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Jim’s Trip “Home” to Malawi

A letter from Jodi McGill in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from Malawi

October 2016

Write to Jim McGill
Write to Jodi McGill

Individuals: Give online to E200385 for Jim and Jodi McGill’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D506718 for Jim and Jodi McGill’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

Dear friends and family,

Thank you for your support of our work through your donations in memory of Jim’s mother Nancy, who died on September 5. It is a tribute to her faithful and loving service as a mission co-worker for more than 20 years with the PC(USA).

Jim is away for about six weeks working in Malawi and Niger. He was hoping to be able to return to South Sudan, but with the renewed violence last month, the projects were temporarily suspended. The impact of the conflict on the people of the area remains tragic and only increases their basic needs for living, like water, food, and shelter.

For his trip to Malawi Jim was able to join a group of Virginia Tech mechanical engineering seniors on a quick visit to Blantyre to work with CCAP SMART Centre entrepreneurs on their Design Projects. These projects were given the constraints of producing technologies that were Simple, Market-based, Affordable, and Repairable (SMARTechs) for Malawian clients. In working with their Malawian counterparts, the students were able to learn and experience a new culture with new friends and better understand Malawian daily life. The Malawians received some innovative ideas that can improve their manual drilling processes, decrease the energy required to pump from deep wells, and improve hygiene in potentially hazardous pit latrine emptying operations.

At the completion of the work in Blanytre, the Virginia team returned to the U.S.A. and Jim traveled north to visit colleagues in the CCAP Development Department and some of our Malawian family. He visited Livingstonia, which is seeing a tremendous road-building project that will increase access to the Station but is also interfering with the newly installed piped water system. The CCAP SMART Centre continues to grow and add more options for producing low-cost water and sanitation options for Malawians, including a one-solar-panel-operated pump for less than $500.

Of personal importance, Jim was able to visit with Malawian friends and family in Mzuzu and Embangweni. In Mzuzu, Jim was able to see the family of Chrissy Zimba, of whom we have written before, and who is now away in Zimbabwe finishing her master’s degree. He met Chrissy’s 6-month-old son, Fortune, for the first time, her husband, and her mother. At Embangweni Jim was able spend some precious and important time with our Malawian grandmother, or Gogo in Chitumbuka, Chrissy Nyirongo, mourning the loss of Jim’s mother and recounting stories of lives shared in Embangweni. Our daughter Salome’s first name, Chrissiana, was created from a combination of Chrissy from Gogo Chrissy and Anna, which was the legal first name of Jim’s mother.

Christmas is just around the corner and as we contemplate the rush of these fall and winter holidays, we ask that you remember Malawi in your prayers as so many in the country are facing yet another severe season of hunger and true starvation.

We will be together as a family just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving, which will be wonderful. We are looking forward to hearing details of Jim’s trip “home” to Malawi and to hearing more about life in Niger. Jim will be available to resume visiting and sharing about his work after Thanksgiving until midsummer 2017, so please contact us with any requests you may have to organize a visit. A special benefit of being in the U.S.A. longer than anticipated is having more time to exchange information about the church in various places in the world including the U.S.A., and to have the chance to experience the love of God with congregations from across cultures.

May your Thanksgiving and Christmas be not only joy filled, but may you see yourself as Henri Nouwen says, beloved by God, and as such, may you show others through your faith in action, that love.


Jim, Jodi, Michael, Jason, Salome, Selina, John, and Joseph

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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