Lord, Help Us to Be Your Church

A letter from Ruth Brown, serving in Zimbabwe

October 2017

Write to Ruth Brown

Individuals: Give online to E200528 for Ruth Brown’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507542 for Ruth Brown’s sending and support

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


Chikondano! (Love!) to you all!

This summer’s riot in Charlottesville, VA brought the Church to prayer and discussion of our roles in resolving conflict and in loving our neighbors. A worship leader at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA, Dr. Bob Knox, led us to prayerfully consider the gap between who we are as a Church and where God desires for us to be. Dr. Knox ended our service with the prayer, “Lord, help us to be your Church.”

We learn daily how the communities devastated by this year’s storms have come together, trying to meet the needs of tens of thousands of residents. Collective and coordinated assistance from individuals and organizations seems key in providing relief. Good communication and coordinated assistance between individuals and organizations is also crucial to providing the best care for our partners in mission throughout the world.

With this newsletter, I invite you to join a network for such communication and coordination of services with World Mission and another of God’s communities, the Presbyterian churches in Zimbabwe. I invite you to learn about and to love our family in Christ in Zimbabwe by coming together in prayer, worship, and joyful, loving response—as individual churches, and at presbytery, national, and international levels—with the people of Zimbabwe.

What national and international networks are at work in our church to support the Presbyterian churches in Zimbabwe? Every year, the Zambia-Zimbabwe-Mozambique (ZZM) Mission Network, a network of both Americans and Zimbabweans, meets in the USA to support World Mission in Zimbabwe.
Goals of the most recent ZZM plan include:
• establishing an intercontinental study group to research best practices in microfinance, sustainable agriculture, irrigation, and response to climate change;
• establishing a plan to assist churches in achieving lower HIV/AIDS infection rates; and
• establishing distance learning and scholarships for theological students and funding for theological institutions.

If you wish to learn more about this ZZM Mission Network and/or to become a member, please email me.

What partnerships exist between a church in the USA and the Presbyterian Church in Zimbabwe? One known partnership exists: Since 2007, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (MAPC) has organized exchange visits between MAPC and congregations of the Church of South Africa Presbytery (CCAP)-Harare Synod in Zimbabwe. MAPC members and church members of CCAP-Harare Synod exchange annual visits and pray daily for each other. Currently, these churches are exploring various ways to engage their youth in the partnership. The MAPC website states: “By visiting each other regularly, sharing faith experiences … and exchanging ideas and resources, both MAPC and Harare Synod will, with the help of the Spirit, become more effective in ministry and discipleship.”

MAPC is striving to follow scriptural guidelines that “our love should not be just words and talk. It must be true love that shows itself in action.” (1 John 3:18) After years of visiting to better know the members of the CCAP in Zimbabwe, MAPC members are now assisting with building schools and with helping the CCAP-Harare Synod with sustainable fundraising by assisting with an egg hatchery in Harare that will benefit church programs there.

How has a presbytery joined in partnership with churches in Zimbabwe? Churches of the Zimbabwe Presbytery of Uniting Presbyterian Church of South Africa have joined with Denver Presbytery to promote shared experiences to foster love for one another. Since 2005, church members and pastors of both churches have visited each other, learning to support each other through dialogue and prayer, and through reviewing books and films together. After ongoing visiting and learning about the people of Zimbabwe, Denver Presbytery has worked alongside members of Zimbabwe churches with projects to establish clean water, schools, and a health clinic. In turn, pastors and pastoral students from churches in Zimbabwe have enriched Americans during their visits to the USA, witnessing to Christ through ministries of the Denver Presbytery.

Another presbytery supporting the Church in Zimbabwe is the Presbytery of the James (POJ), currently the only presbytery that is sending donations to my sending and support. I am encouraged by their much-needed support that has not wavered during my move from Congo to Zimbabwe.

What is your church already doing to support World Mission? You support our partnership with Presbyterian Churches in Zimbabwe through your gifts to my sending and support. I am very grateful to faithful supporting churches and friends who have continued their support of me during this year of transition from D. R. Congo to Zimbabwe. Your words of encouragement, prayers, and gifts are a great help. So many of you have written personal notes. You encourage me greatly.

Please read the attached appeal letter from Jose Luis Casal. If you have not yet donated this year, please consider doing so during the last quarter. Without these donations to sending and support accounts, there would be no mission co-workers in partnerships with churches around the world. Gifts supporting mission co-workers are contributing to World Mission’s efforts to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, alleviate root causes of poverty, and work for reconciliation and peace.

Also, many of you will soon be contributing to Presbyterian Women’s Thank Offering. Your gifts to the Thank Offering provide the funds for competitive grants throughout the world for sustainable programs providing nutrition, health care, education and improved human rights. In the six years I worked in Congo, we received four Thank Offering grants. There would have been little, if any, funding for community development, health, and human rights programs without these funds. If your church does not have a Presbyterian Women’s group, your church can still donate to the Thank Offering. Call Kathy Reeves at the PW office for more information: 844-797-2872 (ext. 5402).

Thank you all for the encouragement you have sent during this long transition from Congo to Zimbabwe. There will be no other PC(USA) mission co-workers in Zimbabwe: I will miss the semimonthly gathering of mission co-workers in the Kasai. In the absence of such support, I am scheduling on-line weekly support calls with church groups in the US. If you would enjoy communicating through SKYPE or Google Hangouts, please let me know! I have enjoyed “meeting” with entire mission committees by SKYPE!

I look forward to being in touch with you and to discerning together about how we can be God’s Church, together in partnership, in Zimbabwe and the USA.

Chikondano! (Love!) ~


Please read this important message from Jose Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Dear Friend of Presbyterian Mission,

What a joy to send this letter! As Presbyterian World Mission’s new director, I thank God for your faithful support of our mission co-workers. The enclosed newsletter celebrates the work you made possible by your prayers, engagement, and generous financial gifts. We can’t thank you enough.

After I began in April, I met with mission co-workers and global partners and was blessed to see firsthand the mighty ways God is working through them! Our global partners are asking us to help them move forward with life-changing ministries. Because of your support, we can say “yes” to these creative and exciting initiatives.

I write to invite you to make an even deeper commitment to this work. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? We need your gifts to end the year strong. With your help, we filled two new mission co-worker positions and plan to recruit for others. The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer the call to serve.

Second, would you ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s mission budget for 2018 and beyond? Our mission co-workers serve three-year or four-year terms. Your multi-year commitment will encourage them greatly.

Our mission co-workers are funded entirely from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours. Now more than ever, we need your financial support.

In faith, our mission co-workers accepted a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission sent them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts?

With gratitude,

Jose Luis Casal

P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!

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