Presbyterians Today

FEB-MAR 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 41 Church Mekane Yesus Bible Schools; Bob Rice, Nile Theological College in South Sudan; and Donna Sloan, professor of church history at Zomba Theological College in Malawi. Community Health Evangelism Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is being facilitated by PC(USA) mission co-workers and their global partners in Africa using a participatory approach of education. In this model, students are given as much of a voice as their instructors in determining curriculum. CHE uses the acronym LePSAS as a reminder to trainers of what participatory edu- cation entails. LePSAS stands for: • Learner-centered — Creating a learning environment that focuses on the learner rather than the teacher. • Problem-posing — Using interac- tive tools such as stories or skits to highlight a problem and to stimulate thinking. • Self-discovery — Using group dialogue to prompt the revelation of truth. • Action-oriented — Resolving the problem posed and applying it to com- munity life through group discussion. • Spirit-guided — Being responsive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all interactions, ensuring that the dignity of participants is maintained. Longtime mission co-worker Michael Ludwig, serving at the invi- tation of the Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger, explained the importance of this educational model: "The long history of nongovern- mental organizations coming into Niger with free supplies often lulled people into a dependency mental- ity, which masks the root causes of problems. The stories in the introduc- tory stage of CHE move community members into real discussion and engagement," he said. Luta Garbat-Welch, who grew up in Africa as the daughter of Presbyterian mission co-workers and heeded Jesus' words at age 7 to serve "the least of these," supports the implementation of CHE programs within the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi. "It has been a joy to walk with these individuals as their under- standing of CHE grows, as they recognize the potential impact this paradigm shift will have for their communities," she said. Both the East and West Gambella Bethel Synods in Ethiopia have moved forward with the initial CHE training process, and by the end of the year they will have completed the second round of Training of Trainers. Mission co-worker Rachel Weller has worked with them as they have cre- atively adapted the process to fit their cultural and social context. Charles and Melissa Johnson, mission co-workers in Zambia, are also working in transformational community development. They were invited to help the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian's Zambia Synod expand its holistic ministry of com- munity development, food security and improved health. Charles serves as a development specialist. His work is heavily focused on developing an agricultural income-generating farm at Chasefu Theological College and teaching courses in sustainable agriculture at the college. This type of learning helps the students feed their own families and enables these future pastors to teach others in new agricultural techniques. Melissa serves as a health educa- tion program facilitator. She works with the CCAP Synod of Zambia Health Department coordinator and other church leaders; local stake- holders, including the government's Ministry of Health; and the com- munity to identify important needs and gaps in general health education. Melissa facilitates the development and implementation of health educa- tion programs to improve maternal and child health, to address hygiene issues of girls and women, and to raise awareness about nutritional needs of children and adults. Underpinning all this work, however, is something rarely seen on the news or even raised in congrega- tions in the United States — that is, the deep faith among the people in Africa who are trying to trans- form their nations, said Shelvis Smith-Mather. "We definitely get a sense of encouragement from the people who, with their limited resources, do great things," he said. "I hope people in the United States will think about how they can join alongside our brothers and sisters in Africa." Kathy Melvin is director of Mission Communications for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. LEARN MORE To learn more about these mission co-workers and the projects they are involved in, go to We know that children who are literate grow up to become better parents with healthier children who attend more school. — Jan Heckler

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