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Partnership visit to Zimbabwe

Here were Methodists students with the Academic Dean at the United Theological College at Epworth in Zimbabwe.
The college was originally owned by the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe for training its ministers but it later became ecumenical by collaborating with six other traditional denominations in Zimbabwe. Lately Pentecostal students were also offered admission.
A visit to Matthew Rusike Children’s Home gave me the opportunity to meet with staff and few children on site.

Below is Rev Margaret Mawire – an ex-SALT student and the Director of MRCH. Beside her was one of her staff responsible for training caregivers and church leaders on children issues.

Below were the beautiful Manyanos at their training centre at Epworth in Zimbabwe – the President, Secretary and Treasurer from left to right. They are doing an amazing job empowering and equipping about 31,000 Methodist women in Zimbabwe.

God is good all the time!
Greetings from Zimbabwe 😊.

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Africa partnership visit

Bunmi Olayisade
Africa Partnership Coordinator

A visit to MC Zimbabwe Connexion Office. Below is the Mission Director – Rev Dr Gondongwe an ex- SALT student.

Here is Rev Noel, the youth coordinator leads 20,000 Zimbabwean youths nationally

Mr Clever Tabaziba is the Director of MeDRA and works closely with All We Can on development and relief issues in Zimbabwe.


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Africa partnership visit

Bunmi Olayisade

I visited various MCSA mission programme last week.

The centre had 20 full beds for rehabilitating male patients and the church plays an active role in its administration and counselling in partnership with the government.

Nancy on the right is a National in Mission Appointee with MCSA and works closely with Sheryl, the programme co-ordinator

Hadassah Centre is located about 45 minutes drive away from town and treats only female patients. It has 18 beds on site. These are amazing programmes and infused in the treatment courses is the forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ who gives us all a second chance in life. It was amazing to hear their testimonies and we continue to uphold them in prayers as they return to their communities.

I am off to Zimbabwe after Sunday service this morning.

Every blessing

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Revd Chrisnel Lelievre-former SALT student

Revd Chrisnel Lelievre was a recently Scholarship and Training Student who was studying a Masters at Queen’s College Birmingham. He returned to Haiti in August and a week ago received the joyous news that he had obtained his Masters degree. He is currently Superintendent of the Leon and Jérémie Circuit and has been working hard to support the circuit ,post affected by hurricane Matthew. When we spoke in Port-au-Prince before I travelled to Jérémie., he spoke of the devastation he had seen and of some of the food security challenges that Jérémie will be facing in the near future. But he spoke of the hope that was also evident in the crops that had been planted and in the leaves of the ravaged trees that were beginning to grow back. He is that Haitians have a saying in Creole. “If the cow loses its tail God will bat the flies away”. This saying represents the attitude I have seen in the Haitians who have shared their experiences with me. They truly believe God will make a way for them in their desperate situation. I believe it is our responsibility to stand with them as partners in the Kingdom and believe alongside them, that God will make a way.


“I have come to learn”. Frederick Almede, economes

Before the SALT stewards training at Les Cayes began, I got chatting with, Frederick Almede, Mari Miline Fontus, and Etinno Jan Lesson, pictured left to right in the photo. Frederick told me that he had literally lost everything, and that he and his family were all getting wet because they had no shelter and there had been a substantial amount of rain. I asked him why he was here when he obviously had some serious challenges to face and he simply said, ‘I have come to learn’. I can’t get over the fact that the economes (stewards) who have given their time, energy and money (for travel) to get to the venue are facing challenges most of us can only ever and will only ever imagine. I seriously question whether I would have still gone to a church training session had my home been destroyed and my children left without shelter. It is a testament to the strength of Haitians and to the love of church members for their spiritual home, the Methodist Church in Haiti.


Medical inventories

Vedette Paul is the Eglise Methodiste d’Haiti’s medical storekeeper, responsible for coordinating medical supplies across the Church’s nine clinics. She is a trained nurse and has been working closely with John Harbottle since April 2016, playing a key role in stocktaking the medical supplies that were donated from United States partners to the church following hurricane Matthew. A large part of John’s role with the Health Boards has been to help clinics coordinate their efforts more effectively, and doing medical inventories is a huge part of this. When this administrative task is done well it means that the right medication will get to the right communities and decrease the risk of running out of medical supplies. This is particularly important post hurricane as communities are facing many health challenges. As John continues to work closely with Haitian staff it means that they will be able to take over all the responsibilities he has and leave the work entirely in Haitian hands. Vedette is one of many capable people I have met while in Haiti and I am confident that she will continue to be a great blessing to the church and wider community.


SALT sponsored stewards training

Maxam Libet, Pierre-Luit, Valére Mari-André, Honoré Jean-Lettuce and Delisquar Marie Liquare (left to right in the first and second photos). These are five congregational stewards from Leon Circuit who were badly affected by the hurricane. Its important we know their story and can put a face to the immense suffering Haitians have endured since then. They told me that everything had been destroyed in Leon. Their homes, their churches, their schools. The hurricane had completely blown them away. But the church had been able to send them aid, and this had given them hope. I was astounded at how keen they seemed to be on the stewards training course that was about to begin, because of what they had gone through and were going through. But they came by bus, moto taxi, on foot…any way they could, just to get to Jérémie and receive the training. Pastor Pierre Czephyr, one of the circuit ministers, told me that Haitians were born into suffering, so they have to find ways of overcoming. The circuit hopes to help the community by putting tarpaulin over the churches and schools whose roofs were destroyed, because this will provide shelter for the community when it is raining (they are currently in the rainy season) while they work on helping people rebuild their homes. This spoke volumes me about how important it is that we play a part in developing people within our partner churches. Not only does the financial support we give to our partners benefit them in times of crisis but it is also for strengthening the church and giving these individuals hope for the future.

The SALT sponsored group training today benefited 60 people and covered the vision and mission of the Methodist Church in Haiti, the responsibilities and authority of congregational stewards according to the MCCA’s CPD, the history of the church starting from John Wesley, through to Methodism in the Caribbean and in Haiti and a practical exercise on the order of service and the various elements that need to be included. It was an incredible privilege to sit in on SALT sponsored group training and to speak to the stewards or economes afterwards and hear that the training had really helped them understand their role better, had empowered them and given them a desire to teach others about this ministry. Praise the Lord! Sharon Harbottle, Deaconess Yachelle and Pastor Edzaire Paul did a great job of leading the training sessions.

I must also mention that John Harbottle did a great health prevention session on water purification-essential at this time when there is no running water or easy access to pure water for the worst hurricane affected communities. He taught the group how they could fill a clear plastic bottle with water and leave it in the sun for a day. The sun would purify the water. Simple, yet life-saving knowledge.