After 18 years in Auckland we are finally leaving.. it’s a big move and we sense it takes us into a whole new phase of our ministry life.
When we arrived in Auckland in 1997 I had no idea what I was going to do. Mick was to be the Senior pastor at Mt Albert Baptist, but with 3 children aged 9-14 I could only work part-time, which I would need to do to feed them!
After a few months as a school nurse, I took a job at a Womens Refuge working as a support worker with the women as they went back into the community. That began my journey into working with families who have multiple challenges, and into leadership, finally becoming the CEO of Iosis as much of the work under Baptist Action was reshaped.
Almost 2 years ago now, God began talking to me about new things. This conversation came in pictures, prophetic words, books (try Orbiting the Giant Hairball!) and conversations with others. A year ago I left my CEO role and expected to give time and energy to the church at Manurewa and to the community. It hasn’t worked out that way. God has clearly directed us to finish this chapter and move into a new community… in Whanganui East. Its as big a surprise to us as it is to anyone who hears about it!
For me, God has been nudging me in the direction of Christian community development. What would it look like to go into a community and without starting from a church base, finding out who was there, what the strengths challenges and interests were, then respond to those by bringing people together around those in ways and spaces where God is honoured and His Spirit is at work to heal and transform lives? Looking back it’s what we tried to do in Manila about 30 years ago, but back then I was young and timid and felt like a total fail as a person. I want to give that another go… while the idea also terrifies me! There are a number of groups in New Zealand attempting to do this, so its not a new idea and God’s people have been doing this for all time. I thought I had ‘moved on’ from ‘grass-roots’, street level ministry.. but it appears not.
Will keep you posted.