Upsurge Aotearoa couldn’t have been planned. What began as a call from a pastor in Argentina, turned into a three-day hui that saw a mix of cultures unite together in Auckland. 

Hills Church, also known as Hillsborough Baptist Church, had developed a relationship with Pastor German Palermo, from Argentina, after he first visited the church in 2014.

There has been a significant move of God in Argentina and, as part of this, a call has been put out for teams to go out and release this into the nations. Pastor Palermo and his team—made up from Christians from Chile, Brazil and Argentina—felt a strong call to Oceania, starting in Auckland. Pastor Palermo’s message for New Zealand was one of challenge—to die to our ways and step out into God’s call for the nation.

“We felt God calling us to steward this opportunity,” Hills Church Senior Pastor Glenn Edmonds says. “We didn’t know what to expect so we just booked out some time and began praying.”

A gathering was organised, with the name ‘Upsurge Aotearoa’ coming out of a prophetic image of a large wave of the Holy Spirit sweeping over the nation. 

The event, held from 14th to 17th November 2018, attracted people from across New Zealand. Many of them hadn’t heard of Hills Church before but felt the call to be there. 

It kicked off with 24/7 prayer and fasting, before moving into an ‘equipping school’, with teaching focused on equipping disciples for kingdom mission.

The school was a powerful time with people of all cultures coming together to worship and to be challenged by teaching. This was followed by an outreach around Auckland.

A significant moment took place on the Friday night when a spontaneous call for reconciliation between Pākehā and Māori took place. As one attendee commented, “During praise and worship, I felt the outpouring of Te Wairua Tapu [the Holy Spirit] cover every soul in that auditorium… All I remember was two cultures, Māori and Tauiwi, embracing each other, with a hongi, tears and words of forgiveness towards each culture.”

Story: Elesha Gordon