Jared Suisted story

Ditching the building tools for a year, Jared Suisted has embarked on a journey of study at Carey. He’s looking at why he believes what he believes, so as to be able to share that more effectively with others.

Jared is a builder who lives in Opotiki with his family. He wants to be more equipped for working with who they’re working with, situated where they are. He says, “There are a lot of broken people who just want to be heard and a huge amount of suicide in the town.”

After growing up on the Ivory Coast with missionary parents, his family then returned home to New Zealand and settled in Cambridge. Jared worked at Finlay Park Christian Camp and, after marrying Jess, intentionally moved to Opotiki. “I think if God is really our focus he’s our cornerstone and it’s a real living relationship, and so for my family we chose to live out our faith. We chose to move to this community because we’re intentional about it; how we live our life, and how it flows from the relationship that we have with God.”

And they’ve quickly become part of that community. “I was offered a job as a carpentry tutor which sounded fun. It ended up being with the Barbarian Mongrel Mob with all the prospects and the president of the gang. I thought it was funny that a skinny white guy was hanging out with these tattooed-up, rough-as-anything guys, who could snap me in half in a second but we got on like a house on fire. We just hit it off.”

“I tutored them for six months. They’ve all come around for a feed. A couple of them came and worked for me when I finished up there, and from that we have been accepted into their community in a big way. The guys will stop their cars in the middle of the road to get out and say hi.  So, we really quickly got integrated in and for some reason accepted. That’s probably why I wanted to step back from the building and look into why I believe what I believe and, I suppose, share it more.”

Jared has really enjoyed his time at Carey.  “You can’t go wrong learning about God and about the Bible and getting to know more people who are on the journey with you.” He’s studied the New and Old Testaments, Pastoral Care, Contextual Reflective Praxis, Apologetics and Understanding Culture. His highlight has been the people teaching the course: “Some of the lecturers, to me, are just stand out characters and I’m interacting with Christians who are living and breathing [their faith]. I loved Apologetics. It was completely new thinking to me as a builder. I had never looked into different realities, physical and non-physical realities and the whole philosophy that overlaps with understanding culture. It absolutely hurt my brain but was really really cool and really interesting.”

Jared experienced a profound change in his own life studying Introduction to Pastoral Care, looking into the active and empathetic listening and self-awareness. “I think self-awareness is one of the biggest things we Christians need to have and can have, and from our self-awareness we can develop an ‘other’ awareness. If we’re aware of how we’re reacting and acting in a situation we’re so much better off for it. The way it plays out in a practical sense for me is being aware of what I’m saying around people – who’s in the room, and who I’m interacting with, but also trying to allow other people to speak more than me. So I’ll ask questions and I’ll listen. Outside of my friend group I try to do more listening and actively just listen. It’s probably the one area that I have changed quite a bit.”

“In a community that experiences so much hurt and pain, being there to journey and tautoko (support) people and show Jesus to them in everyday life is where the rubber meets the road for my family.”