Partnership development in a world of uncertainty
By Deb Fox | Wycliffe Today Autumn 2022 |
Paul and Nicola Mangohig are Wycliffe Australia members preparing to head to Vanuatu to work with SIL in a translation, Scripture engagement and community development project. The Mangohigs moved to Darwin in 2020 to be closer to Paul’s family. While they continue working, they have also started raising financial and prayer support, and raising an energetic toddler.
Nicola says that networking with churches and organising partnership development during a worldwide pandemic has had its share of challenges:
Our biggest struggle right now is trying to stay focused on the Wycliffe stuff and keeping that as our main priority. There’s so much change happening just here. Mission doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it needs many people working together and supporting one another. We came to get a supporter base here and we felt such a peace about moving here at the beginning of the lockdowns and everything.
The time of waiting has been difficult for the family. Nicola adds:
There were so many unknowns – we didn’t know when the borders would reopen, we didn’t have a date for when we would be leaving. How do you share your plans with people so they can support you when you don’t even know what those plans will be yourself yet? Nothing is certain. People want information about when you’ll be leaving, where you’ll be staying, what you’ll be doing. We have this goal, this desire God has put in our hearts and he is very clearly orchestrating everything. Yet we had no idea when all these things would happen because there were so many moving pieces. I kept asking: ‘What can I do right now?’
One of the things the Mangohigs have chosen to focus on during their time of waiting is creating greater connections with the community around them. Nicola has joined a basketball team and is using it to grow relationships with the other members. Paul is the official supporter and unofficial ‘mascot’ for the club. This has created opportunities to encourage new friends and share the gospel. Nicola has also started a catering business called Mango Spice focused on vegan, gluten free and nut free biscuits and platters. As well as generating a small amount of income, the business is helping to support local businesses and share about the needs of translation in the Territory and eventually in Vanuatu. Nicola shares:
I’ve met so many wonderful people through the business. It’s taken off much quicker than I thought it would! It’s another avenue we’re using to connect with people and, when opportunities arise, share about our heart for mission and translation.
Paul adds that the time of uncertainty has actually helped them to pray and wait on God for guidance. He says:
We sensed that our time in Darwin was coming to an end. Now, we’re aiming to raise the required financial support by the end of this year then head off to Vanuatu by early January next year (God willing, of course). After a time of waiting, we now have a direction and a goal that allows us to focus on God’s plans for our future.
When they get to Vanuatu, Paul is planning to be a translation advisor and Nicola will be working in the area of Scripture Engagement. The Director of SIL Vanuatu recently contacted the couple and asked if they could be there in June for training. The Mangohigs were planning to go but the discovery of another baby on the way has meant that they will be in Australia for the birth of their second child.
Seven of us were preparing to go over to Vanuatu (including Wycliffe members Jared and Bethany Killey). We were asked to attend orientation and then come back [to Australia] for support raising but God has us here for a bit longer before that goal can come to fruition. We’re just enjoying making connections and trying to reflect Jesus with others while we wait.
For more information about Paul and Nicola, or to support them, go to https://wycliffe.org.au/member/paul-nicola/