Equipping The Saints
World Mission Committee
Diocese of Fort Worth
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Save The Date!
The La Gran Familia board of directors will meet at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, TX on Saturday, April 6th at 1:00 P.M. Our meeting is open to all and we would greatly appreciate you coming to take part in the meeting and share your ideas. The meeting usually lasts about three hours and all aspects of our finances and plans for the future are discussed. Also, members of the board of La Gran Familia A.C., the Mexican Corporation, will be present. Please join us.
Prayers & Praises
Praise for the arrival of Fabiola & Gerardo. Pray for the continuing educational success
for our students. Pray for the Lord’s guidance and patience to steer Glenn & the board to the ideal property.
Please pray for spiritual discernment for the Mexican & US board of directors. Pray for the staff & their families; they serve as role models. Pray for the safety and security of LGF. Pray for funding regarding amenities to support another 15 kids; (e.g. a van, furniture, stove)
From LGF... Without your generous support, the lives of these children would be unchanged and hopeless. Thank you for your continuing prayers and financial support.
Diocese of Ft. Worth, St. Andrew's Anglican Grand Prairie, St. Barnabas Fort Worth, Good Shepherd Anglican Granbury, St. Stephen's Anglican Hurst, St. Vincent's Cathedral Bedford
La Gran Familia
Team from Christ The Redeemer visits Malawi in June
Our Companion Relationship continues to grow strong as teams take the time to visit and deliver our love in person.
La Gran Familia
Bienvenidos ... Welcome
We are so thankful for the two plus years that Jessi and Cesar served as the ‘house parents'. We wish them well and they will always be family to us. As they depart, our weekend parents, Luisa & Lalo will fill the position of weekday parents.
They come with two school age boys and twin boys nearly one year old.
Meet Fabiola & Gerardo
Fabiola and Gerardo are our new weekend house parents who will help take care of the children from Friday evening through Sunday. Fabiola is a certified licensed teacher and Gerardo had been working the last 5 years for a livestock trailer construction company. This family is a great addition to LGF.
They bring their two children, 5-year-old Kevin and 10-year-old Criss to join with LGF on a weekly basis.
Felipe arrived at La Gran Familia in December. He comes from Bahuichivo, a tiny Tarahumara village far up in the mountains west of Cuauhtémoc. It is almost in the state of Sonora. He is seven years old, and his mother died several years ago. His father is an alcoholic, so he was sent to live with his grandmother.
Unfortunately, she beat him severely , consequently he was removed from her care by DIF, child protective services in Mexico.
The combination of malnutrition and being beaten has left Felipe with serious developmental and learning disabilities. He is poorly coordinated and has trouble progressing in school, where he is in first grade. DIF will be taking him for tests by a neurologist and a psychologist to evaluate where he should live, and what the prospects are for further development. We hope that he will stay at LGF. He is a fine boy who has had to cope with difficult circumstances in his young life.
Please pray for him, and thank you for helping to provide a safe place for him to live.
An Update On Azul And Estela
Two years ago, we reported, Azul and Estela lived with their parents in Nayarit. The mother, Brisas, approached Martín at La Gran Familia and asked for his assistance. Their situation had required the girls to be on their own for long periods of time in a very dangerous neighborhood. Martín agreed to help, and an arrangement was made for her to drop the two off daily at LGF about 3:30 AM. They slept for several hours, then ate breakfast with the other kids, and then they went to school until 2PM. They returned to LGF, to eat lunch and receive tutoring until their mother picked them up after 4:00 PM, at which time they would return home.
Today the girls are 10 and 9 years old, and thanks to the LGF tutoring staff they are doing well in school and are functioning on grade level in the 5th and 4th grades, respectively. Their mother still lives in Cuauhtémoc and has married another man, who is the stepfather. Now, the girls live on campus full time, during the week and have an overnight visit with their parents on the weekend.
LGF is blessed to be able to provide security and education to children who suffer from broken homes and the general insecurity that is the result of the drug wars and conflict in Mexico. A huge ‘thank you’ to LGF donors for providing the prayer and financial support to make success stories like this possible.
LGF Planning To Expand
Over the past year, LGF has shared their vision for building an additional children’s home in Cuauhtémoc. Not an easy task by any standards. The greatest obstacle has been the inability to get a clear title to a property. This is a huge problem in Cuauhtémoc. Three, previous facilities viewed, did not measure up.
We continue searching for a sizable lot, near a good high school and universities, to build on. If the lot does not include buildings, we would work with Fechac, a Mexican charitable group, which has agreed to pay 70% of constructions costs. We will seek additional sources of funding.
Initially, Step One will be a building which will include a kitchen, a dining room, a laundry room and study halls to meet the needs of 40 children, but will only provide dormitory facilities for about 15 or 20 children.
About two years after Step One, Step Two will be the construction of additional dormitories for 20 more children. Your prayers and support are essential as we seek the right property to become available.
Mission Team from St. Peter & St. Paul introduces New Beginnings retreats in Malawi
Mission Team: (front row L-R) Fr. Anthony Frank Chimphanda with his daughter Praise, CIndy Paxton holding Fr. Chimphanda's daughter Cindy, Fr. Chimphanda's wife Memory; (back row L-R) Austin Admire, Joseph Reimschussel, Paul Dixon, Erin Wallace, Karen Spradley.
Lay leaders from the Diocese of N. Malawi receive training in leading retreats for teens
It is said that the first time you go to Northern Malawi, you are an honored guest; the second time, you are a friend; and the third time, you are family. For Cindy Paxton, Director of Christian Education and Formation at St. Peter and St. Paul in Arlington, this statement feels true.
This past July, Paxton led a team back to Northern Malawi for the third time, and she said that each visit has been more amazing than the previous. "The Lord has sent us and provided an amazing experience in faith, fellowship, and friendship each time," said Cindy.
On the most recent trip, the team from St. Peter and St. Paul's Anglican Church, worked alongside Christian brothers and sisters in Northern Malawi to train them to host a New Beginnings weekend. New Beginnings is a weekend renewal retreat geared toward middle school youth and is the first of three renewal weekends hosted by the Diocese of Fort Worth (New Beginnings for middle school, Happening for high school and Cursillo for college students and adults). Happening and Cursillo were introduced to the Diocese of Northern Malawi many years ago, but this summer was the first time that lay leaders were trained to lead New Beginnings retreats in Malawi.
The mission team worked to train area Sunday School teachers from throughout the diocese to guide young people in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. After being trained, the teachers independently led a group of 60 youth through the first New Beginnings weekend, while the mission team simply provided affirmation and encouragement.
Paxton said the Sunday School teachers quickly took to the curriculum and executed it beautifully in a way that connected with the Malawi youth. "It was an honor and privilege to bring New Beginnings to the Diocese of Northern Malawi. The Kingdom will be getting bigger and stronger with each New Beginnings weekend. To God be the glory!" Paxton said.
The Fort Worth Mission Team with Bishop Magangani, Omega Mnelemba, and Fr.Jacob Kamwanja at Fr. Kamwanja's home.
Fort Worth area priest Fr. Robert Gresser to teach at the Leonard Kamungu Theological College in Malawi
(Above) Fr. Robert Gresser, his wife Traci, and two of their four children, sons Peter and Andrew.
Funds needed to support short-term mission
Bishop Fanuel Magangani recently invited Fort Worth-area priest Fr. Robert Gresser and his family to serve as missionaries to Malawi beginning in February 2019.
Fr. Gresser, who is currently assisting at All Saints Anglican Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth, is nearing completion of a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and has been asked to teach Old Testament Studies at the Leonard Kamunga Theological College in Malawi.
The Leonard Kamungu Theological College is the Anglican seminary located in Zomba, Malawi. The college opened in 2005 and provides classes in theology, church history, spirituality, pastoral care, as well as courses in Islam and African Traditional Religion. Life at the theological college centers on chapel where students attend and serve at daily morning and evening services. The college serves seminarians from all four of the Anglican dioceses in Malawi.
"My long-term goals are to teach the Bible wherever my experience and education can make the most impact for the Kingdom. Having served for two summers at a theological college in Ethiopia, I am ready for a longer assignment at an Anglican school, making the best use of my experience, training and education," Fr. Gresser said.
Fr. Gresser's missionary call goes beyond himself, as his entire family is being called into the mission field. His wife Traci's experience as a home-school educator for their two special needs children has equipped her for a special mission of her own. Traci hopes to be able to offer encouragement to families in Malawi, especially families with special needs children.
"Our sons, Andrew and Peter, attracted lots of attention in Ethiopia, as both children have special needs. Traveling as a Christian family with special needs kids is a ministry presence that speaks without saying a word," Traci Gresser said.
The Gresser family plans to move to Malawi for 5 months initially in preparation for a possible long-term assignment after Fr. Gresser finishes his Ph.D. program in late 2019.
The Gressers have been endorsed by both the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS) and the Reformed Episcopal Church Board of Foreign Missions. Funds totaling $16,000 are needed for this mission. To donate toward this important ministry, please click here. To invite Fr. Gresser to speak to your church or group about his upcoming mission to Malawi, please email here.
Thanks be to God for the special partnership between the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese of Northern Malawi and for the exchange of mission teams. We thank God for his many blessings upon the work of the team from St. Peter and St. Paul and for his protection of the team during their time in Malawi this year as well as their safe return to Texas.
Ven. Canon Hannock Ng’oma inducted at
St. Ambrose as priest-in-charge and new Archdeacon of Karonga and Chitipa Archdeaconry
Bishop Fanuel Magangani recently inducted the Venerable Canon Hannock Katonga Ng’oma as the parish priest of St. Ambrose Church and the Archdeacon of the Karonga and Chitipa Archdeaconry in the northern part of the diocese near the border between Malawi and Tanzania.
Canon Ng’oma, the youngest of 8 children, was raised in the village of Kande Mkuonda in the Nkhata Bay District by a single mother who worked as a subsistence farmer growing cassava, a root vegetable, while her children fished for their dinner each day. Canon Ng’oma’s father left Malawi when Ng’oma was young and went to work in the gold mines of South Africa, permanently settling there and leaving Canon Ng’oma without a father in the home. It was his mother who brought him to church and encouraged his faith formation.
“Growing up, my mother brought me to church, and as a young man, I started attending an Anglican Church near our home. I sang in the choir and served at the altar, and by the time I was 18 years old, I was preaching in the church, at funerals or even on the streets," said Canon Ng'oma. "From a very young age, people nicknamed me ‘Pastor’ in my village when they saw me preaching in open-air markets, on the buses or along the lake shore – wherever people gathered in large numbers. I was always preaching a message of repentance, and I felt that God was calling me to the priesthood,” he said.
It was during this time in secondary school, that Canon Ng’oma met a special classmate, Fanuel Magangani who is the current Bishop of N. Malawi, and the start of a 28-year relationship began. Both young men were active in a charismatic group at school and in a fellowship group at St. Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island.
“I was greatly influenced by a Christian student group at my school. My schoolmate, Bishop Magangani, also participated in this group, and even back then, he would direct me to lead prayers or to evangelize large groups through preaching,” Canon Ng’oma said.
Both men discussed their calls to ministry together and ultimately ended up at the theological college at the same time but in different classes. Later Fr. Magangani, now Bishop Magangani, was asked to conduct the retreat for Canon Ng’oma’s ordination to the priesthood, and Canon Ng’oma served under Magangani in the Likoma and Chizimulu Archdeaconry. A few years later, the roles would be reversed as then Fr. Magangani would serve under Canon Ng’oma who was Archdeacon of the Nkhata Bay Archdeaconry. Of course, today, Bishop Magangani serves as Canon Ng’oma’s bishop and spiritual father.
“Our relationship goes back so many years, and our roles have changed in a see-saw manner as we have each served under the other. Canon Ng’oma is one of my pillars in the ministry, and I am grateful for his willingness to serve as Archdeacon again,” Bishop Magangani said.
Like so many, Canon Ng’oma’s work comes with challenges. “The people of my parish are suffering,” he said. “They are hungry and sick. They lack education and basic necessities. There are so many needs.”
Canon Ng’oma has experienced challenges of his own. His home flooded last year during flash floods that brought immediate devastation and lingering illness.
“The clergy in Malawi face many difficulties in carrying out our ministries. Transportation to reach our out-station churches is an ongoing challenge. Discipleship training is a challenge in our remote churches where the literacy rate is low. There are many challenges but we persevere with God’s help.”
At St. Ambrose parish, poverty levels are high and many children are suffering due to the death of one or both parents. Canon Ng’oma feels fortunate to give his own children the blessing of living in a two-parent home, and he and his wife, Janet, are excited to be adding to their family. In February, their fourth child is expected to join his or her older siblings including 15-year old Grace, 12-year-old Judith and 9-year-old Elijah.
Canon Ng’oma has known first-hand the rich blessings that have come from the partnership between the Diocese of N. Malawi and the Diocese of Fort Worth. Canon Ng’oma has been matched through the Centurion Partnership Program with Good Shepherd-Wichita Falls, which has very generously provided vestments and financial support toward Canon Ng'oma's university studies. Good Shepherd-Wichita Falls also supported Canon Ng’oma and his parish when he was serving at St. George's in Nkhata Bay by providing funds toward the construction of the church building.
“With the help of our two dioceses, I have been blessed to participate in many projects that have improved the lives of our people," Canon Ng'oma said, "but my most important work has always been – and always will be – growing Christ’s Kingdom. I’m honored to be serving under Bishop Magangani and look forward to the exciting things God has planned for the parishes of the Archdeaconry of Karonga and Chitipa."
(Left) The Venerable Canon Ng'oma at St. Ambrose Church. (Right) Fr. Ng'oma's children: Grace (15 years old), Judith (12 years old) and Elijah (9 years old).
St. Peter & St. Paul Church funds a new roof for St. Ambrose Church in Malawi
St. Ambrose Parish, located in the northern part of the Diocese of Northern Malawi, sits on a geological fault line just south of the border with Tanzania. The original church at St. Ambrose was severely damaged from an earthquake many years ago. Over time, the parishioners have worked hard to build a larger, more structurally sound building, but they did not have the funds to buy the necessary materials to roof the church and complete the project.
The congregation at St. Ambrose had provided for all of the labor costs in addition to all other construction work, but they were unable to raise the more than $7000 required to purchase the roofing materials. Earlier this year, St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth stepped in to partner with St. Ambrose in completing the project by funding the purchase of the roofing materials.
"God is so very good! We are so happy that we could be a part of this effort, and we rejoice with the people of St. Ambrose in the completion of their beautiful new, functional place of worship," Cindy Paxton, Director of Christian Education and Formation at St. Peter and St. Paul.
Bishop Fanuel Magangani was also rejoicing because the people of St. Ambrose had taken ownership of the project and worked for years to do all that they could do themselves before asking for assistance from outside.
“I am glad that everywhere in the parishes the faithful have understood our charge of first offering ‘what is in your hand’ as God challenged Moses to do in Exodus when He spoke to him at the burning bush. Everywhere in our diocese, we have seen great improvement from being dependent on handouts to the parishioners bringing what they have in their hands. We have encouraged every member of the church to know that they have something in their hands, and if we can bring that, we will make a difference. Our partners should only come in to lift us up to reach the higher level of growth. We are grateful that this is becoming possible, and we are very grateful for the support of the parish of St. Peter and Paul and for their contributions toward the completion of the roof," Bishop Fanuel Magangani said.
A Mission Organization of the Diocese of Fort Worth
Bishop Jack L. Iker