Water is Peace

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

November 2015

Write to Jim McGill
Write to Jodi McGill

Individuals:  Give online to E200385for 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,

This is a wonderful time of year to be in the U.S.A. We enjoy the change in seasons and the beautiful fall colors of the trees.  Sure, the commercialism of each fall and winter holiday, from Halloween through Kwanza, is a challenge, but the music and decorations and the special foods and traditions are fun and interesting. They also present an opportunity to focus with our children on why we celebrate Christmas, to talk about the difference between “want” and “need,” and discuss how difficult holidays can be for people for a variety of reasons.

We do find the abundance of everything here hard to see as we know that so many people in Malawi are already and will be experiencing severe hunger, and we are not physically present with them. Yet we are able to get updates from our friends and colleagues.  The effects of the famine and the efforts for famine relief are being described by our good friends Ms. Mphatso Ngulube of the Livingstonia Synod Aids Programme (LiSAP) and Mr. Mabvuto Lupwayi of the Development Department. The reports are saying that the famine has started, and that efforts through the PC(USA) are under way to help alleviate the problems.  So our prayers are with Malawi during these times, and we do want to continue to raise awareness of the problems our partners are facing this year.

PCUSA mission co-workers Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Rev. Peter Gai, and Jim after a church service in Juba, South Sudan.

PCUSA mission co-workers Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Rev. Peter Gai, and Jim after a church service in Juba, South Sudan.

In October Jim attended the South Sudan Mission Network to learn more about the situation from churches and presbyteries that are partnering with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS). While there he met Rt. Rev. Peter Gai, the current Moderator of the PCOSS and Chairman of the South Sudan Council of Churches. Rev. Gai shared his vision and actions for peace in South Sudan and how he personally protected people who took refuge within the PCOSS headquarters compound in Malakal before its destruction by warring soldiers.  This work for peace includes food security and safe water and sanitation for the people of South Sudan.  A brief description of Rev. Gai’s visit to the U.S. can be found at https://www.pcusa.org/blogs/swords-plowshares/2015/10/15/just-and-lasting-peace-south-sudan/.

Then in November Jim traveled to South Sudan to prepare for both the manual and the machine drilling of wells within the Greater Pibor Area Administration (GPAA) and together with PCOSS and the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA), the development department of the PCOSS, to begin looking at long-term interventions to improve water and sanitation. The drilling is partially funded by the PC(USA)’s Presbyterian Women through their Birthday Offering, which was delayed due to fighting that broke out after independence. While in South Sudan Jim attended a church where he heard Rev. Gai preach, sharing the same message of peace and reconciliation, of forgiveness and loving each other, which is needed everywhere, but so desperately needed in South Sudan today.  From what Jim saw while there, water is peace; not only worldly water but the spiritual water of Christ.

Hopefully most of you are aware of the severe funding shortfall for mission co-workers and that already five families are unable to resume their work in 2016 due to a lack of funding. If adequate funding is not raised by early 2016, up to an additional 45 co-workers may have to be called from their countries of service.

A couple of churches have asked us to explain how they can send money to support us and other co-workers. So below is a summary in our words, but we encourage you to call the PC(USA) at 800-728-7228 (ext. 5611) if there is something that we say that doesn’t make sense or you want to learn more.

The church is using what Jim and I call a mixed-funding approach.  Money sent to World Mission through undesignated general congregational offerings will go to the Basic Mission Support account and will be divided according to which co-workers need it.  However, we are more and more required to be responsible for garnering our own support as there is less and less money coming in from congregations, so there is less money to share.

There are fewer active Presbyterian members of our denomination, which means lower offerings, and often many Presbyterians and congregations are using their money to support other faith-based and humanitarian efforts in place of, and not merely in addition to, PC(USA) mission personnel and programs. Only about 15 percent of PC(USA) congregations actually support any mission co-worker. Perhaps if there are other Presbyterian congregations in your area you would be willing to share this information with them.

Of every dollar that members of a congregation contributed as general offerings to the church in 2014 just over 1/3 of a cent actually went to Basic Mission Support (Mission Crossroads magazine, Summer 2015, p. 11).  That is why it is important for congregations to designate their funds for specific mission co-workers, or at least for Basic Mission Support.

Money for mission co-worker support comes specifically in three ways: (1) It can come through congregational funds that are non-designated and sent to World Mission through what is called Basic Mission Support.  We don’t know how much of that will be designated for our ministry. (2) A better way to make sure that gifts will reach a specific mission co-worker’s ministry account is for congregations to designate gifts for the co-worker’s sending and support using a DMS (Direct Mission Support) account number assigned to that co-worker. (3)  Individuals are encouraged to contribute gifts that are designated for a specific mission co-worker’s sending and support via an ECO (Extra Commitment Opportunity) account number.   We are currently about 70 percent funded. Donations for our sending and support from a congregation can be sent to PC(USA) using the DMS account D506718. Individuals can send money for our mission support using an ECO account, and a congregation can also use the same ECO account number if it is giving above and beyond their Basic Mission Support.  Our ECO account number is E200385 .

Mission support from the congregation for us can be sent via the presbytery as usual, making sure to include the designation D506718 in the memo line, or directly to: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. Contributions can also be made online at www.presbyterianmission.org/supportwm. On this page you will have the opportunity to contribute to the Basic Mission Support account.  If you would like to designate your gift for a specific mission co-worker, you can follow the prompt that reads, “If you want to donate to a different cause you can change it here.” Be sure to notify your presbytery if your gift was sent directly to Pittsburgh or made online so they are aware of the denominational support from the congregation.

We thank you for supporting us and others; we are privileged and take seriously and joyfully our role and responsibility of being your representatives through Christ. There are so many needs, worries, and tragedies that impact us directly and indirectly daily that it can be hard to stay focused on the message and strength of Jesus. May we all rejoice and bask in the purpose of His human birth and take solace and comfort in His presence.

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

The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 156


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