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“Surely the Lord is in this place!” Gen. 28:16

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Photo of Derek Forbes.

Read letters from Derek Forbes

June 2011

Rev. Derek Forbes

Derek ended mission service with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 2012.

About Derek Forbes' ministry
Derek Forbes was appointed in January 2011 to serve with the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) in Zimbabwe. The UPCSA requested a mission co-worker to help its Zimbabwe Presbytery build more capacity for effective ministry. Derek Forbes is working to enhance the presbytery’s accountability, transparency, efficiency and record-keeping. He will also be developing training programs that will help others implement streamlined policies and empower them to do their jobs more efficiently. By having a mission worker focused on strengthening their administrative capacity, church leaders in Zimbabwe will be able to more effectively guide a church that is striving to be a positive witness for the gospel in a country laden with severe political and economic challenges.

While the challenges facing Zimbabwe are numerous, Derek Forbes sees the Zimbabwean church as a beacon of hope that can light the way to a more promising tomorrow.

“The church in Zimbabwe has long had a strong influence in areas of education, health care and care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS,” Derek says. “I hope that congregations can continue these services and brighten the present time and the future in Zimbabwe.”

About Derek Forbes
Derek sensed a call to help his Zimbabwean brothers and sisters build a better life. Before his departure to Zimbabwe he said: “I hope to use my abilities to help the congregations and presbytery in Zimbabwe while proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and sharing God’s love for the world.”

Zimbabwe and its people were on Derek’s mind long before he accepted a call to mission service. He participated in a partnership between the Presbytery of Zimbabwe and the Presbytery of Denver, where he was a pastor. “I was drawn to this partnership, to these individuals I met and to the nation itself,” Derek says. “When I first heard about the position of mission co-worker with the Presbytery of Zimbabwe—from a dear friend who herself has traveled to Zimbabwe a number of times—I was very excited about applying.”

Derek prayed about the opportunity and gradually developed a strong sense that God has called him to Zimbabwe. “My faith and my theology lead me to believe that this is the Holy Spirit providing reassurance and support when it is perhaps needed most,” he explains.

A self-described lover of people, Derek says he will devote much time to building deep relationships with Zimbabweans and learning more about their struggles. He wants to know “how their faith in God helps them overcome such difficulties, enabling them to love each other and those in their surrounding community.”

One of Derek’s favorite Scripture passage emphasizes the role of community. It is Mark 2:1–12, which tells the story of a paralyzed man whose friends brought him to Jesus to be healed. “Among a number of significant theological issues from this passage is that the paralytic never even speaks in this encounter in which he is healed,” Derek says. “The text tells us that Jesus sees the faith of the paralytic’s friends and then proceeds with the healing. What a beautiful example of the significance of faith communities.”

Prior to entering mission service, Derek served for two years as pastor of Bennett Presbyterian Church in Bennett, Colorado. He was an industrial engineer working with aerospace systems before he became a minister. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and management from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in international business from the University of Denver, and a master’s degree in divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Birthday: March 28

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