Working Together for Collective Impact
June 14, 2016
Presbyterians do mission in partnership, which involves listening attentively and prayerfully to our global partners as we engage together in God’s mission, and they have asked us to work more strategically. As a result, we have identified three critical global initiatives: evangelism, reconciliation and poverty alleviation. In conjunction with those goals, we have launched three campaigns: Train Leaders for Community Transformation, Speak Up —Stop Sexual Violence and Educate a Child, Transform the World. US Presbyterians, mission co-workers and our African partners are engaged in exciting work around these campaigns:
Train Leaders for Community Transformation: Despite varying contexts, all of our partners are committed to doing evangelism in a holistic manner: inviting people into relationship with Christ and addressing social and physical needs. Kay Day is training leaders for community transformation in Rwanda at a seminary that provides peacemaking training. Charles and Melissa Johnson are sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in Zambia through training pastors in agriculture. Dan Turk is training leaders for community transformation in Madagascar by providing pastors with skills in fruit tree propagation to address malnutrition. In South Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia, Luta Garbat Welch supports church partners in Community Health Evangelism, combining community development, health, evangelism and discipleship to transform communities.
Speak Up—Stop Sexual Violence: Because of weak social service and legal systems and traditional cultural practices, African women and children are especially vulnerable to sexual violence. Many of our church partners are working to address the needs of the survivors and to end the violence. The practice of early marriage is common and causes fistulas, maternal mortality and girls’ dropping out of school. Presbyterians are joining hands to address early marriage in Malawi; Janet Guyer accompanies this work, as does Christi Boyd in South Sudan. East Congo is considered the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman. Presbyterian World Mission addresses sexual violence in the Eastern Congo conflict as Christi Boyd works with the Church of Christ in Congo to meet the psychosocial and spiritual needs of rape survivors and to advocate to end the violence. Our church partner in Madagascar has brought 53 women back from forced labor in Kuwait with the support of regional liaison Doug Tilton.
Educate a Child, Transform the World: Educational advancement is one of the most effective methods to reduce poverty. On this continent, which includes 19 of the 20 poorest countries in the world, its importance is magnified. Gwenda Fletcher and the Congo Mission Network’s Build Congo Schools team are working to alleviate poverty in Congo through education via provision of buildings, books, teacher training and scholarships. Jan Heckler is equipping students for lifelong success in Madagascar through teacher training. We are also supporting the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian’s efforts to improve education in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in a program that includes child protection and teacher training. Our biggest effort on the continent is focused where the needs are most desperate: South Sudan, where the school system has all but collapsed. Leisa Wagstaff, Nancy Smith Mather and Lynn and Sharon Kandel work with the South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project to assist the Presbyterian Church in South Sudan through teacher training and developing infrastructure and capacity.
Debbie Braaksma, Presbyterian World Mission Africa Area Coordinator
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Gracious God, please bless the work of our partners and mission co-workers in Africa to share the good news of Jesus Christ, alleviate poverty and work for reconciliation. Amen.