“Apart from getting a flu jab, coming to a foreign country when I was 18 was probably another bravest thing I have ever done. Many have asked how I managed to get through the roller-coaster journey in New Zealand alone without my family; the answer is I am not alone. God has been with me through it all. Not only that God is with me, but He also sent amazing people like Brent, Lily, Brendon and Janeen into my life.
I was so blessed to be able to know Brent and Lily before I came to New Zealand. They were kind enough to pick me up at Wellington airport from Palmerston North! When I first arrived in Palmerston North, Brent and Lily let me and my mum stayed at their home for two weeks, took me around Palmerston North, brought me to their church (PN Central Baptist Church, which has been my home church for the past 7 years) and of course most importantly they introduced me to ISMNZ. What Brent and Lily did might seem common for welcoming someone new to town but introducing an international student like me to a safe, secured and Christ centred community was very meaningful to me.
Michelle with Brent and Lily at her graduation (left)
Through Brent, I met Brendon who eventually became my spiritual mentor. I completely agree with what Andrew Lim said at the staff retreat; “Everyone needs a Brendon”. Through university in Palmerston North, full-time working in New Zealand, working in Indonesia, university (again) in Auckland and full-time work (again), Brendon has been faithfully investing his time in my life.
It's funny how Brendon, Kenny and I always share our stories at the spa pool after our regular swimming session instead of at the Christian Fellowship night or prayer meeting, since we’d be too busy talking to other students. At the spa pool, we would have our fellowship where we mostly talk about our journey with God, ministries, work and everything in between! We let the Holy Spirit lead our conversations which turns into profound discussions. Ever since, we have been referring to the spa pool as the ‘anointed pool’. So there you go! You can have a fellowship literally anywhere, yes, even at the spa pool.
Please rest assured that everything you do for the students is not in vain, be it taking a student to do groceries, picking up a student to go to church, cooking for students or proof-reading their assignments.
After experiencing God’s love and providence through ISMNZ’s staff, I realised that I will never be able to return their generosity, time and love equally. However, God placed a strong desire in my heart to pay their favour forward by being involved in ISMNZ and serving other international students.”