Pastor – Mark Mullins
Mark Mullins became a Christian while a student at Durham University, at the age of 19 after a year of experimental atheism and a number of years of half-hearted nominal Christianity. The thought that there would be no judgment simply did not ring true and the realisation that Mark was not ready for God’s judgment sent him to the cross where he found the joy of sins forgiven and the assurance that he would be in heaven when he died. At the age of 21 his heart’s desire was the British Army where he served for seven years including operations in Northern Ireland and the Gulf. He left the Army in 1994 and trained as a Barrister. He specialises in crime and immigration. For 5 years he served on the council of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (LCF) chairing the London Committee and public policy work from 2003 to 2008. From 2002 to 2012 Mark was an elder at Stroud Green Christian Assembly which is a Word-based Pentecostal church. In 2012 Mark spent six months assisting with the ministry at Harebreaks Gospel Hall in Watford before joining the eldership at Strangers Rest in September. He was appointed pastor by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches in January 2013.
Assistant Pastor/Evangelist – Ernie Amurao & Sunday School Teacher – Faye Amurao
Ernie Amurao was living as a devout Roman Catholic until the age of seventeen. One day, one of his cousins, Danny, who became a Christian in a local church, Clark Field Baptist Church, invited him to a Sunday morning service. Ernie attended the church for a year, when during one service, an American preacher, Reverend Tolleson, preached on sin. His text was Romans 3:23, ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.’ He pointed out that the promise of eternal life was Romans 6:23. Immediately, the Holy Spirit convicted Ernie of his sin. Hearing the call to believe in Hebrews 3:15, he realised that he needed to be saved from his sins and to know Christ as his Saviour and Lord. Later, he was counselled by one of the church pastors, Pastor Manalang, on the way of salvation. He joined a doctrinal class for a few weeks which lead to his baptism on October 1973.
His wife, Faye, was also brought up in a Roman Catholic family and lived as devoutly. At the age of eighteen, the Lord led her to care of the children of a Christian family. She noticed that they were different from other families, such as how they prayed before meals, how they were loving, and how they attended church regularly. They also read the Bible together – a book she had never encountered in the Roman Catholic church. One day, she invited herself to join them at a Sunday service. At the same church where Ernie was converted, she was welcomed by the members. Pastor Manalang, encouraged her to come weekly. Him and his wife also organised a Bible study at her home. Not long afterwards, she realised that she needed Jesus Christ as her Saviour from her sins and to forgive her. She came to understand that the Bible is God’s word. When she heard a sermon on heaven and hell, that those who trust and give their hearts to Jesus would go to heaven, and those who reject him would go to hell, the Holy Spirit touched her heart. It was September 1973. She had surrendered her life, herself, and asked Jesus to come into her heart as her Lord and Saviour. A few months later, she was baptised in her commitment to follow Christ. Since then, she has served the Lord without looking back as his servant.
Ernie and his wife met at church, married and were called to full-time ministry in Baguio City, Philippines in 1980. At that point, Ernie was studying for a Divinity Masters while working part-time in the accounts office of the school.
Providentially, Ernie was reading a Southern Baptist newspaper when he caught sight of an advert of a Men’s Baptist conference in Wales in July 1987. He applied and was invited. During his visit to the UK, he was visiting a niece living near Strangers’ Rest Mission Church. In the lift, he met Pastor Daley and the church evangelist and started sharing the Gospel to them. Ernie was told that his interlocutors were Christians too and was invited to attend a Sunday service. He attended a few services during his visit.
Pastor Daley and Ernie maintained communication while Ernie was back in Philippines. SRM church called Ernie to become its evangelist in 1991. Two years later, his wife and children joined him to support the ministry. As an evangelist, he carries out door-to-door witnessing, engages people in the area regarding the Gospel and invites others to visit the church. He preaches occasionally and more so recently. He organises discipleship and training in evangelism for several members. In 2011, Ernie began a five-year course at the London Reformed Baptist Seminary at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
Faye has been a Sunday school teacher and worker at the Children’s Friday club since her arrival to the UK. She has worked alongside the previous minister’s wife in the women’s Monday meeting. They visit people with needs regularly.
Since joining the church, they have seen the baptism of a few members and the membership and growth of some Sunday school children and their parents.