Page 13 - PC_Winter2020
P. 13
Malawian Women Making History
  The Rev. Mwawi Chilongozi.
By the Rev. Glynis Williams, International Ministries
History was made in the Malawian Church in August 2020: the Rev. Mwawi Chilongozi was the first elected woman as Secretary Gen- eral of the General Assembly of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). The General Assembly has five Synods: in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and three in Malawi. The Deputy Secretary General is the Rev. Dr. Gertrude Kapuma—the first female reverend with a PhD. She teaches at Zomba Theological College, a long- standing PCC partner.
The Rev. Chilongozi and her hus- band, George, an Anglican priest, have three children: a son, age 14, and twins, age 11.
Mwawi Chilongozi is no stran-
ger to The Presbyterian Church in Canada. In 1998, she attended the World Council of Churches General Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe, as a steward, where she met the Rev. Kenn Stright, a PCC minister. Kenn and Mwawi have been friends ever since.
In 2014, International Ministries was asked by the Rev. Levi Nyondo, the General Secretary of the Synod of Livingstonia, for a leadership devel- opment grant for the Rev. Chilongozi to pursue a degree at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. In March 2017, she received a Master of The- ology degree. Her thesis focused on maternal health and the role the church can play. The study was in the field of Theology and Develop- ment, focusing on the intersection of gender, health and theology.
International Ministries supported Mwawi’s attendance at the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) Women’s Gathering in 2014. She then visited Nova Scotia, hosted by Kenn Stright. There, she had several opportunities to meet and share with Atlantic Mis- sion Society (AMS) groups.
Mwawi is currently completing a PhD at Stellenbosch University, and her research focuses on microfi- nance as a tool for socio-economic empowerment for rural women in Northern Malawi.
In Malawi, it is common to fulfil multiple roles and Mwawi has been the Minister of the Zolozolo Con- gregation in Mzuzu, in addition to her studies and family life. When a 2018 PCC mission trip travelled to northern Malawi, Mwawi and her congregation warmly welcomed the
10 Canadian Presbyterians, offering accommodation, meals and joyful worship. The opportunity to meet people in their homes was a highlight for many.
The offices of the CCAP General Assembly are in the capital city of Li- longwe. In addition to the role of Sec- retary General, she will be a Minister in a congregation. She plans to sub- mit her PhD thesis in February 2021, the end of a long journey.
Mwawi’s prayer is that God will guide her and her colleagues and give them the wisdom to run the affairs of the General Assembly, and above all, that there will be unity among the Synods. We give thanks for the faith and gifts of leadership bestowed upon these women by God, to lead the CCAP General Assembly. We re- joice with them!
  A Place to Call Home in Nepal
 By Becky Bauman, former PCC mission staff in Tansen, Nepal, who remains engaged with the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre. She visited Tansen in January 2020, with her two children.
Come along, I’d like you to meet my friend. We are travelling across the world to a very small place. You will be able to find the city of Tansen on the map of Nepal, but to reach the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilita- tion Centre (NLPRC), you will need to stir up some courage, climb into a jeep, and find a handhold for the bumpy ride. I assure you that it will be worth the journey. There are at least a dozen people living at NLPRC and staff also stay here around the clock. They each have stories that are worth hearing.
Karka is one of the hardest workers at NLPRC and has been living here for many years. In the morning light, he leads the way for other residents into the fields to cut the grass and green leaves to feed the cows. He is the one to help carry the bags of goods and grains from the delivery truck. He is not above complaining about all the work, but he always pitches
in just the same. His hands are also quick to catch the ball, or better yet, to volley it back your way with re- markable skill and great aim. Karka does not take the use of his strong hands for granted, because when he arrived at NLPRC, he was recovering from an infection around both wrists. His family and community were hav- ing such difficulty that they had re- sorted to chaining him in place and this had led to deep wounds. The doctors believed that they might have to amputate his hands, these very hands that contribute so much to the daily life of NLPRC. Karka has had his picture and story shared before, though it is somewhat complicated to get consent for this sharing. He is not a man who has known any kind of power or privilege in his life, in fact, he has been hidden away and treated harshly. He is a man of few words. At NLPRC, however, there is a place for his voice to be heard, and there are gentle hands to reach out and straighten his collar, there are co-workers to bend beside him in the work of the farm.
There is much activity at NLPRC these days as land was flattened, gardens relocated and buildings
Staff of New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre in Nepal.
 erected to grow the space and pro- grams available at NLPRC. Karka helps to arrange chairs on bumpy ground for a prayer dedication cer- emony to commemorate the pro- gress made and share the celebra- tion with some of the worldwide donor communities. You are invited here to par ticipate, too. The Presby- terian Church in Canada has helped to make this possible. The Atlantic Mission Society was especially in- spired by the stories of the residents of NLPRC and they have contributed generously. The focus of this place is to show God’s love to the people who have been cast aside. To touch
and care for people with mental ill- ness such that the larger community can see that these people are wor- thy and they are not to be feared. Sometimes it is hard to know how to be a Christian in the world. You are meeting a group of people who are surely following the way of Christ. Christians in Nepal do not have a very long history as a group, but they are enthusiastic and the inspi- ration they find in biblical stories is infectious and has led to this kind of humble action. Pray that Karka will continue to find belonging and home at NLPRC, so that his gifts can con- tinue to inspire those he meets.
Karka, a resident of New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre.

   11   12   13   14   15