Faithful To The End

Kia Ora! 

My name is Diana and I served on mission this year with the Hamilton New Zealand NET team. This was my second year on NET. Last year I was on a university campus ministering to young adults. I decided to stay another year because through my team and the people I ministered to in my first year I discovered what a real and tangible relationship with Jesus looks like and how it impacted every single aspect of my life.  I wanted to serve another year to continue to grow in my personal faith but also so that other people could know the love of Jesus and how it changes everything. 

This year has been different to say the least, every person in our world has been affected by the pandemic but being able to bring joy and tell people the truth of God’s love that doesn’t change during a time of such uncertainty is so incredible. God is still here, he’s still moving and working and changing us to make us more like him. even though it is hard to be reminded of this in a time of such doubt GOD IS FAITHFUL. 

Our team has definitely had many reasons to give up or go home but we’ve decided to stay here on mission in New Zealand and the Hamilton diocese has also been so faithful to this mission in providing the means for us to stay in such an incredible place to do ministry. 

The doubt definitely set in in the midst of lockdown we were really asking the question of “Why would God call us to a year of mission if he was asking us to just stay home for so long?” The time of lockdown though it was hard, it really allowed our team to be brought together in a time where we could have easily chosen to be divided, like imagine five people from all different places stuck in a house together for eight weeks! But we all encouraged each other to place our trust in God and in his plan so that when we were finally sent out again after lockdown we were able to share with the young people the revelations and encouragement we had shared with each other during lockdown. The people we have met here in New Zealand were so generous and genuinely cared for young people in the church and want to see them flourish in their faith. We have received so much from the generosity of host families and contact people here in the diocese. 

One story from our year that has impacted our whole team was the story of this year 11 student that we met at a retreat here in Hamilton, let’s call her Rachel. Rachel was from a small town in the North Island of New Zealand which was pretty remote. The first interaction our team had with this student was her asking us “hey are you guys Catholic? Yeah? Me too!” Rachel shared with our team that she discovered her faith after she went through a pretty tough time earlier in high school. During this time her family went on a holiday to Europe and she saw the beauty of the Christian church there. Her family isn’t religious, but she decided to get confirmed when she was around 15 she told us this and that she struggled in her faith because there was no one around her who believed the same thing as her and encouraged her. However, this student was so strong in her faith and was just wanting to learn more, we visited this school a few times to run other retreats and Rachel continued to come and hang out, ask us questions and had lunch with us almost every day we were there. She also joined us for prayer after school one day and thanked us for praying for her and the friends we had been for her during our time at the school. All this girl needed was young people who were authentic Christians to just spend time with her and care about her, we were so lucky to be able to be that for her. Without staying on mission, we wouldn’t have been able to meet Rachel or many other students like her who just need someone to listen to them during this time. 

The young people here are honestly inspiring, their openness to what we have come to share with them this year has been so beautiful in a culture that doesn’t encourage a Christian perspective, the students we meet are just trying to navigate a changing world. To be able to share with them our faith has challenged us to be authentic in every aspect of our own lives. We all had to commit ourselves to praying through every difficult moment, every hard conversation, every early morning and late night but also receive every beautiful view, joyful worship, successful retreat and silly moment. I remember when someone was praying over our team earlier this year they told us that we were going to have to lean on prayer. Looking back in what this year has been, this year wouldn’t have happened without it.  

Diana Pinsker

NET Missionary | Hamilton Team 2020

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