Bridges Update: Mission Partners Around the World

6/22/2017

The North Georgia Conference Bridges partnerships are based on a 50/50 relationship between our Conference and Methodist mission colleagues around the world. Rev. Herzen Andone, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, gave an update to members of the 2017 Annual Conference on three Bridges.

The Bridge to El Salvador has been active every year since its launch, according to Andone. Two teams from the LaGrange District and one from LaGrange College travel to El Salvador each year and are building relationships with the Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador. 

The LaGrange District had also joined with Simpsonwood United Methodist Church in providing funding for the purchase of two lots near the Methodist School for the purpose of constructing a high school so that young people in the area can be educated in a faith-based, safe environment. The education they receive will have life changing impact in generations to come.
 
Our primary mission partner in Kenya is ZOE.  ZOE (www.zoehelps.org) employs a distinctive approach to orphan empowerment in places of greatest financial poverty.  This program was designed by a group of Rwandan social workers, and has sustainable, measurable effects.  ZOE currently has over 30,000 orphans and vulnerable children enrolled in the three-year empowerment program across seven countries:  Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Liberia, India, and Guatemala. 

Several churches in our conference are involved with ZOE and without exception, they are inspired by the passion of ZOE’s leadership to develop orphans who are not dependent on the government or on long-term charity.

Finally,  our Bridges partner in the Philippines continues to offer us a variety of ways to experience mission in both urban and rural settings that remind us that mission is evangelism.

For example, nearly three years ago a team from North Georgia comprised of laity and clergy, men and women, diverse in age, stood in an empty field with sisters and brothers from Manila and broke ground on a daughter church plant in Angat, a rural community 4 hours from Manila. A year later, the church baptized 90 new followers of Jesus in a nearby river. The following year, the church baptized 80 new followers of Christ; and just a few months ago the church baptized nearly 40 new followers of Christ. That same daughter church has now given birth to two faith communities among the rural poor.

Andone brought a heartfelt message of gratitude to North Georgia from our fellow United Methodists in the Philippines.

“Because of the E.R. Park Medical Mission fund here in North Georgia, we were able to assist United Methodist-affiliated Mary Johnson Hospital with the purchase of a brand new autoclave - the machine they need to sterilize medical instruments - to replace the one they had that was over 70 years old!,” said Andone. “Today, they are able to serve more patients - many who have little or no means to pay for medical service - with a greater level of confidence and care.”

For more information on the Bridges ministry, contact Rev. Scott Parrish at scott.parrish@ngumc.net or Rev. Herzen Andone at herzen.andone@ngumc.net or visit www.ngumc.org/bridges


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