Colin & Jena Mills

Colin and his wife Jena are currently based in Tondo, Manila and have been journeying alongside communities many years seeking to love and serve people around South East Asia, engaging in teaching and training, coaching and mentoring activities.

They seek to explore along with those they live with what living out the love of Jesus looks like in the variety of contexts. Most of the time it starts by simply listening, and then evolves towards sharing stories, sharing knowledge and/or experiences or conducting some more formal kind of training depending on the requests and desires of communities.

A significant part of Colin and Jena’s journey together over the last five years (and thus throughout the pandemic) has been related to creation care and the reconciliation of densely developed and highly populated urban spaces with nature, specifically Urban Farming.

Along with members from the communities they serve, they have been undergoing a process of creative reimagining and trialling of how producing fresh organic food in communities can not only provide a healthy food supplement to families but can also if adopted by groups of families or whole communities, can contribute significantly towards reducing plastic and organic waste outputs and also encourage segregation of waste (because all organic kitchen waste is directed back into making nutrient rich compost to grow more food, and plastic bottles and containers can be repurposed as pots for growing plants).

Families growing food in or around their homes contribute in a small way to reducing pollution emissions as no transport is needed for families to be able to access healthy fresh food from their gardens. These fresh food supplements produced in or around the home also this help contribute to take some pressure off often highly constrained family budgets too.

Colin and Jena partner with a local NGO, Lilok foundation in training communities that Lilok partners with and are working towards developing a set of comprehensive contextualised training materials in integrated diversified organic urban farming for people living in high density urban communities which includes integration where possible of raising and integrating fish and/or chickens into families food production spaces.

Colin and Jena are also involved in testing out and running low or near zero cost, replicable microbusiness models based around what they are able to produce from their garden that are easily adoptable and adaptable by others in the community. So far these include setting up micro nurseries, a bespoke herbal tea company and also another they will be starting soon will be a producing dried and powdered herbs to sell to customers for cooking.

Another social business model that Jena has been running during the pandemic and will be training people in is around soap making. The training gives people skills to make soap for themselves and also produce it to sell in their neighbourhoods and communities should they wish to. Jena also sells organic soaps, shampoos and conditioners made with products from our garden through her business The Care Habit.

She also lectures voluntarily as an online English lecturer teaching academic writing to Refugee students based in Malaysia through Judson Bible College Malaysia which was founded with an all volunteer staff but runs accredited degree and masters courses for refugee students and pastors of refugee churches in Malaysia so that by the time they would eventually be resettled to a 3rd country (usually US, Australia, Canada, Japan or Sweeden) they would arrive there with a degree in hand which would give them an advantage in being able to more easily access further education and other opportunities in the future.