In this regular column, our Baptist National Leader, Charles Hewlett, keeps us posted on the happenings in Baptist faith communities across Aotearoa. The original Charles Mail is emailed out on a Friday and reproduced here the following Monday.

Kawepu016brongo | News

Monday tends to be an in-house focus for meu2026the 9am prayer time, the 10am Support Centre staff meeting, 10:30am is morning tea together, then the 1pm Lead Team meeting - and around all this are the many one-on-one meetings with staff. I always go home feeling blessed u2013 I am surrounded by the best colleagues!

Tuesday morning started nice and early with Andy Shudall (pastor - Titirangi Baptist Church) knocking on my office door. This is my number one joy as National Leader - getting to hang out with Baptist pastors, chaplains, and overseas workers and to hear stories of Gospel renewal happening in local neighbourhoods. Thanks Andy - I appreciated you offering to pray for me and our family of churches!

After meeting with Andy I rushed out the door to catch up over coffee with Matt Renata (photo below). I listen very very carefully when Matt speaksu2026his message at last year's National Hui is very hard to forget!

Right now, one of the big things on his mind is the Baptist hui-u0101-Mu0101ori coming up 14-16 July 2023 at Puna O Te Ora, Pukekohe, for all Mu0101ori connected with Baptist faith communities around Aotearoa New Zealand.

Matt, along with the rest of Te Kapa Rautaki and Luke Kaa-Morgan, is keen for as many Baptist Mu0101ori to attend as possible! Please click here for more information and to register. 

Speaking of Baptist Mu0101ori, one of our faithful servants, Zoe Grant, has passed on to be with the Lord.

Luke Kaa-Morgan writes: Whaea Zoe Grant lived a life of faithful service and devotion to Jesus. She loved the Scriptures, unconditionally loved people and tirelessly invested into the places God led her. She inspired people to pray and her song, she loved to sing, told the story of Godu2019s good work. Together with her husband Frank they have served in our Baptist family for over forty years.

On Wednesday morning I had my regular catch-up with Alan Jamieson. There is plenty about Arotahi that inspires me at the momentu2026mostly the call for New Zealand Baptists to consider Bangladesh. Do take the time to watch the video clip below and join me in praying for the next generation of overseas workersu2026maybe even tap someone on the shoulder and show them this video.

Talking of Arotahi u2013 do you receive Kellyu2019s weekly email (so much better than Charles-mail)? This week I loved hearing the story of Baptist pastor Shanan Barnett (Connect u2013 Blenheim) and his special tattoo. Do click here to watch.

I looked forward to my Wednesday afternoon catch-up with Lisa Woolley (CEO - VisionWest) u2013 learning Kingdom leadership from the best! It was such a privilege to see first-hand Manaaki Kai, the first Social Supermarket in Auckland, and to be able to interact with one of the shoppers. Lisa, you and your team are inspirational! Click here for more information on the supermarket.

Another highlight of Wednesday was bumping into Kelvyn Fairhall (our National Administratoru2026not that long ago!) - back at the National Support Office to participate in a day full of meetings. How nice it was to see his smiling face again and to be reminded of his deep love for our family of churches. This man is contagious.

No slowing down just yet Kelvyn

What a privilege for Kathryn and I to spend Thursday in the beautiful Hawkes Bay. We spent the morning with Cameron Jones and the staff team at Village Baptist Church (first picture below). And in the afternoon we caught up with Andrew and Sonja Mitchell at Napier Baptist Church (second picture below). For me it's all about helping local Baptist faith communities thrive - so it was helpful for us to hear something of their current ministry joys and challenges (especially post Cyclone Gabrielle), and of ways the National Support Centre might be able to support them better.

Scrumptious date scones at Village Baptist and delicious bacon and egg pie at Napier Baptist!

As you receive this, I will be flying to Palmerston North to participate in the Lower North Island Regional Hui. Please do take the time to pray Delwyn Shaw's prayer below asking God to pour out his blessing on Baptist faith communities in this part of the country.

Can't wait to join with the Bay of Plenty Eastland and Waikato Associations at their Regional Hui on Wednesday and Thursday next week, being held at Matamata Baptist Church. See you there!

Karakia | Prayer

This week I have invited Delwyn Shaw (Wellington Central Baptist Church) to lead us in praying for the Lower North Association Hui. Please do take the time to pray for the faith communities and leadership that make up this region. May God use them to bring Gospel renewal!

Dear Lord,

We thank you for the opportunity for the Baptist whanau from the Lower North Island region to meet in the regional Hui today and tomorrow.

We pray for safe travel for those attending the Hui.

Please give Mike Warring (Regional Leader) a special blessing and enablement as he leads the various discussions.

We ask that you will also lead & guide the words of others who are contributing.

As people share stories of how you are working in their local faith communities we pray that this will be a time of blessing, encouragement and challenge so the region can continue to bring gospel renewal to people & places.

In your name, Lord, we pray,

Amen.

Kupu o te wiki | Word of the week

Matawhaiaro | Personal

Dear Baptist Whu0101nau

Iu2019m pretty excited about things at the moment.

My first term as National Leader was mostly dominated by Covid. I would often hear difficult stories from our leaders - people were working hard and feeling tired, numbers and finances were tracking the wrong way, conflict was breaking relationships, and there was uncertainty about the future shape of things.

In the last 3 or so months I have noticed a significant change in the way Baptist pastors are communicating with me. And itu2019s exciting!

Mostly, people start off by talking about an increased level of baptisms. Almost daily I hear a story from a pastor of random people (who donu2019t know Jesus) just walking in off the street to see what this church stuff is all about. People are starting to head back to church services. God is clearly encouraging you with prophetic words. And he is clearly bringing renewal into the lives of people.

I am also very excited by the desire of our faith communities to soak themselves in the Word of God. Our theological college has been overwhelmed in recent weeks by Baptist church cohorts signing up for CareyLocal (an initiative designed to build biblical foundations for church volunteers, ministry and mission leaders, and anyone wanting to grow in their discipleship).

This week I had the privilege of colouring in another signed-up cohort on the Carey chart with Careyu2019s Nicola Mountfort (pictured here).

I highly recommend this initiative to you - go on, grab a group of people and sign up for either Mission of God (with Emma Stokes) or Introduction to the New Testament (with Jonathan Robinson).

It not too late u2013 contact Nicola Mountfort or go to CareyLocal u2014 Carey Baptist College for more details.

May New Zealand Baptists be known for their love for Jesus, their hunger for the scriptures, their commitment to the local church, and their confidence in the gospel.

May God bless you greatly this week

Charles

Photos: supplied by Charles Hewlett.

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