Following God in Kiwi-Land

I had breakfast last week with a couple of friends and we had some conversation that proved to be pretty beneficial and provocative for me.  Talking with these jokers got me asking the following question:  What does it cost me to follow God?

My friends, Joe and Amy Flammer, are missionaries to New Zealand.  Joe’s born and raised right here on Long Island and Amy’s from the midwest somewhere but we’ll forgive her. :)

These two jokers have left the comforts of home and family to follow God’s call to reach out to the people of New Zealand.  Interesting place, New Zealand.  One of the most un-churched places on Earth. Stress and suicide rates extremely elevated.  Great place to plant Re:Church -  a church plant which we at True North are supporting.

This decision to serve God oversees is, in and of itself, a huge deal.  A LOT of sacrifice is involved in a move like this and the financial rewards are non existent.  In fact, it costs them a ton.  Lately, it’s been costing them a lot more.

On September 4th of 2010 an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the richter scale struck New Zealand.    On February 22nd, 2011, a 6.3 was registered.  And on June 13 of ’11, another 6.3.

These things are nothing like that tiny little shaking we felt this past October.  This is life threatening, building smashing, basic-services interrupting stuff. Check the pics.   I heard about the first one on the news.  Checked to make sure my buds were ok.  Made sure the church sent them a little extra that month, said a prayer and then went back to work.

What I didn’t know and what most of the western world probably doesn’t know is that New Zealand is being hit by aftershocks DAILY.  Most of these are small tremblings, but when you’ve had three major earthquakes in a year, every time the ground shakes even a tiny bit -   heck, every time a delivery truck rumbles past their house or a passing train causes significant vibrations -  these guys are stricken with the thought that this might be the big one.

Apparently there are two fault lines working their way towards each other in New Zealand and when they connect, it’s ON.  This isn’t a matter of it, but of when.

Joe and Amy, now on furlough here in the states have recently had their first full nights of sleep in over a year.  Can you imagine that?

So it got me thinking -   what does it cost me to follow God?   Have I made some sacrifices?  Yeah.  But nothing like what these two have done.  Following God’s call costs them every day.  Raising a family (did I mention they have a little girl and another baby on the way?) in a place where your life is threatened daily?   I don’t know if I have that kind of mojo.

How about you? I’m not suggesting that you need to move to a different time zone and start a church, but is following God costing you something?   I think it’s supposed to.

Want to know more about what Joe and Amy are doing in New Zealand?  Want to get involved and support them in their work?  Reach out the them here.


News about the Quake in NZ was also overshadowed by the nuclear crisis in Japan. Japan actually sent some earthquake recovery crews to NZ but then had to call them home.

Missionaries do give up a lot, especially when coming from a tight knit family. Picking up and leaving and not having the freedom to connect with family is difficult, Skype is awesome but not the same.

Greasy says:

Thanks for sharing this, Bert. WIll be praying for them.