Mark, Cathy and Tom Delaney

Cathy: I grew up in Toowoomba and Kingaroy, before studying at The University of Queensland (UQ) in the 1980s, completing a BSc (Hons) in Maths and Computer Science.  Being part of two different Christian groups on campus was very formative, and after graduating I wanted a break from academics to prioritise serving Jesus and the community. Taking an opportunity to work with homeless teenagers in Logan City, led to almost a decade of youth and community work.

Mark: I grew up in Lismore. I had a year as an exchange student in Denmark in 1985, and then studied Law & Commerce at UQ, before practising law briefly in Brisbane.  I became a Christian while a student and was deeply influenced by Christian peers and leaders there, which led to a short-term mission immersion in India, and moving away from pursuing a “normal” career and life path.

We met through short term mission exposure trips to India. We married in 1993 and joined St Andrews South Brisbane in 1994, just as the 10.30 am Sunday service was getting under way (in those days in the Blue Room). In 1994 we also joined Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor (“Servants”) and were sent out by the St Andrews congregation to South Asia in March 1995, with a mandate for wholistic mission in urban slums.

Tom: Our two sons, Tom and Oscar, were both born in Asia and have spent much of their lives there, first doing their education in local schools, then finishing through Brisbane School of Distance Education.  Tom chose to continue his life in Asia rather than Australia, and remained there through the coronavirus pandemic.  He was living in the same slum we used to live in as a family, and working very hard to help his neighbours in this extremely difficult time.

As a family, we have lived and worked with the poor in slums in South Asia for much of the last 25 years, being good neighbours and building deep friendships, as well as assisting residents to become literate, access medical care, education and other government entitlements.  Over the years I (Mark) had various roles within Emmanuel Hospital Association alongside our informal involvements in the slum communities where we lived.  Local laws and culture (as well as good mission practice) mean that overtly spiritual or evangelistic work is generally best done by locals, so we supported local people in that work, both practically and financially.

In recent years various family needs, visa problems, and coronavirus have all led to more time spent in Australia.  Now (mid 2022) Mark, Cathy and Tom have returned to Asia while Oscar continues his studies at UQ.

Our long stay in Asia has been enabled by God’s great provision and protection, including through the support of many faithful friends at St Andrews South Brisbane.  Over many years, people have supported us through giving financially, praying regularly, and keeping in touch through newsletters, emails  and Zoom calls.

In the coming years, Tom will continue his work in literacy and helping people access proper health-care and other services and schemes meant to benefit the poor. He’s also looking for ways to combat corruption, and influence social and spiritual beliefs.  Cathy’s main role will be to help decrease the burden of tuberculosis in poor communities.  This might include increasing community awareness, facilitating access to free government diagnosis and treatment, and building systems of support for patients and their families.  Mark will focus on local friendships in our neighbourhood, and continue his leadership role in Servants.

Our faith, particularly in Christ’s teachings, and His special care for the marginalised of our society, continue to be the foundation and guide for our work with the poor in Asia.

Mark, Cathy and Tom
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