Former student leaders join staff team

Blake Marshall

The Lincoln team is welcoming a familiar face as associate staff. Blake Marshall was involved with the CF during his time at Lincoln University, where he graduated in 2006 with a degree in agricultural science. He was a new Christian then, and said that he grew through that time of intentional discipleship. Blake married Cheryl about four years ago, and they have a daughter named Milena. Following a stint as a property valuer, he’s a dairy farmer now, working eight days on and two off. Blake is volunteering four hours a week to one-on-one discipleship with guys who are part of CF. “I like that it’s student-led, encouraging them to take the initiative,” Blake said. “I’m looking forward to trying to help students transition to the workforce and still be committed to following Christ Jesus.”

David Hodgkinson

David has joined the team to lead the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. He studied at Victoria University in the 1990s, where he was part of the TSCF group and then served as a graduate intern (now called Minty) in 1998 and 1999. “I came to faith in Jesus during my first year and the TSCF group helped me grapple with what it means to be a disciple of Jesus,” David said. “It was a community of students eager to grow and to reach the campus with the gospel of Jesus Christ. My main memories are being challenged to embrace whole-life discipleship and apply my faith to my studies, and attending several mid-year TSCF conferences – they were fantastic.” David subsequently became a high school teacher, working at Tawa College until 2005, when he moved to the UK. There he worked as a project manager, travelled and met his future-wife, Wendy, who is from Tauranga. David and Wendy married in 2011 and returned to New Zealand in late 2013. They have a daughter, Hannah, and a son, William.  David worked for three years at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic (now called Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology) before joining TSCF this year. “Since my time as an intern with TSCF I have had a strong desire to serve in intentional Christian ministry and that sense has been an ongoing, open prayer with God over all these years,” David said. “With Li Lian Lim moving on last year the door has opened up to follow-on from her work in the Waikato.” David works three days a week with the aim of growing this work further. A University of Waikato CBD campus is planned for Tauranga by 2020. “My vision is to be part of an organisation that takes discipleship and mission seriously and seeks to impact New Zealand society – and the wider world – with the radical and good news of salvation and hope in Jesus Christ,” David said. “I hope to develop a team of staff and student groups that authentically witness to, challenge and invite today’s students to follow Jesus Christ in all areas of their lives.”

Hanli, right, and his wife Sarah at Launch Auckland in February 2017.

Hanli Liu

Several of the Auckland groups are supported by volunteers – “associate staff.” This year the group at Unitec’s Mt Albert campus welcomes Hanli Liu, who became a Christian himself as a uni student. “I arrived in NZ from China with my parents when I was only 8 years old, so I grew up as a Kiwi in most respects,” Hanli said. However his family had never attended church, as Christianity was rarely heard of in China. He first came into contact with TSCF group on the Massey Albany campus, where he studied Food Technology. Since then he worked at Tegel Foods Ltd. “I thoroughly enjoyed my work but felt called to serve God in ministry,” he said. This year he is also interning at the Shore Baptist church plant in New Lynn, alongside fellow associate staff worker Stephen Turner.

International ministry leaders say farewell

Jeff and Jane Pelz moved to Auckland with their children, Sasha and Joshua, to work with TSCF 10 years ago. They have served in a number of significant roles both locally and nationally, with an emphasis on directing world mission and international student ministries. They developed a significant partnership with St Paul’s Church in central Auckland, working with hundreds of international students. They brought a wealth of experience from their time with InterVarsity USA and IFES in Oxford, UK. In Auckland, their absence is felt in the international student ministry but they leave behind a network of leaders who have benefitted from their service. Last summer Jeff and Jane returned to the USA to be closer to Jane’s parents, and they are looking for ministry opportunities there. “I am extremely thankful to Jeff and Jane and all their family has brought and given to TSCF, IFES and the wider work of the gospel in Aotearoa,” said Nigel Pollock, TSCF National Director. “We will miss them.” They plan to return to NZ to attend Summit in July, TSCF’s student conference, before officially ending their season of work with the team here.

Regions launch 2017

TSCF’s annual summer camp had a twist this year, allowing those who might not be able to travel to other parts of the country or take a week away from summer jobs to still gather in four locations. Team leaders report back:

Auckland

Will you go along with the crowd or will you stand? That was how Nigel Pollock challenged us with a message from Daniel 3. Thirty-two students plus staff gathered on a Saturday to think through living as a Christian at uni. We did this through the lens of TSCF’s four aims as we studied scripture and heard from staff and visiting speaker Jonny Grant. Student leaders also shared their experiences and answered questions about how to live out these aims. After lunch, a giant geo-caching treasure hunt made the most of the surprisingly sunny weather and gave students an opportunity to explore the University of Auckland campus. – Robyn Drake

Waikato & Bay of Plenty

Students from Wintec and Waikato University joined Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology students in Tauranga on 18 February for Launch. We discussed how following Jesus is about giving up our lives to serve him and others, rather than focusing on our own needs. We also talked about on how discipleship is radically opposed to the predominant student culture of today, and brainstormed how TSCF groups might witness in countercultural ways. – David Hodgkinson

Dunedin

Fifteen students gathered with staff at the Merton Lodge in Seacliff, overlooking the scenic Dunedin beaches, from 16-18 February. Nigel Pollock shared the story of Daniel and his friends, speaking on what it means for us as God’s people living in exile to love our neighbours and seek the good of the city he has placed us in. We also planned for O-Week and other events that the Dunedin groups will be involved in. It was especially encouraging to meet first-year students. We returned home slightly sleep-deprived with fond memories and new friends, with a renewed sense of God’s purpose and vision as we “launched” into the year together. – James Allaway

Wellington & Palmerston North

On a balmy summer’s day on the Kapiti Coast (it was good to have one), 25 students from five campuses gathered for Launch Central. We looked at grace in the life of Peter, the man with “foot in mouth”’ disease, and learned from his failure in denying Jesus and how the cross and Jesus’ resurrection transformed him. Ian Reid led us in icebreakers and in thinking about surviving and thriving in the year ahead. – Ben Carswell

TSCF News

Every quarter, Canvas contains a wrapup of news from around the country. But this isn’t the only place to find news about TSCF; look at the full editions for interviews, reviews and features. For information straight from the groups, the student reps maintain a blog at The Loop, which you can sign up for or check out online. And like us on Facebook to become part of the conversation.