When eating with them one night, Jesus suddenly says “do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” The disciples respond “are you going to restore the Kingdom to Israel now?”.
But Jesus again tells them to wait, saying “…and you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”. And, as the Church remembered this week, Christ then ascends to heaven.
What would it have felt like to be one of the disciples? Perhaps after hearing years of teaching about the Kingdom of God, and witnessing signs of the Kingdom, they felt ready to do the work. But, then they’re told to wait. To not preach the Gospel. Not pray for people. Not make themselves public. Do nothing. Stay where they are. And wait.
The Fruit of Faithful Waiting
In the Gospel accounts, the disciples continually wanted to ‘do something’. They wanted to extend God’s Kingdom. They wanted to change the world! Their lives and perspectives were ruled by action and seeing societal transformation. And that is not inherently a bad thing. But at this crucial transition point, Jesus told them not to do anything, no matter how good they thought their ‘doing’ was. Incredibly, this waiting culminated in a powerful moment in church history. In fact it led to the very birth of the church! And what happened next was exactly what was needed for the Gospel to create transformation: God showing up and empowering them in a way that was completely different to what they had ever experienced before.
The result of the disciples’ faithful waiting and obedience to Jesus was the tangible, experiential power of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of their faithful waiting was the formation of the Church. The fruit of their waiting was, ultimately, the transformation of the world.
The Inside Impact of Waiting
Why did Jesus ask the disciples to wait before sending the Holy Spirit?
Of course, let’s be clear, their waiting did not somehow ‘qualify’ them to receive God’s blessing. Earning the Holy Spirit denies everything Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished. But rather, perhaps the natural by-product of the disciples’ faithful waiting was that the very shape of their hearts were transformed into vessels that could receive what God wanted to give them. And it was through their faithful, obedient, surrendered waiting that they were able to receive it. What we can do while Waiting
Over these last few weeks we’ve all done a lot of waiting here in Aotearoa. We, like the disciples waiting in the Upper Room, have been holed up in a house waiting for change, and not knowing what might come next. But now our country is beginning to get ‘active’ again. Shops are opening. Alert levels are lifting. Church small groups are meeting. ‘Stuff’ can start happening again. And it’s exciting.
However, during this time, I’ve been blessed to be a part of the NZCMS staff who, in amongst all the various tasks and roles that we still must complete, haven’t rushed off to do what we’ve always done before. But we have been using this time to ask each other questions such as:
“What are the new opportunities that are available now?”
“What will cross-cultural mission look like in the future?”
“What is the prophetic call of God to the Church right now?”
The disciples weren’t asked to wait when things weren’t possible. Jesus asked them to wait when they could have started preaching the Gospel. And now we find ourselves in a similar space. Our alert levels are dropping. But I believe that now is the most important time for the New Zealand Church to wait on God.
The temptation is so strong to just ‘go back to normal’. But what if, now, God is not calling us to rush back into doing what we’ve done in the past but to wait on him and be open to seeing the ‘new things’ that He wants to birth in us and the Church?
Maybe now is a good time for all of us to lay our strategies, tasks, and attitudes before the feet of Jesus, surrender them to Him and ask for the Holy Spirit to speak. Because, I believe God takes our willingness to give Him our ‘doing’, and turns it into the gift of an obedient heart, more fully able to live and serve in His power to achieve His mission of bringing God’s kingdom to earth. If only we would just wait for a while.
I used to work for a global anti-slavery organisation. The founders of the organisation were passionate, faith-filled, Jesus followers who were dedicated to seeing God’s Kingdom come through the rescue of men, women and children around the world. They were willing to pay the price to follow God and serve His world. Yet after several years of giving their all, there was little to show for it.
When one of the founders talked to his mentor about this frustration, the mentor described their deep commitment to their work as “prayerless striving.” They were desperate to see God’s Kingdom break through but spent little time in prayer. When I joined a decade later, the work day for the entire staff began in personal devotion and prayer. Later in the day, every office around the world stopped their work as investigators, lawyers, social workers and administrators, and gathered to pray for God’s Spirit to move powerfully.
Setting aside “productive time” to pray saw more fruit than we could have imagined, breakthroughs in places where there had been resistance, and thousands of people rescued into lives of freedom. The work remained as challenging and costly as ever before, but was now under-girded by prayer and that made all the difference.
Praying as One
Many of us already have rhythms of prayer in our daily lives individually and as local faith communities. Many of us already pray faithfully for our Mission Partners, and for the places and communities they serve. We pray because we believe that God’s Spirit is active and working to bring about His Kingdom. We pray because we believe that prayer makes a difference – in this world and the one to come. What we do here has echoes in eternity!
But sometimes we forget the power of praying together. In Chronicles, God says to his people “[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (Chron 7:14), God makes this promise to a collective. Jesus affirms this when he says “when two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them”(Matt 18:20).
Yes, God hears and responds to our individual prayers. But when God’s people come together in agreement to pray for the things of God’s Kingdom, something happens, something shifts.
This year, the NZCMS Intercultural Communities Project is helping to lead the Wellington Anglican Movement as they engage in Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement from Ascension to Pentecost. After Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples “along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers”(Acts 1:14) joined together constantly in prayer. When the day of Pentecost arrived, God poured out the Holy Spirit on these followers and sent them to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
We know that our world still needs the transformative work of the Spirit. We know that frequently the movement of God’s Spirit has come through a movement of prayer.
The most powerful thing we can do, to see God’s Kingdom come, is to pray together; to pray as one people in the name of Jesus.
The Global Church
Thy Kingdom Come helps to connect us with our brothers and sisters in the global church in a way that we don’t often have opportunity to do. Joining our brothers and sisters in this way is an act of loving care, mutuality and solidarity. It reminds us that we are all part of the one body – and that we are united in both our joys and suffering in Christ, through the one Spirit. Likewise, we can be encouraged that others will be praying for the things that we long for, interceding on behalf of our friends and family, community and country.
Praying with the global church also helps to reinvigorate our own prayer lives.
Have you ever been in a room with someone fervently interceding and been inspired to pray with more boldness?
Have you sat in silence with others, the air thick with the
presence of the Holy Spirit?
Have you heard testimonies of healing, of freedom, of miracles and had your faith enlarged?
Have you spoken words of a liturgy that feel like they were written just for you?
Praying with others who are different from us reminds us of God’s goodness and faithfulness, refreshes and redirects our energy, and enlivens and re-energises our own faith. Will you join us in this global movement of prayer?
Join the Global Movement
You can access the resources created through the Intercultural Communities Project and Anglican Movement Wellington here: https://movementonline.org.nz/blog/thy-kingdom-come-21-31-march-2020
Or connect with the global movement here: www.thykingdomcome.global
As NZCMS, one of the gifts that we offer to the church in New Zealand is our connection to those engaging in God’s mission throughout the world. We have curated these multimedia presentations from our partners sharing from around the world to be used over Thy Kingdom Come.
NZCMS Intercultural Communities Enabler
WANT TO READ MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS? SIGN UP FOR OUR REGULAR EMAIL NEWSLETTER HERE.
A decade ago, the idea of being a missionary was so problematic for me that I almost didn’t sign up to serve with NZCMS. The label of missionary is value-laden – there’s a whole lot of assumptions underlying how we understand what it is to be a missionary. Is it someone who’s sent out by a missions agency? Is it only people who serve overseas? Is it only front-line evangelists? Is it a dirty word tied up with colonialism?
Last week on Happy Hour, a new weekly zoom gathering featuring a panel of Mission Partners, we grappled with the question “Should we still be sending missionaries in 2020?” It’s a bold question to ask for a mission society, but one we ask seriously. God and His mission do not change, but the world does. As NZCMS, we seek to respond to the needs of the world, and we continue to ask ourselves what is our role to play. So what does it mean to be an NZCMS family participating in God’s mission at this time?
The world has changed
We don’t ask this question from a blank slate but instead lean into our story and identity. NZCMS is founded on the passionate call of CMS in 1799 to ‘evangelise the unreached world,’ a mission movement which brought the Gospel to Aotearoa in the first place. It’s built on the global vision of NZCMS, founded in 1892 to send missionaries from New Zealand to the rest of the world.
But since then our world has changed. When CMS first sent out missionaries, over 90% of the Church lived in the West: now 75% of Christians live outside of the West. New Zealand itself is also a mission field. NZCMS’ recent initiatives around Reverse Mission – bringing missionaries from overseas to New Zealand – and Intercultural Communities – reaching out to different cultures within New Zealand – have challenged the Church here to see these mission opportunities in our backyard.
In the light of changes in the global Church, we must ask: what is the role of missionaries sent out from New Zealand now?
The distinction that is sometimes made between mission and missions is helpful. “Mission is the whole life of the church witnessing to the whole world” (Michael Goheen in Introducing Christian Mission Today).
Mission is what we are all called to do, wherever we are. It is showing God’s love in our words and in our actions; bringing our world closer to the reality of God’s Kingdom and proclaiming Jesus Christ as King.
Missions is used more specifically: “Missions is one part of mission, establishing a gospel witness where there is none or where it is weak”.
Reason #1: Reaching the Unreached
We continue to train and send people to participate in missions in other parts of the world. Even with the growth in the number of followers of Jesus in the Global South, there is still a need to establish and strengthen a Gospel witness to unreached peoples. We are called to the places where there is no indigenous community of believing Christians who can share Jesus with people in their own context. Several NZCMS Mission Partners are front-line evangelists in these contexts, sharing the good news of Jesus in other languages and within different cultures.
Reason #2: Partnering with the Global Church
We also send people to support the mission of local churches around the world. The global Church is the body of Christ, diverse in how we worship and live out God’s missional call, but united in the Holy Spirit. Churches around the world have different gifts and resources to give and receive from each other. For example, the New Zealand Church can learn a lot from the confidence our East African brothers and sisters have in sharing the Gospel.
Our Mission Partners offer specific skills or gifts to build up the local Church. They are involved in setting up medical centres, supporting community development initiatives, creating social enterprises, training pharmacists, coaching future leaders, and training theological educators, to name a few.
Should we still send out missionaries in 2020?
Absolutely! The NZ Church has gifts and resources that we can offer to the global Church. We can extend what we have to directly reach out to those who have never heard the Gospel, and to strengthen the mission of local churches through cross-cultural partnerships.
We can also learn from the global Church in ways that challenge our own cultural blindspots. We can receive the gifts of churches around the world and grow our global perspective
Partnering in these ways demonstrates that the Church transcends national barriers. As we serve together in mission, we learn to more fully be God’s hands and feet in a world of need. We start to live into the Kingdom vision of every nation, tribe, people and language worshipping before the throne of God.
NZCMS uses the term “Mission Partner” rather than missionaries. This reflects our model of partnership – we never send out individuals to go and do their own thing. We send people to work in partnership with a local church, NGO or network ensuring that there is both care and accountability.
What’s my role?
Even as we send people globally, we know that New Zealand needs missionaries. If to be a missionary is to be sent out to make known the reign of God through our words and in our actions, then this is a call for all of us wherever we may live and with whomever we may interact. It’s simply evidence of the life of God in us; an overflow of having the living God take up residence within us as individuals and communities.
From that baseline, we’ve each been created by God to do particular tasks, in keeping with the ‘vessel’ God has crafted us each to be – our particular gifts, skills, history and abilities, combined with the presence and power of Holy Spirit. This gives each of us a call from God particular to us. And for some, this is about serving the global Church – learning another language, living within another culture, and serving God from a place of otherness and across cultures.
PRAY. GIVE. GO.
NZCMS describes our calling to global mission as pray, give, and go. We each have a part to play – whether it’s praying, giving, or going yourself. That going may be to your local school where kids need to know that they have a hope and future, to living out your faith in a business network in downtown Wellington, or indeed to the people living in a rural community in Africa or a slum in Asia. Simply, we’re all called to serve as missionaries in our own places and in the way God has formed us to. So, what has God called you to do and be for the sake of the Kingdom? And if you have a stirring towards cross-cultural mission service, get in contact and let’s talk!
Every blessing as you pray, give and go!
NZCMS National Director
Are there any good reasons for not serving God overseas?
You bet! There’s heaps: obligation, middle-class guilt, idealism, Saviour complexes, a thirst for adventure. And no doubt many more.
Motivations are funny things, aren’t they? More often than not we actually aren’t truly aware of what really is motivating us. Self-awareness is important for everyone, but even more so for mission partners. It’s so important that its a major thing that NZCMS personnel look for as they interview prospective mission partners.
“Hmmm” you might be thinking, “Surely there is no such thing as perfect motivation.” Am I a write-off as soon as something murky is discovered lurking in my motivational faculties?” Good question. What hope is there for those of us with mixed motivations?
If dodgy motivation is our topic of choice, there’s no better Biblical passage to explore than Matthew 20 (v20-21). The passage opens with two of the disciples (James and John) getting their Mum to ask Jesus a doozy of a request. “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honour in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.”
This must be one of the most ridiculous requests of all time! And to make matters worse the brothers got their Mum to ask for them! Although the rest of the disciples get mad when they hear about this sneaky request (fair enough!), Jesus doesn’t. While on one hand, he calls their arrogance what it is (pivoting into a teaching point on humility), he seems to honour whatever good intention there was behind the request. Check out his answer (in verses 23-24) for yourself.
Jesus response to James and John’s poorly motivated request is 1. To gently call out the motivation for what is it, 2. To honour whatever good motivation and intentions there are, and 3. To offer to redeem the stink stuff.
My experience has been similar to James and John’s. There have been several moments in my life when the penny has dropped, and I have realised that my true motivations were much more ego than the Kingdom.
But when I’ve taken these hard-earned truths to God, I’ve been met by his grace rather than judgment. Rather than condemn me for my bad attitude, I get an opportunity to move forward in greater awareness of myself and my motivations.
These things might be appealing and draw people in, but they don’t usually keep people belonging to a team. It takes more than great personalities and slick promo to be a lasting team. In our world, so much attention is focused on individual players or leaders and their successes or failures, measuring their scorecard and critiquing their runs-on-the-board. In reality however, behind every goal that’s scored there is always a team hard at work. Each team member’s role enables the goals to be scored – the defence, the playmaker, the whole squad who train together and the coaches all play their part.
But it’s even more than that, a team includes the loyal supporters in the background who play their part: the grounds-people who care for the fields, the parents and friends who are cheering from the side-lines, cutting up the oranges, running the club-house and refilling the drink-bottles. It’s a whole crew who really make up the team – people who are so invested in this game that they turn up, every week, whatever the weather to support, to participate.
Ultimately what unites these people as a team in the parts they play, is a love of the game. That’s what people turn up for, that’s what fuels them to do the less glamorous roles, the unseen but essential roles that ensure the game can get played, and the goals are scored.
Love of the ‘Game’
NZCMS has a passionate love too: for God and God’s Mission. God’s sacrificial and other-centred love for us and for the world drives us. We are a team who, from a place of love for God’s Mission, are all looking to join in and find our part to play. It’s a love held by all – since our founding we’ve always been a faithful society with a variety of roles – all of them crucial.
For most of us, our part is not going overseas but nevertheless the mission call remains and there is much we do to participate in the teamwork of God’s Mission.
But, we don’t participate in this team based on what we do (or don’t) have in our hands, we participate because this is who God is – generous, abundant, self-giving for the sake of others – and therefore as God’s sent people, it is who we are.
Our great love for a generous God calls us into other-centred love, outpouring what we have for God’s world in need. God’s idea of ‘enough’ is different to the world’s approach. What the world may call insufficient, God calls generosity. Two coins are extravagant. Five loaves and two fishes are enough to feed the multitudes. Beating the chest is called faithful prayer.
God takes, blesses and multiplies our offerings, whatever they may be. We live by a narrative that invites us to extend our hands both in prayer and in giving so others might experience the family of God and God’s transformation in their lives.
Here’s what ordinary, yet radical, team-playing across NZCMS looks like:
A prayer group member writing to ask for any specific prayer requests from Mission Partners so she could encourage others to keep on praying, even though they’re not receiving the printed prayer news because of postal restrictions, saying “Intercession is a real focus – so many are living in places less organised than New Zealand – and depend more than ever on our prayers.”
A Link Church invites their members to donate the money they’ve saved during New Zealand lockdown from not eating out, buying coffee, etc to go towards the needs of the Mission Partners’ communities (see the story below). People from other churches offering Mission Partners holiday homes to wait out the New Zealand lockdown and giving contributions for flights home.
A Mission Partner, when asked what she would like to do in response to the pandemic outbreak in the country she serves, saying: “When it hits there will be very little social distancing due to the culture. And obviously very little medical capabilities. But God is on our side. I’m staying.”
Appeals from Mission Partners asking for finances to meet the needs of the vulnerable people in their communities. Supporters respond by walking 5kms to raise money for a local social enterprise, or over $8,000NZD being given for medical clinics in Uganda through NZCMS.
We give thanks for the whole team of NZCMS. It’s the whole team of God’s people, who faithfully live day by day with a prayerful and financially generous spirit that makes God’s Mission happen. What a privilege it is to be part of this team right now!
So, fellow friends who are in love with the game, let’s keep on being orange-cutters, and water-bottle fillers; helping to resource and support our teammates. Let’s keep on cheering; sending words of encouragement to others, let’s keep on calling out “Ref!” from the side-lines; petitioning and praying for our world in need and together continue to be the society for the mission of God that NZCMS has faithfully always been.
Yours in God’s Mission,
Water-bottle Filler / Mission Mobiliser
Here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we’re not under an official lockdown, but still, many things have changed. We’re in our eight week with no school, this will be our eight weekend with no church meetings and our language learning has mostly had to move online.
Cambodia, being a relatively poor country with minimal health support, is not well equipped to deal with a major virus. There are few testing kits – mainly limited to the capital city of Phnom Penh – there are no ventilators in the country and if you do have to go to hospital often your family has to be the ones to provide daily care for you.
I’m sure you’re aware that social distancing and working from home is a luxury that many people around the world just cannot afford. It’s no different here. If people don’t work, they don’t eat. They generally can’t bulk buy in advance and the lack of tourists is hitting many people hard. For many of the poor they will be affected economically much more than anything else.
On the spiritual side, it’s been disheartening to hear of some Cambodian Christians who have turned away from God at this time to lean on traditional religious practices. However, there are hopeful moments too; recently we had non-Christian Khmer friends asking us to pray for their families!
One of the biggest decisions that the government has made was to postpone the Cambodian New Year holiday and all the celebrations that go with it. This is one of the biggest holidays of the year and most people go back to their hometowns for a week to be with their families. However the government has said that, rather than travelling and potentially spreading the virus, it is safer to continue working.
As for our family, our three children have coped well which has made life easier. They won’t physically be back in school until the new school year in August however, so we’ll see how we’re all doing in a few months’ time. We have delighted in being able to spend some more time together, even if that involves playing the same board game several times a day! It’s also been lovely having “home-church” where we’ve been able to pray and sing together and tune in with various church services from New Zealand. The joys of technology!
Like all Christians around the world, we can’t give definite reasons as to why this is happening. But we can endeavour to show love to our neighbours and share the very definite hope we have in Jesus.
By Rev. Ana Fletcher, NZCMS Intercultural Communities Enabler
You may have heard the phrase “adapt or die.” But it suggests that adapting merely leads to survival. What if, instead, we enlarged our imaginations to adapt in order to thrive?
In this time of transition and change we need to believe that God is still building the church. Where is the Spirit nudging us to do things in new and creative ways? Many of the different faith communities I’m in touch with through the Intercultural Communities Project have seized this opportunity and are reaching new people and making new disciples as a result.
At St James in Lower Hutt, a Mandarin-speaking small group has formed over WeChat, some of whom are new to faith or had not previously been involved in church. This is the first time the group’s facilitator has stepped into this kind of leadership role – and within a few weeks they are getting ready for their first baptisms. At St Mary’s Silverstream, through the commitment of its Chinese ministry leaders some of its existing Mandarin-speaking activities have moved online with additional gatherings to discuss Sunday services and intentional discipleship grounded in scripture.
In other places, lockdown has acted as a catalyst to be more intentional about gathering together. Rev James Vinod had been running a prayer and study group for Hindi speakers around Wellington – but numbers were inconsistent because of people’s busyness. In the past two weeks they held their first meeting over zoom and 17 people attended! Not all those who attend the group are Christian, but within this group they are being discipled in the ways of Jesus.
Similarly, Anglican Chinese Mission has begun offering its services over zoom, and seen a number of people join who were previously unable to. Rev Henry is also offering weekday gatherings for bible study and Q&A together with daily offices of prayer. As Rev Jimmy Luey says “technology and lockdown have enabled some things to happen, which normally would not.”
These are just some of the ways that our faith communities have responded to the challenges presented over the lockdown. Some thoughts to ponder.
- What would it take for your local faith community to adapt in order to thrive in this new context?
- What are new and creative ways that the Spirit is encouraging you to engage with and disciple people – especially those who were previously ‘outside’ the church’s walls?
- How can you make disciples who make disciples during lockdown and while physical distancing remains a reality?
Zane writes from Jakarta, Indonesia.
There’s no doubt that living with COVID19 in a mega-city of 30 million people raises some questions. How reliable is the drinking water supply? How we can be the church in a meaningful way when we can’t meet? How are we ever going to open a bank account now?
We also know that some of our supporters have got questions too. The question we are asked the most by people in New Zealand is “Is it safe?”
NZCMS have been brilliant at keeping in touch with us. They have offered us amazing support around planning for this pandemic as things have changed on the ground. And they’ve also offered to help us get back to New Zealand if we felt that was the best option. We haven’t felt it was the best option.
When we decided to serve with NZCMS we knew we would have to risk something. Reputation. Lifestyle. Friendships. Aspirations. Hopes. Dreams. We traded them out for something different, something truly unsafe, a gospel vision for Jakarta.
We haven’t felt like returning to New Zealand was the right thing to do because we weren’t ‘safe’ here before. Not safe in a kiwi senseThere are inherent risks serving here. Risks of illness, of terror attacks, of disease, of robbery, of motor vehicle accident and risks associated with the healthcare system. But we knew some of the risks of living and working here before we signed on the dotted line with NZCMS. And that’s true for almost all of NZCMS’ Mission Partners.
We aren’t unconcerned, über victorious super-Christians. We’re regular, and at times, very sub-par followers of Jesus who have responded to God’s call to live in a different paradigm and a different place. That’s unsafe. Following Jesus should never feel safe.
As we’ve grappled with safety, in the wake of our new home having the worst COVID19 fatality rates on the planet we’ve asked ourselves “What’s the worst that could happen?”. The answer is we could die. But what was the worst that could happen before COVID19? We could die.
Having just worked through the book of Philippians, Paul’s words ring loudly; “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21. I don’t write that flippantly. My wife, Karen, and I have run through the worst-case scenario a couple of times. It’s scary. Would we go home? What would change? How would life look?
We’d be gutted. Devastated. Heartbroken. Yet, God would still be on the throne in heaven. Such a tragedy as one of us dying would undeniably change life forever. And that’s ok, because at the end of the day, we know that our safety doesn’t rest on a set of earthly circumstances, pandemic or not.
We can be sensible, and we can minimise our exposure to risk; we’ve been following the advice of the New Zealand Embassy here, which is essentially the same advice as in New Zealand. But the safety we enjoy is in the hands of God, it is in an eternal safety.
Our surroundings may not always feel safe, but Christians live and serve in the knowledge that our souls are safe with Him. Psalm 46 says the God of Jacob is our refuge and we serve in an unsafe place so that others might come to know this eternal safety too.
Want to keep thinking about this theme of “Godly Safety’? Join in on our “Happy Hour” zoom meeting on Thursday, April 23.
Tenā koutou e te whānau ā te Karaiti.
Matiu 4:18 – 20
“A i a Ihu e haere ana i te taha o te moana o Kariri, ka kite ia i nga tāngata tokorua, he tuakana, he teina, i a Haimona, ko tona ingoa nei ko Pita, raua ko tona teina ko Anaru, e maka ana i te kupenga ki te moana; he kai hao hoki raua. Na, ka mea ia ki a raua, Arumia mai au, a maku korua e mea hei kai hao tangata. A mahue ake i a raua nga kupenga, a aru ana i a ia.”
Mathew 4: 18 – 20
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And at once they left their nets and followed Him.”
Ki te taha o tōku pāpā nō Manutuke, Te tairāwhiti ahau, ki te taha o tōku māmā nō Pamapuria, Kaitaia ahau.
On my Father’s side I hail from Manutuke, Gisborne and on my Mother’s side I hail from Pamapuria, Kaitaia.
My name is Keri-Ann Hokianga, I am 31 years of age and am the second eldest of five children to the Reverend Rapiata & Venerable Archdeacon Fran Hokianga.
I praise God that I can introduce myself to you all as the second Mission Partner between NZCMS & the Māori Anglican church of Te Taitokerau. I have been brought on as an evangelist in the Auckland, Manukau area under the leadership of Dr. Lyndon Drake.
I selected Mathew 4: 18 – 20 above, not because I’m able to catch a big delicious snapper because I’m terrible at fishing! It’s because I find a similarity in the calling of Peter and Andrew with my own.
Previously I had dedicated eleven years to serving a global corporate company within the freight industry. Throughout the 11 years with this company, I worked my way from customer services roles into sales where I was quite successful and earned a lot of money. The Managing Director of Australasia offered me a promotion along with the opportunity to move to Australia to join his team. At the time I felt that I needed a change in my life and thought “This could be it!”
That same day, later in the evening, I received a call letting me know that Dr. Lyndon Drake was looking to create a new evangelistic role in the Mihingare church by partnering with NZCMS. And, not too long after, Lyndon called me to ask if I would consider praying about coming to work as the second Māori evangelist in the Manukau area. He also promised me that this role would be less money and more work! But he added that the reward from God would be far greater. Needless to say, this was not the sales pitch that I was trained to close a deal with. However, miraculously, it worked!
My heart was stirred and I was led to this scripture from Mathew 4. My family and I prayed on this together and soon, I had the support of family and my work mates to follow my vocation and calling as an evangelist for God which, even to this day, I am blessed with.
It has been three months in my new role as a Māori Evangelist and I’m seeing God at work in many different ways in my life. In my first two weeks as an Evangelist I was given a vision, showing me the shores of a beach fully dressed in scuba diving gear. I could see the open ocean as far as the horizon and I found myself becoming frustrated in the vision because when I looked down the waves were only crashing over my ankles! I remember asking the Lord “How do I go deep in you?! I know that there are many different type of fish in this ocean, good and dangerous fish and all kinds of colours but how do I go deep Lord?!” The Holy Spirit then told me to wait before sending me out and that I had to be still and wait on His instructions for me and not to trust in what I thought I knew.
Not long after, I was called to lead as a Kaikarakia in what would be the first funeral I was to conduct on my own in the home and then on a marae. I was used to some of the priests in my family leading at funerals for many years so I was definitely out of my comfort zone. But the Holy Spirit was leading me every day for the next three days of the funeral and right up to the nehu/burial day. He told me what to preach, when to sing a specific song, what to pray and at what time, when to speak Māori and when to speak Pākeha/English. He even told me how I should stand to deliver the Gospel!
In my vocation as an evangelist I have seen the mighty arm of the Lord through so many people as they shared their hurts and asked for prayer. They would seek answers on faith where they were not sure and I was glad to share my hope in Jesus Christ as the living Lord of my life with them.
We now find ourselves in isolation for four weeks. Do I still see God moving through Evangelism whilst in isolation? Absolutely yes! Through the use of technology and thanks to Lyndon for providing some flash recording technology from our local church, I have managed to turn my home into a temporary recording studio for my bubble and am able to record songs of praise in both Māori and English, along with Karakia/prayers for all people. We have had a good response from current, former and new church members due to this daily online content. God has also been leading me to offer pastoral care to many people by offering my personal contact details through social media to those who wish to give their lives to Christ or re-kindle their fire to serve the Lord.
Pray for the hearts of those who will see the message of hope online, that they will be encouraged to pick up the phone or send a message to us.
In closing, I pray for you all in whichever part of the field God has placed you in to tend and minister.
Ma te Atua koutou e tiaki I ngā wā katoa.
God bless you all.
Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb is a poignant image of Easter. “Mary, weeping outside the tomb, stands for all of us. She is weeping bitterly; weeping for herself; yes weeping for her Lord, yes; but also in her tears weeping for the hope of Israel” (Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship, NT Wright).
As we hold in our heart all that is happening around the world, we join Mary in her weeping. This is a different Good Friday than we have ever experienced before. We identify with Mary in her loss and heartbreak as we lament for the world; for the unfolding chaos, death, vulnerability and isolation that is disrupting the fabric of communities and individuals.
Most of our Mission Partners remain in the countries in which they serve. Many work in vulnerable communities where the impacts of the virus and the loss of income will be even harsher than it is in New Zealand. Andy and Shona Miller, serving in Costa Rica, share in the video below about the need for basic food supplies in their local neighbourhood.
As Mary weeps, as our Mission Partners lament, and as we grieve this Easter, we are invited to reflect on the ‘good’ of Good Friday. Our Lord enters the depths of human suffering and experiences death. In doing so, God fully redeems death, darkness and chaos in His Resurrection. Tears are shed, yes, but tears are also wiped away.
Andy reminds us that this is not the first time the Church has faced a pandemic. In fact “Christianity has always been a life and death issue”. We don’t get to the resurrection hope of Easter Sunday without going through the death and darkness of Good Friday or the aching and empty waiting of Holy Saturday when we sit in the disorientation of all that is lost.
Mary didn’t know what would happen next that morning as she wept, but we do. As we approach Easter, we remember and experience the hope that comes from Christ’s defeat of death. It is not the end on Good Friday. We know that we live in a world of Calvarys, where suffering and death surround us, and for that we weep, bitterly. Yet as Easter people we hold onto a future hope and assurance that one day every tear will be wiped away.
We are each called to live into that Easter hope as our witness in the world. N.T. Wright continues, “we find ourselves to be Sunday people, called to minister to a world full of Fridays. In that knowledge we find that the hand that dries our tears passes the cloth on to us, and bids us follow him, to go to dry one another’s tears. The Lamb calls us to follow him wherever he goes; into the dark places of the world, the dark places of our own hearts, the places where tears blot out the sunlight… and he bids us to shine his morning light into the darkness, and share his ministry of wiping away the tears.”
Mission Partners are our teachers in this time. They have followed a calling to accept the invitation of Jesus to live as Easter people in different parts of the world.Mission Partners have already made the choice to leave safety and security, and many live in places where life is more fragile. Andy reminds us that God is in control, and what we need in this time of crisis is the Word of God.
He shares how Philippians 4 has been reminding him of our calling as Christians to trust God and give our anxiety to Him. Part of our witness as Easter people is offering a non-anxious presence in a world consumed by fear and anxiety.
The image of a woman weeping beside a tomb evokes the pictures we have seen in the media of nurses weeping beside the bodies of those taken by COVID19. We weep in new ways this Easter. We honestly face the world’s chaos, death, waiting, and darkness in this moment in time and say: yes, this is all real, it’s awful, it’s overwhelming, and it’s a suffering I never expected to know, see or experience.
Yet what else is true? What else is true is that we are Easter People with a fierce and active hope in God in the midst of suffering and darkness. Being Easter people is to defiantly straddle between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We weep, we are present in the hard, suffering corners of our world, but we also we look for and action signs of God‘s Kingdom arriving on earth, participating in the redeeming work God is continuing to bring forth.
Jesus, pass us the cloth.
WATCH ANDY AND SHONA’S VIDEO HERE
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
My work partner Emma shared this on Facebook yesterday. You’ll soon see why.
On the surface, lockdown here in Northern Uganda seems relaxed compared with New Zealand. We can move around, buy food and bike where we want. Yes, shops are closed and we can’t catch public transport but Tessa and I live comfortably. If you are poor however the story is radically different. Fragile situations fall apart.
Our neighbor Florence used to raise a couple of dollars a day by ferrying water for people. Now the borehole keeper won’t let her continue, as Florence may ferry the virus. Our good friend Opiyo worked as a laborer on a building site, but with hardware shops shut he can’t continue. Forget about recovery packages and wage subsidies. There is zero help from the government here – you’re on your own. Opiyo’s wife Paska is about to give birth she’s not sure how she will reach the hospital.
Before lockdown, motorbikes acted as ambulances for over 90% of hospital transfers. Under lockdown motorbikes aren’t allowed to carry people. Reaching hospital is now treacherous, and difficult situations are now deadly.
Tessa and I live near Florence, Opiyo and Paska in Lacor center, a hospital village. When Paska’s labour starts, even if she can’t catch a motorbike she’ll walk down the road to the best hospital in the region. She’ll be fine. Deep in the village the scenario is far worse.
Yesterday I got a call from nurse Innocent, who manages a remote OneDay Health center, operated under the Anglican Diocese of Northern Uganda. A 10 year old boy was almost unconscious with severe anemia from malaria. Innocent gave intravenous antimalarials and fluids, but the boy needed blood and fast. Unfortunately the motorcycle taxis refused to carry the boy to hospital, fearing police brutality under lock down. The ambulance arrived 6 hours later. Too late. A 3 dollar motorcycle ride probably would have saved him. Nurse Innocent prayed with the distraught father today when he returned to pay his dead son’s medical bill. Obviously we forgave it.
Today I feared a similar tragedy. Just a few hours ago nurse Simon was treating a pregnant woman with severe malaria in remote Ocim OneDay Health Center. Fortunately a motorcycle taxi was willing to brave the brutal police roadblocks, and she arrived safely to hospital.As coronavirus approaches , our limited resources will be stretched past their limit. Our staff use one face mask per day while health workers in New Zealand use one per patient. By the end of tomorrow our masks will run out in St. Philips, our busiest health center. Today I biked around 5 pharmacies in town, only to find that all face masks were sold out. The New Zealand health system may be put to the test, but Uganda’s failed before Covid-19 moved from a pangolin to a primate. John the Baptist said “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Perhaps this applies to face masks as well.
I wrote this article last week, and since then there has been an incredible response. We’ve raised enough money not only to buy enough supplies for our 19 Anglican health centers but also to contribute to critical shortages at our local Catholic hospital and pay for transport to larger hospitals if our patients need it. Even in these times which are so hard for New Zealanders it is inspiring to see so many people think of the least of these on the other side of the world.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed”
Kia Kaha and God bless, Nick and Tessa
Just over a week ago, Dianne miraculously found herself flying back to New Zealand on a private jet. A Mission Partner to the Philippines, Dianne first arrived there 43 years ago in September, 1976. At that time, it was her first flight abroad and she had $80 in her pocket. At midnight on March 29, 2020, she flew into New Zealand for free aboard the jet.
After over four decades of ministry in the Philippines, Dianne had recently handed her position over and she was preparing to come to her New Zealand home. A farewell party was planned for her and she had even organised a trip to Israel before returning to Aotearoa. But these plans were all put on hold as the Covid19 pandemic spread across the globe. The opportunity to fly home via Singapore opened up but, just as the plane was booked and the tickets issued, all the borders were closed.
“Not only was I disappointed,” Dianne said, “I felt like a deflated balloon. Disappointed doesn’t even go near to how I was feeling! However Matthew 6:33 kept coming to me; “’Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.’”
And miraculously, God provided. Out of the blue, Dianne was invited to board a private jet flying directly from Manila to Auckland. With facemask on, Dianne boarded the plane.
“The rule given was that the plane could not leave unless I was on it!,” she said. “I felt like the Queen of Sheba!” Nine hours later, the plane touched down in New Zealand!
Dianne is currently under lockdown along with the rest of the country. When the time is right, she plans to return to the Philippines for a proper farewell. She would like to thank everyone who has been praying for her.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 email@example.com 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