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A worldwide roundup

Reports on mission co-workers serving on four continents

by Tammy Warren | Mission Crossroads

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been committed to interconnectional ministry in God’s mission at the local, national and global levels since 1837. Since that time, more than 8,000 mission co-workers have shared the good news of Jesus Christ with millions of people worldwide.

Meet some of our mission co-workers around the world.

 

Africa: Addressing root causes of poverty and violence through empowerment and advocacy

Christi and Jeff Boyd (Photo by Mark Crowner)

Jeff and Christi Boyd are mission co-workers based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As a regional liaison for Central Africa, Jeff facilitates support for relationships and programs of PC(USA) partners in Congo, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. He also mentors mission personnel and helps connect Presbyterian congregations in the U.S. with partners in his region. When Congolese partners expressed concern about the former president of Congo extending constitutional term limits on his tenure, Jeff helped organize a day of advocacy for Congo Mission Network participants, with support of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness, to plead with legislators and the State Department for support for free and transparent elections in Congo.

Christi is a facilitator for women’s and children’s interests and works with partners across Africa. From faith-based trauma-healing ministries in Congo to a trafficking prevention campaign in Madagascar, she comes alongside partners and their communities to tackle systemic issues that perpetuate hardship for women and children.

“Through the words of Jesus and the prophets, God consistently defends the causes of the poor, vulnerable and oppressed,” Christi said. “The Scriptures call us to follow in their footsteps.”

The Boyds arrived in Africa in 1990 and remain committed to engaging with Presbyterians in the U.S.  who wish to join efforts led by global partners in Africa.

Support the work of Jeff and Christi Boyd, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo:   pcusa.org/donate/E200314

Asia and the Pacific: Strengthening partnerships for mutual mission

Hery Ramambasoa (Photo by Kathy Melvin)

Based in the Fiji Islands, Hery Ramambasoa’s ministry as regional liaison for Southeast Asia and the Pacific includes the PC(USA) global church partnerships with Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Ramambasoa facilitates and seeks to strengthen healthy relationships among entities of the PC(USA) and those of partner denominations and organizations in the region. He also supports mission personnel serving in Southeast Asia and the Pacific through communications, information sharing, guidance, encouragement and missiological reflection.

Though the challenges of economic disparities, rampant poverty and climate change are daunting, he views them as opportunities for the church and the larger community to work together to “identify, reinforce multiply projects that promote mutual understanding.” He has faith that “through the light of partnership and mission, the church will continue to fulfill its prophetic role for justice and reconciliation among people and the whole of creation.”

The seeds of his call to mission were sewn during his adolescence. Engaging with the ecumenical Student Christian Movement during high school and university prepared him for work with vulnerable populations such as orphans, people experiencing homelessness and victims of natural disasters. As a student he followed the Anti-Apartheid Movement and embraced the power of prophetic nonviolence advocated by its Christian leaders. “They taught us,” he said, “that a journey always starts with one step.”

Support Hery Ramambasoa’s work in Southeast Asia and the Pacific:
pcusa.org/donate/E200493

The Caribbean: training pastors, lay leaders, children and youth

David Cortes-Fuentes and Josey Saez-Acevedo (Photo by Tammy Warren)

After serving four years as the first Presbyterian mission co-workers to live and work in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, the Rev. Dr. David Cortes-Fuentes and Josefina Saez-Acevedo have accepted a new call to serve in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean region, effective Oct. 1.

David is serving as regional theological educator and curriculum consultant, alongside partners throughout the Caribbean. In this role, he facilitates connections among Caribbean and PC(USA) seminaries and other potential partners. As time permits, he also teaches short courses in his areas of expertise, such as New Testament and Greek.

Josey is serving at the invitation of the Dominican Evangelical Church (Iglesia Evangélica Dominicana). She is a resource for Christian education for the denomination, working as part of a team in developing and adapting curricula — particularly curricula for children and youth — based on the priorities of mission partners. She will help to develop Christian education materials to strengthen the church’s libraries and theological instruction.

As they transition to new ministries, David and Josey are thankful they will continue their partnership relationship with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cuba, as well as other theological institutions and the church in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

David is a member of the Presbytery of San Gabriel, in Southern California, and Josey is a member of Claremont Presbyterian Church in California.

Support the work of David Cortes-Fuentes and Josey Saez-Acevedo in the Dominican Republic: pcusa.org/donate/E200519

The Middle East: Strengthening hope in the midst of heartache

Elmarie and Scott Parker (Photo by Kathy Melvin)

The Revs. Elmarie and Scott Parker have served in the Middle East since 2013. She works as regional liaison for Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and he serves as associate for ecumenical partnerships and as a writer in residence with the Middle East Council of Churches.

As regional liaison, Elmarie helps strengthen the relational ties between the church in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and Presbyterians in the United States. She is convinced that the witness of indigenous Christian churches in the region is essential for a peaceful future. Scott leads the “Strong Kids, Strong Emotions” play-based program that helps Iraqi and Syrian refugee children develop emotional and spiritual resilience. His work centers on communicating current realities on the ground.

The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon and the Assembly of National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Churches in Iraq, along with other PC(USA) partners in the region, are working to aid thousands of displaced families of all religious creeds. Their work includes providing basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, fuel, rent and medications; helping families rebuild their homes and start their lives again; providing education for students whose schools have been destroyed; and striving to develop a civil society built around the principles of international law, human rights and democracy.

Support the work of Elmarie and Scott Parker in the Middle East:
pcusa.org/donate/E200504

Every card tells a story

Mission co-worker prayer cards tell where and how mission co-workers are making a difference in the world. When posted in congregations and homes, these cards can spark inspiration and engagement. They invite participation in God’s mission through prayers, email correspondence and financial gifts.

Email nicole.gerkins@pcusa.org to request mission co-worker prayer cards. Please include your name and mailing address and indicate whether you want cards for specific mission co-workers or an entire set (more than 60).

Support God’s mission around the world by supporting mission co-workers: pcusa.org/donate/E132192


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