“We’re delighted to welcome Rachel to the TSCF team. Rachel brings a wealth experience from her ministry and graphic design backgrounds. Her commitment and desire to serve God through her creative talents is a real blessing to us. We’d encourage you consider supporting Rachel as she begins this new role.”
– Ben Carswell, National Director
Christianity has always been a well-known narrative for me. From appearances, it would have been hard to argue that I wasn’t a committed believer growing up. Ask any of my peers at the time and they would have agreed. But I never gave my faith enough of a position in my heart to impact my life. As a result, I always fell back into the same habits that left me with no real change. I felt dissatisfied and often confused.
When I left high school to study Communication Design at Otago Polytechnic, I made a more conscious and personal decision to commit to Christianity. I was able to connect with a Christian ministry who faithfully shared their lives and the gospel with me. This witness significantly impacted my faith and for the first time my heart and life began to transform.
My time as a student was a significant time for me to explore who God was and what that meant for my life. The best decision I made as a student was to partner with people ready to walk with me and help me to understand what it means to be a true witness and ambassador of Christ. This lead to a one-year student ministry internship, after which I moved to Christchurch to pursue graphic design.
My experience at university shaped my goals and motivations as a graphic designer. I see God as the creator and reference of all of colour, form, and perfection. I can see God’s perfect hand not only in the design of creation but in the design of our story of salvation. I am passionate about creating beautiful graphics because we as Christians have the most beautiful message to share.
I am now excited to have the opportunity to partner with TSCF as part of the communications team. I recognise the impact organisations such as TSCF had in my life as a student. I’m passionate about serving within a ministry that partners with students to see their lives transformed by the gospel.
Rachel Hay, Graphic Designer
My first exposure to TSCF was the first national conference I ever attended. It was the year 2000, and I was still in my final year of high-school! A student leader from my church in Palmerston North had invited me along to the conference. And so, I found myself crammed into a van full of zealous Christian university students from MUCF on my way to Auckland during the school holidays. In retrospect, it was an excellent recruitment strategy!
The TSCF experience continued into the early 2000’s. I studied engineering at Massey University. After graduation I moved to Christchurch and worked as a TSCF intern in partnership with a local church, and then as a TSCF staffworker at the University of Canterbury. My wife, Jess, also grew up in Palmerston North, but studied medicine at Otago, and moved to Christchurch where we started our married life. We have three daughters and a baby boy who was born in July.
After training for pastoral ministry, I had the joy of serving as an assistant pastor in Christchurch for more than five years. In one sense the shift back to student work is an unusual move. Many campus workers shift into church ministry after a time. However, I’ve gone ‘back’ in the opposite direction; although I certainly don’t think of it as a backwards step. Working in mission with university students is such a joy, and a significant opportunity to shape future Christian leaders.
I’m thankful that so far the Lord is using this experience to remind me of the urgency of gospel proclamation, and the importance of intentional training and discipleship for the next generation. The Massey and other campuses in the city are filled with opportunities for the kingdom. The Massey campus has a cosy ‘village’ feel to it, but still a substantial number of students – around 9000. Most domestic students are from regional New Zealand, where faith communities can tend to be more conservative. There is also a sizeable international student population, and the Overseas Christian Fellowship has connected well with this group in the past.
We are looking forward to getting stuck in and working alongside student leaders in the Manawatu. God has done wonderful things in the past through this small campus. We are praying that he will be merciful in the future as well, by revealing himself through the gospel of his Son, and bringing people to full maturity in him.
Scott Mackay, Manawatu Team Leader