BLUEFIELDS, NICARAGUA

The Betesda School in Nicaragua, built in 2004 by First Church, educates over 250 children from preschool age to grade six in the Loma Fresca community of Bluefields. In addition to general education, the children receive daily Christian teaching from Pastor Mario Rugama. The Nicaraguan government supports the teachers’ salaries. Your financial support helps to sustain a safe environment for these children to attend school. Social and political unrest since April in Nicaragua has disrupted the economy and infrastructure due to demonstrations and unrest mostly in western Nicaragua near the capital of Managua. A trip in early 2019 is unlikely as a travel warning has been issued for US travelers and major airlines have cut their flights to Managua. Despite the current political and economic situation, the Betesda School continues to operate and they need our financial support. 

SUDAN REBIRTH MINISTRY

Lancaster enjoys a special relationship with Jacob Guot, a “Lost Boy of Sudan,” one of thousands who escaped Sudan’s civil war, walked more than a 1000 miles across east Africa and grew up in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. He was fortunate to immigrate to the USA, became a citizen and answered God’s call to serve his hometown people in Bor, South Sudan. He completed his GED and a chance meeting with Lancaster’s First United Methodist Church Minister Kent Kroehler (since retired) eventually led Jacob to Lancaster. Jacob lived in Lancaster for four years and graduated from Lancaster Bible College; he then moved to Wilmore, Kentucky, where he graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary. In addition to the Sudan Rebirth Ministry, Jacob also founded a separate non-profit that is overseeing the purchase of land and the building of a civic and religious center in Bor.

 

Jacob and Rev. Kroehler, along with many friends from First United Methodist Church and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, created the Sudan Rebirth Ministry as an agency to support the education and development of South Sudanese people. SRM is particularly interested in students who have been orphaned because of the civil unrest in the country and is committed to serving the promising students of South Sudan. Jacob has recently published his story, The Lost Boy is Found, A Lost Boy’s Story of Faith, Hope, Charity and Love; it is available at www.amazon.com.


Check out the website


Rev. Dorcas Kamanda, formerly a member of First Church, is building “Children’s Village” in her home country of Sierra Leone for children orphaned by the Ebola virus. Her work includes the NarSarah Clinic, the first United Methodist Church in that area, and a school.  Her ministry is supported by First Church and Dorcas returns to the United States as often as her work in Sierra Leone allows.


TANZANIA

First United Methodist Church of Lancaster has been supporting Rev. Mutwale wa Mushidi and his wife Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine in Methodist evangelism for many years. Rev. Mushidi and his wife Kabaka have made several visits to First Church (the last visit in 2017) and consider us as their “mother church” for our long time support.


Twenty years ago there was no United Methodist Church in Tanzania.  Today there are 63 churches and several thousand members. This past year the Tanzania area has become a Provisional Annual Conference with a goal to become a Full Annual Conference with an Annual Conference Center to include a church, conference office, school, women’s center and guest house.

Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey Conferences sponsor Rev. Mushidi and his wife and partner together to fulfill their goals. We have been actively involved in the purchase of land through the skills of a church member and providing the instrument to survey and insure accurate measurements for land purchase.


First Church Missions continue to support Mutwale Ntabmbo wa Mushidi with a relations of $2500 for a calendar year of 2019.  We have supported him for many years and from time to time he visits us, and provided quarterly newsletters.  In additions, the Mission Team posts updates on the Mission bulletin board (in the hallway that leads to the chapel).  The significant Tanzania news of the year was that Kita Jean-Marc Mutwale, son of our Tanzania missionaries Rev. Mutwale wa Mushidi & Kabaka Alphonsine, has enrolled at Drew Theological School in New Jersey.  He enrolled for the September semester with a full scholarship for tuition.  Our mission team, with support of our pastors, provided him with funds to defray costs of his living arrangements. 


Mutwale and his wife, Kabaka, visited First Church last in 2017 and have told us that they will visit soon.   The couple is supporting many outreach ministries across Tanzania, and they are leading the UMC District Conference there.  John Spear of First Church has been instrumental in monitoring the four year construction of the Guest House and a separate kitchen that was started in 2015.  The Guest House was officially opened and dedicated in June 2018.  The construction team installed solar panels for electricity and has drilled a well so the site has a better source of drinking water.  In addition, they extended the public electricity grid to the complex.  They are doing wonderful things.