Andy Matheson Serving Urban Poor
Andy Matheson (M.A.I.C.S. '01) works as international director of Oasis, a worldwide ministry to urban poor founded and based in London. He completed the majority of his master's degree at Fuller while on a one-year sabbatical. He recently shared about his ministry with E-News.
As a young adult, Andy felt a strong call to mission. An aunt working in India gave him interest into that country, and his life's direction was set.
He spent close to 20 years serving in India before taking on the role of Oasis international director. He is now based in England, and his three children (13, 10, 8) are living in England for the first time.
Oasis seeks to demonstrate the Christian faith through actions as well as words. With 250 team members worldwide, Oasis serves in Bombay and Bangalor in India, two cities in Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. Soon, teams will also be based in Bangladesh and in Mozambique. Oasis staff includes nurses, engineers, carpenters, and others from a variety of professional disciplines.
"My hope is that we will have an impact in the mega-cities," Andy says. "They are the growing front of mission. The number of marginalized, the excluded is so high--it's the challenge of the day."
Of the 17 million people in Bombay, 6 million live in slums or on the streets. Oasis teams minister to street children, people working in brothels, and people with AIDS.
"It's important that you don't go in with a 'client-provider' service orientation," Andy says. "We are there on a long term basis to empower them. It's a very vulnerable position to be in. We work with them to find hope in their own lives."
Andy explains that a person trapped in a destructive lifestyle needs a radical encounter with God. "For example, street children can become addicted to that life on the streets. Unless God is involved, it's very difficult," he says. "They need to have an encounter with Jesus, really. Once they've had that encounter then they have all the resources of heaven."