Accepting the Competent Leader Award

My fellow toastmasters, it is with true gratitude that I accept this award today.

As you know, Toastmasters is a unique organisation, which, for over 90 years, has been teaching people how to give speeches and how to lead meetings.

For those who may not know, Toastmasters achieves this goal by providing a supportive environment for members to give their speeches, and to have their speeches evaluated.  In turn, all other roles during a meeting are also evaluated.  It is this environment of mutual support that enables a club to develop and grow its members.

This award recognizes that I have worked through the Competent Leadership manual.  This manual consists of 10 projects, where a variety of roles are required to be performed and evaluated.

  1. Project 1 tested my Listening Skills, by requiring me to complete basic roles necessary for the successful running of a normal club meeting.
  2. Project 2 tested my Critical Thinking, by requiring me to be able to evaluate other roles.
  3. Project 3 tested my ability to give Feedback.
  4. Project 4 tested my Time Management skills, by successfully completing a Timer role and a significant other role within a meeting, on time.
  5. Project 5 tested my ability to Plan and Implement significant roles.
  6. Project 6 tested my ability to Organize and Delegate by requiring me to help to organize a special club event.
  7. Project 7 tested my Facilitation skills, by requiring me to perform a couple of vital roles in the club meeting.
  8. Project 8 tested my Motivation, by requiring me to perform roles to assist others.
  9. Project 9 tested my Mentoring skills. I especially wish to thank my mentee, Molino Garcia, for allowing me to mentor him.  It was a privilege to be allowed to speak into another member’s life.
  10. Project 10 tested my Team Building skills, by requiring me to give back to the club.

Having now achieved this award, I have the following recommendations for others wishing to achieve it.

  1. If at all possible, you should attempt to get onto the Executive Team. This will afford you opportunities to complete certain roles.
  2. However, even if you are not on the Executive Team, you can volunteer to assist them. In this way, I was able to perform the role of Web Master, even though I wasn’t the Vice President of Public Relations.
  3. There are four competitions during the year: International Speech, Humorous Speech, Table Topics and Speech Evaluations. You should volunteer to be the convenor of one of these competitions.  This role alone will fulfil the entire Project #6.
  4. If you are only one signature away from completing a project, then ask the Vice President Education to assign you that role in the coming month. You are not imposing.  The VP Ed delights in knowing that you are interested in advancing your record.  It is impossible for the Exec Team to know in advance which roles you wish to pursue at any particular time.
  5. And lastly, of course, for every role you fulfil in your club meeting, check your manual to see whether you can get it signed off. Then find somebody to sign it off for you.

Toastmasters is a bit like university, as opposed to school.  You are provided the manual, but it is up to you to proactively manage your own project completion record.  Nobody is going to chase you up to complete your manual.  This is your prerogative.

What comes next?  After the Competent Leader award, comes the Advance Leader Bronze.  In order to achieve this level, one must:

  1. Have fulfilled an Executive Team role for a minimum of 6 months; and
  2. Completed 2 educational speeches of 10 minutes each.

The final person I wish to give heart-felt thanks to, is Warren Christie for shoulder-tapping me to join as a Charter Member of this club in July 2015.  Warren had to convince me that I needed the club, and the club needed me.  I am grateful that he persevered.

We took only 3 months to get up to the 20 members necessary, so that we were able to charter as a fully-fledged club in October 2015.

It has been said that this club is unique, in that our members are motivated to provoke one another to higher levels of achievement.  With a weekly meeting, we are able to fulfil many more roles than most other clubs more quickly.

This award recognizes that I was motivated by others here to achieve.  I am grateful to this club for the opportunities afforded me, and I hope I am an adequate role model to follow.

I have had a few outside opportunities to put into practice, the skills learned here.  I can attest that these skills work, and are appreciated by the outside world.  Personally, I have noticed family occasions in the past were lacking, because nobody was prepared to say a few words.  People do appreciate when somebody has bothered to put some words together to mark a special occasion.

Once again, thank you fellow Toastmasters.  It is a privilege to be presented this award.  I gratefully accept it.

Mr Toastmaster.

MCBC Toastmasters Club Election Results 2017

Fellow Toastmasters of the MCBC Club.

Congratulations to the new Executive Team voted yesterday.  These people will take over leadership of the club from 1 July, after a month of transition.

Role Existing New
President James Hippolite Ruth Malo
Vice President – Education Jane Crosbie Jane Crosbie
Vice President – Memberships Barry Shaw Amit Sharma
Vice President – Public Relations Ruth Malo Melanie Alican
Secretary Warren Christie Barry Shaw
Treasurer Barry Shaw Manju Malik
Sargent-At-Arms Molino Garcia Patrick Mariner
Immediate Past President Warren Christie James Hippolite

Thank you to all who put their hands up (including those who were not chosen this time).  Your 1-minute, impromptu campaign speeches were most informative and instructive!  I look forward to following Ruth’s leadership and seeing what the next 12 months has in store for us as a club.

We are well on our track to achieving all 10 goals of the Distinguished Club Programme.

Goals to Achieve Goal To Date Status
Education (A maximum of 6 will count toward DCP credit.)
1 Competent Communicator (CC) awards 2 2  Achieved
2 More Competent Communicator (CC) awards 2 4  Achieved
3 Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards 1 1  Achieved
4 More Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards 1 0 1 AC needed
5 Leadership Awards (CL, ALB, ALS) or Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award 1 1  Achieved
6 More CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM award 1 1  Achieved
7 New members 4 4  Achieved
8 More new members 4 3 1 New Member needed
9 Club officers trained June-August 4 6  Achieved
Club officers trained December-February 4 5
10 Membership-renewal dues on time Y 2  Achieved

In praise of Fiona Hippolite

Fellow Toastmasters

It is my pleasure today to address you about somebody I greatly admire: my wife.  Although to some extent, it is oddly self-serving to speak in praise of one’s own spouse publicly.  After all, the Bible calls us “One Flesh” meaning we are a singular unit.  But praise is something Fiona usually finds difficult to accept, as part of her Scottish heritage, and I know I don’t do it often enough, so this is as good an opportunity to do it as it gets.

Fiona possesses four qualities I wish to share with you.  Some may be known, some may be new to you.

First is her determination to be excellent.  This determination manifests in many ways.  One manifestation is, she has managed to home-school 3 children to academic excellence.  Fiona had to overcome many obstacles in her pursuit of excellence in this field.  Some of the obstacles included:

  1. Lifting her eyes beyond what was considered normal. At the time, home-schooling was not considered a viable alternative to mainstream education, like it is now.  Fiona had to face down challenges from some well-meaning family members, church friends and mother support groups.
  2. Another obstacle was navigating the maze of bureaucracy to even be able to apply for exemption from the Education Act which compels all New Zealand children to be required to attend school. This was an interesting chapter of our lives.  The Application for Exemption requires parents to promise to provide a level of education “at least equal to the average publicly available.”  As it turns out, this wasn’t difficult for her to achieve.
  3. A final obstacle to overcome was determining, from the entire spectrum of Curricula available to us, which particular curriculum she would adopt. From Child-Centred-Learning at one end of the spectrum, right through to Classroom-At-Home, Fiona picked-and-chose those elements which she felt the children would benefit from, would be interested in, and were in alignment with our values.

A second manifestation of Fiona’s quality of Excellence, is her early choice of career.  When I met Fiona, she was a Quality Manager of a large IT company.  This was a highly responsible position.  Her professional mantra of “process of continual improvement” became engrained into a large part of her personality.

A second quality Fiona demonstrates is Generosity.  Fiona is generous in giving of her time, her talents and her finances.  I’ve benefitted greatly from this quality.  But not only is Fiona generous to her family, she is also generous to others.  She has contributed greatly to Christian mission.  She spent 6 months in Southern Africa in 1997, assisting with two Christian conferences, the African Evangelical Alliance first conference in South Africa and GCOWE, the Global Consultation on World Evangelisation.  Fiona was learning to be a new mother of a 7-week-old baby, when we arrived in South Africa.  That she was willing to also give of her time to these two Christian conferences is a testament to her multi-tasking ability!

Fiona has also given and continues to contribute to Shepherds Arms, an orphanage in The Philippines.

A third quality which Fiona possesses is Integrity.  As a personal observation, Fiona demonstrates integrity in that her professional and private lives are wholly integrated.  What you see is truly what you get with her.  There is no hypocrisy in her.  In fact, she would be the first to freely admit, she is usually unable to “play politics” in order to “just get along.”

A fourth quality which Fiona possesses, and the final one I wish to discuss today, is her dedication to Service.  Fiona models this Toastmaster value constantly.  Two examples are:

  1. Fiona has been a budget advisor with Agape Budget Advisory Service. This entailed completing their course to qualify, and then making herself available to mentor clients.  Some clients were easier to deal with than others.  Some people want to be helped, others don’t.  Throughout, Fiona had to maintain a detached professionalism, but I know the personal toll it took upon her to see some clients choose to reject sound advice.
  2. Fiona helped establish a Charitable Trust for the purpose of administering a Christian Health Centre. The Capital Care Health Trust in Wellington would never have been established and operating since 1994, without Fiona’s determination and hard work.  Capital Care Health Centre originally started as a pregnancy counselling service and then began providing General Practice services since 1997.  The Centre is a community-based, affordable, pro-life health centre.

In conclusion, the Toastmasters values of Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence resonate strongly with Fiona’s own personal values of Excellence, Generosity, Integrity and Service.    Just as the Toastmaster values handily may be abbreviated to an acronym of RISE, Fiona’s values E-G-I-S sound like the word aegis, meaning “the protection, backing, or support of a particular person.”  I believe I could have no better person in my corner, to face life’s challenges with, than Fiona.

I am pleased to be able to recommend to you, my friend and life-time spouse, Fiona Hippolite.


Pillar 1 of 3: Transfiguration

Sunday Service

  • 21 May 2017
  • Pastor Al Hall
  • New Series: Three Pillars (significant events in the life of a Christian)
  • Pillar 1: The Transfiguration


  • I’m turning 49 on the 23rd of this month
  • Pastor Arnie turns 50 in a couple of months.

Matthew 17:1-9

  • The true glory of Jesus
  • But, the disciples were admonished to keep it quiet.
  • Why?
  • To give them time to process it properly?
  • Christianity allows for reasonable questions.

Jesus Answered Questions

  1. Is Jesus God? – Yes
  2. Does Jesus make the old testament irrelevant? – No
  3. Is Jesus what was prophesised? – Yes
  4. Can I trust Jesus? – Yes (it’s called Faith because it involves Trust)
  5. Is Jesus different to everything that has been (and is to come)? – Yes
  6. What does Jesus require of me?
    1. Listen to Him
    2. Obey Him
  7. How do I feel about Jesus?
    1. The disciples were terrified by this event. That was not Jesus’ intent.
    2. John 1:14 – The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the gory of the one and only son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.
  8. Does God care? – Yes
    1. Matthew 17:7 – And Jesus came and touched them, and said, ‘Arise, and be not afraid.’


What do I have? Part 3

Sunday Service

  • 7 May 2017
  • Pastor Al Hall

What do I have?

  1. Gifts
  2. Resources e.g. Time
  3. Praise

What is Praise?

  • To praise God is to call attention to his glory!
  • To praise God is to point out how awesome he is! (South Auckland Translation)

How to Praise God:

  • Where: Everywhere
  • What: Every act and attribute of God
  • With: Everything you’ve got
  • Who: Everything that breathes

But, God doesn’t make us praise Him.  So, what happens when we don’t praise Him?

We fail in our “duty” to praise God when:

  • We withhold from God’s glory, that which belongs to Him.
  • We shut our eyes to the signs of his presence.
  • We become forgetful of his mercies.
  • We become unthankful for his kindness.

Praise stops us becoming ungrateful, unthankful, spoilt brats.

Psalm 103

  1. Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
  2. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfied your desire with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s…
  3. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
  4. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding who obey his word.
  5. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
  6. Praise the Lord, all his works everything in his dominion.
  7. Praise the Lord, my soul!

We must earnestly cultivate the spirit and habit of praise

  • By lifting my soul from its slothfulness and sluggishness
  • By fixing my heart upon God.
  • By meditating on his works and ways. Look at a sunset: It’s part science & part art.
  • By recounting his benefits.
  • By dwelling upon his amazing gift of Jesus.

What can you give praise to God for?

What do I have? Resources

Sunday Service

  • 23 April 2017
  • Pastor Al Hall
  • What do I have?
  • Resources

The Bible challenges us to look at our income through the lenses of:

  • Contentment
  • Stewardship
  • Giving

What resources do I/you have?

  • Treasure (Income)
  • Talent (Abilities)
  • Time (on Earth)

Matthew 20:16

  • Some are last who will be first.
  • Some are first who will be last

Biblical Principles of Time

  • So what?
  • Relating Faith to Life & Life to Faith
What do I have?


What does this mean for me?
25 Bible Verses about the principals of time What will I change and how am I going to do that?
What does the Bible Say?

1.       So, then be careful how you live.  Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Eph. 5:15-17)

2.       Behave wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time.  (Colossians 4:5)

·         Watcher fewer Facebook and YouTube video clips.

·         Prioritise conversation over meme-watching.


Seek wisdom from the Lord

3.       Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

4.       If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be give him.  James 1:5

More prayer and meditation.


Live with Eternity in Mind.

5.       So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

6.       Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

7.       So, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we walk by faith, not by sight, and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord.  Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.  For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.  2 Corinthians 5:6-10

What to spend time on:

·         Character development.

·         Caring for my kids.


Keep in mind that you are never guaranteed tomorrow.

8.       Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1

9.       Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money.  You do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  James 4:13-14

I don’t want to die, but I am READY:

·         Temporary citizen of NZ.

·         Permanent resident of Heaven.

Don’t Procrastinate!  Make plans for the future.

10.   For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28

11.   The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Provers 31:5

12.   Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.  Learn from their ways and become wise!  Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labour hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.  Prov. 6:6-8

This year:

·         Alpha course leader;

·         Purity (men’s course) leader.


Next year:

·         Tane’s wedding;

·         Hamish’s first year at uni.


Allow the Lord to Guide your life through the Spirit.

13.   A person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Prov. 16:9

14.   But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.  For he will not speak on this own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.  John 16:13

Be prepared to have my day interrupted by Divine Appointments.  And make myself available to respond to these.  “Always be prepared to give a reasoned account for the hope within you.”
Make Time for God Every Day

15.   But I will call on God, and the LORD will rescue me.  Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the LORD hears my voice. Psalm 55:16-17.

Completed: 40 days of Lent

Pickup: a new Bible reading plan.


16.   What you’re doing is not good, Moses’ father-in-law said to him.  Exodus 18:17-21

17.   But seek, ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matt 6:33

This year:

·         Lead one person to the Lord.

·         Pray the sinner’s prayer with one person.

Put your trust in the Lord

18.   But I trust in you, LORD. I say, “You are my God.  My times are in your hands.  Deliver me from the hands of my enemies and from those who pursue me. Psalm 31:14-15

19.   Commit your ways to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.  Psalm 37:5

Do one thing outside my comfort zone:

·         First, find my comfort zone.

·         Then, exceed it.


We must have a good work ethic

20.   IN all hard work, there is profit, but merely talking about it only brings poverty. Prover 14:23

21.   Do not love sleep or you’ll become poor, keep your eyes open and you’ll have plenty of food. Prov. 20:12

22.   How long will you lie there, you sluggard: When will you get up from your sleep?  Prov. 6:9

23.   Lazy hands make for poverty.  But diligent hands bring wealth. Prov. 10:4

Achieve one “Being Your Best” award this year at Spark.

24.   There is a season for everything, and a time for every event under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted. Eccl 3:1-2

25.   Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Tim 6:12

Relax: it is the Lord’s job to save, not mine.  It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin, not mine.  It is my job to inform those who are seeking, of the path to Life.



What my new bride had to put up with

Series:              Advanced Communication
Manual:           Humorously Speaking
Project:            5 – The Humorous Speech
Title:                What my new bride had to put up with

Fellow toastmasters.  I was not always the smooth, suave sophisticate you see before you now (in jandels, shorts and t-shirt).  There were many rough edges my new bride had to polish over.  Here are some of the things my new bride had to put up with.

Appropriately enough, the first topic revolves around food (pat a rather large belly).

I ate fast.  I had learned to while growing up.  The best times were sharing fish ‘n chips with mates.  But when you’ve got guy mates and fish ‘n chips, you learn how to eat quickly in order to get your fair share.  In fact, we invented a way to blow on our hot chips and eat them at the same time.  Here’s how: (demo, loudly sucking in hot chips).

When it came to food habits, instantly there was a clash of expectations.  I expected to eat fast in order to get more.  She expected to eat slow and enjoy the meal.  And, she would leave the best parts until last.  This caused some small amount of difficulty.  I would finish my plate, then assume she was leaving behind the part she didn’t want.  Boy, was I wrong!  Don’t try and steal the food off the plate of your bride.  Not good.  (Mime being stabbed in the hand by a fork.)

I learned that my bride was a great cook, but initially I didn’t realise this.  She would serve up amazing meals, only to have me, if not exactly reject them, then at least merely accept them without comment.  This caused her some concern.  So, we sat down together, and listed the foods that I didn’t like.  It turned out, there were 3 pages of A4, double-sided, that I didn’t like!  Then, she systematically went through the list and prepared meals in new and imaginative ways.  It was then that I discovered something about myself: it wasn’t that I didn’t like those foods; it was that I didn’t like the way my mother used to boil everything to death!

Another thing my bride had to put up with, was a tendency towards uneducated over-enthusiasm.  Let me give you an example.  At our church one week, we had a visiting preacher teach us on Spiritual Warfare prayer.  This is where you pray against the works of the devil.  The preacher encouraged us to be vigorous in our exhortations.  So, being part Maori, I thought it would be cool to mix prayer with a haka.  However, there’s one particular manoeuvre which I hadn’t quite mastered.  This is where you pretend to punch the ground.  (Demo)  Except, I accidently connected.  And broke the knuckle of my little finger.

This made for an interesting explanation at the A&E.  “This looks like a typical break as a result of a punch.  Were you fighting?” – “No, I was praying.”

“Oh.  Remind me not to visit your church.”

The last thing my bride had to put up with was a flair for the dramatic.  An example of this was when we were both interns at our church.  At one point, it was left up to us five interns to prepare and present an entire service.  Things were going swimmingly, until we got to the offering time.  We had decided to dress up as the cast from the Blues Brothers, play the Peter Gunn theme, and with toy guns “demand” the tithe.  After all, “we were on a mission from God.”  Apparently, this was the worse offering that church had ever received.  We were never asked to do that again.  In fact, I’ve just realised, this may be the reason we were never allowed back on stage again.

So, women are from Venus, men are from Mars and vive la difference!


Setting the record straight.