Our Goals in New Zealand
Our vision is church planting. A New Testament church, however, is not a building. It is rather a saved, baptized body of believers. Our foremost goal therefor would be evangelizing the lost. There are so many areas in New Zealand that are in desperate need for mission work. We alone cannot reach everyone. We can, however, be laborers in His Harvest. Our immediate plans involve the city of Whakatane (19.600) souls who need Christ. This town is ranked 24th in the largest urban area in New Zealand. Our plan for actual church planting is the small town of Kawerau (6,800). It's a quaint town with a paper mill and various small shops, but lacks an Independent, Fundamental Baptist Church.
For us to have been allowed access into New Zealand, the government requires that we be sponsored by a recognized/approved organization for a minimum of 2 years. Our method for entering the country is through the sponsorship of Sonshine Independent Baptist Church. After meeting Bro. Lewis Howell many years ago, he graciously offered me the position of assistant to the Pastor and we have agreed to work with them for 2 years. During this time, we are learning the culture, building relationship within the church, gaining new insight and connections around Whakatane and regions around us, along with evangelization of Whakatane, Kawerau, Ohope, etc. We are trying to wait patiently on the Lord to guide us as we seek His perfect will in establishing a new church plant in Kawerau.
Our longterm vision involves using this new church as a hub for us to begin other Independent Baptist works in various other towns around the North Island which include: Opotiki and Gisborne. This is also a great burden for Pastor Lewis Howell who has been a missionary/pastor here in New Zealand for over 7 years.
After spending now over 7 months in Whakatane, we've seen the openness and the closed views of the Kiwi's and the Maori's view on Religion. This city needs laborers. The Lord can still do a great work in the Whakatane District (Bay of Plenty). The gospel does not work differently here; it is still a gospel that changes all men who call upon the name of the Lord. The gospel of Christ can still save the people of New Zealand.
Salvation is still a new beginning. God will not grow a believer outside the local church. The key to discipleship is church-planting. But to the Kiwi people, gospel-preaching churches are a rare thing, and one that many people just do not have. Our heartbeat is for Whakatane District (Bay of Plenty), and all the other areas of this country that have no Independent Baptist churches.