ETHICS 27 books in 27 days representing students
ISSUE 67 | AUTUMN 2013
those big little decisions ...
meet the minterns
canvasnotablenotes CANVAS aims to to inform inform and and CANVAS aims encourage all who are interested encourage all who are interested inin reaching Christ, and and inin reaching students for Christ,
thinking about their their life life and and thinking Christianly about work. four times a year It is published four times a year work.
Engaged Josh Irving (former Kiwi Student Representative and board member) and Kaitlyn Ng (former Mintern and student leader) Nancy Fong and Jonathan Yu
by by TSCF.
27 27 bookS bookS In In 27 27 dayS dayS rEprESEnTIng rEprESEnTIng STudEnTS STudEnTS
ISSUE AUTUMN 2013 ISSUE 6767| |AUTUMN 2013
THoSE THoSE bIg bIg lITTlE lITTlE dECISIonS dECISIonS ... ...
Canvas Issue Issue 67 66 67 Canvas Autumn 2013 Autumn 2013 Cover Design Design Cover Rose Wu Rose Wu & Maryanne Wardlaw Maryanne Wardlaw
mEET mEET THE THE mInTErnS mInTErnS
urbana urbana 12 12
TSCF is a founder member of
the International Fellowship of TSCF is a founder member of the Evangelical Students and serves to International Fellowship of Evangelical help students reach students for Students and serves to help students Christ nationwide by enabling them reach students for Christ nationwide to reach maturity in Christ, so that by enabling them to reach maturity in they understand and proclaim the Christ, so that they understand and truth about Christ and serve God by proclaim the truth about Christ and showing his love in the student world. serve God by showing his love in the
canvasdigital You may have noticed that the summer 2012 issue of Canvas never arrived in the mail. It was a digital-only issue, emailed to those who have given us their email addresses. It is online at issuu.com/tscf if you missed it. In an article we hope no one misses, Mark Grace writes on Mission 2014 – plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the gospel’s arrival in New Zealand, and both the significance and opportunities around this milestone. You will be able to find all future Canvases on Issuu. Those who register with Issuu can print, download and share Canvas electronically. If you have feedback or would like to swap your print subscription for a virtual one, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
student world. Send your thoughts, comments,
questions and letters to us at Send your thoughts, comments, email@example.com questions and letters to us at firstname.lastname@example.org TSCF
PO Box 9672, Marion Square, TSCF Wellington 6141 PO Box 9672, Marion Square, +64 04 3847274 Wellington 6141 www.tscf.org.nz | email@example.com +64 04 3847274
www.tscf.org.nz Editorial team | firstname.lastname@example.org Nigel Pollock Editorial team Andy Shudall Nigel Pollock Maryanne Wardlaw Andy Shudall Maryanne Wardlaw Design Maryanne Design Wardlaw Rose Wu Rose Wu Maryanne Wardlaw
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canvasthebottomline In November, it looked like we were going to be significantly short of our budgeted income but thanks to God’s generosity through the gifts of his people, we ended the year almost on budget! Staff support is still an area for prayer. We finished the year with most staff underfunded and many taking salary reductions. We must raise $50,000 more annually to pay the salaries of staff on campus. Would you prayerfully consider either increasing your current support of a staff worker by 10%, or starting to support staff working in an area that is significant to you? Donation information is available at www.tscf.org.nz/get_involved, or you can email email@example.com. All gifts given by 31 March will be receipted soon, and you receive one third back from the IRD.
canvaseditorial “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Much of The Screwtape Letters makes me chuckle – C.S. Lewis really let his perceptive wit loose – but this line from the demon Screwtape to his pen pal, the trainee demon Wormwood, just gives me chills. Whenever I read it, the thought follows: is God leading me through those green pastures, or am I comfy because I’m so programmed to seek an easy life? Reversing Screwtape’s advice suggests that the road to Christ’s Kingdom might be rocky and steep, but heading in either direction there’s a shared truth: we get wherever we’re going one mundane step at a time. The theme of this edition is ethical Christian living. You won’t find philosophical musings or advice
Society assumes Christianity is about rules. Even as Christians we like to reduce ethical living to tidy lists. If you follow the rules, you’re a good person; if you don’t – well, Screwtape can fill you in on your fate. The reality, of course, is that none of us is “good.” The stories in the next few pages don’t give us rules to follow; they give us a Person to follow. Only a few will follow Him into anything headlineworthy, but every single Christian is called to follow Him in a thousand small ways, most of which only He will see. We’ll follow Him into graciousness with difficult colleagues. Into using our disposable income for something other than our wants. We’ll maintain integrity when everyone else is cutting corners, and admit fault when we screw up. The steps look different in each of our lives but, looking back, we’ll all recognise the footprints on the path. And they sure won’t be ours.
regarding The Five Biggest Decisions You’ll Make in Your Lifetime. The stories are personal ones, people sharing how Christ’s call intersects with the paths of their own lives. They are ordinary paths,
Maryanne Wardlaw Communications Manager
ones we all can relate to.
Employment Opportunities at TSCF Are you interested in joining the TSCF staff team? We have some staff who are moving on, and there is always room for more to join in the adventure that is student ministry!
STAFF WORKERS – Auckland and Wellington ADMINISTRATION PERSONNEL – particularly with an interest in finance GRADUATES – We are looking for young graduates who want to commit 1-2 years to the ministry. It’s a great opportunity to grow a range of skills and be an encouragement to students on campus.
ir families, January
TSCF staff and the
There is work enough for full-time positions in each of these roles, but we are open to part-time or flexible work hours. We would love to have a conversation with you – email firstname.lastname@example.org. canvas autumn 2013 | 3
hat do student coordinators coordinate? They represent the heart of TSCF – this year’s students – on the
National Board. Janet Karthak returns for 2013 as the International Student Coordinator, and Meredith Dale has moved into the role as Kiwi Student Coordinator following a year as the ECF coordinator (now part of EU) at the University of Auckland. R
Meredith grew up in the Waikato. Her parents had met at EU and her sister was part of EU, so it wasn’t a surprise that she became the coordinator for engineers in EU last year. She hadn’t predicted the impact it would have on her, though. She moved to Auckland to study a BE(Hons) in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the
school understanding of Bible stories.” The opportunity to step into leadership roles is something else she appreciates, although it has brought its own challenges. “It’s such a hard environment,” she said of working with uni students. “Getting people to commit to stuff is hard.” Meredith attends Eden Community Church. Outside of her studies, she loves to cook, go
op-shopping and have outdoor adventures.
specialised papers in geotechnical and
Through getting into the Bible, I found out what the gospel is about. I had a Sunday school understanding of Bible stories.
This year, she intends to have some “out-of-
During her involvement with TSCF, she said she
my-comfort-zone experiences” as Kiwi Student
University of Auckland two years ago. She’s accomplished a lot in the past couple of years, and is doing what is, technically, her fourth year already – including a research project and
has developed a stronger personal faith and a deeper understanding of the gospel. “Through really getting into the Bible, I found out what the gospel is about,” she said. “I had a Sunday
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Coordinator. Given what a brief and important time of life the university years are, she said she’s challenged about how to share the gospel with people.
Janet’s story begins in the northeast of India, Sikkim, near the border with Bhutan, Nepal and China. It’s an unusual part of India, she says, where girls her age identify more with Korean dramas than Bollywood movies. Janet has also lived in Libya, adding to her “international” credentials, however her family moved to Janet Karthak
NZ around the time she started school. When Janet began
uni three years ago, she wasn’t that keen to be involved in a Christian group. She just went along to a meeting as a favour to a friend, who didn’t end up attending; Janet has been part of OCF ever since. Janet is in her final year of a BSc in Psychology. She once intended to pursue forensic psychology, but is more interested in health psychology and medicine now – “I think I used to watch too many CSI dramas,” she explained.
A lot of Christians aren’t asking the questions that nonbelievers are asking. They know what they believe, but they need to share it with others. evangelism. She wants to see them equipped to equip others to share the gospel. “A lot of Christians aren’t asking the questions that nonbelievers are asking,” she said. “They know what they believe, but they need to share it with others.” She would also like to see the relationship between different groups strengthened, so that each is more aware of what is going on for others and there are opportunities to collaborate. Janet said that conferences like SLC are a great opportunity to connect those dots, to gain both knowledge and inspiration for the calling to bring students to Christ. Her own interests range from photography to baking and dancing. And on the topic of dancing – more specifically, the moonwalking skills of this year’s student coordinators – Janet and Meredith have made an interesting discovery: their first initials, together, are MJ. Coincidence? Not likely.
Janet’s main passion for the coming year is to
To see 6 seconds of Janet and Meredith in action, visit http://on.fb.me/XNyCRg.
see students develop a stronger foundation for
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27 books in 27 days
ead anything interesting over the summer? A good book or two, perhaps? Well one student took on the challenge to not only
read but also blog about the entire New Testament in as many days as there are books. Zane Norvill, an Environmental Engineering PhD student at Massey University Palmerston North, began his blog 27 January. He also posted in the Word Up Facebook group, which Auckland team leader Gillian Wildgoose set up to encourage a virtual community of Bible study. Zane included, along with observations and study
guidance, estimates for the time it takes to read each book. Many are in the 10-15 minute range; Revelation is a bit heavier at 4 hours, while books like 3 John and Jude take only a couple of minutes. “Why would I want to read the New Testament so 6 | canvas autumn 2013
quickly?” Zane asks in his introductory post. “It gives you a broad idea of the sweep of the New Testament. It gives you a sense of where famous verses we always quote sit in the Bible and an appreciation for different genres, authors and locations.” Half way through the challenge,
he answered some questions about the 27 books challlenge and his past participation with Word Up.
What prompted you to lead the 27 books challenge? I got involved with Word Up after hearing about it at a TSCF conference. The idea there was to have students supporting each other as we read through the first 72 Psalms together over the summer. Some people contributed on Facebook,
The accountability of writing something for other people to read helps me think through the important points of the passage. others just read the comments. The group had little activity over the uni year. A couple suggested continuing on with something, but no one took it any further. Then Li Lian Lim, TSCF’s Waikato team leader, asked the group for volunteers to “dry run” the challenge, provide feedback and set up resources. I was willing to give it a go. The accountability of writing something for other people to read helps me think through the important points of the passage, and what the helpful points are. By myself, it is easy to just think it through but never frame it precisely in words. Also, touching on a controversial topic can be interesting – speaking the truth gently, tactfully, and humbly. God has blessed me with great mentors and teachers who have helped me understand His Word, and I love to share this passion for His Word, and the joy of understanding more of God, and how He desires that we live. God has given me a strong desire to see His truth upheld, to see Christians embracing His Word and living it – to help them understand the blessed privilege we have.
What difference has Word Up participation made? It’s hard to define how I see the Word changing myself and others. I know it does, and I am regularly challenged by passages that cause soulsearching, but it is also a gradual process. It’s not the studying but more the meditation that changes things – thinking about what the Bible says while I’m doing other things. It’s thinking about how we can do things differently, talk differently, relate with people differently – that’s what changes us, and
how the Spirit works in our lives. I have seen believers mature over the course of a year or more, particularly in TSCF groups. I have also seen a lot of people become more and more distracted, not caring much about Bible study. It is encouraging to hear someone say at a study that they “finally understood that bit,” but it’s even more encouraging to see them mature in the way they walk and talk with people. Knowing God’s Word really helps me relate to people, especially those who are dissimilar to me, as all types are in the Bible. Thinking more about the passages afterwards helps me relate them to how I can better express them to others.
What themes did you notice as you read through the NT? There are three main things I noticed: • Repetition and consistency. So many things come up time and again, to different people, from different people, but all saying the same thing. Some affirm good things or condemn bad things, or warn about dangers. • They keep coming back to God and Christ. It is never huge blocks of teaching. It always seems to spiral in between our position as children of God, so this is the way we walk. We have received the grace of God, so we now live our lives glorying in the majesty of God, honouring Him by walking in the example of Christ. • Love, obedience, faith, action, standing firm, and hope (assurance) are all so interrelated and essential to the Christian life. You can browse or join the Word Up group on
facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/wordup.nz. The blog, completed 22 February, is online at 27bks.blogspot.co.nz. Both link to further
resources for those who want to dig into the books of the New Testament.
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here is a scene near the end of The Blindside movie where Sandra Bullock’s character says to her son as he is about to start university, “Michael – if you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will cut off part of your body.” (The actual quote is more explicit in specifying what part of his body will be surgically removed.) People laugh because we can relate to a parental morality that seeks to enforce prohibition with threats. 8 | canvas autumn 2013
While some of that undoubtedly still goes on, I see a more relaxed attitude reacting against the old social norms. Young people are parented by a generation who do not accept there were consequences to their own decisions, and are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the behaviour of their children when they believe that they know better than the law. So we moderate the rules on what children can watch and play, tolerate a culture that dis-
regards regulations on youth driving and facilitates
embrace the agenda of justice, peace and equality
a pattern of underage drinking.
that will characterise the kingdom to come.
This idea that we are exempt from the rules affects
An appreciation of God’s closeness helps us understand that everything we do is either sin or worship.
us all. I play fast and loose with the baggage allowances on domestic and international flights on a scale that, if copied by all passengers, would result in the majority of flights running out of fuel short of their destinations. It is not getting any easier to make decisions. Consider just a few of the questions I have been asked by Christian students in NZ: “What’s the problem with having a threesome?” “What do you think of the idea of working as an escort to pay for uni?” “I know the university says it’s wrong, but where does the Bible say you shouldn’t pay someone to do an assignment for you?” These are at the more extreme end of the spectrum but behind them stands a student body that struggles to live in community, that has embraced a morality of unrestrained self expression, hyper tolerance and personal fulfillment at virtually any cost. How do we help Christian students make moral choices? The arguments around contemporary
This recognition comes through knowing God through Jesus and living by His Spirit. An appreciation of God’s closeness helps us understand that everything we do is either sin or worship. It is not enough to ask, “What is that wrong with that?” We need to consider, “What is for the very best in this?” and to work that through in relationship with God. So Joseph turns down sex with Potiphar’s wife, both in regard for his master and in understanding that to commit adultery would be a “sin against God.” God’s character as revealed in His word is the basis for the moral absolutes given to His people through history. So we need to explore not just WWJD (“what would Jesus do?”) but WDJD (“what did Jesus do?”) WDJS (“what did Jesus say?”) and the not-
issues such as euthanasia and same-sex marriage marginalise the idea that the Bible has anything relevant to contribute. The premises of a faithbased worldview seem to negate the value of that person’s contribution to a debate. There are two important strands to help students honour God and extend His kingdom, so they
Is this leading me into a habitual pattern of behaviour where I lose my self control?
Is this harmful to other people? Am I thinking of myself and my entitlements more than others and my responsibilities?
Is this pleasing and honouring to God? Does it enhance His reputation and extend His kingdom, or am I just following the line of least resistance and living by comparative, cultural norms?
become Good News catalysts in their communities and salt and light in the world. The first is to recognise that God is intimately
involved in the world. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. God is working out His purposes through history for His people. So there is an urgency to proclaim the good news of the gospel in word and deed, to make disciples, and to
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canvasfeature quite-as-catchy HDTFWJPFH (how does this fit with Jesus’ plan for humanity?) Inevitably, this will counter the spirit of the age.
‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
When anything begins to control us, if we cannot live without it, we need to take radical action.
He concludes this discussion on meat offered to idols with the encouragement to choose what glorifies God. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The second strand is helping students to use their freedom well. Jesus sets us free from a life of rules and regulations. We live in new relationship with Him and in new community with each other. Paul, writing to the believers in Corinth, helps them work through the responsible use of freedom: “Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial.” In 1 Corinthians 6, 8 and 10 he gives three pointers to decision making. Firstly, he says that we will choose to not do things that lead us into slavery. “Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). He applies this to food and sexual morality but it relates to all our physical appetites. When anything begins to control us, if we cannot live without it, we need to take radical action. Secondly, he says that we will choose to not do things that lead our brother or sister into sin. “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). We choose to limit our freedoms. We recognise that we have different capacities, personalities and backgrounds. There are situations where I will choose to alter my behaviour because of the company I am in. This is not being untrue to ourselves; it is being true to God and considerate of the people around us. Thirdly, in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 Paul revisits the question of the believer’s freedom: “‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is beneficial. 10 | canvas autumn 2013
I find this simple checklist helpful: Is this leading me into a habitual pattern of behaviour where I lose my self control? Is this harmful to other people? Am I thinking of myself and my entitlements more than others and my responsibilities? Is this pleasing and honouring to God? Does it enhance His reputation and extend His kingdom, or am I just following the line of least resistance and living by comparative, cultural norms?
Together we are working to raise up a generation who will be the change that God wants to see in the world. I get it wrong more than I get it right. But together we are working to raise up a generation who will be the change that God wants to see in the world. So if you know a student heading off to university or a graduate heading out into the marketplace, don’t just threaten them with the consequences of choosing poorly. Encourage them with the opportunities of living with real freedom and using that freedom well. Besides, they know that you probably wouldn’t use the knife.
Nigel Pollock National Director
Meet the Minterns T
his year Kerry, Rachel and Simon are working with TSCF groups and receiving ministry training as part of TSCF’s Ministry Intern Year – MINTY. Here they introduce themselves.
Hi, I’m Kerry Te Punga Mackay. Through my time at university I studied engineering and maths. I became interested in MINTY at my first mid-year conference. The Minterns at that conference wore a different outfit each day, one for each of the core values of MINTY. In conferences since then I’ve met more Minterns and, with each new year, thought I should look into doing it as the next step for my life. I’m really looking forward to the close quarters mentoring, working with students on campus, and living by and for God at a much more serious level this year. God Bless.
Hi there, my name is Rachel Mckenzie. Minty for me is a component of a gap year between the third and fourth years of study for my medical degree at the University of Otago. I realised how little I understand about the Bible and decided that I wanted to at least begin the process of doing something about this. I look forward to connecting with and giving back to TSCF groups. I also look forward to having the time and resources to think through some of the bigger questions of life and faith. I hope to be able to better explain my faith to others, and avoid the degree of struggle with doubt that has been a stumbling block over the last few years.
Hi, my name is Simon Sim. I am from Malaysia, and I have recently graduated from the University of Otago where I studied Psychology and Philosophy. I am returning to Dunedin to serve as a Mintern with TSCF. My decision to join MINTY started at the Student Leadership Conference at the end of 2012. I was challenged to deepen my commitment to God and His kingdom, particularly in student ministry, where I learned what it meant to be a disciple, and what He requires of me. This year, I hope to grow deeper in my relationship with God, that He would work in me and through me; to reach out and disciple others, just as Christ did.
For more info about MINTY internships, visit www.tscf.org.nz/get_involved canvas autumn 2013 | 11
Pay attention to those big
little decisions “L
iz, by the age of 30 you will have married a man with a heart for overseas mission and moved with him to Nepal to work, learn the language and raise children. And you will enjoy yourself thoroughly!” If someone had predicted this to me when I was 18, even if it had been God Himself, I would have most likely laughed and said, “There’s no way in the world you’ll ever get me doing that, apart from maybe the marriage bit!” But I have spent the last 5 years of my life in Nepal, a country I now call home. I have learnt that God’s plans for our lives are always so much more than we expect. Looking back, I can see how God gently led and prepared me for the things He had in store. I was baptized at the age of 12. At high school I was blessed with some wonderful Christian friends, who helped me through those trying teen years. I moved to Wellington for study and joined a very mission-focused church. There I met my wonderful husband, Matt. His parents traveled the world working with missionaries, and listening to their stories and reading the books that Matt would lend me about people living for God in all sorts of places, my eyes were opened to a fascinating world. But I struggled with anxiety, and could not imagine stepping so far out of my comfort zone. However God had been quietly sowing seeds. So when it came to the day, soon after Matt and I were married, that we had the opportunity to take a short trip to Nepal to film for the Christian mission INF, I felt compelled to go. Yes, I was nervous, but I felt God’s nudging so strongly that I couldn’t say no. I 12 | canvas autumn 2013
had never been to such a poor country, in fact I’d never been anywhere except developed nations. But God went with me. I felt at peace and an almost instant connection with the people Liz Watson
and the culture.
A year and a half later, we decided to move to Nepal longer term to volunteer for INF. I wouldn’t say that this decision was easy. In fact, once we’d made it, I became quite ill and all my anxiety returned. We ended up having to postpone it for 6 months. But, despite the anxiety, I knew I would be deeply sad if we didn’t go. After a lot of prayer, I faced my fears and we packed up, said our goodbyes and left our home in Wellington to make a new one in Kathmandu. I can honestly say now, that no matter how hard it might be, there is nowhere I’d rather live than in God’s will. Sure, we had some hard stuff happen, but God was with us. And the good things far outweighed the bad. We made life-long friends, were part of a church that became our second family, were passionate about the work there and we raised our two children in a culture that was rich in diversity, community life and wonderful chaos! We return to NZ changed people, having learnt that when we fully trust in God, He never ceases to exceed our expectations. I’m sure this is a lesson I’ll learn over and over again in my life as He continues to nudge me out of my comfort zones, and I look forward to that. Liz Watson
n important part of life is making decisions, big ones and small ones, but none are insignificant. In fact, the small and unremarkable decisions I make every day tend to form the basis for the bigger decisions I make, for better or for worse. There are two daily choices I have tried to be consistent in making; this is how they have shaped my life as a student and recent graduate.
Josh, left, at a rec ent reunion of friends who are intentional about living in co mmunity.
Choosing Community Community is an active thing that requires some effort and for me, an introvert, sometimes quite a lot of effort. Being part of a community is not a one-off decision, it is a daily choice. That choice might look different on different days and with different people, but it provides us with such valuable opportunities for learning, laughter, accountability, service and sharing of faith. In 2009, my first year at Being part of a Victoria University, I chose community is to be a part of the Christian not a one-off Union (now called Christian Fellowship) despite having decision, it is a no personal faith in Jesus. I daily choice. felt that if ever there was a time to figure out “faith stuff,” university was it. At that time, I was without many Christian friends. The decision to involve myself in a Christian community was hugely significant in my coming to faith. I didn’t just read and hear the gospel, I saw the gospel in the lives and loving actions of others (1 John 4:12). I graduated from university in 2012 and now teach English at a secondary school in South Auckland. Otara is the community I have chosen to be a part of, and the community in which I feel called to serve. I pray that, through my teaching and involvement in the community, students and their families
might see the gospel before them, just as I saw something of Jesus in my Christian Union friends.
Choosing to Rest It may seem odd, but it is no mistake that this point follows the first. Even when we are being community-minded, we must not try to be “on” all the time. We are also called to be good stewards of our minds and bodies. As such, rest should be a part of our routine too, and for God’s glory! Rest provides a space to recover and reflect. It involves knowing when to say “no” to yourself as well as others. In my third year at university, I was forced to rest due to a run of ill-health. I know that, at least in part, I was sick because I had pushed myself too hard and said “yes” too often, without thinking it through. While I do not look back on parts of that year with great fondness, I am certainly grateful for what I learned about the need to choose rest, and choose it regularly. These days, I make more of an effort to get good sleep and to prioritise rest, whether it happens on the golf course or on the couch. I know that rest enables me to be a better teacher and, certainly, a better witness of the gospel. Josh Irving canvas autumn 2013 | 13
Hearing the call F
or six years, I knew I was going to spend my life in overseas mission,” Zachary Smith said. “But I didn’t know when or where.”
That first conviction came at an Easter Camp when he was 13. In December, he returned from the Urbana ’12 conference in St Louis, Illinois, excited about both what God is doing in the world and his place in that story. As one of 16,000 attendees, he enjoyed the opportunity to network with people from around the globe, “seeing the kingdom of God right there.” And the most significant connection he made was with a couple from Brazil who are missionaries in Italy. By the end of the conference, Zac felt a specific call to go to Italy with IFES. And in preparation for that, now back for his third year at Victoria University, he is joining TSCF. “I have friends who are believers, but they’re not
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“I have friends who are believers, but they’re not actively pursuing their faith. The best thing [about the campus group] is I can invite my friends along.” actively pursuing their faith,” he said. “The best thing [about the campus group] is I can invite my friends along.” He has always been busy with ministries at Epuni Baptist in Lower Hutt (where his mother, Robyn Mellar-Smith pastors), so Zac hadn’t become involved with campus groups. However his new interest in Intervarsity Fellowships’ place in global mission has changed that, and he sees the potential for the community in Wellington to help him disciple others in his life. Zac chose a Development Studies major because it fit with his plans to serve overseas. At the time,
he said, he thought that overseas mission would
thing special in the organisation. He was in the
take place in Third World countries. The fact that
Urban Poverty track, which encouraged his passion
he now feels specifically called to Italy means that his other major – Latin – may in fact be the more useful of the two. He thought he was just exploring his interest in the classics; God had bigger plans. When he starts studying Italian, it will be much more familiar to him than it is to most English speakers. “Over the past couple years, I started to realize that Europe is a big mission field,” Zac said. Despite being the centre of Christianity for centuries, Europe’s Christian population has been declining. Instead of remaining a bulwark for the gospel, it has become a destination for missionaries – sometimes, from the very places it colonised and evangelised. Every night in Urbana’s IFES lounge, after the
for discipleship and evangelism. The reason Zac found himself in the company of IFES is that he was there at the encouragement of Ben Carswell, TSCF’s National Outreach Coordinator. They met through a social soccer team in 2011, and Ben began mentoring him and encouraging his interest in mission. Ben attended Urbana himself as he began his mission involvement; he returned to the conference this year (see page 16) and got Zac a scholarship from IFES. Epuni Baptist also affirmed Zac’s call to mission by helping finance his trip to St Louis – his first overseas, and probably not his last. When he finishes his studies this year, he is applying to go to Italy with InterAction. It’s a two-year commitment, but Zac says he hopes to be there, or anywhere else
evening meetings, Zac unpacked the day with
God leads, for much longer.
IFES attendees and said he was struck by some-
Urbana attendees answer the question: “Why did you choose the Urban Poverty Track?”
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URBANA 12 Sowing the seeds of world mission
s a young undergraduate student attending the Urbana missions conference in 1996, I never imagined God would eventually lead me to serve Him in New Zealand. Sixteen years later, I had the privilege of being at Urbana 2012, (which is organised by three of the North American IFES movements), this time as a staff member taking along a Kiwi undergraduate student considering long-term overseas missions.
In TSCF, one of our four aims is “Global Reach,” so connecting with one of the largest student missions conferences globally is a great opportunity both to influence missiology and be influenced by it. Urbana had numerous highlights. Particularly noticeable was the emphasis on Bible teaching and input throughout. Each day started with inductive Bible study in large groups – often several hundred strong! Then 16,000 students headed into the main session for Bible teaching from Luke’s Gospel, led by Calisto Odede, formerly of the Kenyan IFES movement FOCUS. The day’s programme had many seminars, exploring aspects of missions from different perspectives. Hundreds of missions organisations exhibited, helping students grasp an idea of what God is doing around the world and where they may be able to join in.
Calisto Odede teaching from Luke’s Gospel
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Each evening we gathered for Bible teaching and reports of God’s work around the world. It
was fantastic to hear fellow IFES workers share the joys and struggles of being involved in God’s mission. It was also a privilege to be able to spend time with a number of IFES staff each evening after the day’s activities were over. Some of these conversations have led to new friendships and old friendships being strengthened, and we continue to explore how these may lead to future partnerships around the world. One of the notable activities at Urbana was the “Join-in” evening. The programme had been organised so that the 16,000 attendees would get a hands-on experience of assisting missions and relief work around the world. During the evening’s meeting, the entire gathering joined in to prepare some “caregivers packs” to assist the work of World Vision in Swaziland. It was a remarkable sight and significant feature in a busy conference programme. For me, the significance of Urbana is not necessarily in the immediate. My own experience shows how Urbana whetted the appetite for
My own experience shows how Urbana whetted the appetite for world missions. Only in the years to come did it bear real fruit. world missions. Only in the years to come did it bear real fruit. At Urbana 12, I had a number of conversations with students, helping them think through world missions and consider it for themselves. It was thrilling to see God working in the life of Zac, who attended Urbana with me. (Read his story on page 14.) I look forward to seeing where God takes the seeds that were sown in his life and others.
Ben Carswell National Outreach Coordinator
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Decision Making and the Will of God
by Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson
hristians often get in knots with “big” questions such as career and marriage. Frieson & Maxson have done the Church a service in writing this book. Many Christians believe that God has a Plan A for their lives and consequently worry, “Am I outside of God’s will?” This “traditional” view is imaginatively portrayed through a fictional account in part one. The remainder of the book explains and justifies their four key sentences: 1. Where God commands, we must obey. 2. Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose. 3. Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to chose. 4. When we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust the sovereign God to work all the details together for good. Some have called this book controversial. I don’t. I call it Biblical and helpful. It’s available at www.catalystbooks.ac.nz, on sale for $25. Tim Hodge, TSCF Team Leader
Joined-up Life by Andrew Cameron
ife is complex, particularly when it comes to issues of right, wrong, wise and unwise. We make hundreds of decisions every day based on what we think is right and wrong. How do we do this in a way that is not haphazard and inconsistent? Joined-up Life is the best book I have read on Christian ethics. It provides a framework for ethical living that finds our “best humanity in Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ is the centre of all reality. Jesus makes God visible, is responsible for creation, and makes everything better (Colossians 1:15-20). Our true humanity, our real identity, can only be found as we participate in the identity of Jesus Christ, made possible by his death and resurrection for us. Cameron doesn’t oversimplify ethics, but shows Jesus’ clear framework for living. We want rights, values, results and rules as the basis for our ethical framework. Cameron shows us how to live with a gospel-shaped ethic, understanding God’s character, purposes for creation in Christ, and the new future he offers. This book will not make us perfect; that’s God’s work by His Spirit. But it critiques the world’s way and shows what living life under the lordship of Jesus looks like when making difficult decisions. Mark Santich, TSCF Canterbury Team Leader
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