New countries, new appointments, to deliver skills where most needed
September 28, 2017
Four mission co-workers have accepted new calls within Africa: Jim and Jodi McGill, Ruth Brown and Dr. Martha Sommers.
Jim and Jodi McGill
The McGills have been under appointment as mission co-workers since 1995, working with the Church of Central Africa in Malawi in the areas of water/sanitation and health. They have moved to serve with the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Niger (EERN), the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency and the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. Their work will focus on both Niger and South Sudan.
Niger is often called the gateway between North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. It is one of the continent’s most economically impoverished countries and is at the bottom of the UN’s human development index. In South Sudan, years of civil war and conflict have left the country’s infrastructure in ruins and its people traumatized, but the region is home to abundant natural resources and many faithful people.
Jim McGill is working with the EERN and PCOSS to ensure sustainability for clean water and sanitation at the community level and to make certain the church has a strong presence in the rural development of Niger and South Sudan and an effective advocate for the health of its people. Jodi McGill works with EERN to create and staff church-run health clinics and to train students in its new nursing school.
In a letter to supporters, Jodi McGill wrote, “The work, weather and cultural environment will be vastly different from what we know, but being part of God’s family will make Niamey home.”
To give to the ministry of Jim and Jodi McGill, go to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/E200385/.
After serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2011, mission co-worker Ruth Brown has moved to Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, Brown works with the leadership of the CCAP Harare Synod serving as a resource, adviser and colleague to the convener of the Synod’s Chikondano (“Love”) HIV/AIDS and Vulnerable Children Committee, as the committee works to promote health and prevent diseases throughout the CCAP and the communities in which it ministers. She supports church and community leadership training for the implementation of processes for program planning, monitoring and evaluation. She assists the church in collaborating with existing community health programs to promote continuity of care.
“In my work with CCAP leaders I will explore and plan economic initiatives intended to reduce poverty,” she said. “Hopefully, what I’ve learned in Congo during assistance to community savings and loans programs, entrepreneurship training, egg hatcheries and community gardens will be helpful to this church in Harare. Those economic initiatives would also be helpful with supporting and sustaining a health program.”
Landlocked Zimbabwe is home to roughly 15 million people, about 80 percent of whom are Christian. Endowed with fertile farmland and mineral wealth, the country was at one time the “breadbasket” of Southern Africa. More recently, drought, economic decline and a highly contested land reform program have posed serious challenges for Zimbabwe and the churches who minister in this context.
Brown’s history on the African continent goes back to 1979, when she served in the Peace Corps, first in the Ivory Coast, where she taught technical English in an agricultural university, and then in Central African Republic, where her focus was health promotion.
“For years, I have enjoyed helping communities to develop their own sustainable public health initiatives,” she said. “I welcome this work with churches in Zimbabwe as a gracious call from God to use my training and experience to help the Church in Zimbabwe have abundant and healthy life in Christ.”
To give to the ministry of Ruth Brown, go to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/E200528/.
Dr. Martha Sommers
In 2015, veteran mission co-worker Dr. Martha Sommers, a family practice physician, was invited to serve as an instructor at the Christian Medical Institute of the Kasai (IMCK), the primary health care facility and a center for medical education in the central region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But after she arrived in Congo in the fall of 2016, there were multiple incidents of violence and PMA’s partners, the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) and IMCK, felt she should be evacuated until the region stabilized.
Since last fall, she has been temporarily living in Madagascar, practicing as a family health physician and deeply immersed in language studies. Recently, however, she was invited by Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi to serve as a lecturer and family medicine practitioner. The assignment is for one year. She then hopes to resume her work in Congo.
In Malawi, she will assist with developing the family medicine course at Nkhoma Hospital. About 50 percent of her time will be spent teaching and about 50 percent will be in medical practice.
Sommers began her Presbyterian mission work in 1997. In Malawi, she trained doctors and other mission personnel and provided healing and hope through direct patient care. She worked at two hospitals affiliated with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian’s Livingstonia Synod.
To support the ministry of Martha Sommers, go to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/E200526/.
Kathy Melvin, Director of Mission Communications, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Mission co-workers in Africa
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Mission Co-workers
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Gracious God, we thank you for our Presbyterian mission co-workers. May they experience the tremendous joy of learning and serving. Grant them a vibrant devotional life, close friendships and effectiveness in ministry. Amen.