06 October 2021
Missions Month at Laidlaw
What is God doing in the world, and what is our part in that mission? These were the questions we invited our Laidlaw community to consider during our “Missions Month" in September. Lockdown restrictions moved us from the annual “Missions Week” at the Henderson Campus to an online format, with the bonus of involving our national community.
The usual mission stands were replaced with an online “meet up” in a virtual world created for us by the team at OMF. On this social engagement platform called Topia, we were able to move our avatars around to watch videos, read stories, and chat to representatives from some of our New Zealand mission agencies.
We were inspired, informed, challenged and, at times heartbroken, by the stories we heard in our Zoom gatherings with speakers in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. It was a privilege to meet people like Martin, who had worked in development work in Afghanistan, and a brother in Myanmar who is a pastor, mission director and Bible teacher. Closer to home we heard from Keri-Ann Hokianga, who serves with NZCMS and the Māori Anglican church as an evangelist within the Mihingare church for the Manukau area. We caught up with Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o and some of her team at Affirming Works, an organisation which supports the Pasifika community in Auckland through a combination of mentoring services, programmes and social enterprise. Emeline, the founder of Affirming Works, gave a quick zoom tour of their busy food distribution warehouse in South Auckland.
Within our own community we were reminded of graduates who had been martyred while on active mission service overseas; and heard from two students who had grown up as “mission kids” and were appreciative of the beauty other cultures had contributed to their own lives.
The stories were rich and inspiring as we were reminded of the many ways that God’s people are serving faithfully among a diversity of communities and cultures. We were left challenged and encouraged to keep on participating with God in every aspect of our lives and to be willing to go wherever Jesus leads us.