure hope for the first time in the midst of tragedy.
NZCMS National Director, Rosie Fyfe, shares an update from NZCMS and our Mission Partners.
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46)
Grace and peace to you in these uncertain times. As we watch the news, and as we respond in the contexts that we are each part of, let us hold fast to God our refuge. Let us find our strength in Him. Let us remind each other that our Lord is truly an ever-present help in times of turmoil.
I want to assure you that NZCMS staff are keeping in frequent contact with all of our Mission Partners in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We are assessing and responding to risk, taking into account different contexts and situations. For example, in response to the NZ government directive for New Zealanders travelling internationally to return home, our Better World Gap Year team are returning from Fiji on Sunday 22 March, a few days earlier than planned.
At the same time, we know that our long-term Mission Partners have chosen to live and share the love of Jesus amongst people in different parts of the world. While ensuring they do not take undue risk, there can be a calling to stay in difficult times, to stay for the long-term rather than simply finishing a project or a contract.
Here in New Zealand, churches are getting active and finding creative ways to support people in their communities, and to continue in worship and mission. Likewise, our Mission Partners are people who have committed to sharing the love of Jesus in the contexts where God has placed them, and they are finding ways to reach out in the midst of this situation.
We would like to ask that you would:
- Please continue praying for Mission Partners. Some are already living in lock-down, others are faced with decisions. Pray for wisdom for unexpected Kingdom moments of seeing God at work, and opportunities to care for those around them in whichever way is possible.
- Please continue giving towards the financial support of Mission Partners, even if they return to New Zealand for a period. This tangible demonstration of your support towards them and their work is more important now than ever. If a Mission Partner needs to return from their location of service NZCMS will continue to financially support them for a period of time; we will also need you to continue to care for your Mission Partner in this way.
- For any Mission Partners who return to New Zealand, we will help them find places to self-isolate. We would like to create a list of possible places, such as holiday houses, where any returning Mission Partners could self-isolate. Please let us know if you have anyone in your congregation who may have a property they can offer for this purpose.
One thing that I have always loved about NZCMS is that we see each other as family. If there are any ways we can support you at this time, our staff would love to hear from you (email@example.com).
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
Posted on March 19, 2020
The current spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 is having a continuing global effect, as health authorities worldwide work to deal with existing cases and limit its further spread. NZCMS has taken a number of steps in response to the information obtained from the World Health Organisation and the New Zealand Government.
NZCMS is regularly updating all its Mission Partners and staff and making direct personal contact with all Mission Partners in order to provide ongoing additional assistance and advice.
We commend prayer to our God and Father through Jesus Christ as a good and faithful response to this health crisis.
The Anglican Missions Board of the Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, NZCMS posts the bellow invites expressions of interest for its full-time leadership role based in its centrally located Wellington office.
A faith-based organisation, Anglican Missions is an autonomous Trust Board funded by the Anglican Church in New Zealand to advance its ‘Mission beyond Borders’. Working with a small office team and province-wide volunteer network, the National Director is responsible to direct the organisation into its next 100 years in line with the Board’s strategic plan Te Ara Hou. Success in this role will require an experienced people-leader who:
- Is committed to the Mission
- Is culturally aware, having experience collaborating with Tikanga Maori, Tikanga Polynesia and Tikanga Pākehā
- Is comfortable using modern organisational & communications technology
- Can demonstrate financial nouse both in interpreting information and in formulating forecasts
- Is an engaging and confident public speaker
- Can demonstrate success operating in a multistakeholder environment The
The role will require regular domestic travel and the potential for hours worked outside a traditional week, for example Sunday speaking engagements. It is also anticipated that occasional international travel may be required.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in the National Director role, or to seek additional information. Applications close March 18th 2020.
How can we New Zealanders live in our identity as a household of God in our culturally diverse context? What does it look like to honour our bi-cultural conventional relationship with tangata whenua, our commitment to tangata pacifica and to extend manakitanga (love and compassion) to migrants and refugees?
Our Intercultural Communities Enabler, Rev Ana Fletcher, shares in this video about the intercultural communities that are flourishing in churches in the Diocese of Wellington.
How is the way we understand and live out Scripture shaped by our culture? What are our blind spots? Are we willing to let Scripture shape us, even if it says something different than what our culture tells us? In this video sermon, Rosie discusses these questions, based on the story of the woman at the well from John 4.
The Dunbar Family have been living in the capital city, Phnom Penh, of Cambodia since late 2018. In this article they share on what life is like adjusting to a new country and what they have learned about the Gospel since they’ve moved there.
Our family has been in Cambodia for just over a year now and in that time, we’ve had to adjust to many new things. The instant we stepped off the plane we were suddenly surrounded by “newness”. New language, new smells, new faces, new food and new approaches to safety. Even the dogs and cats looked different from what we were used to!
As the weeks turned into months, we were continually learning things about our new country and about ourselves. We’ve had to learn how to cope with regular power cuts and water shortages when it’s 35+ degrees outside. We’ve learnt how to break into a locked room using a credit card (thank you YouTube!).We’ve learnt that what may look like chaotic traffic conditions can actually have a zen-like order to it, while at other times, it actually is chaotic and nobody knows how to move!
Surprises of Another Country
Of course, it’s fairly obvious that there would be new things for us in a new country. Before we came here, we read books, talked with people with experience and spent five months in Melbourne at the CMS Australia cross-cultural mission training facility. We knew about and were well-prepared for many of the challenges we would be facing in Cambodia. But, despite all of this, there were still things we didn’t expect.
We didn’t expect phone apps that make it so easy to get around town using the local transport, effectively eliminating the need to talk to the drivers (but not very helpful for language learning).
We didn’t know how easy it would be to get access to many of the things we thought we’d never see until we returned to New Zealand. Yes, you can get Vegemite here! We didn’t realise the extent of the energy drain and tiredness that language learning can bring.
And we definitely didn’t anticipate how helpless and distant it would feel living here on the other side of the world and finding that the people of our hometown had endured yet another traumatic event – the mass shooting at the mosques in Christchurch.
There has been so much change and so much newness in such a relatively brief time. We’re so thankful to God that we’ve remained in good health and that our children have made friends close by to where we live.
There has been so much change and so much newness in such a relatively brief time. We’re so thankful to God that we’ve remained in good health and that our children have made friends close by to where we live.
The New “Old” Message
One thing that we knew we’d find here, are people who are hurting and broken and in as much need of a saviour as anyone else around the world.
Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist country. It’s obvious as you travel around that people’s world view and the way they live their lives is shaped by this. Buddhism around the world comes in many forms and is heavily influenced by previous religions, which produces complex layers of beliefs that vary from culture to culture. In Cambodia, Buddhism is underpinned by Hinduism and held under the various animistic beliefs that saturate that belief system. The Khmer people (Cambodians) exist on a constant treadmill of making merit, seeking prosperity and trying to appease spirits to keep themselves from harm. On top of this, the nation is still recovering from the extreme trauma inflicted by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s. We still have much to learn about how all this forms the Khmer world view and how the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ can break through.
It is no surprise then that, though the culture is new for us and the Gospel message is new and still unheard of to most Cambodians, the message itself hasn’t changed. It is this Gospel that brings hope and salvation to the world and it is this Gospel that we pray will be spread throughout this land, bringing real transformation and a hope for a future in Christ.
We hope to be here for a long time. Pray for us that we will learn more and more about how the Khmer people see the world so that we can learn to communicate the Good News in a way that they can understand. Pray for the nation of Cambodia, that many people will have the opportunity to hear the Good News and that new churches will be planted and new disciples made.
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.