Charles & Rosalie Chalmers
We are Charles and Rosalie Chalmers. We originally joined the Pioneers family in 2007 from careers in education and counselling, bringing with us our experience in management and leadership, both professionally and in church life.
We have lived most of our 45 years of married life in Christchurch, moving a month ago to Muriwai Beach in Auckland to live next door to our middle son Hamish and his wife Kim. Our oldest son Chris is married to Sarah and they live in Canterbury, and our youngest son Greg lives at Raglan. You can guess which two in the family are the keen surfers.
After hearing God’s call to overseas mission, in 2005 we undertook an exploratory trip to East Asia to work on a two-month training programme with teachers from a remote unreached people group. That experience gave us a heart for those people so we returned to New Zealand to prepare for mission service among them. We left for East Asia again in 2008, this time with Pioneers, to begin a year’s language study and wait on God to open doors.
As it turned out, the Father’s plans were quite different to what we expected. A severe earthquake in the region killed 90,000 people, left 4,000,000 homeless and opened up very different doors for us. Amazingly, these doors called on virtually all of the skills and knowledge we had accumulated during our lives to date. He is so good!
We were invited by a local house church to train people in PTSD counselling and help set-up a range of emergency and community development programmes. We planned and taught a three-year full-time course for 15 young graduate volunteers, training them in counselling skills and ways to help people reconstruct their lives and livelihoods. Those volunteers, along with local evangelists, set-up stations in the worst affected parts of the province, providing libraries and after-school and holiday programmes for children alongside home visits, micro-loans and counselling services for adults.
God blessed the vision and in the following years, with the local believers, we set-up a co-operative of community businesses to minister to people from the church and the wider unbelieving community. The businesses include a counselling centre, a Christian kindergarten, an English school and a local language school.
After our return to New Zealand in 2012 we kept in contact with the local church and visited from time-to-time. One of the encouraging developments for us was being able to support the believers in taking the gospel to different people groups within the country and beyond. Last year we were thrilled to be able support a missionary couple from that church to work among the people the Lord first laid on our hearts back in 2005!
During all of this we were also, unexpectedly, asked to take on field leader responsibilities from 2009. We carried those responsibilities until we fulfilled our five year field service commitment and resigned from Pioneers, resettling in New Zealand in 2012. We remained connected though and from time to time we have led sessions at InTent, Pioneers’ international leadership development programme.
We are excited to now begin serving God at the Mobilisation Base of Pioneers New Zealand as joint Directors, encouraging more Kiwis to venture into overseas harvest fields. We trust our field experience and knowledge will help us in this work and look forward to meeting up with more Pioneers family in New Zealand and sharing with you in the work.