Fiona Muncaster from Dannevirke Corps shares with us her journey to faith and her ongoing commitment to teaching children.
I grew up in Hastings. I went to Sunday school, and was aware of God through my younger years. But when I had my daughter, my eyes were opened to a deeper awareness of God. It was like a spiritual awakening.
I was working part-time at the Apple and Pear Board when I became pregnant, and began life as a solo mum. When my daughter was three, I had the chance to train as an early childhood teacher. I began training through Massey University in 1996 and taught for 20 years as an early childhood teacher. Fifteen of those years were in a Christian centre, which was such a privilege and a real stepping-stone for my faith.
I started going to The Salvation Army with my sister and brother-in-law. They’d been taking my daughter there, and eventually I decided to tag along. In time, I was invited to do soldiership classes. I really wanted to be part of something—to belong somewhere. Out of that decision to be enrolled, my faith began to deepen. I had a sense of Jesus in my life, and faith really started to make sense. I believe God honoured my decision to commit myself to him as a soldier of The Salvation Army by revealing more of himself to me.
Raising my daughter on my own was a big challenge. It was the little things. I couldn’t afford to buy a flute, let alone pay for lessons she wanted. So, we prayed about it. Soon afterwards, one of the ladies at The Salvation Army explained that her daughter was off at university and her flute was just sitting under the bed! My daughter was able to have lessons through one of the other kids at school whose mother was a flute teacher. That was God’s provision—when you’ve only got so much money, it’s heart-breaking to not be able to provide in that way. But God knew and he took care of it. There were other hard things but watching how God worked it out was amazing.
In 2003, I had been praying for a husband. I was 42 then, and I’d been on my own for 13 years. When David walked through the door of the church, I knew he was the one! He’d been living in Tasmania and felt he needed to return to New Zealand. That’s got to be God! We were married a year later in 2004, and we’ve been together for 16 years. When David retired in 2016, we moved to Dannevirke and now both attend the corps there together.
I’ve been teaching junior soldiers for about 15 years off and on—it keeps coming back to me! During lockdown, classes stopped, and I realised how many kids I’d taught over the years—scary really! But amazing—such a privilege.
I think, for me, praying for another person is the most significant thing that you could ever do for someone. As a mother and a teacher, prayer is holding people in your heart. I quite often wake up with someone’s name on my mind—intercession is a special part of my faith experience.
Jeremiah 29:11 has been a very significant verse over the years. No matter what’s happening around you, God has a plan and it’s a good plan!
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.