A man who found the gospel in his homeland is now working in Sydney to help plant churches, share the gospel with locals and help reach out to refugees from all around the world who live here.
Goodson Muleya originally hails from a village in the Mazabuka District in Zambia’s southern province. His parents died when he was seven and he was taken in by his uncle, but not treated well. Eventually, Mr Muleya ran away from home and spent time living on the streets while also trying to complete his studies and find work.
It was during his time on the streets that someone shared the gospel with him. Although like many in Zambia Mr Muleya had grown up going to church, he did not truly know and follow Jesus. It was after this chance encounter that he thought hard about whether he was truly a Christian and he decided he needed to change.
“After this confession my life was transformed,” he says. “I felt the need to forgive my uncle and everyone else who harmed me, as I was living in bitterness all these years after the death of my parents. Also, it dawned to me that not everyone who goes to church is Christian.”
This realisation drove Mr Muleya not only to share the gospel with his family and community, but to pursue vocational ministry after working for a time as an agricultural supervisor. Upon graduating from Harvest Time Bible College in South Africa he worked as a church planter and evangelist and, with a deep commitment to cross-cultural ministry, was involved in the planting of 21 churches across Africa.
“When I was living in Zambia, I wanted to associate with different cultures and nationalities and communicate with people that way,” he says. “Always, I have been wanting to preach to all nations.”
It was while he was in South Africa during 2008 at a church growth seminar that he met an Australian, who invited him to come and implement some of his ideas in an Australian context. This began with a church plant in Ashfield, followed by a further three church plants from the inner west all the way out to Marsden Park and Mount Druitt.
Four years after arriving in Australia, Mr Muleya joined St Philip’s, Auburn as an evangelist through connections made by his wife – who was working at Moore College at the time – and has continued his work in the same vein. He is involved in direct evangelism, community events, transporting individuals to church, and also makes regular visit to the local nursing home.
“When I came to Auburn I became involved in different kinds of ministries,” Mr Muleya says. “I’ve discovered in Australia the big differences between suburbs. The kind of ministry I did in Ashfield was different to what I did in each of the other places, and when I came to Auburn it was different again. But this is good, it has helped me to learn more about ministry and different cultures.”
He has also increasingly become involved with ministry to the large number of asylum seekers and refugees in the area. A fundraising project was recently held to raise money for a ute that is now used by all the churches in the area to transport furniture for housing and other goods – a ministry asset Mr Muleya maintains as well as co-ordinating its use.
“We’ve connected with a lot of people and some have become involved in the life of the church,” he says. “But we really want to do even better – get more people coming regularly and having friends we’ve made in the area become involved in the church as well.”