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A letter from Jeff Boyd in the Congo

December 2013

Dear friends and supporters in mission,

An arch of palm fronds and a choir of women welcome visitors to a Presbyterian Church in Equatorial Guinea.

Greetings from Yaounde, Cameroon!  As you have hopefully already heard, in September Christi and I moved back to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.  I’ve been in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea these past couple of weeks visiting our partners as part of my role as Regional Liaison for Central Africa.  I have heard our partners reflect on our historical relationship and express a desire to keep that alive through shared ministries and new congregation twinning relationships.  Rev. Manuel Nzoh, the General Secretary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Equatorial Guinea (IRPGE), talked about all the people he met at the recent World Council of Churches meeting in Busan, South Korea.  Those contacts touched a deep felt need by Rev. Nzoh and his colleagues who regularly share with me their feeling of being alone and isolated.  The IRPGE is a small Protestant church of 30 congregations in a predominantly Roman Catholic nation.  Surrounded by French-speaking countries, Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking nation on the continent.  Despite having the longest relationship with the PC(USA) among all our partners in Africa, the IRPGE has no church-to-church partnerships nor any relations with a presbytery or synod.  So when Rev. Nzoh could meet fellow Christian leaders at the WCC meeting he was excited, especially as he joined in discussion groups with sisters and brothers from Latin America and could communicate without a translator.  Rev. Nzoh has come back fresh with hope for new relations with the church worldwide, open for sharing faith and experience across cultures.  As the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Equatorial Guinea struggles with its image as a small church feeling unable to make an impact, I’ve reminded them of how God has so often chosen the weak and downtrodden to bring God’s message and God’s blessing in this world.  We should all be particularly mindful of that during this time of Advent, that we be open to hear the prophetic words that may come from marginalized sisters and brothers who proclaim the hope for fullness of life in Christ even as local and global structures and forces are at play trying to deny that God’s goodness should be for all.

Rev. Manuel Nzoh Asumu showing visitors the Presbyterian school in Bata called The Resurrection.

As the year rounds up, Christi and I want to thank many of you for the contributions you have given to Presbyterian World Mission in support of our service as mission co-workers in Africa.  We also want to share with you a special opportunity to increase the impact of any further gifts before the end of the year.  Donations to E200314 for Jeff and Christi Boyd before December 31, 2013, will be matched with an equal gift to another account (E132192) that enables the sending and support of all mission personnel who are not fully covered already through directed giving.  In this way your gift goes twice as far for Presbyterian mission co-workers like us to be able to serve with our global partners on your behalf.  Since Christi and I are not fully supported through our two sending and support accounts D506075 (for churches and presbyteries) and E200314 (for individuals), we rely on the additional funds from the general mission sending and support account (E132192).

Because of changes in the designation of certain Extra Commitment Opportunities accounts, the funds given to E200314 and D506075 are now more important than before.  Christi and I, like all of our mission co-worker colleagues, have been asked to work closely with the Funds Development Team to raise support designated for us by more than 25 percent per year until we reach the average cost for sending and supporting a couple in the field.  Our “sending and support” expenses are actually higher, given the recent decision to stop having a separate “work budget” account for regional mission workers like Christi and me; instead those expenses are to be folded into our sending and support accounts.  As the new Regional Facilitator for Women and Children's Interests in Congo, Niger, South Sudan, Rwanda and Madagascar, Christi will have even more travels than I, and from now on all those expenses need to be covered by funds received in E200314 and D506075. I will therefore no longer ask for funds be given to E051695 Central Africa Liaison, but Christi and I do hope and ask for congregations like yours to deepen your involvement in our joint mission by giving generously to these accounts.

Rev. Manuel Nzoh Asumu surrounded by Presbyterian Women from Equatorial Guinea and the U.S.A.

I apologize for the pragmatic tone of this end-of-the-year letter. Again, Christi and I are deeply grateful for all the past support and we appreciate your prayerful consideration to continue to help us and our nearly 200 colleagues to serve as your mission ambassadors  in 50 countries around the world through Presbyterian World Mission.

As we celebrate God's desire for a closer walk with humankind through Christ's birth, life and death and Christ's invitation to partner with him for the sake of God's mission, please join Rev. Nzoh, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Equatorial Guinea (IRPGE), and us in World Mission in hope and prayers for partnerships, possibly triangular, that join our sisters and brothers in Equatorial Guinea with churches in the PC(USA) and in Latin America.        

May God’s grace and peace be richly felt and shared during Advent and into the New Year!

Jeff (and Christi)

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 100
Read more about Jeff and Christi Boyd's ministry

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Join the Matching Gift Challenge for World Mission from now through December 31, 2013.  Individual gifts given in this time frame, up to $90,500 will double in value and impact!  Consider giving your individual gift today.  For more information, please contact Relationship Development Operations at 1-800-728-7228.

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