Chabadza partners work together on pilot project in Malawi
As part of our Chabadza partnership with the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference, a group from the Great Plains Conference is traveling in Malawi from Oct. 12 to 28 to participate in young people’s ministry training.
The group includes the Rev. Micki McCorkle, Great Plains small-membership church coordinator; Rick Bartlett a member of the Chabadza Leadership Team; the Rev. Sophirina Sign, a leader in the Zimbabwe Conference; and a team from Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
Following the young people training, McCorkle and Sign continue to have conversations with the leaders of the Malawi United Methodist Provisional Conference to explore ways of collaboration, especially in providing resources and training for laity and clergy.
Before departing Wichita for Malawi, McCorkle shared a few words about the opportunity to travel to Malawi and participate in this pilot project.
“The United Methodist Church in Malawi is growing as it makes disciples for Jesus Christ,” McCorkle said. “I am excited to go and hear firsthand and see with my own eyes – in the spirit of Chabadza – from United Methodists throughout Malawi about their faith and the ways they are creating discipleship opportunities for new Christians and those who have been Christians for a long time. I am especially eager to visit rural areas and talk and pray with those in small congregations about life and faith and how they apply their faith to all aspects of living. I ask your prayers for Malawi and all of southern Africa as they deal with food issues related to drought. Maize, a food staple there, has tripled in price.”.
Bartlett said he also was looking forward to the trip to Malawi this month for a variety of reasons.
“I'm excited to meet our brothers and sisters in the church in this part of the world,” he said. “I know I have much to learn from their vibrant faith, expectancy and hope. In addition, as a long-time youth pastor, I anticipate our sessions with young leaders from around Malawi to be rich with energy and fresh ideas. I love seeing youth released into ministry!"
Bartlett also is traveling with his 17-year-old son.
“He's been with me on three other international trips, and I can't wait for him to see and experience the beauty and opportunities of Africa,” Bartlett said. “I know there are difficult things we will both experience while over there, but I'm looking forward to hearing how God is speaking to him about his future.”
The Chabadza Leadership Team has been engaged in conversations with the Mercy & Justice Team, The United Methodist Church of The Resurrection and our Zimbabwe partners to identify ways to provide support and training to our Malawi friends. Since Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, the resident bishop of Zimbabwe, oversees the Malawi Provisional Conference, it makes sense to engage Zimbabwe leaders who are the closest to Malawi to provide training.
Zimbabweans understand the Malawi culture. In addition, as an established episcopal area, the Zimbabwe United Methodist leaders are well equipped to accompany the young and rapidly growing Malawi Provisional Conference in the spirit of Chabadza.
As members of the Great Plains Conference, we are honored to be part of what God has been doing in Malawi. We offer prayers for the Malawi people and the church as they continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Check back for updates on the Great Plains delegation’s trip to Malawi.