Written by Ana Gobledale
"The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other." —Genesis 31:49
People at home still think of mission work as "making Christians where there were none." Here we are, in an American territory that has higher church attendance than you do on the mainland, and where the church enjoys more respect, and wields more influence than does your church at home. Yet many need to know God. How do we do that? The same way you do, personal witness and invitation. The rest of the time we work to strengthen the Church planted here by the London Missionary Society in 1832.
Irwin and Eileen Knigge
United Congregational Church in American Samoa
Children fish in the Kavango River using traditional reed baskets. A man and a child work in a garden near the shore. Brilliant bougainvillea vines cover the hillside. While a security guide trains his binoculars across the river into Angola, following the sounds of gunshots heard in the night. One finds extreme contrasts in life here.
Council of Churches in Namibia
The idea begins with a young crippled man working valiantly on the street - selling bread, rolls, stockings, shoe liners, anything available to sell that day, who makes his "home" in the unheated church basement. My congregation decides to rent an apartment near the church to house homeless men. This notion goes against the grain of Turkish culture where single young men are generally not trusted, and no respectable landlord would rent to one for fear that hired women inevitably follow.
Luckily, a landlord agrees, on the condition that an older family man will stay with the younger men to supervise behavior. Delighted with the arrangement, my friend immediately moves in, even though he initially has to sleep on the floor. The congregation is looking for a bed, a heater and at least enough of a kitchen to be able to brew a cup of tea. The apartment has three rooms, so it can be shared by three industrious young men willing to work hard to keep off the street. We hope the apartment will become a permanent feature of mission outreach for this small urban congregation.
Uskudar American School
The center had lots of broken tables and chairs. The director started a carpenter club with one hammer. Soon we had more hammers. When the school considered starting a weaving program, the young carpenters built the looms. Several looms are built for two: for two weavers sitting across from each other, or in some cases a loom beneath the warp threads of the higher loom, for the smallest children. When it comes to activities like weaving, carpentry and organic farming, if you do it with your family it becomes child labor. When you do it with your friends it becomes a club.
Donkoi Children Development Center
After the floods in 1996, everything was destroyed. I met a woman who had lost her everything. But she said she was grateful because she and her family were alive. She wasn't bitter. I wondered if I were in her situation, would I say the same thing?
Rio de Janeiro