In this regular column, our Baptist National Leader, Charles Hewlett, keeps us posted on the happenings in Baptist faith communities across Aotearoa. The original Charles Mail is emailed out on a Friday and reproduced here the following Monday.

Kawepūrongo

Some pretty exciting things happened in our Baptist family of churches over King's Birthday weekend...

Firstly, I loved hearing about the service at Gore Baptist Church.

Senior Pastor Brent Davie tells me they ran a Kings of the Bible quiz, and played the Bible Emoji Game, while some groups dressed up as King Hezekiah (photo above) to tell part of his story. There was a teaching video to watch, and songs played by a couple of young people. Great idea – so much fun!

Te Puke Baptist Church’s housing project

Then there was Te Puke Baptist Church who met on Sunday to break ground and pray over an exciting project that has been many years in the making. Evergreen House – Whare Katoa is a six-unit development that will house impoverished residents aged 65+ on property bordering church land.

The Jabez Initiative (the charitable company spear-heading the project) has been working on this project for the last three years and is trusting in faith for the provision of funds!

In the photo above: the Jabez Initiative Directors and Josiah Carr (Senior Pastor). L to R: Airdrie Grylls, Leyton Dowman, Josiah Carr, Amy Cumming, Cam Martin.

National awards

And what about NZ Baptist Jordyn Rapana being a finalist in the 2024 Aotearoa Music Awards held in Auckland.

Jordyn (who is part of our Constitutional Review Team) performs under the name Jordyn with a Why and was up for two awards: Te Manu Taki Māori o te Tau – Best Māori Artist and Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo Award. She's on Spotify or listen to her song 'Hey Love' here. How awesome.

And then to wake up on Sunday morning to hear that Glenn Teal had received a MNZM in the 2024 King's Birthday Honours for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community. 

Glenn attends the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle Church and for many years has given leadership to the TabTrust. This is a ministry set up by the Tab Church 120 years ago that manages commercial properties and other investments to generate revenue, which it then gives away to Baptist projects/ministries in NZ. Glenn is also a Director of Christian Savings. 

Thank you for all that you do Glenn – we are very proud of you. 

KB Youth Leaders Retreat

The news from people participating in the KB Youth Leader’s Training over the long weekend was so encouraging for me to hear too! 

Youth Catalyst Ethan Miller said the messages were powerful, and that "it felt like people were genuinely responding to God in worship. God is starting to bring renewal within our churches and our young people are going to play a vital role."

I’m excited for what lies ahead!

Pray often for Baptist young people and their leaders. We must grow young.

Talking about growing young...

Have you read Christine Stride's article on the Baptist App called, 'Fanning the flames of youth ministry'. Christine interviews four Baptist youth leaders. Here is just a taste:

Maya Edmunds (Royal Oak Baptist)

“There are many memorable firsts in life: your first car, your first boyfriend or girlfriend, your first day at a new job. But how often do we think about the first time we chose life with Jesus?”

Mikayla Reid (Windsor Park Baptist)

“After that weekend at Easter Camp and their encounters with Jesus [young people] are asking, ‘How do we keep this experience alive? How do we keep the flames burning?’”

Emily Brown (Connect Blenheim)

“While supporting this young person, I’ve been able to see her leadership potential, although right now we are just trying to encourage her to go to school every day and be there on time.”

Nate Herbert (Northpoint Baptist) 

“You don’t need a theological degree, all the answers, or even to be employed as a youth worker to invest in our young people.”

Te Pouarataki mō te Hīkoi

From our Treaty Guide

King's Birthday weekend was full of activity. I got to be with an amazing group of youth leadership for an evening in Rotorua at a training weekend. I was encouraged to see a good number of those who whakapapa Māori fully active in leadership roles. Here's a photo of some of them. Please pray with me for them as they minister in their contexts.

The following day was about celebrating Temuka Baptist Church's 70th anniversary. I particularly appreciated meeting Matua Joe and Whaea Susan Reihana. Matua Joe is from Arowhenua Marae where Temuka Baptist established a thriving Sunday School work and mission to the people of the marae. This is a beautiful part of our Baptist Māori Ministries story. How exciting that there is now a possibility of that relationship being renewed. Oh, and it was lots of fun to be with Chris Chamberlain.

Ko te Atua tō tātou piringa, tō tātou kaha.

(from Luke Kaa-Morgan)

Karakia

Can I encourage you to please stop and pray with me today for Sudan, north-east Africa. With a population of 46 million, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Civil war broke out about a year ago between the regular army and an armed paramilitary group. The country now faces what the UN says is the "world's worst hunger crisis".

God, New Zealand Baptists cry out to you for the people of Sudan. 

We cry out for the millions of people living in camps because of being forced to flee their homes.

We cry out for the one child who dies within the camps every two hours.

We cry out for the three out of every 10 children under five who are acutely malnourished. And for the third of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers malnourished.

We cry out to you because little food, clean water, and healthcare means illnesses that could once be treated now kill.

We cry out to you for the people being targeted based on their ethnicity in the besieged city of El Fasher. For the 700 casualties over the past fortnight.

We cry out for the many civilians caught up in rape, ethnic violence and street executions. 

He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry.

The Lord frees the prisoners.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.

The Lord loves the godly.

The Lord protects the foreigners among us.

He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

(Psalm 46:7-9)

We cry out to you in the name of Jesus,

Amen.

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