Young Couples and Families Continue to Faithfully Labour Right Where They Are
Recently, when Mallory McCall was walking in her neighbourhood with her two pre-school-aged children, a man with mental health issues began shouting at her, “You shine like the light of a thousand suns!”
Five years ago, Uriah and Mallory and their son Hassan moved into a new neighbourhood where Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs live. Social housing surrounds their property, and their low-income neighbourhood shows the effects of economic poverty. It isn’t the first choice for most middle-class, university-educated Christians to consider when buying a home.
Their children play in the nearby playground. They shop locally and frequent the community library, pool, and cafés. Staying close to home is a priority because of the opportunities it affords to meet people and to become known and trusted. Uriah and Mallory prayer-walk daily around their neighbourhood, which often leads to short interactions or conversations. Initially, the neighbouring children ran off when Uriah or Mallory greeted them. Now, they play in the McCall’s yard. Hassan, who’s now sixteen, reflects, “Maybe they can feel the light and know that [our home] is a safe place.”
Please pray for Uriah and Mallory, along with their children, as they complete their move to Kailua, Hawaii in the US. They are trusting God to be able to add to their family through adoption. God has already planted them in a wonderful like–minded community there and they are in touch with The Navigators in Hawaii as well.
Way above Christchurch, and bounded by hills and ocean, is Mt Pleasant, a leafy suburb where Tom and Merodie Rose live with their children. They felt called to live in this community, even though it is hard for outsiders to perceive need in this exceptionally functional, high socio-economic neighbourhood.
Rather than being a separate Christian presence in their community, Team Rose is active in the local community centre. Tom serves on the committee, Merodie and the kids participate in the preschool and Plunket groups, volunteer at the café and go to the weekly farmers’ market. Over time, Tom and Merodie have developed friendships. They say, “People confide in us,” as evidenced recently by a challenging situation within the community that people went to Tom to talk about. In a culture where it’s hard for people to be vulnerable to their incompetencies, people feel comfortable talking to Tom and Merodie. Light in the darkness.
Team Rose consciously chose to make this community their primary place of belonging. After initially feeling quite lonely, God has helped their attitude shift. “We’ve made an intentional effort to see these people as our people.” To maintain their connection to The Navigators, they attend City-wide functions, Leadership Community, and local gatherings held across the district.
4 Keys To Living Out the Good News to Your Neighbours
#1 Look – draw a relational map of your neighbourhood and prayerfully reflect on people and relationships. Walk and pray around your neighbourhood.
#2 Prepare – find others for support and accountability e.g., a mentor to pray and talk with, others intentionally reaching their neighbourhoods. Pray for a ‘person of peace’ in your neighbourhood. Be prepared to share about Jesus.
#3 Develop rhythms – find routines that build community e.g., walks, dinners, games night. Who can help host?
#4 Clear purpose – consider your purpose and initiatives. Persevere, trust take time. Speak your faith – share your story, pray for others, be intentional. Romans 10:14-17