Arrived yesterday night and was at a partnership meeting by 7.30am withJoseph, the CEO of Ankasee Methodist Hospital and Pat Jamison -MCB mission partner serving as a Community Health Nurse with Methodist Church Ghana.
Afterwards we traveled by road for 4.5 hours to Ankasee near Kumasi to where Pat stays
Sent from my iPad
Wednesday has been an exciting day. One of those occasions when it is easy to see the impact of time, support and finance invested in a partnership.
A four-hour drive took me to Adoni where Revd Daniel Premkumar lives in a children’s home (having taken in 41 girls and boys affected by AIDS). The work we and HMI are helping him with, however, is a sustainable agriculture project. Having been moved by the plight of the tens of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide in recent years, Daniel is building a network of farmers to work together on sustainable methods. Today I cut the ribbon to open their new meeting hall and launch a book of thoughts and Bible studies. We hope inter faith discussion among the farming community will follow as trust is built. Ten farmers are already committed to converting to organic methods and here you see some of them with a display of equipment and examples of home made insecticides and fertilizers.
The girls are from Daniel’s ‘Faith Home’ and came to help with the launch event.
A whole lot of faith in action!
One of the strengths of Henry Martyn Institute is its community development and peace building projects. This means practical experience in local communities with the Hindu and Muslim communities feeds the in-service training and academic study.
Diversity is an essential feature of God’s creation therefore dialogue and reconciliation must be part of our life of faith. I was most grateful to this group of young Muslim and Hindu women who shared so honestly with me about their lives at the HMI community project in Old Hyderabad. Their total lack of opportunity in the face of my family story was unnerving.
So, as HMI puts on its sign board,
‘Peace as goal,
Justice as perspective,
Reconciliation as methodology.’
Henry Martyn Institute in Hyderabad has been an important centre of learning for thirty years promoting inter faith studies and learning about Islam. The day begins with devotions in the beautiful garden chapel attended by staff and visitors of all faiths.
I then met with Dr Abrahams, a new NMA, who runs the Masters programme, and the dynamic director who is raising the profile and reputation of HMI across India and beyond.
There is a group of 24 Dutch pastors here having a two week exposure to the religions of India and the importance of dialogue. An experience many more must have if we are to move from religion being a divisive force in the world to something more creative.
As promised here is the clip of the Christian Currulao dancing in Buenaventura, Colombia.
Buenaventura is a port on the Pacific coast of Colombia that is known as one of the most dangerous places in the country. It is a place where gangs, paramilitaries (who are concentrated in the north and western parts of the country), people displaced by the guerrilla, drug traffickers and an afro-Colombian community that lives in poverty collide. It is a violent place where young people are recruited from an early age to be part of the local gangs and where teenage girls become mothers and fathers are largely absent from the family.
It is in this context that with the support of a Nationals in Mission (NMA) grant from the Methodist Church in Britain that the Colombian Methodist Church began a community development initiative two years ago. The NMA grant enable the church to pay the salary of Elizabeth Valenzuela Mosquera to lead the evangelism and mission initiative and to reach out to the community in the love of Christ. Pastor Elizabeth and two young leaders, Arnold and Danny, lead a faith community of about 40 members who are predominantly young people aged between 7 and 16. I visited a special service that was held to welcome us and saw the fruit of their work first hand. I sat with children who led part of the service, who fully participated in the worship and the word. It was obvious that they felt welcomed and loved by this Methodist community, who seeks to serve los mas pequeños (the most vulnerable). They were providing a safe space for these young people, and through the Bible were teaching them the values they needed to be the SALT and light in their challenging environment.
It was such a joy to see the church affirming the cultural background of this community and we saw a performance of Currulao, a traditional Afro-Colombian Pacific dance. It was performed to a Christian Currulao song which I will upload when I have better internet connection!
Hip Hop is also an important part of the community’s culture and the two young men supporting the ministry write and produce hip hop for a living and use it as a way of reaching out to and connecting with the local community in a way they can identify with. Again I will upload a clip is a clip of a Christian song written and performed by Arnold and Danny with hip hop influence when my internet connection improves.
Please pray for this community and for the work of Pastor Elizabeth as she and Arnold and Danny continue to share the love of the Lord Jesus among the people of Buenaventura.