Nancy Collins - October 2017 Update
Regional Liaison for East Central Africa
“Recognizing our human limitations and because of our fundamental unity in Jesus Christ, we believe we are called to mission through the discipline of partnership. The practice of partnership guides our whole connectional church. We give visible recognition of our belonging to one another as one denominational family.” from “Presbyterians Do Mission in Partnership” A Policy of the General Assembly, PC(USA) 2003
Dear family and friends,
Greetings to everyone from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have been spending time with my 24-year-old son Charles, who finished his nursing program on September 21. I managed my schedule so that I was able to be there with him. YAY!!
It is also interpretation assignment time again – I have the opportunity to spend time with many of you who support my ministry as regional liaison in East Central Africa. It is wonderful to see folks face to face and hear in more detail about the important ministries of your congregations. Partnership has been a theme sounded in the visits I have made to date.
July 29 was the 20th anniversary celebration of the partnership between Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery (EOP) and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia (CCAP Livingstonia). CCAP Livingstonia General Secretary Rev. Dr. Levi Nyondo and Mrs. Ruth Nyondo were present at a special worship service with some of the key leaders in the EOP partner team. They shared the ways the partnership transformed their lives. In his comments, Dr. Nyondo indicated how much CCAP Livingstonia values the partnership. He also indicated that sometimes the synod makes mistakes in the partnership, and he asked for forgiveness. Such transparency and honesty are key to an effective partnership.
The annual conference of the Malawi Mission Network was held August 10-13 just outside Omaha, Nebraska and was hosted by Faith Presbyterian Church, La Vista. The meeting was packed full of discussion of the do’s and don’ts of partnership.
One of the highlights for me was a two-page document distributed by Africa Area Coordinator Rev. Debbie Braaksma defining and providing guidelines for World Mission-related mission networks. Even after eight years as regional liaison and 20 years in mission service, the document – now several years old – was an eye-opener for me. According to this document, which was developed with input from mission network leaders, purposes of world mission-related mission networks include the following:
- to develop an agreed upon vision and broader level goals for the network in order to increase faithfulness and effectiveness in mission engagement
- to discuss and identify best strategies for mission engagement
- to hold common work and particular members’ mission involvement accountable to the network.
Mission networks should not be a miscellaneous collection of individuals and groups with any sort of connection to a given country. Instead, per the document, participants in mission networks should be the experts in best practices in international mission, they should be in partnership with a World Mission international church partner, and they should be seeking ways network participants can work together to strengthen one focus of the international church partner – for instance, education or human rights or economic development.
The Congo Mission Network has managed to do this well. Several years ago, representatives met with the DR Congo partner and discussed how the network could be most helpful working in the area of education. They worked together to develop a strategic plan, and they have been intentional about implementing it. Hmmm! Is this the way most of the mission networks function? Maybe there is room for growth and improvement!
Grateful for your partnership,
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The Outreach Foundation is seeking $10,000 for support funds for Nancy Collins.