Have you ever noticed that two of the most important moments in the Bible – in fact, two of the most fundamental tenets of our Christianity – occur in just one chapter?
In Matthew 28, we are not only told that Jesus has risen and conquered death but we are also given the Great Commission. In just a few paragraphs, we find our hope and our future, as well as our calling and mandate as Christians.Easter, therefore, offers not only a time to reflect on what Christ sacrificed for us in order to bring about our hope and salvation; it offers a reminder of who we are in him and what we are called to do. For it was a resurrected Jesus who gave the Great Commission; a Saviour who – in dying and being raised to life again – offers us hope and a mission worth giving our own lives for.
Hope in the slums
Wherever our field workers are called to in the world, they are guided by this very mission to share the hope found in Jesus and to make disciples.
For Mark and Christine Pedder, living and working in the urban slums of Manila, Philippines means they see and experience the effects of extreme poverty every day. But thanks to the five churches they’ve planted in these very slums – together with local leaders – they now also see hope.
People are finding Christ and local people are being discipled for a life of serving others and the church. “[We’re focused on] reaching people, raising leaders and releasing people into ministry,” Mark says. “We have started five churches now and have a rapidly growing youth ministry. The thing that excites us the most is how many genuinely home-grown leaders we have. Every pastor that works with us, every leader, at every level, they are all home grown. That’s effective discipleship.”
While the message they bring is transformative and the lives they change destined for eternity, Mark says ultimately, his “job is simple”. “I follow Jesus and encourage as many people as I can to do that as well,” he says.