A worldwide roundup

Reports on mission co-workers serving on four continents

from Mission Crossroads | Special to Presbyterian News Service

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.

Madagascar: Outgrowing poverty, improving health

Dan and Elizabeth Turk

Mission co-workers Dan and Elizabeth Turk have served with the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) since 1997. They work to improve the lives of the Malagasy people, over 70 percent of whom live in extreme poverty. Dan works with the FJKM to help Malagasy farmers grow their way out of poverty through an extensive fruit tree program. He also assists with the FJKM’s efforts to preserve biodiversity through environmental education. Elizabeth works with FJKM to help communities train village health workers and get safe drinking water. She educates church leaders and youth about HIV/AIDS prevention.

The FJKM AIDS Committee has sponsored HIV testing in collaboration with the government AIDS program. FJKM President Irako Andriamahazosoa Ammi agreed to be tested publicly, setting an example in FJKM’s continued efforts to fight the disease.

The Madagascar Mission Network, in commemoration of the FJKM’s 50-year anniversary, donated a Creation Garden to provide educational opportunities for pastoral students and visitors. The garden, planted next to the 50th anniversary building dedicated last October at Ivato Seminary, includes 15 species of endemic palms. Families in Antanetibe now sell tangerines to support their families from trees planted beginning in 2010. Students at four FJKM seminaries receive training in fruit tree propagation and gardening, so the new pastors can provide communities with resources to improve food security and address serious countrywide malnutrition.

Support Dan and Elizabeth’s work in Madagascar:

Japan: Witnessing the love of Jesus Christ

Ann and Bill Moore

The Rev. Dr. Bill Moore and his wife, Ann, have served as mission co-workers alongside the Reformed Church in Japan since 1985. Along with elder and deacon Dr. Haruki Kondo and Toshiyo Kondo, they worked tirelessly for more than a decade to plant Nishitani Reformed Church in a rural area just north of Kobe.

Upon completion of the church planting project, Bill and Ann were invited to take on leadership roles with Japan Mission in partnership with the PC(USA). Bill serves as representative director and Ann serves as office administrator.

“Much of our work with Japan Mission is related to the Christian witness and healing that takes place at Yodogawa Christian Hospital, for which Bill holds overall responsibility in addition to directly managing the hospital’s chaplaincy program,” Ann said. “The hospital, which has become one of the larger hospitals in Western Japan, was established in a disadvantaged area of Osaka with a gift provided by Presbyterian Women in the U.S. more than 60 years ago.”

Japan Mission has recently entered into a partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar. As partners, they have committed to serving in ministry at Agape Hospital in Kalaymyo, Myanmar, and are considering other projects together.

“Japan is only about 1 percent Christian,” Bill said.  “Many Japanese people are spiritually hungry and open to the Christian faith.”

Support Bill and Ann’s work in Japan:

Guatemala: Strengthening relationships for ministry

Eliane Menezes

The Rev. Eliane Menezes, a native of Brazil, is a mission co-worker and facilitator for women’s leadership development, working alongside the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala. In her work, Eliane nurtures collaborative relationships and ministries of the National Union of Presbyterian Women in Guatemala and Presbyterian Women in the U.S.

“Through the Holy Spirit, I’m empowered to pack and go east, west, north and south, sharing the good news while engaging in dialogue and promoting transformation in people’s lives and their communities,” Eliane said.

Eliane is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament and member of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida. She received her master of divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky, and has helped promote multi-language ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Prior to her mission co-worker appointment, she designed and implemented the Presbytery of Tropical Florida’s Portuguese language ministry; led bilingual worship services as a guest pastor at San Pablo Presbyterian Church in Brownsville, Texas; served in pulpit supply at Cypress Presbyterian Church in Pompano Beach, Florida; and served as chaplain and religious service coordinator in Texas and Florida.

“Working with women in Guatemala gives me an opportunity to learn about them and the gifts they bring to their ministry,” Eliane said. “Engaging in conversation with women, I listen to their struggles and offer hope to empower and strengthen them.”

Support Eliane’s work in Guatemala:

Europe: Building interfaith bridges

Burkhard Paetzold

Burkhard Paetzold serves as World Mission’s regional liaison for Central and Western Europe. He facilitates and supports the efforts of mission personnel, church and community leaders and ministry partners in the U.S. and Europe as they collaborate to nurture the dignity and hope of the Roma people.

In addition to advocating for the Roma people, the largest minority group in the region, Burkhard’s ministry also includes relief and development work alongside the Conference of European Churches and Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe to respond to the global migrant and refugee crisis. He works with churches and organizations as they advocate for safe passage, humanitarian visas and family reunification for refugees and migrants.

“We have a choice to be overwhelmed or proactive,” Burkhard said. “I believe God always asks us to be proactive rather than just overwhelmed.”

Burkhard seeks to understand the needs of partners and to connect them with the resources of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for holistic mission and volunteerism. This work also includes proactive advocacy to address climate change and care of God’s creation.

In a letter from the mission field, Burkhard wrote, “Now I can see it’s not about me struggling to be in control of invisible threads — as if I’m God and know what is good or bad — but my role is to connect the holy, colorful strings swinging through the room.”

Support Burkhard’s work in Europe:

Planning a short-term mission trip?

World Mission created a Short-Term Mission Trip Toolkit for trip leaders seeking resources for discerning whether to go, where to go and how to prepare for and guide a group. With good planning and leadership, a mission trip or study tour can be an engaging and meaningful experience, with mutual benefit to the people who go and to the people receiving the group. Participation in a mission trip offers you and your church group a chance to share your time and talents with mission partners from other cultures and realities. Through the trip, you will learn from each other and worship and serve God together. If you have questions about short-term mission resources, contact Stephanie Caudill, mission associate, at 800-728-7228, ext. 5279.

This issue of World Roundup is from the Summer 2019 issue of “Mission Crossroads” magazine, which is printed and mailed free to subscribers within the U.S. three times a year by Presbyterian World Mission and also available online at pcusa.org/MissionCrossroads.

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