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Global Ministries member describes efforts of three mission partners

Ruth Brandon of Everett UCC and the Global Ministries Committee of the PNC and Northwest Region Disciples of Christ, invites people in the region to be aware of current mission work by the UCC and Disciples around the world.

She shares reports about mission partners who have news they wanted to share.

John and Karen Campbell-Nelson, missionaries in West Timor, have written recently that the main environmental concern now is an extended drought.  Many villages have seen their springs and wells run dry.

“People walk a mile or more to the lowest point in a stream where water still seeps out, bathe and do laundry there, and carry enough water back up hill for drinking and cooking,” they report. “If these conditions continue, there will be need for emergency food and water aid.

“We are grateful for new Synod leadership and the first woman moderator who has made issues of environment and human trafficking a priority in her ministry,” they said.  “She is giving support to Timorese villagers who are trying to shut down a mining operation that is ruining their fields and their water supply.”

Erik and Kim Free from Oregon are missionaries in Mozambique supported by many in the PNC.

“Most of Mozambique is in the grips of a devastating drought, while in the north, flooding is causing major problems. Crops are failing.  Food is becoming scarce.  Our training fields have failed because of a lack of rain,” the Frees report.

Soon after construction on their home in Goi-Goi is completed, Kim plans to start a rabbit-breeding program.  The local committee agreed to expanding food sources as one goal. Rabbits are a good source of protein and can be sourced locally.

“Erik contracted malaria, but is able to afford medications and combat the illness,” Kim said.  “Most Mozambicans cannot afford the medications, and malaria remains one of the top causes of death. 

“Sometimes, when the big picture is overwhelming, it is a good idea to focus on life’s small joys: reuniting with friends, laughing at a joke, or watching the Smurfs (in Portuguese) with the neighborhood kids on the TV in the shop downstairs,” she said.

Bruce Van Voorhis, a missionary in Hong Kong, wrote recently that 14 youth from Cambodia, China, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have completed the third module of the School of Peace (SOP). The first modules were in August and September.

Then they had a gap of several months to put into practice in their communities what they learned.

The program sought to sensitize the participants to the various identities that all people have based on gender, race and ethnicity, nationality and religion, and the ways in which one’s identity can become a source of conflict, Bruce said. 

Discussions have revolved around how people respond to conflict with engagement of “the other” through dialogue promoted as a non-violent means to reach consensus on addressing disputes.  The module in February focused on transforming self, and then communities and societies.

For information, call 937-367-4978 or email


Copyright April 2016 - Pacific NW United Church News


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