Jaimie has her PhD in public policy and her post-doctoral research work focuses on how economics and public policy can be used to help those most disadvantaged in Aotearoa New Zealand. David works in multiple charities and organisations working towards a big goal of ending homelessness. Jaimie and David participated in the 2022/23 iteration of Āta Mahi, in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. They also took part in Venn’s Short Course, Praying the Prayer of Jesus, in August, 2022. Here, Jaimie shares some of their experiences participating in Āta Mahi and Venn’s work.
Āta mahi, a group gathered by Israel and Jess Cooper and run by Venn Foundation, is an opportunity for people to come together, share a meal, enjoy each other’s company and together explore how God sees work and vocation within the context of his redemptive work here on earth.
We moved to Christchurch at the start of this year having spent the last two years living at the beach in the Coromandel, a time that was an accident of COVID but in hindsight God’s provision to us. Our time at the beach prompted us to ask healthy questions about our theology, our vocation and how to live our faith with purpose. While we had investigated many of these themes at a personal level during our time up north, both Āta Mahi and the Praying the Prayer of Jesus Short Course have provided us with a much richer and fuller perspective of how God sees our work and vocation.
Both of us have recently changed occupations, but being able to place our daily vocational work, whether that’s being a parent, a spouse, a worker or a researcher, within the context of creation and the on-going story of what Christ is doing on earth has given us a greater sense of purpose and joy in our various roles, despite the challenges that go along with all of them.
The meals we’ve shared, the friendships we’ve formed and the discussions we’ve had at Āta Mahi and the Short Course have provided an anchor in a year where everything else has changed. It has equipped us with a more expansive view of what God is already doing and our place within his plans. This expansive perspective has felt like God’s gift in our current season and he has used the work of Venn and our new friends to help provide us with exactly what we needed.