Michelle Ritchie is the project manager for Arotahi (NZBMS). Her article has been reproduced from the Baptist Children and Family Ministries eConnect newsletter.

Nau mai, haere mai! Welcome to Whiria Kids! 

At Arotahi (New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society), we believe that being woven together in mission is part of God’s heart for each of us. No matter how young, we can all contribute; each prayer, expression of aroha (love), and small step is precious. Through our new children’s programme, Whiria Kids, we hope our tamariki can continue to see how they can be part of God’s mahi. 

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Jeremiah 1:7 

Driven by local churches’ children’s programmes and resourced through videos, projects, website content and information (fronted by some of our Baptist young adults), we hope to help inspire the next missional generation. We’ll also provide resources online for at-home whānau engagement. 

What does Whiria mean?

Whiri – verb – plait, twist (a rope where the base and sides of a kete join)

Whiri – noun – a flock (of birds)

Whiria te tāngata – Weave the people together

Like a gathered flock of birds, we are individuals who are part of the whole family of Christ. 

We’ll have an emphasis on migrating birds from Aotearoa, New Zealand and other nations. For a season, these birds are in Aotearoa. They migrate for the winter and return to announce the new life of spring. 

Ka tangi te wharauroa, ko ngā kārere ā Mahuru.

If the shining cuckoo cries, it is the messenger of spring. 

Local and global missions are a natural rhythm – each needs and feeds the other. We go and return like breathing in and out. 

We began resourcing our Baptist children’s programmes in late April 2024.

You could use this material however you like in your local church; for part of your Sunday programme, your whole programme, or an intergenerational service – it’s up to you!

We will focus on one country for two consecutive months. This time allows us to pray for specific ‘live’ needs one month and give feedback the following month. 

For 2024, Whiria Kids will focus on:
  • Tripura from late April
  • Aotearoa, New Zealand, in June & July – including resources for Matariki
  • Bangladesh in August & September
  • Kolkata in October & November 

Arotahi hopes to provide the following types of elements for each people & place: 

  • 2 music videos for each location – one with local language content
  • Prayer needs in the first month and prayer responses in month two
  • Different ways of praying 
  • Information on people, place and culture
  • Video of location and Arotahi’s work and workers (where security allows)
  • A memory verse to learn
  • Craft ideas – that reinforce learning
  • Recipes to try
  • Family learning resources
  • There will also be two projects you could be part of in 2024 – a coin trail for supporting student hostels in Bangladesh in August, & encouragement to take part in Joyride later in the year - supporting kids in Kolkata. 

Children can earn a unique badge each year for their involvement and commitment. Just let us know how many you need, and we’ll pop those in the post. It’s up to you how your tamariki earn these, but we suggest:

  • Attending a certain number of times per year 
  • Knowing the 4 Bible verses
  • Contributing to a global project in some way 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 

How to sign your church up to the programme and access resources

Email [email protected] to request access to the church resources section of the Whiria Kids website.

You can read more about the vision for the Whiria Kids programme and how it came about in this article: From Ropeholders to Whiria Kids.

Image: Banner from the Whiria Kids website

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