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We are better together


Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Zambia and World Mission partner to provide much-needed resources

by Melissa Johnson | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Women wait at a Zambian health clinic for the safe delivery of their babies. (Photo by Melissa Johnson)

LOUISVILLE — In our Reformed tradition, Presbyterians recognize we are a part of a larger body of Christ. But that body doesn’t end at the walls of our church building, our city limits, state lines or national borders. That body encompasses each and every child of God around the world. Because we all have limitations and are all united in Christ, we believe we are called to mission in partnership because, after all, we are better together.

Presbyterian World Mission has been partnering with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Zambia (CCAP) for many years, with the goal of growing its holistic ministry in Zambia. One of the health-related priorities of the CCAP Synod leadership and the CCAP Health Department has been completion of the mother care shelter at Egichikeni Rural Health Center. The clinic provides care to more than 7,000 people in over 50 villages. The clinic has recorded no maternal death since 2013, despite the challenge of having only one bed and an incomplete mother care shelter.

Expectant mothers have to travel long distances to reach the clinic, so they are encouraged to come and stay at the clinic for the last weeks of their pregnancy. Not having a mother care shelter and lack of beds has been a huge challenge for clinic staff and for the women and their families waiting for delivery of their babies.

CCAP Zambia Synod officials, including the Director of Ministry and Health and Lundazi District Administrative Officer, look on as the Lundazi District Council Chair cuts the ribbon on the new beds for the Egichikeni Rural Health Clinic. (Photo by Charles Johnson)

Phalaza is a rural community with no clinic closer than 16 km (almost 10 miles). They have shared stories about challenges that this distance caused their community, specifically, women having babies on the road on the way to the clinic and children dying from malaria, a preventable and treatable parasitic infection. The CCAP Synod approved the construction of a new clinic in Phalaza in 2013, but lack of resources prevented construction, despite the community collecting sand and gravel for the foundation and molding over 70,000 clay bricks.

Because of the prayers of Presbyterians in the U.S. and because of their response as the hands and feet of Christ, the people in Zambia are facing fewer challenges.

Several U.S. congregations have joined with CCAP to make a difference in the lives of the people in these rural Zambia communities. Liverpool First Presbyterian Church in Liverpool, New York, raised funds to provide new hospital beds and mattresses for Egichikeni Rural Health Center. The goal was 10 beds but because of the generosity of the people in Liverpool, 20 were purchased and some of the beds were donated to the other CCAP clinic in Ndaiwala.

Next, Central Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, Indiana, felt called to “Raise the Roof” for the mother care shelter. This building has truly been built in partnership, a partnership between CCAP, Central Presbyterian, and the local government, which had provided some of the funds to originally start the construction in 2015. Through this partnership the building is now complete, and painting is underway with completion scheduled for March.

Lexington Presbyterian Church, Lexington, Virginia, made a generous gift to make the clinic in Phalaza a reality. Church members and friends initiated and are leading a fundraising effort by contacting over 200 people in churches and presbyteries across the U.S. The effort is well on its way to raising the necessary funds. While the amount raised so far is only a fraction of the total needed, there is now enough to start the project. The first step is drilling a borehole that will supply a clean, safe source of drinking water not only for the clinic, but also for the church and the entire Phalaza community. We truly are better together!

Charles and Melissa Johnson are mission co-workers serving in Zambia at the invitation of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Zambia Synod.


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