Annual Appeal – March 2023

It has always been our belief at Elevate Christian Disability Trust that every person needs genuine connection and relationship, with both God and others.  

The last few years and recent events have only increased our awareness of this need. None of us are meant to do life alone or isolated.  

This belief is foundational, as we seek to see people with disability, and their whānau (family), leading, contributing, growing, and belonging in Christian community and wider society. As a Ministry Partner (regular donor) or supporter, you partner with us to create opportunities and spaces where these connections and relationships can happen.  

Just recently, we were in contact with a previous international speaker for Elevate National Camp. During the conversation we realised the speaker had been the person praying with Manuele, our Communications Coordinator, when he gave his life to God at camp! Manuele had come to camp on an invitation from a teacher at his school when he was 10 years old.  

“I experienced an encounter with God for the first time” says Manuele. The speaker remembers the moment Manuele asked for prayer and recalls that “the presence of the Lord was powerful and deeply close.”  

He shared with us that his time at Elevate National Camp changed his life and calling. Two lives both changed forever in this moment! 

Isn’t this beautiful! I get so excited when I hear about moments like this in our camps, ministry groups and drop-in centre. There have been so many moments like this throughout the years of our ministry and we continue to pray for many more in the years to come. We are so grateful for our Ministry Partners and supporters, partnering with us through donations and prayers, to continue to see people with disability and their whānau connecting with God and each other.  

You will see in this issue of The Encourager that Margie Willers, co-founder of Elevate, recently passed away and has gone to be with her Lord. We are so glad to have interviewed her before her passing and captured her thoughts as she looked back on her life and ministry. As you read her article, I hope you will join with me in celebrating Margie, a woman who lived a life in honour and service of her Saviour.   

In an article by Margie Willers written for our 30th celebration, she wrote “As I pondered and prayed, I shared my dreams and goals with my close friend, Di Willis. Now, Di was more than enthusiastic to launch out into this new adventure. During those early pioneering days we were definitely a “two-some”. Together we strove to meet the undeniable need for a Christian organisation which would cater for and meet the needs of people with all types of disability.”

Together we strove to meet the undeniable need for a Christian organisation which would cater for and meet the needs of people with all types of disability.”  

Together Margie, Di and Hugh, began what was to become Elevate Christian Disability Trust. Each of them brought their different skills and strengths. Their friendship surely more than coincidence. 

Many of you gave last year towards capturing Di’s story and the beginning of our ministry. We were blown away by your generosity for this project. Thank you to those of you who gave towards this! Filming is about to start for this video, and we look forward to sharing it with you later this year.  

As we reviewed those early days of the ministry, once again we have been reminded of the importance of connections. 

Your prayers and support enable this ministry to continue creating opportunities for people with disabilities and their whānau to develop and grow genuine connections, both with God and others.  

Would you consider giving to our annual appeal this year? Or perhaps this year you might like to become a Ministry Partner of Elevate by committing to a regular donation?  

Thank you again for your prayers and support of the Elevate Christian Disability Trust community.   


Elevate logo

Blessings and Ngā mihi nui,  

Kirsty Armitage  |  Director  

Elevate Christian Disability Trust   

Stronger Together

Two hands clasped together with the words 'Strong Together' and 'Nehemiah 3'

Keynote speaker of National Camp Online 2022, Reverend Timothy Lee spoke about Nehemiah and people rebuilding the city walls and gates of Jerusalem. This is an edited summary of his presentation.

The Encourager

God’s people had spent time in captivity with the Babylonians. It was about 100 years before they were allowed to return to Judah, their homeland. The temple had been rebuilt, but Jerusalem was unsafe without a city wall around it.

How could God’s people be a strong nation again? How could they reclaim their city and re-establish their spiritual roots? They needed someone close to God’s heart who could lead them well. Enter Nehemiah.

We are stronger together because of our concern for one another

Nehemiah was working in government for the King of Persia. A visitor told him, “The survivors who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

When Nehemiah heard this, he mourned for days. He prayed and fasted for God’s people. His heart was stirred out of empathy for them.

We can show the same empathy by thinking of each other before we meet again in camp next year. Maybe there are some people we can pray for especially. We can send a text, an email, or a card to others we normally meet at camp. By helping one person you may not change the world, but you will change the world for them.

We are stronger together because of the different gifts God gives us

God gives gifts to us out of His grace toward us. He likes it that we are all different. It’s like pieces of a puzzle—they are not all the same but are all needed to form this wonderful picture.

There were approximately 42 groups and individuals working hard, side by side, to rebuild the city walls and gates. They included priests, tradesmen, tribes people, temple servants, goldsmiths and even perfumers! All these people were important.

Lots of people are needed to make camp happen: planners, kitchen servers, small group prayers, cabin buddies, leaders, teachers and sound system people. And all of us are needed to sing and share stories, and to laugh and cry together.

We are all skilled differently in life. Our differences reflect something of God’s creativity. We are all important and we are made stronger together.

We are stronger together when facing the challenges of life

Opposition grew as Nehemiah continued to rebuild the wall and city gates. There were lots of enemies and they were just over the other side of the wall. Consequently, as the people worked away, they could hear their enemies accusing them.

We are all skilled differently in life. Our differences reflect something of God’s creativity

The enemies’ words became discouraging. Nehemiah encouraged people by praying for them. He said, “Hear us, O God, for we are despised. Lord, turn their insults back on their heads.” Nehemiah 4:4 (NIV). He helped to shift the people’s focus.

God thwarted the enemies’ plans. His people rebuilt the wall and the city gates in 52 days! It was an impossible task, but it was made possible with God and with all the people working together.

We are all vulnerable to attack in life. People’s words hurt us. Worry robs us of life. Tragedy and sickness grieve us. We become depressed and lonely. We need people to pray for us and stand with us, side by side, to give us courage to carry on in life.

We are stronger together when we fight together using the tools God provides

Life is like a spiritual battle, but God provides us with tools and armour: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes for the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Prayer unites us. The Spirit helps us, guides, leads and equips us. Side by side, we can change the world with the message of God’s love. Will you join me in building God’s Kingdom, together? We are strong in His sight.

Reverend Timothy Lee



You can watch Rev Lee’s full presentation at:






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Encourager Magazine No. 168, August 2020

Cover of Encourager Magazine No. 167, June 2020

The Encourager Magazine No. 168, August 2020 is now available.

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Joy Ministries (NZ) Central/West [and East] Auckland NEWS!!!

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