A Letter from Jim McGill, serving in Niger and South Sudan
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Dear friends and family,
I have just returned to Niamey after having had a wonderful month with the family in the U.S. We celebrated Christmas together as an immediate family, drove to Florida for a brief visit with my sister and her family, and my brother and sister-in-law came from South Carolina to visit on his very first day of official retirement. Our daughter Salome, who had been attending the American College in Greece, returned home for Christmas, and is hoping to continue her education closer to home. She, and the other three older children, Jason, Michael, and Selina, are searching for a place to rent that they can all share. Selina, who had been taking virtual college classes, had her first in-person classes, so this was a new experience. John and Joseph attend their junior year classes in-person, and both continue to take part in soccer and track, and Joseph in JROTC.
During the month, we also experienced the global nature of the Church. Jodi and I were able to run up for an overnight visit with former mission co-workers Michael and Rachel Weller in Wise, Virginia. Michael serves as the pastor of two small rural congregations, and Rachel is involved in the music and community work. They are leading those congregations in very much the same holistic manner that they led congregations in Ethiopia. Wise was previously a coal town, and although seemingly very far in distance and nature from their previous home in Gambella, Ethiopia, the suffering in rural Virginia and Ethiopia have a commonality. Both communities are dealing with significant problems that are keeping people from being able to thrive. Jodi and I were able to worship with the Wellers at Pound, VA, one of the two churches pastored by Michael. That congregation has decided to establish a community center to create a connection and an opening with those who feel far from and unwanted by the Church. It was truly a blessing to be able to experience Christ’s work through the Wellers, reaching out with a common purpose to people in need in very different contexts.
Rev. Tom Hagood, the pastor of Columbia Presbyterian Church (CPC) and a leader in the New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta (NSMA), approached me to see how the church might partner with the EERN church in Niger. CPC is a Matthew 25 Church and is looking to expand its efforts internationally. Part of the EERN’s work in helping Nigeriens step out of poverty is encouraging girls to stay in school, including supplying reusable sanitary pads. The EERN identified the Sara Association as a local Christian organization that teaches girls who have left school how to sew. Pastor Tom and I met with Melissa Johnson, a mission co-worker in Zambia. She has helped the Zambian Church’s Health Programme become certified sanitary pad producers and will now help CPC understand how it might best support this sewing training group. These partnerships will allow members of CPC to get to know a few of the girls in training at the Sara Association and some of the girls who attend EERN’s schools in Niger.
Before I left for the U.S., the EERN SMART Centre was moving forward with trainings for manual drilling and fabrication of WASH products and with the Menstrual Health and Hygiene work at the Eglise Evangelique de la Republique du Niger (EERN) schools. Most of this work stopped for a couple of weeks over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and is beginning again in full swing. As part of the EERN’s ‘One Evangelist – One Well’ programme, a borehole was drilled during this time so that the students living at an EERN ‘Hosting Centre’ for students who live too far to travel back and forth to school daily now have water at this residence.
Our prayer is that the Lord will turn his face toward each of you and give you peace through this new year. Thanks for all of your continuing support,
Jim and Jodi
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Tags: ‘Hosting Centre’, Association of Hispanic Theological Education (AETH), borehole, Catherine González Resource Center, Columbia Presbyterian Church, Columbia Seminary, EERN ‘One Evangelist – One Well’ programme, EERN Niger, EERN SMART Centre, Justo and Catherine González, Matthew 25 Church, Menstrual Health and Hygiene work at the Eglise Evangelique de la Republique du Niger (EERN), Niamey, niger, Sara Association, the New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta (NSMA)
Tags: Jim McGill
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