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

Why I decided to break up with fast-fashion and quit shopping for a year.

Why I decided to break up with fast-fashion and quit shopping for a year.

Thursday, 21 October 2021 — Morgan Theakston

According to Google’s wisdom, recovering from a breakup takes half the amount of time that the relationship lasted. I spent 15 years being wooed by racks of the latest trends under florescent lights and streams of brightly coloured packages from seemingly never-ending online sales. Their persuasion was unrelenting—I needed them to be attractive and, if I’m honest, to feel worthy as a woman in today’s world. So, according to the internet’s theory, I should be good-to-go in about seven years! 

 

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Why periods are no longer a red light

Why periods are no longer a red light

Monday, 11 October 2021 — Compassion International

Today is International Day of the Girl Child where we recognise the rights and unique challenges girls face globally. One of the many challenges they face is period poverty. Millions of girls in developing countries experience shame, confusion and even stigma and discrimination when they get their period. The good news is in Compassion centres around the world, girls are finding education, protection, empowerment, safe bathrooms and period supplies.

 

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World Mental Health Day: What war, natural disasters and Covid-19 lockdowns have in common

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Friday, 08 October 2021 — Carl Adams

Over the past 18 months, we have faced significant uncertainty as Covid-19 unleashed itself on communities at home and the world over. As a humanitarian worker, I’ve responded to people’s needs following earthquakes, flooding, tsunami and horrific acts of genocide. There are some striking similarities between these crises and Covid-19 lockdowns from a mental health perspective.

 

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If only you knew: Owen’s story

If only you knew: Owen’s story

Monday, 04 October 2021 — Compassion International

When Owen found out he was sponsored, his mother spun him around the room, his brothers jumped up and down and their faces lit up with huge grins. Owen knew his life was about to change, but what he didn’t expect was through his sponsor’s letters, he would first hear the words “I love you”. Owen and his sponsor became the best of friends through letter-writing. His sponsor even flew to Kenya to be the best man at his wedding! This year, Owen was invited to write one last letter to his former sponsor. It had been 12 years since they last wrote to one another.

 

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Some of the best sponsorship stories that came out of a global pandemic

Some of the best sponsorship stories that came out of a global pandemic

Friday, 24 September 2021 — Compassion International

Life under Covid-19 lockdown has been tough, especially for those living in poverty. Compassion’s Zoe Noakes shares some inspiring examples of how the pandemic didn’t stop people from showing up for each other—like the young man who rode a buffalo around his community with a karaoke machine to spread joy and raise funds for Covid-19 patients.

 

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Three ways to pray for the child you sponsor

Three ways to pray for the child you sponsor

Tuesday, 21 September 2021 — Compassion International

It can be hard to know how to pray for your sponsored child if you don’t understand their cultural context or what they’re going through. Children in different countries can experience poverty in various ways. In this short blog, we suggest three things you can pray for.

 

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Time to be kind to Afghans

Time to be kind to Afghans

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 — Josie Pagani

Council for International Development director Josie Pagani calls the withdrawal from Afghanistan a disaster, and says the New Zealand Government should take in a thousand Afghan refugees in this year’s refugee quota. She also says we need to back the offer Turkey made to the Afghan Government to run chartered evacuation and aid flights through Kabul airport.
 

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