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Ivan Brooker

1974-1976 / Diploma in Missions

I arrived at College on 6 February 1974 at age 26 from Hamilton. This was my first extended time away from home. Changes came to me in several ways: adapting to a wide variety of people, making the best use of limited time, knowing the Word of God, trusting Him for financial provision and discovering the scope of God’s work in the world.

Besides the usual lectures and study, I was involved in practical assignments. On Sundays I went to Te Atatu Baptist and taught in the Bible Class (1974-1975) and in 1976 I helped with Boys’ Brigade. During the week I did three terms teaching Bible in School at Royal Road Primary School. This proved onerous, especially with class control which I found difficult. My time with open air preaching was also not successful. My most satisfying assignment was visiting long-term residents in the Waitakare Hospital, talking to them and hearing their stories. During 1974 and 1975 I sang in the Bible College Chorale. We had weekly practices and about once a month we went to churches in Auckland and other places to present a programme of songs and a BCNZ staff member preached.

While at College I learnt organizational skills, understanding of difficult people, how to read and study the Bible for myself. On my Missions Field Trip to PNG after my second year I gained insight into the country and its people. I also became aware of missionary problems in another culture.

I had great respect for the lecturers with their knowledge of the Bible and care for their students. Our Graduation ceremony was held in the Auckland Town Hall in November 1976. After the choir sang the Diplomas were presented by the College President, Ivan Moses. It was an inspiring occasion and a great end to a wonderful chapter in my life.

In May 1977 I went to Brugam in East Sepik in Papua New Guinea to do office work for the South Seas Evangelical Church. I found out about this job through Rod and Cherry Peek at BCNZ who were on leave from Brugam. My duties included maintaining Church and mission books, banking money, organising transport and supplies, loading mission planes and monitoring radio schedules. I also took classes in the Bible School for English and some books of the Bible.

During the nearly four years I was at Brugam I enjoyed meeting people from different missions, visiting several places such as Lae, Hagen, Goroka, Ambunti (Sepik River) and Banz (CLTC), observing everyday life in villages and seeing the beautiful scenery of PNG. I stayed in a small house by myself, but I had meals with missionary families. Each week we would have fellowship and prayer in different people’s homes. Occasionally we had missionary fellowship weekends. At these we had reports of work in different areas and a person giving Bible studies.

I suffered from the effects of rejection early in my life, and this showed up with recurrent loneliness, depression, insomnia and irritability. These things were not continuous, but something would come up to trigger an attack and I would go down again. The problem of rejection was dealt with in NZ when I had prayer for that matter. However, I enjoyed the experience of living in a developing country and seeing how the Church was developing in that culture. I finished my time there in February 1981 and came back to Hamilton to live with my parents.

On my return I worked in the office of an engineering firm for a year. For the next thirty years I worked for the Waikato Hospital Board and its successors. Most of the time I worked in the Clinical Records Department. I retired in August 2012. I met Colleen Peace in March 1983 through mutual friends and married in December 1984. We shifted into our house in Alfred Street, Fairfield and were there for 37 years.

Photo: The Chequered Waiters; Philip Buchanan, Murray Thompson, Ivan Brooker, Benny Tan, Radha Poonan, Ray McKendry, John Le Comte, Murray Troughton

In October 2021 we sold our house in a week with 15 offers. The price was above what we expected. It was truly the Father selling it for us . On 26 November 2021 we shifted into a two-bedroom villa at Tamahere Eventide Village run by a Methodist Trust. Colleen's brother Colin is in the resthome on the same site. We are grateful the welcome people have given us and are very happy to be here in the last stage of our lives. Since coming here we have developed our garden, go to exercise classes, play petanque, Happy Hour and You Tube Musical offerings on the TV in the community Centre. Colleen goes to a card making group. We still attend our church, Fairfield Presbyterian (now Discovery Christian Centre) . We have been involved in various ways since 2001.

I am grateful for the Father’s love for me and knowing and accepting this with greater certainty. With the uncertainty and turmoil in the world we are grateful for Jesus’ promise that He has overcome the world.

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