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Shaima, pictured in the pink hijab, asked what I was reading. 
“Surprised by Oxford, a friend sent it to me.”
“What’s it about?”
“This young American woman with no faith won a scholarship to Oxford University and reluctantly became a Christian.”
“Really? I thought Americans were Christian?”
“You don’t become a Christian by driving past a church building anymore than you become Muslim by driving past a mosque, Shai,” I replied, laughing. 
“Oh. Could I borrow the book when you’re done?”
“Sure, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s full on about this woman’s faith journey.” 
Rhodas, the Eritrean in the middle in this photo, “Journey? How is faith a journey?”

Both these beautiful young women are former refugees and are studying for degrees in medical technology fields. 
This is my life as a missionary in ethnically and spiritually diverse Auckland, New Zealand where I serve Shore Community Church as a discipler, Massey University as a chaplain, and refugee background youth in any way I can to create conversations like the one above. I also mentor missionaries and church planters. 
When asked, at the end of the year, to quantify my involvement on the university campus, I was frustrated because influence is not measureable. Stories and engagements with people should not be reduced to stats. While I struggled to find numbers, a look over my calendar showed that I averaged 69 booked or nameable contacts/conversations per month on campus. 69 is number; it doesn't demonstrate the depth or value of the conversations.

Then there are events like:
• ‘Recognizing & Responding to Students in Crisis’ training with approx 24 staff
• Set up & staffing of ‘Hope Space: You Chat, We listen.’ Significant conversations!
• Assisting with Religious Diversity Workshops, professional training for staff, academics & students.
•  Last year I helped staff The Graduation Celebration with numerous interactions
•  Chaplains’ team meeting each month
•  Lui was the invited draw card for an ASA event   8+ significant interactions with students on 21 Oct  
• I host the chaplaincy stop on campus tours.
• Represent chaplains at Orientation Week events
• 23 posts on our FB page in October. Similar other months.
• Numerous other social media interactions or follow up.
• Represent the Nat’l chaplaincy body, ANZTCA, on the local Auckland/Northland Chaplaincy Trust Board. 
• Free Bread distribution draws many students into conversations with chaplaincy team members throughout the year. The bread is collected from a local bakery by Shore Community Church volunteers. It also helps make cheese toasties on Clubs Day where we meet lots of students. No idea how many people are served by the bread weekly, but the distribution is often mentioned by student support staff as a benefit to students offered by chaplaincy. Especially in this year of challenging financial situations, the bread has been a significant help to stomachs, and a great mark of social justice for chaplaincy.
I participate in bi-weekly Pizza Ponder gatherings with Refugee Background youth at RASNZ Youth Centre on Dominion Rd. This often involves conversations in the car to and from gatherings, and facilitating parts of the program or debrief.

I assist with RB Children & Youth School Holiday programs. Driving, catering, program facilitation.

I serve as Tertiary Liaison for the Sir Robert Jones Scholarship Fund administered by RAS NZ, and volunteer mentor the scholarship recipients as needs arise.

I assist in the delivery of an annual Youth Forum co-designed with RB university students to create community amongst students across NZ, to address issues and to upskill students for influence and leadership. 2021’s forum included young people from the length of NZ representing 10 countries of origin.

These programs through RAS NZ are aimed at supporting RB Youth as they integrate into NZ with the hopes they’ll thrive and become fully participating and community tribute group members of our society.

My roles are entirely voluntary and require petrol, hospitality, benevolence and other expenses. Want to pick up any of these initiatives yourself; partner with us financially?
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The opportunities numerous.
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