South Africa Bound!

Dear Friends,

I have what I hope you will think is fantastic news!  Beginning June 16, I will be serving with Central Methodist Mission in Cape Town, South Africa with Rev. Alan Storey as a IVIM Missionary Pastor.  Central Methodist Mission is a City Church Methodist-church-Greenmarket-Sqthat has a connection to the historic District 6 museum in Cape Town and a deeply rooted presence in the community.  The church has a coffee shop called HEAVEN, which I trust will make you believe there is a GOD watching over me, should you have doubted this before.

My role will be to help bridge the church closer in their connection with the nearby Kaleche community.  I will help Alan with organizational leadership systems to strengthen the church’s outreach ministry to a large homeless population, ministries with at risk children, and preach/teach so that there is additional pastoral support for Alan to continue to grow his Manna & Mercy teaching ministry.  Bishop Michele Hansrod hopes to explore ways that my experience with mission and passion for leadership development might be a gift to the wider District as well.  Certainly, I will be happy to serve as an ambassador of sorts, helping to make connections for incoming pilgrims too.  Yes, this is indeed an invitation to come visit!!!  South Africa is a beautiful country with deeply meaningful history.

I mIMG_0065et Alan Storey 15 years ago while he was preaching at my church–Hyde Park UMC in Tampa, Florida.  I have helped connect Alan’s Manna & Mercy teaching ministry with communities here in the US for the past 10 years.  While serving in Mississippi, I led two Ubuntu cross racial clergy peer groups in pilgrimage to South Africa, connecting both times with Pinetown Methodist Church near Durban (where my summer internship was at Duke Div) and Alan’s community in Cape Town.  It is a humbling thing to be winding back to a country that served as my first window to the world.  My heart for global missions began years ago after hearing Alan talk about the disparities between the wealthy and the poor around the world.  My curiosity to learn more about the people that live across the ocean’s divide has never ceased.

How can you help?

  1. Prayer:  Please pray that all my logistics to get me from here to there fall into place and that this ministry will be a blessing to the back and forth partnership between the United Methodist Church and the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
  2. Partnership:  IVIM Missionaries raise their own salary support and so I am hoping some of you might consider donating to my online giving through the United Methodist Advance.  There is a link to giving on my blog page on the right.  Be sure to find my name on the drop down list or it will go to a general pool of monies.  I will be sharing short 90 second videos that will inform you about what life is like for the people in South Africa, what the Church there is celebrating and struggling with, and will be blogging regularly to keep all who join the journey with me informed. I am hoping that I can forge deep partnerships with at least seven church communities that will enter into a 3 year relational and financial covenant with me and Central Methodist Mission in this ministry.
  3. Pilgrimage:  It is my hope that many of you will consider making a pilgrimage to South Africa either on your own or with a team from your local church.

I am so thankful for this opportunity and thankful to all of you who support me at every turn on this wonderful thing called life!

Sharing with you on the journey,

Rev. Michelle Shrader

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