Marjory McSaveney (née Gibson)
1967-1968 / NZBTI Diploma (Henderson Campus)
My memories of my time at BTI:
Les Rushbrook's prayers before Greek – they revealed the intimacy he had with the Lord and made me hungry for the same.
Spending a Saturday with the Englands, walking/talking on a beach with Frank, then when I got back to BCNZ being asked where I'd been and what I'd been doing as my face was "all shiny". (I'd been in the presence of a man who walked with God.)
Being appointed as a Senior Student and discovering that God is the originator of creativity and humour, and would show me ways of communicating rules in warm, good-humoured ways.
Being so nervous about critiquing a sermon for the first time that I gave what the lecturer described as 'a brilliant, incisive critique' – but wisely added that I had entirely missed the heart of the message, and of the preacher (Dave Johns). Years later I was able to apologise to Dave!
Although I was in my mid-twenties, I had never learned to think, but I found that doing Theology with Vic Johnston was like sparklers going off in my mind, and a Greek elective with Professor Blaiklock was so profound I learned to think!
That I was so embarrassed by the content of the Open Air meetings we had to take that I was cringing lest any non-Christian I knew would come by and hear what was being said.
Our early morning before-breakfast Chapels, when many people shared from their hearts.
Holding Winnie-the-Pooh readings in my room on a Friday night, and making toast on my heater on a Sunday morning.
Going to the Principal to discuss some of the 'Rules' that were archaic and inappropriate for adults like ourselves...
At BTI I learned to think. I grew in my understanding of human nature and behaviour. I discovered that many differences are familial or cultural – not Biblical. I decided that I had no gift for preaching and would never do it – but had yet to learn HOW I was wired to communicate. I discovered that I was a fairly independent thinker. I made some rich friendships that have lasted the decades since. I learned that I cannot always give people what they want of me – and that I simply have to cope with their hurt and disappointment. I learned to go to God for insight on how to handle things, and to trust the thoughts and ideas that came. My appreciation of the Bible as the living, active and powerful word of God was deepened.
After my studies, I returned to Dunedin to work as a speech therapist, and then worked on the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Child Development Research Project. But my 'real life' happened around the edges of this with the things I did in church life and ministry, and with people.
A clear six-word sentence from God took me from Dunedin to Whanganui in May 1980, to the role of District Speech Therapist, but four terms later Whanganui Central Baptist invited me to become their pastoral assistant. That led to full accreditation as a Baptist pastor, and took me into work I felt I had been born to do! Helping people come to faith in Christ and helping people grow to maturity in their Christian walk have been the great joys of my life. God gave me gifts of communication and I had the privilege of leading seminars, retreats and teaching weekends all over NZ, and preaching in many of our churches.
In 2012 I turned seventy, became engaged to the widowed husband of a good friend, and retired from part-time work on a church staff. We married in May of that year and have had a number of years of fascinating travel in NZ and overseas.
I'm now eighty years of age, learning to cope with the challenges of an ageing body, and revel in continuing to discover how God goes about leading me to people who need to find a relationship with him. I am disconcerted to find that I now constantly wonder if Jesus would sit through church as it's done at present. I struggle with how hard it is to make friendships in a new setting at this stage of life. I host a monthly Book Club that is one of the joys of my life – as is my garden, and as is the gift of reflection! I also lead two Chapel services a month at Howick Baptist Healthcare Hospital where my sister is a resident.
I’m grateful for all of the above! But mostly that God is stunningly amazing!