New Zealand sends more missionaries

By March 7, 2007

New Zealand (MNN/ANS) — The fields are, as always,
ripe for the harvest and New Zealanders and New Zealand-trained missionaries
are hearing the call. Several mission agencies reported an increase last
year. They're also expecting increases this year. 

Pioneers New Zealand national director Jamie Wood is excited
about the trend after preparing 12 long-term missionaries for the field last
year, eight of whom have left for six different countries.  He says, "This is a 55 per cent jump for
us," he said. "It's a sign of a momentum upswing." Pioneers has
1550 workers worldwide.

"In the past it was mostly childless couples sent out
from New Zealand," he says. "Now it's anything from young singles to
retirees with the majority being young families with a median age of 28. The
common factor in them all is a passion to reach the least-accessed people in
the world."

Wood expects Pioneers to be training and sending another 10
to 12 missionaries this year.

OMF International national director Warren Payne says their
organization was seeing an increase in firm applications for long-term mission,
most of them young families.

"It comes down to concentrated prayer," he says.

Internationally OMF is setting a goal of finding 900 new
workers for the mission field — 700 missionaries and 200 support workers —
over the next five years. Over the previous five years 600 new workers were
sent. Despite this OMF has more than 700 opportunities not yet filled
throughout the world.

WEC International is also expecting a boom year with 14
trainees in its first course and another course yet to be held. It hasn't seen
numbers like this in the past five years.

Unlike IMF and Pioneers, WEC is now a training and sending
base for missionaries from other countries, especially Korea, which now
provides the third largest group after Americans and British, going into the
mission field.

But the need for New Zealanders isn't diminishing, says
Jamie Wood.

"The world needs New Zealanders. I have just come back
from visiting Africa and the national workers in Africa and Asia are crying out
for New Zealand people to work beside them."

Mr Wood says New Zealanders have a unique perspective on the
world, different from missionaries from the United States or Britain.

"The national workers find New Zealanders and
Australians easier to work with. They haven't got that 'superpower' thing. It's
from underdog to underdog."

Partnership between the national worker and the missionary
and between Pioneers and the sending church are the key, he says.

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