Eight mission groups were represented at the Summit in Nashville, including:, Belmont UMC, Church of the Resurrection in KC, First UMC in Ankany, Iowa, and other active clergy and laity). We compared notes, found out what each other were doing, and asked questions about how we might work together in a more coordinated and transparent way in Malawi.
Most gratifying for me was learning that the WorldHope Corps initiatives--HOPE HOMES, HOPE SCHOLARSHIPS AND HOPE TAILORING SCHOOL--have been enthusiastically embraced and supported by the other volunteer mission groups. And that there are others who want to put in village wells and support the work in Malawi, each in their own way.
Rev. Herb Mather, a Drew Theological School graduate, and his wife, Sue, who have made many trips to Malawi and aised several thousand dollars for mission projects, organized and hosted the Summit, and made us all feel welcome.
Its a great benefit to be in ministry together, and I look forward to next year's Summit, and to returning to Malawi with another mission team in May, 2011.
I want to include in this mission update with a short note from Rev. Daniel Mhone, Conference Superintendent of the United Methodist Church in Malawi, whose heart was encouraged during the Summit:
I write just to appreciate your participation in the Malawi Summit we held in Nashville and God bless you.
To be very honest as Superintendent in the newly legislated Missionary Conference, there have been times when I have personally got frozen in my spirit and thought this is a non starter and we are heading nowhere. BUT after the summit I feel that our cry has been held and there is a future and way out and we corporately take the work of the Missionary and a Methodist family. God bless you and let us carry out ministry to the glory of God.
Stand with us and may God richly bless you.
Rev. Daniel Mhone
Background on United Methodist Church in Malawi:
The United Methodist Church in Malawi is fairly young. Started some 21 years ago by indigenous leaders, it was for 20 years a district of the episcopal area based in nearby Zimbabwe. In April 2008, the United Methodist General Conference, the denomination's legislature, recognized Malawi was a Missionary Conference, with special ties to the General Board of Global Ministries. Today, there are about 100 congregations organized into 22 circuits.
Malawi is a land-locked country of 10.5 million mostly rural people east of Zambia, west of Mozambique, and south of Tanzania. Like Zimbabwe, it was colonized by English-speaking Europeans in the 19th century. It gained its independence from Great Britain in 1964 and become a democratic republic in 1994. Lilongwe is the capital city. The annual per capital income is $800. Some 80 percent of the population is Christian, 55 percent of those Protestant.