There is something about Northland, New Zealand that I love. The pioneering history. Of missionaries, kauri logging and gum-digging. It’s the pioneering spirit that resonates. The raw, hard-working, visionary folk that peppered the country. Missionaries bringing the gospel (politics aside) to the nation. Establishing churches and communities of faith and prayer.
I spent last Christmas in Waipu. A settlement that was built on the vision and work of a Scottish preacher. As I sat on a deck overlooking the region, reading a novel based on the land I was seeing, I thought of the hard work and hard environs in which those early settlers lived.
Churches built in remote places, ministers/pastors preaching and pastoring in wild country. Preaching circuits were by horseback. I think of the mission Te Mu at Te Wairoa, made famous by being destroyed by Mt Tarawera’s eruption. I think of a camp meeting in Port Albert, with an Amercian evangelist in the c. 1880’s. Closed down by police for being too unruly. Yet leaving a legacy of salvations, and people going onto become ministers and preachers in this nation. I think of Ratana and his prophetic/healing ministry and the hundreds who found Jesus.
How many more have faithfully served in this nation. Who poured their lives out as living sacrifices. I honour those preachers and ministers in the history of our nation.
Maybe the landscapes have changed, the challenges have a different look these days. But our God is the same God. The Word is the same. The Holy Spirit, the presence of God that captivated hearts then, continues to minister today.
‘Finally my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.’ Eph 6:10