Churches in the Eastern PA Conference are supporting missionaries and vital mission efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania, spanning a vast distance that makes occasional visits and newsletters all the more essential. Those visits and communications help strengthen relationships and inspire support.
The Rev. Jonathan and Donna Baker, our Congo Partnership missionaries working in the Central Congo Area, visited the Southeast District here twice in the past four months. In October they presented a celebrative report to clergy during the Bishop’s Day on the District. And in June they addressed the full District Conference.
The district raised funds in 2014-2015 to build a pediatric clinic in the region of Mpasa, near Kinshasha. In 2015-2016 it raised more, along with partners, to help furnish it with equipment. Now in Phase III, known as Light4Life, district members are raising funds to help provide solar power and a solar-powered blood bank for the medical center.
The Northeast District is also raising funds to support the work in Mpasa, part of a partnership that also includes the Peninsula-Delaware and Western North Carolina conferences. To support its efforts visit the Partnership’s website at www.congo-mission.org.
The new Pediatric Medical Building’s ground-breaking occurred Sept. 19. “This was a celebration of a dream for Mpasa for many years and is a culmination of so much prayer, preparation, and sacrificial giving by many people both in Congo and among our U.S. Partner Conferences,” wrote the Bakers on the Partnership’s Facebook page.
The United Methodist Church built a medical clinic and nutrition center in Mpasa in the late 1990s to serve a large migration of refugees escaping civil war, drought, and other conflicts. When the new pediatric clinic is finished, medical staff will be able to improve maternal care and treat children separately from adults, said Donna Baker, a retired nurse.
Meanwhile, generous donations have provided much-needed equipment, including a generator, an infant incubator for newborns, a surgical bed and operating lights. An ultra-sound machine is next among the many critical needs that still exist.
“You are making a live-saving difference for Christ in Central Congo,” Jonathan Baker told the district in October. “You are there with us through your prayers and support.”
You can also support the Bakers individually as missionaries through the Advance: Donna L. Baker, Advance #3022054; Jonathan E. Baker, Advance #3022050.
Further east, the Rev. Mutwale Ntambo wa Mushidi and his wife Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine are building up the fledgling but growing UM Church of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam. They wrote a grateful, informative letter, with photos, to supportive Eastern PA Conference churches in September.
The missionaries, who last visited here in fall 2014, reported on the Chagombe Preschool, which the community named for the Good Samaritan because it serves “orphans and destitute and vulnerable children free of charge.”
Women, who learn to sew and sell clothing as a microenterprise, also promote development and advocate to leaders about community needs and human rights concerns. Local UMW members grow beans, maize and peanuts, and this year began raising chickens, hoping to provide additional food for children, poor neighbors and pastors.
The UMC in Tanzania is also building a guest house. “We want to begin a welcoming ministry to promote good hospitality and comfortable lodging for volunteers, missionaries, church staffs and other visitors,” wrote Mutwale. “This project is well appreciated by many people and Tanzanian UM church members.” You can support the building of the UMC Guest House and Reception by giving through the Advance at www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission.
Chagombe First UMC hosted the Tanzania Annual Conference in July, which was retiring Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda’s last conference. Meanwhile, more churches are being built to welcome more members and care for refugees, despite limited funds and materials and the need for more help.