Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:1-3
Since 1887 New Zealand Baptists have served in a particular country in South Asia. On my last trip, I spoke with Ross, who leads our multi-national team there. What he said to me was very, very interesting:
“The New Zealand church needs to hear this, because God has given us responsibility for this nation for over 130 years. Look, I’m not worried about being called by God, I want to see it as a responsibility that God has given to us. We’ve got a New Zealand Baptist church that numbers over 20,000 members, and how many people is the New Zealand church giving this nation to see 150 million people find life? We have got a responsibility that we are failing in at the moment. We [Ross and Cindy] have worked here for 30 years; no-one else is going to take over unless someone else comes out.”
Before my trip, I had forgotten just how beautiful this country was. I had forgotten the genuine friendliness of her people. I had forgotten how they value their relationship with New Zealand (especially since they beat us in cricket earlier this year!)
I had the privilege of seeing the extent of what we have done and are still doing in partnership with the local church. The schools, the hospital, the hostels, the literature work… Kiwis are warmly welcomed.
Our relationship, call, responsibility, as New Zealand Baptists is unique. When God called the Antioch church to send out two of their most valued leaders, they did not hesitate. Our work in this country is not yet over. Who is God calling us to send out now?
Tranzsend Team Leader