Suz Holmes is a mother of four beautiful daughters, and a pastor at Manukau City Baptist Church. In 2018 she brought the Brave Love women’s movement to New Zealand. This is her story.
What is Brave Love’s purpose?
Brave Love is about women having a deep relationship with Jesus and, out of that, rising up in the specific calling that God has placed in each of us—what we call our Brave Love Messages. The other significant aspect is women surrounding themselves with others to champion each other on to fulfil what God has them to do. I am passionate about that—Christians should be the greatest encouragers in the world!
How did you initially learn about Brave Love and why did you bring it to New Zealand?
My daughters Jasmine and Bonnie were serving with Youth With A Mission in Kona, Hawaii. Jasmine was potentially going to be serving overseas long term and I felt like God was calling me to pray about going to visit her in Kona. I didn’t tell anyone about this as praying for a holiday in Hawaii sounds ridiculous. A few months later I was having a coffee with a dear friend and out of the blue she said she wanted to pay for me to go and visit Jasmine!
When Bonnie came home for a week for a friend’s wedding she shared with me about Brave Love. I was totally captivated. I arranged to meet with Shannon Casteel who leads Brave Love in Kona, to ask her about teaching this to women in my church. Two days before Shannon and I met, the Lord spoke to me so clearly: “Brave Love isn’t just for your church, Suz. I am calling you to bring it to your nation.” Shannon and her team were so excited about Brave Love coming to New Zealand that they paid their own way to come down to teach at the initial gathering.
What has happened since?
In August 2018 we put on our first gathering in New Zealand, with 300 women attending. Since then the movement has gone to Motueka and Dunedin, where they hold regular meetings (we call these squads). We have three squads in South Auckland. It is at these meetings that we form the community and unity to champion each other on in our Brave Love Messages. We are hoping to open up other meetings around Auckland and one of our team is moving to Rotorua and will be starting a squad there too.
Brave Love New Zealand has also been to the city of Malolos in the Philippines where we held a gathering for 50 women. The response was incredible and they have already started a regular squad. Girls’ Brigade New Zealand has taken Brave Love and made it part of their curriculum for their teenagers, and Brave Love has spread to Canada, where they had their first annual gathering this May.
How are Kiwi women beign impacted?
Once women come along and hear the heart and see what we do, they are so excited to be part of the movement. I have had the privilege to walk alongside a group of women for a year now and watch them be unleashed in their callings, be encouraged and championed, and then see the remarkable changes for them personally and in their families’ lives. The confidence in which they now walk is changing the world they live in. When I think of these precious ladies and what God has done in their lives through Brave Love, I know it is worth all the hard work and worth continuing to spread the message.
My prayer now is that every woman in our nation would know Jesus, would know what they are purposed for and would have the commitment of a community, knit together in love, to see each of them be all they can be and see God’s Kingdom come.
For more about Brave Love New Zealand, visit their website.