I talked to Mandy Hudson, first year MA student about a call to pioneering that took her to the other side of the world and back.
HH: Mandy, you have lived in New Zealand for 12 years working with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and in the Probation Service. Can you tell us what took you there and how you found life in NZ?
MH: I read a book entitled If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. This led me to reflect on Matthew 14 and what it meant to leave a place of security to step out into the unknown. I prayed into this for about a year and one day I was at a youth pastor’s conference at Holy Trinity Brompton, when during a time of ministry, I felt God call me to go to New Zealand. Some months following this calling, the company I was working for began a programme of voluntarily redundancy and I was the first to put my hand up to take it and left for New Zealand one year later.
I went out to New Zealand to do a Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Auckland. There I was introduced to many Maori and Pacific Island friends. These warm cultured people welcomed me in and quickly became teachers to me in cross-cultural missions. I think New Zealand was like a rite of passage into missions that took me out of my comfort zone and opened up opportunities for me to travel more extensively to other cultures. Living in South Auckland I was introduced to perhaps a side of NZ that doesn’t feature in its tourism advertisements! It was here I felt led to work in the criminal justice system focusing on youth offenders. And that was a whole other baptism of fire! I love NZ and feel it is most definitely my second home.
HH: Now you’re back in the UK: can you tell us more about your work as a youth and young adults pastor and about your church, All Nations Revival Church?
MH: Currently, I have returned to youth ministry (I don’t think I have ever really left it just undertook it in different forms). I pastor and teach young people aged 12–17 in our youth group, also run a ministry to our university students and in addition have responsibilities for a young adults’ ministry. The church is a charismatic independent church in south-west London, All Nations Revival Church. I have attended this church for a number of years keeping connection with it when they commissioned me to go to NZ.
HH: I think we are often thinking of BL, DL and AL – Before, During and After Lockdown! Before Lockdown you travelled with YWAM teaching internationally and supporting pioneers. Please tell us about that, especially the highs and lows.
MH: Lockdown confirmed to me how much I loved and missed travelling to teach with YWAM and how much I have a passion to encourage those who are pioneering in different locations. I had the amazing privilege of coming alongside missionaries in different countries and cultures who are training young people in short-term missions with a view to moving into long-term missions. I often laughed how I felt God took me to obscure places to minister with faithful locals as well as international staff through mentoring and pastoral ministry. The challenge they faced was often that little intentional pastoral care led to discouragement on the field. Also, finding a sense of home in a culture that was not like their home culture. Going out for lots of local coffees helped them process!
HH: And I know locally you have been involved in facilitating an online bereavement course and an online prayer course. Can you say more about that and what might be coming next – After Lockdown?
MH: During lockdown a friend and I started an online bereavement course and also a prayer course. This was a new ministry for me, teaching online, but one I believe will be part of life beyond lockdown. I am taking time to pray and seek God through the Bible books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah to reflect on the message of these post-exilic books and taking time to decide priorities for the next season.
HH: You are a first year MA student and I know you are enjoying your studies – what led you to us, and what is it about studying with CMS that has been so enjoyable?
MH: I was led to begin studying again through my friend, Hayley, who is also on the MA course. I felt that if I was not going to be travelling so much, a good use of my time would be to invest in studying especially missions and pioneering. I do enjoy the community that CMS provide for studying that stimulates, disturbs and redirects my thoughts on the topics we study! I enjoy hearing from tutors and fellow MA students even if it’s only through a Zoom platform at the moment. I also really enjoyed the CMS library when we got to be there physically.
HH: And, lastly, how can we pray for you, Mandy?
MH: I would value prayer for my ongoing youth and young adults’ ministry for discernment in how to lead them as we emerge out of lockdown. I am also keen to pick up the travelling and teaching ministry with YWAM but at present we are restricted to online schools, so contentment for the present!