As we've been Touring around New Zealand, one of our most frequently asked questions is: Why New Zealand? We've found that a lot of people assume that we ended up here randomly, when in fact, for us it wasn't random at all. We were free to choose where to Tour, literally having our pick from every country in the world. Most previous teams (we're about the fifth/sixth team to be sent out) have Toured around the States and Canada, or Europe. When we prayed asking God where He wanted us to go, we together felt a pull towards both New Zealand and Australia. For us it was clear that our Status:Welcomed Tour had to be to this particular pocket of the world.
Our travelling focus on refugee and displacement issues wasn't random either. We were challenged to prayerfully choose a social injustice to spend 21 months focusing on and right from the start we felt that God wanted us to point ourselves towards refugees. Back to 19 months ago, though our call felt clear, we each lacked a background understanding and came with no previous passion towards refugees and the international crisis. Although the refugee crisis (the need for people to flee their homes and countries in order to survive) has been broadening, worsening and spreading over the past decade, it is really in the past few months that awareness has surged through social media. We've been encouraged to begin our Tour at a time when awareness has spiked, almost like we're surfing a wave that we didn't create but boy do we get a sense of right-place/right-time. We've found that a lot of people are keen to respond to the refugee crisis in some aiding way but simply don't know how. In a small way, that's where we come in.
Whilst we've been in New Zealand, it has been exciting for us to discover why God wants us here. As we said earlier, the refugee crises has increased year by year in who it affects, but for the last thirty years New Zealand has allowed the same amount of refugees to be resettled into their country: 750. In 2016 the Government here is going to talk about whether this quota should stay the same or change. We think it's an exciting time for us to share our message of hospitality throughout the country because we want people in communities to speak up that they're willing to do their part in the welcoming of refugees. From what we've heard of so far, that's been really influential here: having individuals volunteer in resettlement programmes and having communities voice that they will help if the quota is raised. If you're in New Zealand, join this voice; join this message!