Back from “Down Under”

“You help us by your prayers! Many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of
many.” 2 Corinthians 1:11 “A great door for effective work has been opened.” 1 Corinthians 16:9
Curt Landry and I owe many of you a debt of gratitude for your prayers during our recent time in New Zealand. Neither of us was
prepared for the effect this visit was to have on us. Our working together as “one new Jew/Gentile man” was a powerful visible
statement as we stood together under the talit (prayer shawl), singing the Shema (Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is
One), pronouncing the Yeverechecha (Aaronic benediction of Numbers 6:24-26), and as Curt would blow the Shofar across
the Land.
The ministry was exponentially increased through our working together. The anointing grew each day as we moved from
Christchurch, to Wellington (the capital), and to Auckland, speaking to pastors and church groups.
Biblical words took on new meaning as we traveled across this “ends of the earth” (Ac. 1:8) nation. We were doing exactly what
Jeremiah said we would do by proclaiming in the distant coastlands, “he who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over
his flock like a shepherd (31:10).” New Zealand is the first time zone of the world, the breaking of each day’s new dawn, exactly
twelve time zones from Israel.
Often I would have Curt stand beside me under the kippa and talit as I would read Jeremiah’s word about God’s eternal love for
Israel, then Paul’s Romans 11 and Ephesians 2 and 3 remarks about us Gentiles now being grafted in, sharing in the sap from the
root, now a part of the “commonwealth of Israel.” Usually I would lay a scripture groundwork, then Curt would come in with
testimony and ministry.
We visited with many young Israelis who are hosted in New Zealand by the HIT (Housing Israeli Tourists) program in which
thousands stay in Christian homes. These homes are very Jewish friendly and these young Israelis often experience genuine love
from believers for the first time. I have never known such openness to discuss the things of God with Jewish people. There are
three to four hundred of these HIT homes across NZ. A great opportunity! God is at work.
Joseph Watson had superbly prepared the way for us. Our hosts and hostesses pampered us. We learned to love Rachel Millward,
who is the New Zealand ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem) representative, and who arranged for many of our
meetings.
Our last night in Wellington was worth the price of the trip for one ministry time with Simon, a Jewish believer who had
emigrated from England. His wife died 18 months ago. They had no children, and he is just now coming out of the grief. His
granddad was a rabbi and he had pretty much forsaken his Jewishness in the early days of the marriage. Now he is making plans
to make Aliya (return) to Israel.
Our Auckland reception was exceptional. Joseph had arranged for us to have a traditional Maori (native New Zealanders)
reception, a Powwhiri. We were schooled in protocol and waited outside the base until this Maori warrior with his spear-like
weapon crept stealthily toward us, looking us over carefully as he came nearer and nearer, finally standing before us with his eyes
locked on me. He carefully took a small branch from his back pocket and laid in on the ground between us, his eyes never
leaving mine. We maintained that locked gaze as I walked slowly forward and picked up his peace offering, then moved back into
our group. At this point a Maori woman from inside their Marae (the YWAM base) started singing and moving toward us; one
of our women (a Maori who knew how to respond) answered her as we moved closer to the camp. Upon entering the camp, the
entire group inside broke into a Haka (tribal “liturgy” for receiving guests). As they finished we were ushered in to a row of
seats prepared for us; they filed in to occupy their chairs opposite us. A Maori began speaking in his language, telling the story,
we were later informed, of the love of God and their acceptance of Him and us. I responded first with gratitude for their receiving
us, telling them how Curt and I had been greatly moved to be in this nation “at the end of the earth” on “distant shores” from
“our” homeland Israel (we were coming as one new man and we also had some of the Israeli tourists with us). They sang songs
and spoke. We responded with greetings (one of our Israelis spoke in Hebrew) with the Shema, the Yeverechecha, and the
Israel National Anthem, HaTikva.
Finally Frank Naea, the YWAM International president whom I had taken to Israel two years ago, stepped forward to welcome us
warmly and we began to “hongi” (that’s the nose to nose, forehead to forehead Maori welcome) the long line of people at the
base, Maori, Westerners, Pacific Islanders from various places and those from the nations who are now based in NZ. Our
Auckland reception then ended with an Erev Shabbat (Eve of the Sabbath) festive meal.
Saturday morning we were warmly welcomed into the home of Frank and Sonia Naea, before continuing with three days’ ministry
time in Auckland before heading home.
Never have I been more impacted with any nation other than Israel. New Zealand has the possibility of being the most
evangelistic nation in the world with Israelis, the most fertile for the gospel among Jewish people that I have ever known
personally. We felt there is a clear heaven over New Zealand, that they are key to the Lord’s work in our day, that this ripple
effect of the gospel to the ends of the earth, will now begin to rebound to Jerusalem.
In fact a prophetic act is even now being planned. Twelve Wakas (large canoes) are being built in twelve of the island nations
of the Pacific. One hundred warrior oarsmen will man each Waka. They will meet in NZ next year or in 2005 and row to Israel
over an 18-month period, evangelizing as they go. They will land in Tel Aviv (biblical Joppa) where the gospel was taken to the
nations. Their purpose? To assure Israel that these nations from the ends of the earth are standing with them as the chosen
nation of God for the redemption of the world.
My Australia part of the trip was also excellent with radio interviews, ministry in churches and YWAM bases in Sydney,
Canberra and Melbourne. I landed in Sydney with two cases of books (120). They were soon gone and we had another four cases
air freighted to us. They were all placed by the time we left the country.
You will remember that, prior to the Australia/New Zealand trip, we were at the Promise Keepers’ Pastors’ Conference in
Phoenix. This was another divine encounter with our Jewish brothers. Over two hours on the first night were dedicated to our
Messianic brothers who challenged their Gentile brothers and sisters to “Draw near to us,” “accept us as your brothers,” “allow us
to maintain our Jewishness.” “We need you. You need us.” Jack Hayford masterfully introduced the evening. Coach McCartney
added a passionate plea on their behalf the next morning. Though there is still work to be done, we believe it was a dam-breaking
event in the move of God in our day. The pastors were handed the “Your People” book as they arrived, and twice in the evening
were challenged to take it home and read it. We expect good results at the hand of the Lord.
Thank you again for standing with us in our travels. May the Lord reward you for your faithfulness.

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