Origins of the Trip – “It was a dark, dreary night in November ... ”
Following a Session meeting late on a Tuesday evening in November, 2012, the MAPC pastoral staff, as is our custom, were gathered in the Hendersons’ apartment on the 10th Floor of the Church House. The staff was preparing to say goodbye to Abusa Joseph Juma, MAPC’s 2nd Pastor-in-Residence from the Synod of Harare. Naturally, the conversation turned to MAPC’s partnership with our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Harare Synod in Zimbabwe.
The question was how to expand the involvement of the congregation in this partnership. A core group of MAPC parishioners had become involved in the partnership and many of them had found it to be a life-changing experience. What was needed was a way to engage more of the congregation in this transforming experience.
And then the Holy Spirit intervened to plant a seed. “Why don’t we send a team of MAPC youth to Zimbabwe to meet with their counterparts in the Synod of Harare?” And the idea was born.
From Christopher De La Cruz:
Three youth and three MAPC staff members, myself included, traveled to Harare at the end of June in the first youth delegation in the ongoing partnership with the Synod of Harare Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). We spent almost six days with fourteen CCAP youth, mostly 18- to 20-year-olds, and a number of pastors from throughout the Synod, eating, sleeping, and spending most of our time at the Rock Haven Lay Retreat Center in Harare.
Together, we served food to orphans, painted faded walls at a much-used retreat and conference center, studied the Bible, and even played soccer–which they were much better at than us!
Our delegation consisted of Devon Welsh, 23, Sarah Chithenga, 18, Jack Plagemann, 16, Associate Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism the Rev. Don Wahlig, Director of Christian Education Millie Tourtelot, and Youth and Family Ministries Resident Chris De La Cruz.
By Carolyn Patterson
June 10 through 17, 2011, was an amazing week for me and 4 others from Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church–Mariam Touba, Linda Field, the Rev. Dr. Fred Anderson and the Rev. Don Wahlig–as we visited seven of MAPC’s partner churches in the Synod of Harare in Zimbabwe.
Seven days in the presence of people for whom Christ’s church is the central focus of their lives. Seven days of new experiences, of “normal” experiences seen in a new light, of adrenalin and just the beginnings of trying to make sense of it all.
From a distance of 7 weeks and 7,780(!) miles, these are things that particularly stand out:
Wow, what a fantastic experience we had in Zimbabwe! How is this for a 10-day itinerary?
• Each of us stayed with a family in Harare for 3 days.
• We attended a signing ceremony to formalize our partnership.
• Many of us preached our first sermon.
• We traveled across ½ of Zimbabwe visiting 8 different congregations.
• Our group was lost in the bush (luckily on our bus) for a long evening.
• We still had time to see Victoria Falls.
It was a lot to pack into a trip when the flight each way took 16 – 18 hours!
Author: The Reverend Donald B. Wahlig
Created: February 10, 2011
MAPC & the CCAP Synod of Harare in Zimbabwe are partners in serving Christ, helping one other become more faithful in discipleship and more effective in ministry.