Monday, June 18, 2007

Mangere Baptist

4:50 PM
Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself." - Walt Whitman

Our first ministry opportunity has been partnering with Mangere Baptist Church. The church is pastured by Dean Clarkson, who has an amazing vision and passion for this community. Mangere is a lower-income, poverty-stricken, interracial community. The city has 110 churches, worshipping gods from across the world. Most Christian churches tend to be legalistic and rules-based, and the vision that Dean has for Mangere Baptist is one of grace and freedom in Christ. With such a small church body, the physical demands to the church's building cannot be met. This is where we come in. We have the opportunity to paint, and clean, and strip wallpaper, and garden, and so much more for this new body of Christ. It's really exciting. We will be attending church with them on Sunday nights, which is followed by a fellowship dinner. Thursday nights they have a prayer/small group night at Dean and his wife, Jackie's home which we also are attending. It has been incredible to realize that halfway across the world, we can worship and serve the same God that I was worshipping and serving back in America. It has taught me the vastness of the Body of Christ. I am reminded that God is not defined by a building, or a city, or a country. He truly does love the whole world, and I get to minister to another part of this world.

Dean took us up to Mangere Mountain, which overlooks the city, and led us in a time of prayer for the community last week. It was quite a view and an accurate picture of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. But it was a defining moment in our trip.

We have already begun to minister to people that we meet. The painters who are working at Mangere have made comments about how they can't believe a group of people our age would come here and do this for no money. A Muslim woman who lives in flats that the church owns said she recognized what we were doing as what Jesus did. And we've gone into the prominent town market and have begun intentional conversations with people that we meet. It's a new and scary thing for me, this relational evangelism. But I am excited to know, that when we leave we're able to connect them other men and women of God who will continue investing in their lives.

Please keep in prayer Mangere Baptist, Dean, Jackie, and their beautiful girls Libby Jane and Leah, the community of Mangere, and the work we do.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!