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Home visit by International Peacemaker leads to health transformation for ailing community member


Peacemaker is one of 10 headed to the United States to tell their stories

August 13, 2022

Jonathan Drake Vumu

The health of a village chief in Malawi had been deteriorating for about a year. Thinking that he was under the influence of people considered to be witches in the central African community, the chief declined to seek professional diagnosis and treatment.

A relative enlisted the help of Jonathan Drake Vumu, who drove to the man’s home and offered counseling and encouragement. Vumu had no immediate luck with the chief but decided to leave behind money and a contact number in case of a change of heart.

“After two days, I received a phone call from him asking me to take him to the hospital,” Vumu said. “After several tests, they discovered that he was HIV positive.”

Now, thanks to antiretroviral medication, the chief’s health has improved greatly, and his wife, who also tested positive for HIV, is getting treated.

Those are the kinds of stories that members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will hear when Vumu travels to the United States later this year to serve as an International Peacemaker for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

Vumu is executive director of Livingstonia Synod AIDS Programme, a department of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia in Malawi.

LISAP, a PC(USA) partner, encourages people, especially men, to go for HIV testing and services. It also fights gender-based violence, constructs child-care centers and helps young people to receive vocational training.

Vumu is one of 10 peacemakers who’ll be available to make in-person visits in early fall with congregations, mid councils and communities around the country that would like to hear about their work.

A family in Malawi rests after a long day of housework and plowing in the fields. (Archived photo)

Visits in recent years have been done virtually because of the Covid pandemic, so Peacemaking is looking forward to Vumu and other international participants coming to the United States.

“I am participating in this year’s Peacemaking Program because I have stories to tell — stories about challenges that poor communities face in Malawi and how the Church in the U.S. can help in addressing them,” he said.

Vumu works in rural communities where there is extreme poverty. Many people “live with less than $1 per day,” he said.

Also, “Malawi currently faces a lot of social ills,” he said. “HIV prevalence is still high at 9%, the number of orphans and vulnerable children is high, coupled with gender inequalities and sexual gender-based violence,” and the “coronavirus has just worsened the situation in all aspects of life in Malawi.”

For example, “Covid has worsened the country’s economic status,” he said, and “the number of girls getting pregnant and into early marriages is increasing.”

Raising awareness about conditions in Malawi is part of Vumu’s mission. “I spend my life sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others through sharing God’s Word and working with communities to address their social ills,” he said. “I will continue to work and have a positive impact on the less privileged in this part of the world.”

If you would like information about how to host a peacemaker in your community, go here.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Give to the Peace & Global Witness Offering to continue the valuable ministry of these International Peacemaker visits.

Darla Carter, Communications Associate, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Jonathan Drake Vumu, International Peacemaker from Malawi

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Devan Caton, Operations Business Analyst, Presbyterian Foundation
Stephanie Caudill, Mission Associate for Resources & Promotion, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

God of life and love, open our eyes to opportunities to work together to prevent disease, seek justice and care for the most vulnerable among us. Amen.

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