PALMERSTON NORTH CONNECTIONS
ISMNZ Palmerston North City Leader
Paul became a follower of Christ in his second year at University and has been involved in work and ministry at Universities ever since. Paul is a Senior Tutor in plant biology at Massey University Palmerston North campus. He spent two years as a visiting lecturer teaching plant biology in Indonesia and still enjoys Indonesian food, speaking a bit of Bahasa Indonesia and hanging out with Indonesian students at Massey. The experience of studying and working in another culture has equipped Paul with an understanding and empathy towards overseas students studying in New Zealand.
One of Paul's passions is helping students grow in knowing they are loved by God, not just in their heads but in their hearts. He believes that when we know that God really does love us he helps us to love others better, even ourselves. Another area of interest for Paul is the relationship between science and faith. He is a passionate about both areas as realms of meaning and knowing, and seeks to help students navigate through some of the tricky waters associated with the practice of science and Christian faith in the University context.
Paul also leads a team of part-time and volunteer chaplains at the Chaplaincy Centre which bears the Māori name Te Waiora, meaning 'the Water of Life.' This is a very apt name for the place given that the story of the woman at the well from the gospel of John is one of Paul's favourites. It speaks of hospitality and the welcome of God, values that the chaplaincy team seek to live by each day as they offer a warm welcome to students, both International and domestic.
Paul and Dianne celebrated 21 years of marriage in 2015. They enjoy, with their daughter Charlotte, nature walks in the Manawatu, the beach, and soy chai lattes.
If you would like to financially support Paul Stock, please visit our donate page.
Terry and Jenny McGrath
Consultant and Massey Postgraduate Ministry
When the vision for ISMNZ was taking shape in 1999, God raised up Terry and Jenny as leaders of the team that would pioneer the ministry. ISMNZ formed a society and in January 2000 appointed Terry to be the first National Director of the mission.
Terry continues to represent ISMNZ throughout the world as a specialist in international student ministry with the Lasuanne Movement (Asia-Pacific Leader), and closer to home as a consultant with ISANA.
Jenny and Terry are a part of ministry to Postgraduates and mature students of Massey University. Their passion for over 20 years is the care of international students. It has been said of Terry and Jenny, "they have impacted more nations than most people without ever having to leave Palmerston North."
If you would like to financially support Terry and Jenny McGrath, please visit our donate page.
Leadership Development and Disciplemaking (Chinese Specialist)
As the numbers of Chinese students increased rapidly in the early 2000s, the leaders of ISMNZ began praying for God to bring a worker who could speak Mandarin and help us build our work among Chinese students from a variety of nations.
Xiaoou indeed was an answer to that prayer. Seeking to study in Bible College or seminary herself, God led her to New Zealand, to Palmerston North and soon to ISMNZ. Xiaoou enrolled in the ISMNZ ministry internship programme, and upon graduation became a full time staff worker with us.
Over the years she has served as mentor, teacher, and preacher with international students and in local Chinese congregations. In 2007-08 Xiaoou realised a dream of completing a Masters Degree in Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton Graduate School in the USA. Not long after her return from study she married and as a couple, settled back in Palmerston North.
Xiaoou and her husband, Akang, minister together at a local Chinese church where Akang was appointed pastor. She continues to mentor the Chinese student fellowship of Massey University as well as training leaders. Xiaoou and Akang became happy parents in late 2013.
If you would like to financially support Xiaoou Tang, please visit our donate page.
Ben grew up on a sheep farm near Woodville, and he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science at Massey University, Palmerston North. He also did a Graduate Diploma in Theology in 2016.
In late 2017, Ben joined ISMNZ as a Campus Worker. He is part of a Chaplaincy team at IPU in Palmerston North, ministering to students from Japan, West Papua and East Asia. He also helps with the International Post Grad club at Massey University.
Ben and Stephanie met, married and had three kids while serving with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for 15 years. Steph is from the USA and has an Associates degree in General Education. Both Ben and Steph had a long Bible teaching ministry in YWAM, travelling to a range of fascinating countries, including living in Nepal for five years. God led them home to New Zealand in 2015 and connected them with ISMNZ- a way to reach the world while staying in one place.
Serving alongside Terry and Jenny McGrath at Massey among postgraduate students, Ben and Steph love to connect with international students and their families.
If you would like to financially support Ben Poulton, please visit our donate page.
Graham and Karlene McFarlane
After 28 years of overseas missions work, Graham and his wife Karlene returned to New Zealand in 2013. Upon return they connected with ISMNZ and after prayerful consideration joined the Palmerston North team.
Karlene became a follower of Christ at a young age and Graham in his early teen years. As young adults they felt God’s call to youth ministry at the Wanganui East Baptist Church. This later led to training at the Bible College of New Zealand soon after they were married.
Both Karlene and Graham are trained Primary School teachers and have served in overseas missions for 28 years, mainly in the area of teaching missionary children. In recent years they have majored in teaching English Language Learners.
At present they serve part time with ISMNZ as Karlene has a part time position as Teacher In Charge of ESOL at a Palmerston North High school. Graham helps with Bible studies and English lessons with Massey University international students and at International Pacific College. He introduces overseas students to the Bible and Christian living.
Karlene and Graham are both enjoying living closer to their two daughters and their husbands, along with three grandchildren.
Isaac came to New Zealand with his family to take up an academic role at Massey in 1997. God led Isaac to settle in Palmerston North and to serve Him through local churches and different Christian ministries; including mission teams, Operation Friendship, Bible studies and care groups. Isaac enjoys providing practical and spiritual support to international students, scholars and families through his evangelical and pastoral work.
Isaac’s faith was grounded through an open brethren church in Hong Kong (1983-1992) and was enriched through his over six years of international student experience in the UK. His desire to serve God was substantially strengthened through attending full-time Evangelical Training in Taiwan in 1987. Isaac has been involved in various Christian ministries for around 30 years, and has a strong belief in serving the Lord in accordance with the model presented in Ephesians 4:11-13, "… to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…".
Isaac became a Massey International Chaplain in 2012, and he has subsequently served many students from different nations at Massey Manawatu campus alongside other chaplains over the years. He finds his chaplain role very fulfilling with the Holy Spirit’s anointing. Isaac now sees himself as a missionary from Hong Kong serving the international community in New Zealand.
Isaac and Cecily married in 1989 and have two children who are students at university and high-school respectively. Isaac and Cecily believe that "…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).