Today in the Mission Yearbook

Sharing a dance of joy across the continents

 

Mission co-worker in East Central Africa has a clear view of God’s work

February 13, 2020

The Rev. Paula Cooper says she’s “entrusted with a ministry and a message to share about how God is using me and what God is doing across the ocean.” (Courtesy of Paula Cooper)

As one of the newest regional liaisons hired to serve East Central Africa, I have been traveling a lot, and sometimes it feels as though I am living in and out of airports more than in my home in Lusaka, Zambia. You know what, though? I can’t complain! As I travel within the countries that I serve — Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia — I have the opportunity to see God’s amazing work through the hands, voices, eyes and feet of our international Presbyterian partners. Partners who are trying to repair the brokenness among God’s children. Partners who, in their own ways, are attempting to serve and provide for “the least of these” — through means like building and maintaining community schools and theological institutions; building health facilities and clinics; and ministering in hospitals, clinics and prisons.

“For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” (Romans 10:13–14)

All projects and ministries are designed with the intentions of assisting God’s children to see the transforming hope and light that God offers to all of us and to break the bond of brokenness. 

In addition to efforts of transformation, in spite of what appears to sound or be broken or hopeless within the large populations of the countries that I serve, there is an unexplainable dance of joy exulted in the worship services of “the least of these!”

“The Word (of God) is near you, on your lips and in your heart.” (Romans 10:8)

When I travel home to the States to visit congregations and presbyteries or attend mission network conferences to share my ministry and experiences, the attendees want to know more about our partners. I hear questions like, “what can we do to build relationships? What can be done for us to join in that dance of joy that our brothers and sisters demonstrate in worship?” They want to hear more stories of that despair being transformed into hope and joy, and I see them trying to envision how they can share in the struggle and the hope of our partners in Africa. They are inspired. They are interested. I hear it on their lips. I feel that it’s from their hearts. They want to come alongside our partners; to join in the work that God is doing across the ocean. 

“And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:15)

I respond, exclaiming, “Let’s explore those questions. Let’s explore how we begin long-lasting relationships by reviewing mission resources. Let’s explore the idea of short-term mission trips. Let’s go join our partners in their worship services.  Let’s just go and join them in the dance! Let’s join them in the work that God called us to do. Let’s go and see, learn, teach, share, talk, cry, laugh and pray together.”

“So, faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

As I said earlier, it appears that I live in airports, but for the most part I can laugh about it because for some crazy reason, I love it! I think I love it because I am entrusted with a ministry and a message to share about how God is using me and what God is doing across the ocean. Also, I love talking about God! I have the opportunity — the blessing — to bring a message from Africa to the U.S.A. and vice versa! 

What a gift — to be able to link, to connect struggles, joys and desires of people who want to join hands with one another across the oceans; to see and hear how others get inspired and say they want to dance to that joy!

Let us all possess the “beautiful feet of those who bring good news” by sharing the wonderful ways God is using us to fulfill God’s missional work.

Rev. Paula Cooper; Mission Co-Worker in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia; Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Mission co-worker in East Central Africa

 

 

 

 

Let us join in prayer for: 

Mission Co-workers:
Rev. Catherine (Kay) Day (Rwanda)
Sherri and Dustin Ellington (Zambia)
Melissa and Charles Johnson (Zambia)
Rev. Janet Guyer (Malawi)
Rev. Cheryl Barnes (Malawi
Rev. Jeremy and Luta Garbat-Welch (Malawi)
Tyler Holm (Malawi)

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Alex Spoelker, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Champaka Srinivasan, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray:

God, take us beyond our boundaries to see the brokenness among your children. But don’t stop there — move us to get involved; to build relationships. Move us to dance with you in the struggle and the joy! Move our feet, Lord! Give those who are involved and serving the energy and tenacity to stay in the dance! In Jesus’ name, we pray! Amen!