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Mark and Cathy 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.

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.

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.

Along with Oscar, we are now in Australia for several years to help Oscar (now 19) settle into University, where he is studying a BSc/BA majoring in genetics, maths and philosophy. Cathy: I am (finally) studying theology, hoping to complete my Masters by the end of 2021.  Mark: At present I am playing a major role in the International Coordination team of Servants.

Tom (now 24) is still living in the same slum we used to live in as a family, and is working very hard to help his neighbours in this extremely difficult time of COVID-19.  Quite a few people from St Andrews South Brisbane are part of Tom’s wonderful community of supporters, giving financially, and also through regular email and Zoom contact.

Experts warn that the growing climate emergency threatens to undo many hard-fought developmental gains in recent decades in South Asia and elsewhere.  As a family, we have been increasingly concerned and active on this front, because it’s an issue of human disregard for God’s creation, and an issue of justice for the poor. This led me (Mark) and Tom to co-author ‘Low Carbon and Loving It’, published in 2018.

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, be it with the poor in Asia, or in caring for God’s unique Creation.

Mark and Cathy
< Mission support

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