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Partnership visit to Zambia

A very early start to visit Chipembi farm located about 200kms from Lusaka. The UCZ driver and I took off at 06.00 hours to beat the traffic plus enjoy the cool morning weather before the very hot summer day starts. The rainy season is yet to start.

I was met by Mr Siluyele Winter – the College Principal (pictured above) and joined by four other staff of the School of Agriculture. The institute was started by the Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries in 1929 after setting up Chipembi Secondary School nearby and training fully commenced in 1934 after a disastrous famine in the country. Lay preachers were the first recipients to share good farming techniques alongside sharing the gospel.

I walked round the compound and among several highlights I was glad to see a thriving organic vegetable garden managed by Ms Lydia Sondwe a graduate of Asian Rural Institute in Japan (2015); putting into practice compost making, effective soil management and crop rotation shown above.

In addition, students use the water reservoir used for vegetable farming, growing grains and for livestock management. The College has great potential for growth as it is led by dedicated staff but in dire need of funding. There were about thirty disabled students learning farming skills that do not pay fees enrolled by UCZ as its ethical responsibility to its society. Other fee paying students were about fifty in number, therefore the College is struggling to break even. However this is a wonderful legacy left by early missionaries with potential for great success with appropriate support.

With God, all things are possible.

Bunmi Olayisade
Africa Partnership Coordinator
MCB

Sent from my iPad

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Praying and interceding for one another

One of the final acts we did corporately during the CIEMAL Assembly was to pray and intercede for all the countries in the region that have recently been affected by hurricanes and earthquakes and other disasters such as the fires in California. A delegate from each of these affected countries was asked to go to the front and the entire Assembly stretched out their hands and prayer fervently for God’s help to these nations during this time of great distress and difficulty. As a sign of love and solidarity we were encouraged to embrace each delegate representing their country. It was so beautiful to see how committed partners are the region to supporting one another In prayer. The solidarity between them was very tangible.

Every blessing,

Sandra

Growing churches in Latin America

The opportunity to meet with as many partner churches heads as I can fit into our times of sharing and fellowship has been valuable. I had the chance to meet the leaders from the Methodist Church in Costa Rica, a church that the Methodist Church in Britain has not had a partnership with in the past but that is an integral part of CIEMAL. The Lord is certainly doing marvelous things in Costa Rica through this church! The Costan Rican delegates shared with me that in 2010, the church only numbered approximately 1,400 members. It was a declining church. Now, it is a self-sustaining church of approximately 25,000! I asked them what they thought had caused this phenomenal growth. Some of the things they mentioned that had driven this growth was discipleship, making disciples of Christ who were taught to become contributors to the Kingdom of God, developing leaders who were true worshipers of God and developing good financial stewardship training to help their members get out of debt and be able to live healthier financial lives and support the Kingdom. Another important driving force was that it was a very united church, a very connexional church. There are certainly many things we can learn from our Methodist partners in this region.

It was very good to see Revd Juan Simpson, the Panama City Circuit Superintendent of the Panama/Costa Rica District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, whom I met in August, bring greetings from the MCCA and from the District. He congratulated CIEMAL in its 50 year anniversary and shared the MCCA’s desire to seek closer links with CIEMAL and work together on the many issues that are affecting the region, such as climate change, disaster relief following the hurricanes in September, the ongoing conversation on human sexuality, racism and more. There is mutual learning and sharing that can be developed between the MCCA and partners in Latin America and the Caribbean!

Partnership visit to United Church Zambia

I made a courtesy call to see Bishop Chombo – Bishop of Lusaka Presbytery. We then visited United Radio station just behind his office that started broadcasting in November 2015.

The Radio is popular for its UCZ choral music produced by various choirs across Lusaka as well as Christian music from ecumenical partners. There are over 100 UCZ congregations in Lusaka. The Radio also offers a platform for aspiring artists as well as already established Christian artists to showcase their talents on the Radio.

Lastly it offers a great medium for sharing the gospel and conducts programmes on it impacts on everyday life in Zambia. UCZ as a church also speaks to social, economic, civic, health and several other national and global issues. The Radio is able to now support its operations through funds raised from adverts though it had relied heavily on the church when it newly started.

May the word of the Lord fill the earth as waters cover the sea! Amen

Bunmi Olayisade
African Partnership Coordinator
MCB

Sent from my iPad

Remembering the past, looking to the future

Today CIEMAL looked to the future and celebrated the past. The Assembly agreed to accept the Confederation of Methodist men in Latin America and the Caribbean as associate members to CIEMAL, and the Assembly rejoiced that now both Methodist Latin American men and woman can participate and influence the direction of Methodism in the region. It also voted to accept the African Episcopal Methodist Church in the Dominican Republic as a new members to CIEMAL.

The Assembly voted today on a new President and Vice –President, and to the joy of the Assembly, Bishop Adonias Pereira of the Methodist Church in Brazil was elected as the new CIEMAL President. Revd Lizzette Gabriel from the Methodist Church in Puerto Rico was elected as the new Vice-President. I am still waiting to hear the results of the news Executive Committee’s decision on the new General Secretary of CIEMAL.

Our evening was spent celebrating CIEMAL’s 50 year anniversary. With thankful hearts, several Methodist men and women from the region who have recently passed into glory, were remembered and honored. We worshiped God for His goodness and prayed together for God’s Kingdom to be extended in the region.

Every blessing,

Sandra

New President and Vice-President of the Latin American and Caribbean Council of Bishops

Today the Council of Bishops of Latin American and Caribbean Methodist Churches elected a new President and Vice President. Revd Juan de Dios Peña, the President of the Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador, was elected as the incoming President of the Council of Bishops, and Bishop Samuel Aguilar Curi, the Bishops of the Methodist Church in Peru, was elected as the incoming Vice President. We congratulate them both on their elections!

CIEMAL youth continental coordinator, Pastor Emerson Castillo, presented the youth report to the Assembly, and mentioned that for the very first time, they had been able to enjoy the participation of delegates from the Methodist Church in Britain. They had a great time of learning and sharing together and are keen to continue inviting the Methodist Church in Britain to send youth representatives to future CIEMAL youth meetings.

Every Blessings,

Sandra

CIEMAL Assembly

CIEMAL, the Council of Latin American and Caribbean Evangelical Methodist Churches is hosting its Assembly in Panama. Evangelism, mission and discipleship has been at the forefront of its work over the last few years and I am here to represent the Methodist Church in Britain as well as hear about the fruit of this work and what impact it has had on the lives of our partner churches.

Revd Lizette Gabriel, the outgoing President of CIEMAL, spoke movingly this morning of how difficult it had been for her to get to Panama from her home in Puerto Rico. The stories she shared concerning the suffering and hardship of Puerto Ricans are very difficult to comprehend, when we consider that Puerto Rico is the United States. US cabotage laws have made it impossible for some aid to be allowed onto the island, and coordination on the island of the aid that had been sent by mainland US has been chaotic. Far more people than reported in the media have died because of the hurricane. Morgues are full, and so people are having to bury their loved ones in their own gardens. 35 % of the island still has no communication and parts of the country remain cut off. The situation is dire, but the Methodist Church in Puerto Rico is supporting its communities in any way it can through aid, chaplaincy (there has been a spike in suicides among Puerto Ricans affected by the disaster) and by working with local authorities to coordinate relief efforts.

For updates on the Caribbean in the wake of the hurricanes please see our world church news pages:

http://methodist.org.uk/mission/world-church/world-church-news/caribbean-hurricane

Every blessings,

Sandra