A letter from Jodi McGill in the U.S., one Interpretation Assignment from serving in Malawi
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 family and friends,
September 5, Labor Day, began with the sad news at our house that Nancy McGill, Jim’s mother, had died that morning. Acts 20:24 sums up the life of Nancy and her husband, Dr. Ken McGill, who died 20 years ago: “But I do not consider my own life important or valuable to me, so long as I can finish my course and complete the ministry which the Lord Jesus has given to me in declaring the good news of the grace of God.”
According to Wikipedia, Labor Day “…constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” and for us, Labor Day will also constitute a tribute to the life, love, and ministry of Nancy McGill. She and Ken lived out their faith in action as part of their church community in Kings Mountain, N.C., and then as PC(USA) mission co-workers as they worked, taught, healed, and shared life with hundreds of Congolese and expatriates while they were in Bibanga and Bulape, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for 20 years. Then again in Embangweni, Malawi, for another three years of mission service.
We have received letters, and emails of condolences and support from many of you. These have been sources of comfort, with many memories shared, and we are grateful for them all.
The next day during our routine morning devotion with the kids, the lesson was about the importance of giving: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). The story and the closing prayer emphasized that the best way to teach about giving was to live a life of giving. The prayer by Florence Anne Apperson was both a prayer of gratitude and a charge: “Thank you, God, for parents who lead by faithful example and for granting us opportunities to pass wisdom to the children in our lives. Amen.” Jim grew up with both of his parents living lives of giving and sharing with others and we both are filled with respect and gratitude to them for the lessons and examples they provided him as a child and us a couple. Our children never knew his dad but they did experience and witness the “faithful example” of their Granny.
In July this year our family was able to spend a week at the New Wilmington Mission Conference held at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. We had never been able to attend before since the schools in Decatur, Ga., start the first week of August and although we had to leave a day before the actual end of the conference, we were able to participate in most it. It was truly humbling to be around so many people of all ages, backgrounds, and denominational differences who had only one thing on their mind, how to serve in and support local and international mission work. It was intimidating to think that we are now part of the older serving missionaries and that we are looked upon as examples. We know our personal and professional struggles and failings and thank God daily for being able to be constantly forgiven and encouraged by God. Maybe that was the important message to be shared, that God’s grace is key for all of us and because of and through God’s grace we reach out and walk with others to both help with their needs and recognize we have needs they can meet as well.
As we start our second school year in the U.S.A. we are grateful for your continued financial support and prayers. Michael and Jason, our eldest twin sons, will complete high school this December, which allows them time to prayerfully map out their plans and gives all of our kids another cycle of holidays with sweets and treats—from Halloween through to Easter. We have found that the wonder of Spring almost makes up for the dreariness of Winter, and the blessed coolness and colors of Fall offer a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of summer.
Due to the current civil violence and unrest in South Sudan, the training and work that was started in South Sudan has had to be put on hold. Please be in prayer for the people and the church in South Sudan, and you can learn more about the situation at https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/global/south-sudan/. The few sentences reported in the news can neither describe the depth of the tragedy nor the strength of the faith of the people there.
Instead of a combined South Sudan and Niger trip Jim will focus on going to Niger to begin learning about PC(USA)’s partner church, the Egilse Evangelique de la Republic du Niger (EERN), discussing the church’s vision for water, sanitation, and hygiene and health within their ministry and how we can partner together to make their vision reality. He will also be checking with the American schools there about enrollment of our four younger children.
Yesterday we learned of a fire that started at Ekwendeni College of Health Sciences on September 28, damaging buildings and destroying computers and other resources. Fortunately no one was injured. We don’t have any more direct details yet but please pray for them while they cope with the effects of the fire.
With gratitude for your prayers, condolences, and financial gifts for our support.
Jodi and Jim
Please read below for an important note from Hunter Farrell:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:1b-2, NRSV)
Dear Friend of World Mission:
Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support of Jim and Jodi McGill this year, and any previous year. I know from my 15 years as a Presbyterian mission co-worker that your prayerful financial support has meant the world to them.
Even as I thank you, I want to let you know that this is a critical time for churches and individuals to commit themselves to support Jim and Jodi. Our global church partners greatly value their service and you well know how important this ministry is in building connections between the body of Christ in the U.S. and Malawi.
We have historically relied on endowment interest and the general offering from churches to sustain the vital work of all of our mission workers. Those sources of funding have greatly diminished, and it is only through the over-and-above gifts of individuals and congregations that we are able to keep Jim and Jodi doing the life-giving work God called them to do. A year ago, in May of 2015, for the first time in recent history, we had to recall some mission workers due to a lack of funding. We communicated the challenge to you and you responded decisively and generously. Through your response, we heard the Spirit remind us, “Fear not!”.
Today, I’m asking you to consider an additional gift for this year, and to increase the gift you may consider for 2017. Sending and support costs include not only salary but also health insurance and retirement contributions, orientation, language training, housing, travel to the country of service, children’s education, emergency evacuation costs, and visa/passport costs.
My heartfelt thanks for your prayers and support of our Presbyterian mission co-workers. In the coming season, we will celebrate God’s sending of the Christ child, the source of the good news we share. May you experience anew the hope, peace, joy, and love that are ours because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Thank you for saying “yes” to love.
With you in Christ,
Director, World Mission, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
You 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.