The year is only half over, but 2017 has probably held more monumental change for us than any year thus far. As you may know, Dan’s father passed away in March. This June, we celebrated a wonderful milestone – Frances’ high school graduation. It was even more special having our son, Robert, and Elizabeth’s father, Bill Warlick, in Madagascar with us to celebrate the moment. Robert enjoyed being back. It was great to be together again as a family in Madagascar. We are currently in the United States to get Frances settled into college. She will be near Orlando. We will be based out of Mission Haven in Decatur, GA through October as we visit churches and speak.
Ministry with PC(USA)’s partner church in Madagascar, the FJKM (the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar), continues with exciting results. Here are a few highlights of new collaborations and results from older partnerships. We hope these examples will encourage you as they have encouraged us.
Fruits Changing Lives What difference do a few trees make? In 2010, the FJKM Development Department helped over 70 households at Antanetibe Ankazobe plant tangerine trees – about 20 trees per family on average.
The “Centre Presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes” (CPAJ) is a faith based non-profit organization working under the authority of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda. CPAJ is responsible for the rehabilitation, re-education and reintegration of street children into their families. This requires effective training and an appropriate plan for the children and their families. This is one of the reasons it was important to have a building where the CPAJ children could gather with their parents and CPAJ staff. Due to our good partnership with The Outreach Foundation, we received funding that helped us build such a facility, the multipurpose hall. This hall is being used to accomplish this goal as well as for many other needs of the children and the community in general.
The main objective of the new multipurpose hall is to improve our rehabilitation capacity by promoting recreational and educational activities for the children and providing knowledge to the parents through conferences and other educational tools. The hall is equipped to facilitate coaching activities. We would like for CPAJ to be a center for recreational and educational activities for vulnerable young people. We also rent out the hall to people in the community for meetings and events to generate income to help the children.
...we rejoice in our suffering, because suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint us…. Romans 5: 3-5
I first met them in May of 2015. They had been living at the Presbyterian Church in Kirkuk for almost a year by then. Philip, the youngest member of this family who had fled the Christian village of Qaraqosh, had an impish smile and bright gray-green eyes. He was, in Southern parlance, “cute as a button.”
His father had been a guard at one of the churches when they fled the onslaught of ISIS with only the clothes on their back. Along with his four siblings and parents, “home” was now a small Sunday School classroom at the Kirkuk Church – and they were so very grateful to Rev. Haitham Jazrawi and the congregation for it. Recently, I asked Rev. Haitham for an update on this family and the general state of those for whom the congregation was caring for at the church. This is what he shared: Philip is now entering the 4th grade! He graduated third grade as the #1 student in his class. Similarly, his sister, Vatican, is now entering 7th grade, which is the start of high school in Iraq (as opposed to 9th grade in the U.S.). She also finished 6th grade as the #1 student for her class!
Congratulations At the recent synod meeting, Dr. Atef Gendy was elected Moderator of the Synod of the Nile for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt. It is a great honor and shows the high regard in which he is held within the church. Dr. Gendy expressed his gratitude towards his colleagues for putting their trust in him and hopes to serve the church in the best possible way. This is a one-year appointment, and he will be able to combine it with his role as president of ETSC. At the same meeting Rev. Yousef Samir, the senior pastor of Heliopolis Presbyterian Church, was elected to serve as chairperson of ETSC’s board for the next four years.
Graduation It is always good to work in strong partnership with friends and donors both overseas and within Egypt. The results of this partnership could be seen during the graduation of 52 of our students just a few weeks ago. The graduation took place at Heliopolis Presbyterian Church. It was a wonderful event, and the church was absolutely packed as family and friends came to witness the special ceremony.
Rev. Dr. Carlos del Pino is the coordinator of the Europe office of the Presbyterian Agency of Cross Cultural Missions, the mission board of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. He leads a movement of thirty-eight primarily missionary families that serve in a growing number of European countries with a focus on church planting and renewal.
I first met Carlos when we were both part of the Brazilian delegation to the Fourth Latin American Congress on Evangelization (CLADE IV) held in Quito Ecuador in August 1992. CLADE is series of events sponsored by the Latin American Theological Fellowship (FTL, after its Spanish initials) which since the late 1960s has been the seedbed for a holistic understanding of mission in the region. After that, he went on to pursue both a masters and PhD degree in the Pontifical University of Salamanca, serve as President at the Central Presbyterian Seminary in Goias and then was sent as a missionary from Brazil.
Our group of six from Germantown Presbyterian Church, located just outside Memphis, TN, arrived in Ghana on Friday morning. We were tired but very excited. We met up with our two friends from Columbia Seminary, and then we were all greeted by the dynamic and gracious Dr. John Azumah. We were overwhelmed by his warm welcome. He felt like family immediately. He is an amazing host.
We settled in for the day/night at the lovely Hephzibah Christian Conference Center. Our meals there have all been open air, beginning with lunch on our first day –which was wonderful. The staff of the center is accommodating and sincere. After lunch, we toured where the first Presbyterian missionaries set up camp in Ghana. We also visited the Akrofi-Christaller Institute for Theology, Mission and Culture, a premier mission institution and Outreach partner established by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. We were mesmerized by the wonderful theological college where people all over the world come to study. The staff of the Presbyterian College of Education is very proud of their accomplished school, as they should be. You can feel the Holy Spirit within its walls.