Fostering Grassroots Ministry From The NZ Students To International Works
Mike and Audrey met The Navigators through people before they heard about The Navigators as an organisation. As a trainee nurse in the late 1960s Audrey met Wanaka Clibborn and a community of believers who were nurses. Audrey introduced Mike to Hamish Horton (Joe Simmons’s son in law). Mike had recently come to faith and Audrey could see he was not receiving personal help to grow as she was experiencing. Hamish and Pam, with their young family, welcomed Mike into their home and invested in his spiritual growth.
Mike and Audrey were married in 1973 and were initially involved with working people. After two years they became involved with students at Canterbury university while working fulltime in teaching and nursing. They saw people come to faith in Jesus and helped them personally as they had been helped. One person Audrey helped in her faith was Annette whose daughter Merodie is featured in one of the Neighbourhood stories in this edition. In Annette and Merodie (along with their husbands Peter and Tom), and Merodie and Tom’s children, we see our vision for spiritual generations lived out.
A feature of Mike and Audrey’s lives has been their willingness to step out in faith and move to new cities and into new roles. Their move from Hamilton to Dunedin in 1979 involved Mike leaving teaching to work with The Navigators in student ministry alongside Audrey who worked as a stay-at-home Mum. Mike and Audrey still hear stories of people who came to faith through their involvement with students in Dunedin, and how the gospel has spread through these people to members of their own families.
During the 1970’s there was a lot of sending to other countries including Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Kenya, and Indonesia. Many people served as two-year International Trainees and longer-term missionaries. People in The Navigators grew up praying over world maps, being part of prayer groups for the nations, and hearing missionaries speak. Mike and Audrey said vision and heart for all nations was part of the air we breathed.
In the late 1990’s Mike and Audrey became missionaries themselves when they responded to an invitation by the then US Director, Alan Andrews, to help Jim Petersen revive grassroots fruitfulness in the US Navigator Ministries. Mike went on to serve on the International Executive Team (IET) and be part of seeing the gospel planted and grow in many different cultures around the world. “The gospel can be planted in any culture if you plant the seed of the gospel without your own cultural wrappings, water this through prayer, and lay good foundations”, says Mike. During this time Audrey contributed significantly in palliative care and hospice nursing leadership roles in the US and in NZ.
Mike and Audrey are now living in Auckland, engaged in a variety of ways in serving their community and relating to people who are not followers of Jesus. “As the father has sent me so I send you” motivates them as does the reality that we make visible the invisible love of Christ as we love people. They would love the next generation to know and abide in the love of Christ as the foundation for their lives (Ephesians 3:16-20).