In 1999 I arrived in New Zealand on the 21st of January 1999 believing that God had directed me to join Lifeway, based in Snells Beach. The details of this are a story in themselves so I won’t go into that here. When I arrived my first six months were enjoyed as a student on the Certificate in Evangelism (CE) course.
After my first brief tour of New Zealand, I returned to join up with Walter Scheer and the Evangelism team. We were different to the College team but worked together closely.
As part of this team I would like to say I struggled valiantly with the administrative tasks I was assigned. Bogged down in paperwork, the only thing I struggled with was keeping my head above water! I discovered one thing during this time – I hate paperwork!!
Over time I turned to other things. Creating a student records database and remaking the Lifeway website. Database building wasn’t my thing either and the huge task consumed all of my days and nights right into 2000.
Nonetheless, these were exciting times. Walter and I became good friends and together we terrorised the local fish population with our spearfishing.
We seemed to be a dynamic duo, after all, during this time we also managed to sink Eric Vandy’s boat – with Eric onboard (sorry Eric), shoot a bullet through dad’s car – with me in it (sorry about the hole dad), and went possum, deer and goat hunting together. Generally, we caused havoc in a fun way.
I learnt much off Walter, and it was his influence that caused such radical growth in my life. He is a solid friend whom I am glad I got to meet.
By the end of 1999 everyone was celebrating the dawn of the new millennium.
Lifeway also celebrated by organising Gateway 2000 held in Gisborne. I helped in the organisation of it too, although given my poor history of administration, something alternative needed to be found for me. My role became “IT”, the fix it guy where I fixed anything that went wrong as fast as possible using anything available to me. I may have been known as Mr. No.8 Wire, but “IT” was easier to say.
Gateway 2000 incorporated some high profile speakers and plenty of family based events, and initiated events of reconciliation between Maori and Pakeha (Europeans). With such a huge event, it was grueling work at times, and staying up all night for the sunrise paid its toll. But it remains as one of the highlights of my time in New Zealand.