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A letter from Catherine Day in Malawi

February 28, 2010

February has been a “settling in” month. After six months in Malawi, things are beginning to come to a pattern of life. I’m beginning to feel that I am at home in my job. This has been evident in a number of ways.

First, I’m writing this from my synod office, not from my home. That is a major step in settlement. In a synod that is growing, finding office space becomes a challenge. The physical plant of the synod consists of the original mission buildings from the late 1800s. As the synod’s ministry expands and new folks join the staff, the challenge is to adapt the historic space to the current need. This is not unlike the situation in many of our older church buildings in the States. New spaces are created; old ones are reconfigured. It has taken some time to reconfigure the right spot to allow pastors easy access to my office and to integrate my work into the flow of the synod programming. After several proposals, the right spot has been reconfigured, an office created near the other offices of those in the synod involved in education at various levels. It is a perfect fit. I feel at home.

But more important than a location is the programming that is being done. That has come into focus this month, too, both in the pastors’ training and at Chigodi. For the pastors, this took the form of workshops for the presbytery clerks and moderators’ training. These were first events of their kind. All the clerks and moderators are pastors whose training has been in theology, not administration. So these sessions aimed at better equipping these pastors to administer their presbyteries. I was the facilitator, working with synod officials and an excellent layman, lawyer and friend of the synod, Mr. Musolole. The training was so well received that the pastors suggested that we present this to all pastors in the presbyteries to aid their churches. We are working on those plans for the future. At Chigodi, while we are still wrestling with the water issue, we have determined to move forward with programming on a small scale. The new program director, Mrs. Majamanda, a capable, energetic Malawian, has moved into the director’s house and is initiating some new programs and re-instating some of the traditional training options. Mrs. Majamanda has served as the Women’s Coordinator for Chiradzulu Presbytery for more than 15 years, so she knows the women of the church and the needs of the women and of the church. This is her frame of reference for the programming. At present all of the programming is on a small scale because we do not have much money but we are working to address that issue, too. Alongside the programming, we are developing income generating projects that combine training and profit for the Center, like teaching a few women with tailoring skills to make clerical stoles, coveted items among the pastors of the synod. The facility is beginning to come to life again.

All of these things have combined to make it feel like I am finding a place within the synod and doing something of significance for the synod. For this I praise God. Please pray with me for the development of these plans and programs. Pray that they would be beneficial for the participants and for the church.

The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 59

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