1. How do you spend your time outside of Tearfund?

While my work at Tearfund keeps me fairly busy, I enjoy catching up with friends and family around New Zealand when I get the chance. My wife and I are also pretty involved in our local church, The Auckland Baptist Tabernacle, where I’m on a music team, a trust board and I deliver sermons from time to time. Outside that I like to read and walk our Huntaway, Zoe, around Cornwall Park, or on any of the fantastic Auckland beaches.

2. What’s your favourite Bible verse?

Not so much a verse perhaps, but a story I really like is where the apostle Paul - in Acts 27 - is being ship wrecked on Malta. Despite being a prisoner, Paul stands up before his fellow prisoners, the sailors and the soldiers and tells them, “…keep up your courage, for I have faith in God it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some Island”. I love this. There is Paul, having heard from God, providing courage and leadership to a stricken crew, despite knowing full well they are about to be shipwrecked. Such faith, that God will come through despite the impending hardship. Also, such awareness of the needs around him and a willingness to rise above it and minister – even from the position of a prisoner.

3. What’s something you’ve done that makes you feel really proud?

Together, with colleagues at Tearfund, we recently worked very closely with a family based trust in New Zealand to super charge our work protecting women, boys and girls in Southeast Asia from modern slavery. They, and we, are passionate about the prosecution work against traffickers that Tearfund is involved in, and we are all eager to see this funded at the size needed to turn the issue around. We will launch this initiative later in August in the Waikato among a select group of people capable of joining this work and making a real difference. Already we’ve seen hundreds of lives transformed, we now want to see thousands transformed across the region.

4. If you could witness any event from the past, present or future, what would it be and why?

On my father’s side of the family, my great-great-great-great grandmother was the daughter of a Māori chief in the Waikato, who married a Scottish flax trader and settled in Port Waikato in 1830. I’d love to meet them both, experience Aotearoa at the time, and gain some perspective on the challenges we all face today in New Zealand’s continuing journey of better bi-cultural relations and understanding in this beautiful land.

5. Who are your heroes?

While I love the work of Clapham Sect in halting the slave trade from the UK, I particularly admire a little known work of British shipping agent, Edmund Dene More, who exposed the enormous scale of abuse and slavery taking place in the Congo under the cover of the Belgian King. Edmund dug into freight records and unearthed an elaborate cover up that saw rubber and ivory coming one way, to Antwerp in Belgium, while arms and soldiers - rather than payments – were being freighted back. It just goes to show that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and desk clerks are no exception!

6. What are you most grateful for?

I am particularly grateful for my partner in this adventure of life. My wife Himali is a GP, a writer, a gardener, a bee keeper. She travels with me from time to time and we enjoy exploring this fascinating world together when we get the opportunity.

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7. What is it about Tearfund that made you want to work here?

Tearfund’s mandate as the relief arm of the protestant evangelical church world-wide was particularly attractive to me. Christ’s church is tasked with taking care of the poor – scripture has over 2,000 references to the poor, wealth, injustice etc – and I love thinking that the church is in a much better position to practically attend to this, because of the work of Tearfund. For me, faith is as practical as it is relational or theoretical. Those elements were not divisible in Jesus’ ministry and neither should they be in ours.

8. Within Tearfund’s work, what do you care most about and why?

One shouldn’t have favourites! However I do love Tearfund’s efforts to help families elevate their incomes through agriculture. It’s slow, steady work, but it provides a proven route out of poverty and dependency. It also enables farming communities who work in cooperatives to build strong bonds, enables ministry over time into these communities and strengthens peace, security, prosperity and dignity. There is a reason so many of Jesus’ stories involve things that grow – think mustard seeds and fig trees. God really is a gardener and so should we be.

9. What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I love the connections across the church, both here in NZ and abroad. There is a rich tapestry of work that God is undertaking and I have the immense privilege of touching on so many elements of this.

10. What does ‘Faith in Action’ mean to you?

While faith is deeply personal, it is never only that. It is also relational, interconnected and at times quite public. ‘Faith in Action’ is the ability to take your faith and weave it into your closest relationships, your work place and your charitable activity in ways that bring God’s Kingdom to earth a little more (as Jesus prayed). It’s participation with God in renewing all things. There is no shortage of ‘things’ God would like help in renewing!

11. What change do you dream to see in the world?

I dream of a world where the church has absolute confidence in its role and truly is the salt and light it is called to be. One where it leads the list of organisations bringing ground breaking solutions to matters of injustice. The church has, many times in its history, fulfilled this role, only to shy away at other times. It’s not a judgemental church – though some things should certainly be judged – it’s a compassionate, determined, sacrificial church reaching into areas of poverty, injustice and depravation and bringing about lasting change.


Recent posts

Panit

Panit's story of surviving childhood abuse

Thursday, 20 February 2020 — LIFT International

Panit* has a round face and an easy smile. His skin has faded tattoos that a neighbour gave him when he was 10 or 11. After school, he sings in a choral group and even enters competitions. Panit spends perhaps too much time playing video games, staying up late at night, but he goes to church on Sunday and then comes home to do chores. He’s living the life of a typical, busy teenager. Panit is also a survivor of childhood abuse.
 

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“They came suddenly, at night. It was a Friday.”

“They came suddenly, at night. It was a Friday.”

Thursday, 13 February 2020 — Medair

Rahim* always dreamt of becoming a doctor. As a child growing up in a small village in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, he observed his uncle – a doctor – and decided he wanted to follow in his footsteps. However, Rahim and his family were forced to flee, leaving all their possessions behind due to the Rohingya crisis, and it seemed his dream of becoming a doctor was far from ever coming true.

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The Extreme Jobs Of People Living In Poverty

The Extreme Jobs Of People Living In Poverty

Thursday, 06 February 2020 — Compassion International

Meet four people in Asia who do extreme jobs to feed their families. Though their occupations are harsh, they can teach us the dignity of work and the beauty of sacrificing to care for your loved ones.

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The Boy Trafficked onto the Lake

The Boy Trafficked onto the Lake

Wednesday, 05 February 2020 — Compassion International

Ebenezer was exploited at just 8 years old. He was offered a job to work as a fisherboy on Lake Volta in Ghana. He accepted this offer because he and his grandma were desperate for money. But what he received was not what he was promised.

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One person helped change the lives of three families

One person helped change the lives of three families

Thursday, 23 January 2020 — Grace Stanton

Imagine if you could talk to your child sponsor in their language. Imagine sponsoring not one, but three girls, and meeting them all for the first time after two years of sponsorship. Imagine what it would be like realising how much of an impact you were having on a family. The gratitude, the joy, the peace, and the freedom families experience through one person deciding to care for another young person’s life. This is Ly-Ly’s story.
 

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What it means for a child to be known: Five-year-old cheats death twice

What it means for a child to be known: Five-year-old cheats death twice

Thursday, 16 January 2020 — Caroline Mwinemwesigwa

After escaping death as a child sacrifice, young Amuza from Uganda became a sponsored child through Compassion. His life was saved a second time when Compassion provided assistance with medical treatment for tuberculosis.

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What it means for a child to be known: Soccer, more than a game

What it means for a child to be known: Soccer, more than a game

Tuesday, 14 January 2020 — Isaac Ogila

Growing up was not easy for Ciku. At an early age, her father died, and her mother turned to alcohol to deal with the grief and the stress of having to provide for five children. For Ciku, soccer was more than just a game, it gave her a purpose.  

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