From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Second 'Missioners of Hope' group commissioned in Africa

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 03 Apr 2000 14:54:54

April 3, 2000 News media contact: Linda Bloom·(212)870-3803·New York

NOTE: A list of the newly commissioned Missioners of Hope, with their annual
conferences and assignments, follows at the end of this story. 

By the Rev. Connie Nelson*

KITWE, Zambia (UMNS) -- Africa will receive the second wave of Missioners of
Hope following the commissioning of 48 United Methodist missionaries
assigned to ministries with children across the continent.

The March 24 service was held at the United Church of Zambia, on the campus
of the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation. It was preceded by a cross-campus
procession of brightly dressed Missioners of Hope, singing choirs, visiting
dignitaries and worship leaders.

The new missionaries come from Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zimbabwe,
Zambia and the United States. They are assigned to church-related projects
across Africa that directly benefit children, including educational
programs, centers for orphans and vulnerable children, medical clinics and
rehabilitation programs for children of war. The missionaries range in age
from 18 to 60 and are assigned to terms of service from two to five years.
The Missioners of Hope program was launched last year in response to the
United Methodist Council of Bishops' "Hope For The Children of Africa"
appeal, which seeks to rebuild church-related educational, medical and
social facilities affected by decades of war and civil unrest. 

The first 54 Missioners of Hope were commissioned in Zambia in July. In
addition to being the first United Methodist missionaries commissioned
outside the United States, they were the largest group ever commissioned by
the church at one time.

With the March commissioning, the Missioners of Hope program exceeded its
initial goal of 100 missionaries. The 46 Africans and two Americans
represent eight annual conferences and autonomous churches in Africa and two
U.S. annual conferences. They were commissioned after completing an
intensive training, which began Feb. 7 on the campus of the Mindolo
Ecumenical Foundation.

During the service, the Rev. John L. McCullough with the United Methodist
Board of Global Ministries reminded the congregation of the conditions
facing Africa, and particularly the children.

"Even as we gather here in this house of God on this day, receiving
greetings from bishops all across this continent, we are saddened with a war
in Angola; of floods in Mozambique; of religious conflict which may tear
apart Nigeria; of people in the Sudan who have gone days - maybe weeks --
without a meal," said McCullough, associate general secretary of the board's
Mission Personnel Program Unit and author of the Missioners of Hope program.

"These are the images that we must hold close to us as we think about the
Missioners of Hope," he said, "because in the midst of these types of
scenarios, there are young children that are seeking to hold fast to life:
to claim everything that God has for them and hopes for them. It is a
struggle, and they cannot do it alone."

The continued vision for the Missioners of Hope program, he said, is "about
creating structures that help make life more meaningful. It is a vision of
hope. It is about the vision and activity of God (for) each and every one of
us who cries out. To use the gifts that God has given us to enable these
children to embrace all the possibilities."

The Missioners of Hope, McCullough said, are "men and women who have
dedicated their lives to God's children, not counting the cost, that these
children might have the hand of fellowship, might know a sign of God, might
feel a sense of care."

The guest preacher, Bishop Christopher Jokomo of the United Methodist
Church's Zimbabwe Area, challenged those gathered to look beyond the
limitations of the village. He cited the story of a blind man who first had
to be led outside his own community by Jesus to find healing.

"Today, people are excited about globalization, about the 'global village,'
" he said. "(Yet it is a place where) the poor will become poorer and the
rich will become richer. The foundation of the true global village is the
name of Jesus Christ.

"As you prepare to go, I challenge you to see beyond the horizon of the
village," the bishop said. "I challenge you to see beyond the horizon
because the horizon has limitations. I challenge you as servants ...
believing in the leadership that
Jesus Christ will provide. Never go back to the village. You are a new

Bishop Kainda Katembo, leader of United Methodists in the Southern Congo
Area, presided during the commissioning, pronouncing the words in French.
Following the laying-on of hands and distribution of anchor-cross necklaces
by Board of Global Ministries mission staff serving in the region, the
Missioners of Hope were greeted with cheers, applause and the sounds of
high-pitched ululations.

Worship leaders also included Zacharias Uqueio, a layman from Mozambique and
governing member of the Board of Global Ministries; Richard Williams,
assistant general secretary, Mission Personnel Program Unit; Allan Kirton,
director, Mission Resource Center; the Rev. Laurence Konmla Bropleh,
regional executive for sub-Saharan Africa, Mission Personnel Program Unit;
and the Rev. Kathleen Masters, board missionary assigned to the Southern
Congo Area.

A highlight of the service was the litany for the children of Africa, led by
13-year-old Reagan Kalongo, a member of the Ndeke United Methodist Church in

The children's choirs from the District Orphanage and Vulnerable Children's
program in Kitwe -- including children who performed in sign language --
participated in the service. In addition, choirs from the Ndeke United
Methodist Church and the Matero United Methodist Church in Lusaka sang.

# # #

*Nelson is executive secretary of the Mission Personnel Program Unit of the
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

The newly commissioned Missioners of Hope, grouped by their home annual
conferences, are listed below with their places of assignment:

East Africa Annual Conference:
Aline Batamuliza (Rwanda), assigned to Gisenyi Clinic (Rwanda)
Herriet Sanyu Byansi (Uganda), assigned to East Africa Conference Office
Athalie Kwizera (Burundi), assigned to East Africa Conference Office
Julius Pasha Lob'ru (Uganda), assigned to East Africa Conference Office
Eugene Omesombo Muembo (Democratic Republic of Congo), assigned to Migori
Rev. Paul Matheri Njuguna (Kenya), assigned to Naiavasha Children's Ministry

Liberia Annual Conference:
Edwin Clarke Jr., assigned to Liberia Advocacy Publicity
Charles Cooper, assigned to Guinea Initiative
J. Cephas Z.K. Davis, assigned to Bishop Judith Craig Hall
P. Roseline Davis, assigned to WMN Day Centre Nursery
The Rev. Caleb S.G. Dormah, assigned to Liberia Children's Program
The Rev. Esau Abadio Greene, assigned to Liberia Street Children's Ministry
S. Edward Harmon, assigned to Bishop Judith Craig Hall
The Rev. P. Mietakor Kialen, assigned to the Guinea Initiative
Jetty M.M P. Smith, assigned to the Liberia Annual Conference
Edwin McGee Taylor, assigned to the Liberia Annual Conference Volunteers in
Mission Program
David Tokpah Worlobah, assigned to the Children's Sunday School Program

Mozambique Annual Conference:
Antonio Tome Macilau, assigned to Tete Secondary School
Amelia H.N. Macitela, assigned to community health program, Maputo

Nigeria Annual Conference:
Simon Benjamin, assigned to Nigeria Annual Conference Youth Program
Dearsley Peter Dabale, assigned to Blind Child Program
The Rev. Samuel Maishanu Sule, education secretary, Nigeria Annual

North Katanga Annual Conference:
Ilunga Mwepu Dikonzo Edmond, assigned to Jerusalem Orphanage Program
Mulamba Mpanga Innocent, assigned to Mwinilunga-Kanyama
Ilunga Kabale Kalyenya, assigned to Kamina Children's Project
Frido Ngoi Kinkolenge, assigned to Children's Educational Initiative,
Liberia Annual Conference
Odette Makonga Kyakutala, assigned to Jerusalem Orphanage Program
Ndayi Wa Ilunga Letty, assigned to the Kayole Project, Kenya
Honorine Mujinga Mwad, assigned to Kamina Orphan's Centre
Kalala Mwamba Walonji, assigned to Kapundu

Sierra Leone Annual Conference:
Lappia Elijah Amara, assigned to Bishop Judith Craig Hall, Liberia Annual
The Rev. Sidney Albert Cooper, assigned to Pastors' Training, Southern Congo
Feimata Eva Massaquoi, assigned to Bishop Judith Craig Orphanage, Liberia
Alice Kumba Matturi, assigned to Manjama Clinic, Bo, Sierra Leone
Marcus William Quee, assigned to Children's Ministry, Bo, Sierra Leone
Joseph Sunday Sinnah, assigned to Centre for Orphans/Vulnerable Children,
Kitwe, Zambia

Southern Congo Annual Conference:
Lumene Yav Bernard, assigned to Musek Elimbwa
Charity Chibwindi, assigned to Centre for Orphans/Vulnerable Children,
Kitwe, Zambia
Gabrielle Tshisola Kasongo, assigned to Tete Secondary School, Mozambique
Masuka Maleka, assigned to Southern Congo Annual Conference
Josephine Nama Mblishi, assigned to Kayole Project, Kenya
Lenox Sakuwaha, assigned to Kapandu
Mayembe Dieudonne Tshifunga, assigned to Southern Congo Annual Conference

Zimbabwe Annual Conference:
Gladman Nyasha Makwenya, assigned to Christian Education Resources, Zimbabwe
Farai Mashonganyika, assigned to Harare West HIV/AIDS project
Bridget Mazvita Mupunga, assigned to Centre for Orphans/Vulnerable Children,
Kitwe, Zambia

United States:
Allan J. Leary (Western Virginia Annual Conference), assigned to
Reconstruction Program, Sierra Leone Annual Conference
Robert Michael Sutton (Missouri West Annual Conference), assignment pending

United Methodist News Service
Photos and stories also available at:

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home