1970-1971 / NZBTI Diploma (Henderson Campus)
In 1970 and 1971 life at college was very organised, with pips sounding from wake-up time at 6 am throughout the day until bedtime at 10 pm. It was a discipline that has stood me in good stead to use time wisely.
We had so much good Biblical input I felt at the time I was stocking up a bank for future use, which has proved to be true. Living in a Christian community and friendships formed, some of which have continued until today, was a wonderful privilege. Friday afternoon chores added to bonding between students. Fellow students often went out of their way to help us.
I remember Ian and Maybeth Roberts having a session on study skills for newly arrived students. When systematic theology seemed difficult Sheila Pritchard, helped unravel some complexities for her classmates. I greatly admired David Stewart and all the staff as godly examples of Christ-like lives.
Learning memory verses was a chore at the time, but a great blessing right until today. I was impacted by memorising Hebrews 1:1-3, and the study of Athanasius on the Incarnation, which increased my vision of Christ. We had a weekly missionary period, with visiting missionaries which I found stimulating. Each week I used to think maybe the Lord will call me to the country the missionary represented. It didn't happen at that time, but it helped build a desire for overseas mission.
Homiletic classes and Bible in Schools gave me teaching skills, which I've used over the years. Open air evangelism gave confidence in sharing faith publicly and with strangers. The discipline of a morning "Quiet Time" has become a lifelong habit.
After study, from 1972-74, I was a staff worker for NZ Nurses Christian Fellowship encouraging nurses in their faith. In 1975 I went to Thailand with OMF and did church planting, then a term of student work, then church planting again until I returned to NZ in 1995.
Next came five years as Pastoral Care worker at a Catholic hospital and rest home in Invercargill. Barry Doig came along to take services for the Protestants. God fulfilled my desire for marriage in 1996. I had some small ministry to international students in Invercargill. However, that really took off after we moved to Nelson in 2002. It's been a great joy to be able to use cross-cultural skills learnt in Thailand to share friendship and the gospel with young people from many countries. I have also led an OMF prayer meeting.
I’m now retired in Nelson and enjoying life. I'm very involved in our church where I lead the missions committee and am looking to hand over and mentor the next generation. I coordinate prayer for International Student Ministry in Nelson. I've recently handed over to a missionary some Japanese students whom I've been journeying with for the last 2-3 years in person and on Zoom. I'm now wondering whom the Lord is going to bring across my path.
I’m grateful to God for His great faithfulness, and His presence and help in the tough times of life and seeing me through. I'm very grateful for the privileged life we live with every material comfort, beautiful surroundings, peace, joy and contentment. I’m also thankful for a fulfilling ministry, especially seeing what He has done in the lives of people that God enabled me to have some spiritual input into 30-40 years ago. I’m still finding new treasures in the Word.