Christmas with our Global Ministries missionaries

Christmas with our Global Ministries missionaries

December 08, 2021

From: Jane Kies, Africa University - Mutare, Zimbabwe

Here in Zimbabwe, Christmas is a time when the welcome smell of rain ends a long dry season. The country greens up, the acacia trees break out in yellow or white blossom, and flowers and shrubs that only appear at this time of year push their way through the rain-softened cracked ground. It's a time for insect (some edible!) invasions, mosquitoes, and—dare I say it—snakes. It's a time for land preparation, plowing (by oxen), and planting (with hoes). People are busy!  

We have a number of plans for this Christmas season. Since we have felt less restricted by Covid recently, we plan to have small groups of students over to our home to play dominoes or cards and talk about Christmas traditions that are meaningful to them. Some students from Ivory Coast have promised to bring special foods from home! We will participate in an online UMC conference and pray that in the future, we can meet together at Murewa Mission as we have for so many years. We like to encourage local artists and craftsmen to make things that we can give as gifts. Having some neighborhood children over to make cookies and a Christmas decoration for their homes is always a special time for everyone. We help organize food hampers for farmworkers to take home for their families; it's satisfying to know they will enjoy special food on Christmas day.

We will no doubt spend Christmas day with good friends, sitting around a table on a veranda and enjoying chicken and an assortment of vegetables, mangoes, and lychees. Personally, I enjoy having the time to paint, make cards and find a meaningful new Christmas song and scriptures to focus my thoughts on Jesus' birth. We may go camping and enjoy the peace of the African bush or go hiking with friends. We will spend it with our kids and family on skype and exchange pictures of Christmas decorations and lights.            

From: Katherine Parker, Nepal

This year, Christmas will likely be very subdued as I am still joining church online, but change could be just around the corner. The situation in Nepal is looking up as ICU levels in hospitals have finally gone down, and we are starting to see some loosening of regulations. 

The best part of Christmas in Nepal is the carol programs where the church choir visits the homes of church members. There are still many restrictions for Christians in Nepal around public display and affirmation of faith. However, the idea of a song and dance program for your neighbors is a common part of Hindu festivals. So having parallel-style programs with songs about the nativity is a great way for churches to offer public witness during this season. Most years, the culmination of the several weeks of carol programs is an outdoor revival and luncheon where non-Christian neighbors are invited. All the children and youth groups share songs and dance along with preaching and singing. These may again be more subdued this year, but the joy of Christ to the world will still be told on the mountains.

From: Douglas Williams, Mendoza, Argentina

Douglas, a Methodist pastor for 29 years in Iowa, Tennessee, and Missouri, has led 40+ cross-cultural 7 to 14-day service trips. His daughter Samantha was teaching in China, and his son was volunteering and cycling across central and south America when he decided they were living his dreams. Six years ago, he offered to go anywhere in the world with Global Ministries, and United Methodist Global Ministries sent him to Argentina. He has just signed another contract which will continue his service in Argentina for nine years. His other deep loves are the mountains, meditation, his dog Toro, and seeing the lights come on in the eyes of the poor and marginalized who discover God's love. Consider reaching out to him in prayer, support, or conversation when you have a chance.  He would love to get to know everyone afresh.
Here is a video link for you Iowa folks giving an overview and inviting a Christmas special offering    

From: Emmanuel and Florence Mefor, Mutambara, Zimbabwe

It is less than one month away from the 2021 Christmas celebration. A time when we need to turn to God and welcome the child Jesus Christ into our hearts and homes. 

Christmas plans seem to be on the verge of disintegration as a new Coronavirus variant emerges, leaving the government with no choice but to impose another set of restrictions and lockdowns on Zimbabwe.

The yearly proposed children Christmas party will hold in an uncertain situation and venue. One thing is certain: Children will take whatever little drinks and snacks are available, pray, sing, and give thanks to God. 

Our vacation comes up in a day or two. We hope to travel to Nigeria subject to the international travel restrictions in Zimbabwe and Nigeria. We wish our friends and supporters a very Happy Christmas and New Year.   

Global Ministries connects the church in mission through the work of evangelism and church revitalization, missionaries, global health, and humanitarian relief and recovery. Every contribution makes a difference in this important work.

Missionaries witness and serve in dramatically different locales and cultures and engage in a range of professions and activities. They come from many places and backgrounds. Missionaries serve in 60 countries around the world. Missionaries also serve in the United States as Church and Community Workers and with Hispanic/Latino ministries. They are lay and clergy, young adults, and retired professionals. Missionaries work as congregational and leadership developers, church planters, pastors, educators, regional coordinators for UMCOR, agriculturalists, health coordinators, and doctors.