The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | December 2006
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Moko, Ann, Susie and Moko Mareangareu

The Mareangareu Family
New Zealand homeowners experiences peace and promise

Lisapeta Mareangareu
A sense of peace has come over the Mareangareu family since they moved into their Habitat home in south Auckland, New Zealand, in September 2000. Parents Moko and Susie say that their Habitat home has paved the way for physical security and serenity for their family of five, which includes 18-year-old Lisapeta, 12-year-old Ann and 7-year-old Moko. 

The Mareangareus first heard about Habitat for Humanity in a local newspaper article. Moko and Susie contributed sweat equity on their own home as well as the homes of others, and in the process, they developed lasting friendships with some of the 10 Habitat families in the area.

Susie believes that the home they built with Habitat has transformed their lives. "It has to do with the environment," she says. "It is not just the children, but the adults who are affected, too. If we have no peace within ourselves, the children will have no peace."

While a lack of job security had proved tough for the family when they first moved into their Habitat home, Moko soon started work as a fabrication engineer. Susie became a teacher and is now in the last year of her early childhood education courses.

The Habitat home also spelled big changes for the three Mareangareu children. Their previous home was a travel trailer on the property of their paternal grandparents, where they lived for four years. Space was limited, privacy virtually nonexistent. Now Moko and Ann can walk the 10 minutes to their school and invite their friends to their three-bedroom home for a sleepover. Homework is done in their shared room or at the dining room table.

Lisapeta, who has finished seventh form (or graduated from high school), has been dancing competitively since the age of 8, after learning the Cook Island dance form from her father. But, she says, practicing for competition was taking time away from her family and from church.

Two years ago, when she saw other young people dancing during worship in church, something stirred in her. She suddenly felt that she could worship God with her dancing, too. This sincere desire led to a trip to Manado, the provincial capital of North Sulawesi, Indonesia, with her pastor and some church friends in June 2006. She shared her testimony and performed the Cook Islands dance for villagers in Manado. "I have developed a deeper relationship with the Lord through dance," she says.

Lisapeta aims to share the gospel through her dance worship and to make a difference in others' lives, be it in New Zealand or elsewhere, through Habitat or another nongovernmental organization. Today, she works temporarily as a cafe assistant. Eventually, she says, she'd like to attend Bible college and become a missionary.

Additional reporting by Jane Mead






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