Mission Crossroads

SUM 2017

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

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Mission Crossroads 7 worship, we baptized babies and children, solemnized marriages, ordained officers, consecrated Women's Guild uniforms and had the sacrament of Communion. It was a wonderful, hope-filled celebration of the kingdom of God. After a delicious meal of nsima, chicken and rice, we left the Prayer House and began our descent. By the time we got down, it was dark. As we said good-bye, I asked the session clerk about two of the young men. He explained that nobody expected my 9-year-old daughter, Ariel, to climb the entire way. ese two deacons traveled with us to carry her when she got tired. For the entire hike, I kept hearing "Tatsala pango'no kufika — it is 'just there.'" To be honest, I wondered if I would ever see the Prayer House. But all along the way, people pointed out signs to me. A tree. Some goats. A stream. Each sign meant something to my guide — that we were getting closer. Finally, we arrived and celebrated in worship with God's people. e Pittsburgh-Malawi partnership has existed for more than 25 years. During that time, the kingdom of God has not been realized. We are still on the trail, but for a quarter-century, wonderful friends have whispered, "Tatsala pango'no kufika — it is 'just there.'" Recently, our partnership expanded in a delightful way when the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church sought an international partner. Presbyterian Mission Agency leaders suggested that Pittsburgh might take on another, parallel relationship and re-create in South Sudan what had been successful in Malawi. e Holy Spirit had other ideas. Instead of another bilateral relationship, we explored a tripartite agreement. PC(USA) and Malawi church representatives met our Presbyterian counterparts from the South Sudan church for a time of retreat and reflection, culminating in a trilateral covenant of support, encouragement and partnership. at made many things more difficult: increased bureaucracy (both civil and ecclesial), more languages and different cultural understandings. Yet, a great joy has emerged as African churches (traditionally regarded as "recipients" of Western mission) recognize they have much to offer one another and their partner in America. Pittsburgh congregations (often thought of as "donors") have experienced the vibrancy of African brothers or sisters sharing some of the joy or faith that we lacked. e shift to a tripartite relationship has led to a renewal of missional energy and connectionalism in Pittsburgh congregations. Have you seen the signs? ere's a clinic . . . a water project . . . and food pantries in Pittsburgh that have been strengthened by African volunteers. Yet the partnership has meant an exchange of gifts far more valuable than any construction project or renovation: hospitality from abroad, new songs, shared prayers. Each, my friends, is a sign that the realm of God is coming. It is, in fact, "tatsala pango'no kufika — it is 'just there.'" is partnership is the place where thousands of us have seen signs that the kingdom is near. When I first arrived in Africa, I prayed my eyes might be larger. Well, they're sure a lot older now. But they are bigger. And the world is a lot smaller. I keep climbing because I have partners on the trip. Tatsala pango'no kufika, my friends. The Rev. Dave Carver is pastor at First United Presbyterian Church of Crafton Heights in the Pittsburgh Presbytery. SUPPORT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA Consider making a gift to help leaders recognize their God-given potential. pcusa.org/donate/E862121 The Rev. Dave Carver and his daughter, Ariel, 9 (in pink), join Malawian pastor the Rev. Ralph M'nensa and a delegation of elders and deacons as they pass through a cassava field en route to the Prayer House atop Chaone Mountain near Machinga, Malawi. This was the first visit by any clergy to the Chaone Prayer House in at least three years. Sharon Carver

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