The Church of Scotland's Partnership scheme links congregations with personnel from Scotland working with indigenous churches in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world. Its aim is to provide spiritual and moral support for people working far from home; this is done mainly through regular exchange of information, prayer and practical support. The Scots Kirk Paris has recently established a link with a Missionary Partner working in Malawi.
It's a small landlocked country in east central Africa, 50% larger than Scotland with an estimated population of 11 million. 20% of its area is Lake Malawi, the third largest in Africa. Links between Scotland and Malawi go back to David Livingstone a nineteenth century Scottish missionary and explorer.
The Church of Scotland has five mission partners in Malawi and there are eight Scottish Churches World Exchange volunteers. Our Missionary Partner Helen Scott works as a teacher of science subjects at Ekwendeni Girls School. Helen is a BSc graduate of Aberdeen University. She worked for two years in Zambia under the Operation Youth Share scheme, then did teacher training in Aberdeen. She then returned to Zambia in 1987 working with the United Church of Zambia. She took up her appointment at Ekwendeni in March 2000.
Our congregation actively supports orphans in seven villages in AIDS-ravaged Malawi. They are situated north of Mzuzu, where the care for the youngsters is led by Victoria Mazunda, a former elder of The Scots Kirk Paris. She is well supported by her husband, the Reverend Overtoun Mazunda, who was also an elder here until returning to his home country.
The Kirk's efforts last year resulted in the sinking of a well and paid for the purchase of a pump. The small surplus was used to buy seed and fertilizer. Victoria's group, the older children and the ladies caring for the children cleared land and are growing crops mainly to feed the very children growing the food. In the unlikely event of a surplus, this will be sold and the proceeds used to meet other needs. With our former members leading the project, the Kirk has full confidence in playing its part in this project.
Homeless in Paris
Like most of the world's large cities, Paris has a huge and growing number of homeless people on its streets - so much so, that the individual citizen often feels overwhelmed and at a loss to know how best to offer help. In 1996 our congregation formed a support link with a small hostel for homeless men run by a Roman Catholic brotherhood - les Missionares de la Charité. Les missionares were co-founded by Brother Andrew and Mother Teresa, and work in many countries including France, Colombia and the United Kingdom.
Each Sunday when our congregation gathers for worship, we encourage our members to bring with them simple gifts of basic food, toiletries, clothing, etc. After the service these are delivered to the hostel in Paris 15th, to help the brothers in their work of practical help for the needy.
The Revd. Joseph S. Bangura, Minister of St Columba’s Church, Calaba Town, Sierra Leone, writes:
‘This primary school was started in 2006 as a Christian response to the mounting number of street children in Freetown especially in Calaba Town, where the impact of the rebel war was more devastating than other parts of the city. Some of these street children included some poor members of the congregation, who cannot properly take care of their children. We registered 60 street children and recruited three volunteer teachers –two from the congregation and one from the community. We paid them a monthly stipend of 200Leones a month, which is about 50 euros a month. Since I came to Paris, they have only received salary twice which was raised and donated by Jean McGuinness. May God richly bless her. The three teachers are-Jonathan Johnson, Saffa Momoh and Synthia Kamara.
Currently, two of the teachers have threatened to stop teaching the children because of non payment of their salaries. I used to pay their salaries from my salary in the Bank. If these teachers abandon the school, the children will revert to the streets.
Another plan we have is to feed these children once a day during school (Monday to Friday) with rice and soup since most of them come to school on empty stomach. By Sierra Leone standard, each child would need l euro to have a plate of rice with fish soup. 5euros will feed a child for a week and 20 euros for a month.
Our prayer is for God to touch the hearts of believers and people all over the world to give a helping hand to these children and make their future bright as education with godliness is a key to a successful and prosperous life.’