Saturday, September 12, 2015

Large Group Prepares for United Methodist Young Adult Mission Service

By Elliott Wright

Thirty-seven young adults are [spent] most of August preparing in Zimbabwe for mission service around the world through The United Methodist Church.

They are from 16 countries and represent the 2015 class of international Global Mission Fellows, who spend two years in ministries focused on justice and community development. In July, 15 new Global Mission Fellows were commissioned for service in the United States. Global Mission Fellows is a program of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries and part of its Generation Transformation emphasis on young adults in mission.

The group undergoing orientation in Harare, Zimbabwe, will be commissioned on August 30 at the Revelation United Methodist Church there. Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa, leader of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area will preside. To be “commissioned” is to be designated by the church for a special purpose. Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone, vice president of Global Ministries, will preach at the service.

Also...commissioned [was] Innocent Phrytoil Afful, a global missionary from Ghana, who is coordinator for orphans and vulnerable children for the Churches of Christ in the Congo, an ecumenical ministry based in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Of the 37 young adults, the majority is from Africa and many will be placed in other parts of the vast continent, none in their home countries. Missionaries are by definition “sent” by God and the church to cross borders and boundaries in taking the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ to all places.

Some of the new Global Mission Fellows will also work in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. A dozen are graduates of Africa University, a pan-African institution related to the United Methodist Church in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Alumni of the university among the new Global Mission Fellows are from across Africa. Four of the international fellows are from the United States.

Work sites are truly international. Relinjoy Pabrua, who is from Manila in the Philippines, will be working with a community development project in Grenada in the West Indies; Wakili Albert Abbo from Jalingo, Nigeria with a new congregation in Dublin, Ireland; Evans Ndadzungira from Chimanimani, Zimbabwe with an environmental protection project in the Philippines; Kelsey Gatza from Chicago, Illinois, USA with a community-based ministry in Johannesburg, South Africa; Dorcas Samantha Ewoodzie from Accra, Ghana in an ecological program in Kenya; and Edwin Castillo from the Dominican Republic as a communicator in a medical service in Nicaragua. (Click here for a full list of the fellows, including where they are from and will work.)

 “This is an exciting new venture in mission,” said the Rev. Dr. Judy Chung, Global Ministries’ associate general secretary for missionary services. “Global Mission Fellows is one expression of our Generation Transformation focus on young adults in mission. The young people leave their home environment, identify with a new community, and not only provide real assistance to their projects but also better equip themselves for leadership roles in church and society in the complex world in which we live.”

The United Methodist Church has organic units (regional “annual” conferences) in the United States, Eurasia, large parts of Africa, and the Philippines. It has mission partnership across Asia and Latin America/Caribbean, with personnel, projects, and partners in more than 125 countries. It has missionaries in 60 countries. U.S. immigration policy does not grant entrance visas to international short-term young adult missionaries.

The service of commissioning on August 30...was developed with the assistance of the Rev. Dr. Beauty R. Maenzanise, dean of the faculty of theology at Africa University.

UMVIM, SEJ is excited to congratulate the following Fellows commissioned from the Southeastern Jurisdiction:

Hilary Glover 
Mississippi Annual Conference 
Placement: Grenada

Barbara Rogers 
North Carolina Annual Conference 
Placement: Russia