One of the things we value in the Mosaic is learning about Kingdom living from each other’s stories. Each of our stories is a piece of God’s ‘Big Story’ of bringing His Kingdom here on earth. Living out a Kingdom way of life is not primarily about models of church, but some values and practices.
My friends Vinjelu and Kathryn Muyaba are living in Wetaskwin, Alberta. I love these guys. Though they have experienced disappointment and frustration in their journey of following Jesus, they have not let those disappointments stop them from risking.
They have a passion to see ‘deeper’ community and ‘incarnational’ mission lived out where ever God plants them. They love Zambia as that is where Vinj is from, and would love to be living there partnering with what God is doing in Africa. Yet for this season of their lives Jesus has plopped them in small town Alberta. They understand that joining God’s mission is not an issue of geography, but simply being present where ever we are. Our neighbourhood is our parish where we are called to be pastors and missionaries to those in the church and those who do not attend church. These lines need to be blurred.
They have been asked to pastor a small traditional Pentecostal church. Alongside that, they are tripping into what God is doing in the lives of their neighbours. I love God’s sense of humour in this. The best way to learn to be missional is not to be told the theory or concepts, but as Jesus modeled, to live it. Here is part of their story of how God has led them to connect with their neighbours.
We would like to share a little glimpse into some of the amazing things God has been doing in our midst. We moved into Wetaskiwin in November 2011 and one of the main challenges we received was practically living out our faith not on a pulpit, but in our neighborhood. I got a job with the church right across from our house! The first thing that God showed us was the neighborhood. We began falling in love with it and wondered how the church (and most of all our family) could engage in this neighborhood. So we decided to create a community garden! I walked around the neighborhood knocking on doors and making people aware that our church was going to use some of its land for a garden.
Our community has a number of apartment blocks, and so we saw this as relevant. We made raised beds. We immediately made friends with a couple that is not religious, but was very interested in the project! The first bed we made was with this couple, and they have grown to be good friends in the last 6 months! A single mom and her son were very excited, and they came along and planted a garden. We also had another couple come in and plant a garden. An elderly lady (but an EXPERT on gardening) planted a garden and gave everybody involved a few lessons!
All in all, the garden led us to knowing this community more, and firmly placing it into our hearts. We have been involved in missions and church work for 9 years, but for the first time we are starting to have a sense of ‘belonging’ to a community. We have one of the only bigger trees in on our street, so daily we get a few children from our neighborhood coming over to play!
I thank God for the summer because even though regular ‘church activities’ slow down, we have found an acceleration of God’s kingdom in this time. May we all continue to se God’s kingdom come on our streets and in the communities where we live!
Vinj and Kathryn