Ministry Partners: Mzuzu Shalom Zone, Mzuzu United Methodist Church, and CitiHope International
Hosts in Malawi: Rev. Copeland Nkhata, Gabriel Wesley Msongole, Dennis Singini and Noel Kumwenda
Team Leader: Dr. Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D., Director, Communities of Shalom, Drew University, and Founder of WorldHope Corps, Inc.
Mission Team Members:
Michael Christensen teaches practical theology at Drew University where he directs the Shalom Initiative for Prophetic Leadership and Community Development that provides training and support for an international network known as Communities of Shalom. In 2007, Dr. Christensen founded WorldHope Corps, primarily to mobilize volunteers-in-mission, but also to support charitable projects in Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Haiti, and the Chernobyl region. This will be his seventh mission trip to Malawi since 2005. He plans to post daily travel blogs about the mission trip on his blogsite at http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com
Ruth Bashe is a member of the Mission Council at the Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, with a major commitment to international missions. She was part of a small group that was instrumental in helping the church adopt Malawi as one of their mission projects over the last several years. Ruth has a particular interest in orphan care and service projects, and successfully procured donations of soccer balls and uniforms for the youth we will visit at FOMCO orphan care center. This is her third trip to Malawi to volunteer with WorldHope Corps.
Helen E. Hoens was trained as a Stephen Minister in 2003 and, since January 2004, has served as one of the leaders of the Stephen Ministry program at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. She has taught Sunday School both in Basking Ridge and at the Third Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth where she also served as a Ruling Elder. She has long been active both in mission work and in volunteer work on behalf of autistic children and adults and their families. Her professional calling involves working for the cause of justice as a part of which she is a frequent author and speaker. Helen has a particular interest in the Hope Tailoring School which she has supported through WorldHope Corps. This will be her second trip to Malawi.
Robert Schwaneberg returns to Malawi this year after receiving his master's degree in health law and policy lst year from Seton Hall University School of Law. He is currently active in the development of health care policy locally and nationally. Robert previously spent 30 years covering state government as a reporter for The Star-Ledger. He is a member of Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church and is an expert photographer who has documented many of the village wells sponsored by WorldHope Corps. He lives in Basking Ridge with his wife, Helen Hoens, who also is traveling to Malawi for the second time.
Rev. Paul Gasque, from Latta, South Carolina, is a United Methodist Pastor actively involved in a number of community ministries, including sponsoring a health screening clinic, food ministry for needy children, and advocacy and case management for people living with HIV/AIDS. He has been on a previous medical mission trip to Rwanda, and continues to feel called to social justice ministry—especially with issues related to HIV/AIDS--on a global level. He provided a Hope Scholarship this year for an orphaned youth who he hopes to meet on this trip.
Morgan Hope Jackson, currently a nursing student active in a community service sorority focused on visiting a nursing home and a children hospital. A member of Friendship United Methodist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina, she has volunteered served for five years with the Salkehatchie Summer Service work camp in South Carolina, and participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua. Morgan will have graduated and completed her nursing degree by the time we depart for Malawi in May.
Carolyn Henderson is currently attending University of South Carolina where she is a member of a service sorority through which she completes 50 hours of volunteer service each year. A life-long member of First Baptist Church of Walterboro, SC, she has participated in numerous compassionate ministry projects and mission trips in New York City and Mobile. Al. Carolyn studied abroad in Spain last year, and plans to graduate in May, and embrace her next season of life and ministry.
Rev. John Wesley Culp, a United Methodist pastor in South Carolina, is founder of the Salkehatichie Summer Service work camp, and a member of the Communities of Shalom National Committee, United Methodist Global AIDS Project, and General Board of Global Ministries in the UMC. A socially-active, visionary, global Christian, John raised funds this year to sponsor two village wells in honor of his granddaughter, Reagan, who is a cancer survivor. He plans to see and dedicate “Reagan’s Well” (recently drilled) on this, his first trip to Malawi.
Linda Bales Todd serves as the Director of the Louise and Hugh Moore Population Project (LHMPP) for the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) based in Washington, DC. For the past nine years, Linda has addressed some of the most critical population issues facing women & children: HIV & AIDS, domestic violence, human trafficking, poverty and child and maternal health, including reproductive health. Her goal is to mobilize United Methodists to become better informed as activists for peace with justice including speaking truth to power at local, national and international levels. As a facilitator of social issues workshops around the globe, primarily in Africa, Linda, in partnership with indigenous United Methodists, assists participants discern how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can lead toward a more whole world where all people are embraced and valued. Linda served as a trainer for the Communities of Shalom Initiative from 1994 - 2001, an international United Methodist effort focused on community empowerment, health and wholeness. She will offer one of the Shalom training units in Malawi this year.
Katey Zeh directs the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet initiative for the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) of The United Methodist Church. She works as an educator and advocate to mobilize United Methodists and key members of Congress on the importance of maternal health and international family planning. She has partnered with women's health advocates from Kenya, Sierra Leone, and India to inspire people of faith to action through sharing their stories and experiences from the field. Prior to joining GBCS, Katey worked at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) in Washington, D.C. and the Religious Institute in Westport, CT. She earned her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and her undergraduate degree in religious studies from Davidson College. Katey will co-facilitate with Linda a Shalom Training unit focused on community health.