WRF Board member John Wilson has just now returned from a four-week partnership mission with sister Presbyterian churches in Africa.
He writes: "It is now the first week back into pastoral work at home since my time with in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia and South Africa. I can scarcely 'take it all in' – preaching to prisoners in Zomba, official partnership events, the evangelistic crusade response in Chililabombwe, the fire, the presentation of Bemba Bibles. But I left Africa ... confident that this is God's work and that he will bless the African church into the future.”
Aside from all the blessings recorded on our website ( http://missionafrica11.blogspot.com/ ) the added blessing was spending the final day together with fellow Board member Rev Dr Flip Buys in Sth Africa.
To have a fellow WRF member waiting for me in S.A. meant there was so much ground we DIDN'T have to go over and so we could begin our shared day from a different base. In church partnership work I have quickly discovered that, even among sister Presbyterian churches (whose constitution shares the same confessional position), there are different expectations derived from the words "Partner Church". So much time has to be spent in defining and refining expectations!
Another time and in another article I would like to explore the place of Partner Church relationships. I believe in their value even though they have caused me some measure of grief and disappointment. I would love to have dialogue with other WRF members on this.
But for now, I want to say how sweet it was to spend time with Flip and to be shown around the holistic mission that surrounds Mukhanyo Theological College, KwaMhlanga, South Africa. And then to understand that their Distance Education program for theological training might just be the answer to needs that emerged before me when traveling in remoter parts of Malawi and Zambia. My fellow Presbyterian ministers there are looking for ways to train and educate suitably gifted people in ministry without having to remove them for long periods of time from their community for expensive training in the capital city.
I had heard Dr. Buys make a presentation on his work at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, this year but to spend time at Mukhanyo in his presence is worth ten presentations! Mukhanyo Theological College is doing a great work for the Kingdom. It seems likely now that their work will be of great assistance to my partnership work between CCAP churches in central Africa and the Presbyterian Church of Australia. I commend this to you as a practical demonstration of the effectiveness of the letter 'F' in WRF."
Dr. John Wilson