standard-title Staff and Volunteers

Staff and Volunteers


Scott Brown

Position: Executive Director
Scott is a Jewish believer in Yeshua who has been sharing the Good News of the Messiah with Jewish people since coming to faith in 1981.Raised in a traditional Jewish home in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Scott began his spiritual journey by moving into the woods and living a solitary life. It was there that a co-worker gave Scott a pocket New Testament. That little Bible launched a crisis of faith which eventuated in Scott’s salvation seven years later.Scott entered full time missionary service with Chosen People Ministries in 1988 and planted Son of David Congregation (SODC), which later birthed another messianic congregation - Sar Shalom Fellowship. Both congregations continue to flourish, and have been used of God to make many disciples among Jewish people.After 19 fruitful years of pastoral leadership at SODC, Scott, along with his wife Marjorie and four of their seven children, moved to New Zealand where Scott is serving as Director of Celebrate Messiah New Zealand. Scott is reaching out to the thousands of Israeli and other international tourists whose physical journeys are often attended with spiritual quests. Through seminars, conferences and church meetings, Scott is also equipping Christians throughout New Zealand with a broader understanding of Israel in prophecy, and the Jewish roots of Christianity.

Nigel Christensen

Position: Staff - North Island
Having parents who served in Jewish missions for over 40 years, Nigel was raised in an environment where God's love for Israel and the Jewish people was vibrantly expressed. This gave Nigel excellent insight into God’s plans and purposes concerning Israel, past, present and future, enabling him to become an excellent resource for the local church in such topics as Jewish evangelism, Israel in prophecy, and the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.Nigel came to personal faith in Jesus around age 7, and was baptised in the sea off the coast of Tonga at age 13. His background in primary school education has afforded him teaching positions in New Zealand and overseas.With a view toward working full time as a representative of CMNZ in the lower North Island, Nigel is currently seeking prayer partners and financial supporters who will partner with him in this endeavor. His role would include teaching in churches, supporting hosts (of Israeli travelers) in the lower North Island, and developing disciplemaking networks nationally. Nigel has an earnest desire to assist New Zealand believers in becoming more intentional in their efforts to make reproducing, fully functioning disciples of Jesus Christ, and to become more effective in sharing the Gospel with the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

Nita Yager

Position: Church Ministries Coordinator
Nita Yager has been seeking to know God and make Him known for nearly 35 years. She grew up in the southern U.S. and as a teenager she trusted Jesus for salvation. In university she learned to walk with God and make disciples of others. Nita married her husband, Mike, soon after graduating from university. For most of the last two decades she focused much of her energy on discipling their two children. The Yagers have also invested their heart, time, and talents to help other believers grow in their faith. Before joining Celebrate Messiah the Yagers lived in the Chicago area for twenty years. For ten years they were members of a Messianic congregation in Prospect Heights, IL, where Juanita served for two years as Congregational Administrator. It was in worshipping Messiah together with both Jews and Gentiles that Juanita developed a burden to see the Jewish people know their God, as well as a desire to help Gentile believers better understand the Jewish roots of their faith. Mike and Nita moved to New Zealand in 2015 to serve with Celebrate Messiah New Zealand as managers of Zula Lodge where they provided hospitality to Jewish travelers and other international backpackers in Wanaka. Nita now serves the churches of New Zealand as Church Ministries Coordinator.

Zohar Gonen

Position: Staff - South Island
Zohar was raised in a secular Jewish home in Israel. Like most young Israelis, after finishing his I.D.F. military service, he travelled abroad where he met, for the first time, Gentiles who love Israelis. Some of these dear believers told him about Yeshua being the Jewish Messiah and that salvation is only possible through Him.Shortly after returning to Israel, Zohar began weeping over the realisation of sin in his life. It was then that he acknowledged that the Lord Yeshua had sacrificed His very life for him. He also began to mourn for his own nation, knowing that they had rejected Him for 2,000 years. Thus began Zohar’s intense burden for his people, and a longing to see them turn to Yeshua in repentance and faith.Zohar joined an Israeli Hebrew-speaking congregation, where he met and married his wife, Tehila. Together they served in Israel for many years while raising their young children. For ten years Zohar worked as an engineer for a telecommunications company in Israel until the Lord amazingly led him to a wonderful Bible College in New Zealand. It was during their time in New Zealand that Zohar and Tehila realised the great potential for reaching out to Israeli travellers. Zohar followed God’s call to full time ministry among his people by coming on staff with Celebrate Messiah NZ.Zohar and Tehila reach out (in Hebrew) to many of the thousands of Israelis who travel through New Zealand each year, connecting interested Israelis to local congregations back in Israel. In addition, Zohar trains local believers on the subject of Jewish evangelism, the unique role and future of Israel, the Feasts of Israel and other related topics.The Gonens have five precious children whom they aim to raise to the glory of God: Aviel, Liam, Yakim, Eliya and Emette.

Anton Heyns

Position: Volunteer - North Island
Anton and Nicky have been blessed with a marriage of nearly 33 years and are the happy parents of three beautiful girls, a son-in-law, and the grandparents of one sturdy little man. They emigrated from South Africa in 2005 and are now living in Wellington where Anton is employed as a legal advisor at Police National Headquarters, while Nicky teaches at a Christian School. Anton has been practising law for 26 years, during which time he has also farmed, served in the army and pastored two churches. He has been in ministry, while tent-making, since he got saved 22 years ago, whether doing motorcycle evangelism, planting and pastoring churches, or simply sharing and teaching God's word at any opportunity that presents itself. Anton's particular love for Israel and the Jewish people really took off about seven years ago while teaching through the book of Genesis. Anton is convinced that the time when all Israel will be saved is fast approaching. Israel needs our support and the Jewish people desperately need our love and for us to show them their blessed Messiah. Anton is passionate about bringing this message to as many churches as possible.

Esther Grubb

Position: Administrative Assistant
Esther was brought up in India where her parents were working in evangelism and church planting. She trained as a teacher and taught for many years at all levels but her passion has been evangelism and reaching out to those who’ve never heard the Good News. Esther has been involved in mission work and evangelism for many years now, mainly in the area of literature and administration.When Esther visited Israel in the 80’s she developed a passion for the Jewish people. Ever since that time she has prayed for Israel and has had a passion for that land. Esther regularly gathers with like-minded friends to pray for the land of Israel and for various Messianic fellowships and groups. Over the years she has introduced friends to Prayer for Israel groups and aroused their interest in the land.Esther is a great blessing to CMNZ, serving part time in a number of administrative capacities. She has worked with CMNZ since November 2011 and receipts your donations, clears the mailbox and sends out Newsletters as well as helping with setting up meetings for our workers.