From February 24 to March 4 2018, I had the privilege of accompanying my teachers to New Zealand. As Vice Presidents for the Global Mission at Precept Ministries International, Mia and Costel Oglice paid a visit to the country to evaluate and encourage the work of national director Barbara Kipfer.
When I was flying to New Zealand, I sat with Daniel, a Romanian sailor who was going to take the ship from there and then for four months to make his way to Europe. He was very open to the gospel message and had many questions from the Bible, so much of our long flight was spent speaking from the Scriptures. Pray for the salvation of this man and for God to use him to expand the Kingdom of Heaven.
New Zealand is the most remote country and, as Daniel said, is at the end of the earth, followed by Antarctica. Consisting of two large islands and other smaller islands, it is the youngest and most industrialized country in Oceania. The first people, called Maori, came here in the 13th – 15th centuries. Then, when the Europeans came, the locals received the Christian faith, but, being taken advantage of, they quickly became disappointed with Christianity and still today regard it as the religion of the invaders, and call the whites “Pokeha,” which would have a not really good connotation. The flora and fauna in this country is very diverse, but also different from the rest of the world.
There were no mammals here until the arrival of the Europeans. Even now there are no predators and venomous snakes on the island. This fact motivated the Europeans to develop a lot of animal breeding and on the whole island, as I traveled, I saw big flocks of sheep and cows everywhere.
The cities look beautiful and modern, well arranged.
There are 3 types of kiwi in New Zealand. In addition to the fruit that we know under this name and that grows here in large quantities and is very tasty, here is a rare bird that is also called KIWI. It is a nocturnal bird that cannot fly and an interesting thing is that once the male and female form a couple, they remain so for the rest of their lives. The white people of New Zealand are also called KIWI.
The city of Christchurch (Church of Christ) is the place where we met Sister Barbara Kipfer and from there we went to the city of Timaru where we had, on the first evening, a presentation of the work from Eurasia and the Bible study textbooks.
Pastor Jeff Coleman leads Bible studies in this city, and hearing about the Timothy School and its effect in Eurasia, he was particularly interested in starting such a school in New Zealand, as he works with a large number of young people and adolescents.
The next day, in the city of Timaru, people came to learn the method of inductive Bible study and I studied 3 John according to the instructions in the International Inductive Study Bible.
From there I went to Dunedin where I conducted a similar seminar.
From Dunedin we went to Aukland, the largest city in New Zealand. Being caught up in a lot of service, we had to respond to messages along the way so we could keep up with the beautiful work in Eurasia and the growing world.
In Aukland I presented the work, Bible study materials, and studied 3 John in two Baptist churches.
We were deeply impressed by the pastor’s wife, who, being paralyzed for many years, came to study and always had a smile on her face that expressed a lot of joy from her relationship with God. The paralysis affected her speech and she could not speak, communicating with us via an iPad on which you write the text. I received much joy and encouragement in seeing in this woman a heart full of the joy and peace of the Lord Jesus.
The leader of a major mission in China was particularly interested in the English for a New Life for Kids textbook and the Bible study manuals for children. We discussed the possibilities of implementing these textbooks in the work they do with children in that country. Pray that God will help us begin teacher training in that country as soon as possible.
Special training has been provided with leaders leading inductive Bible study groups. Teachers Mia and Costel Oglice taught the course “Paul’s Epistle to Titus” in the series “Precept Upon Precept.”
The participating leaders found this course particularly relevant for New Zealand churches and want to teach it to as many people as possible.
When we went to the city of Orewa where I was to conduct a Bible study, we were impressed to see how many people came to a Bible contest and we wished there would be such a presence in Bible study and divine service. At the same time, we realized once again that sport offers great opportunities for the evangelization of this nation, because people are very passionate about sports.
In Orewa, we conducted a Bible study, after which people enrolled and formed a Bible study group, and some bought textbooks to study with their families.
I enjoyed meeting Matthew Chan, a black belt holder, Taekwon-Do champion and instructor. Matthew was impressed to learn about how in Moldova and other Eurasian countries we have used this martial art to preach the gospel so far, and he wants to come to a Taekwon-Do camp in Moldova.
On Sunday I had the joy of visiting the only Russian Baptist church in New Zealand. It is in the city of Aukland. At the invitation of Pastor Dmitrie on Sunday, I had the joy to talk about the work in Moldova and Eurasia and to do a Bible study with the whole church.
Pastor Dmitrie came with his wife and children from the city of Blagoveshchensk, Siberia. He was glad to learn that Jacob Delakovich Delakov, who played a major role in planting the Baptist church there, also preached the gospel in Chisinau. Pastor Dmitrie wants to start a 40-minute inductive Bible course with the whole church. We also discussed the possibility for an English-speaking teacher to come and teach an inductive Bible course and thus help church members learn the language spoken in this country more easily. I learned from Pastor Dmitrie that there was a Romanian church in Aukland, but unfortunately I couldn’t visit it.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for this trip and for us. God gave us victory and our coming was not in vain. Leaders have been encouraged and prepared for the work they do. Barara Kipfer, the national director of the Precept Ministries mission, and the leaders of the Bible study groups want to start a Timothy School group and the English language teacher training faculty as soon as possible. Pray for these projects, for the work of the Russian church, and for the beginning of the Timothy School and the English language faculty in China.
After spending Sunday, March 4, in the city of Aukland, in the evening, at 23:55, I flew to the Haggai Institute on the Pacific island of Maui. After a night of flying, we arrived in the morning and it was again Sunday morning, March 4th. I think we often want God to give us back the time we live to invest wisely. May the Lord help us to live every moment so that before leaving this world we can say like the apostle Paul:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NASB)
I am now at the Haggai Institute where I will be teaching a group of 60 leaders from 32 countries over the next two weeks. I will greatly appreciate the prayers of all those who will read this article, and at the end of the teaching I will write on the site how it was. God bless.
Translated by Aliona Soltan