Partnership In Faith

On Christmas Day, 2016, a team of five young adults will realize their dream – in process for more than two years – of journeying together to the central African nation of Malawi, where our congregation has a twenty-year relationship with our sister church, the Mbenjere Church of Central Africa: Presbyterian. Read a letter from this team in the column to the right, and check out their goals and hopes for the trip below. Look for ways to support and encourage Carly, Joe, Katie, Rachael, and David in their quest to deepen their faith and their sense of call in the world.

Contributions to support this trip, which will cost approximately $2700 per person, can be made through the Malawi Mission Fund of the First U.P. Church of Crafton Heights (50 Stratmore St., Pittsburgh PA 15205) or by clicking here (make sure to indicate "Malawi Mission" in the "add special instructions to recipient field"). All gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

The First U.P. Church of Crafton Heights has enjoyed a partnership with the Mbenjere CCAP in Ntaja, Malawi, since 1995. During this time the congregations have exchanged visitors, collaborated on mission projects, and shared in prayer on many levels. This trip will help these churches to deepen the bond of partnership.

The idea for this trip began in November 2014 when several members of the First U.P. Church of Crafton Heights (CHUP) Youth Group approached Pastor Dave and asked about the possibility of making a pilgrimage to Malawi, Central Africa.

The goals of the trip are simple:
  1. Allow the personal, relational connections to be deepened among members of the team and between these individuals and members of the CCAP in Malawi.
  2. To encourage the youth of Mbenjere by having a significant number of young people from CHUP spend time there, so they will know that young people here are concerned for them.
  3. To “make the world bigger” for this team, members of which will be challenged and encouraged by the situations faced in Ntaja and environs.
  4. Allow members of the Crafton Heights community to experience first-hand the life-style that is shared by billions of people in the 2/3 world and to return with the ability to tell stories of this trip in a way that changes ourselves and our community.
  5. Create an opportunity for reflection on the gifts that we have received and avenues to share them.
  6. Encourage other smaller congregations within Pittsburgh Presbytery to consider the feasibility of such a mission trip.
  7. Create special "once-in-a-lifetime" memories as we enjoy each other and celebrate God's people and awesome creation.
  8. Grow in faith and deepen our practice as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Our team will leave Pittsburgh on the evening of December 25, 2016 and return home on January 10, 2017.

Proposal for a Partnership Trip Crafton Heights, Pittsburgh Presbytery to Mbenjere, Synod of Blantyre December 2016/January 2017

September 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

We are pleased to announce that we have the amazing opportunity to travel to the central African nation of Malawi this December! We would like to ask for your love and generous support. A small team of very close friends from the First United Presbyterian Church of Crafton Heights will be taking this trip to Malawi. We will be led by Pastor Dave Carver who is also a good friend and is no stranger to Malawi. This group has been on numerous out-of-state mission trips together, but this will be our first time traveling out of the country as a team. We are very excited to see the beauty of Malawi.

Malawi, also known as “The Warm Heart of Africa”, is a landlocked nation in Southern Africa and is home to our sister church (The Mbenjere congregation) and the Blantyre Synod of the Church of Central Africa:Presbyterian. During our time in Africa, we will visit the rural and urban churches, see Lake Malawi, experience a new culture, and spend time building relationships with old and new friends. This past July, our team attended the New Wilmington Mission Conference where we were introduced to some of the people with whom we will staying and visiting while we are in Malawi. After the conference we had multiple opportunities to see the Malawians and invite them into our lives. In December, the roles will be switched and we will get to experience how they live. The purpose of this trip is not simply to see the country of Malawi, but to also visit our sister church, build relationships, and strengthen our faith by sharing in good meaningful work that God is doing through his people there.

This will be the furthest any of us have been from home so it will be a life lesson and hopefully a life-changing experience. With that said, we would like to ask you for your support through prayer. Without prayer and the grace of God nothing is possible. We are asking that you pray for our safety, and that we will open our hearts and minds to God during this trip and in the weeks preparing for it. Finally, the trip itself, although being a great opportunity, is quite expensive. Amidst all of our hard work and fundraising there is still a need for financial support. The total cost of the trip will be nearly $2,700 per person and it will be worth every penny. We would appreciate your consideration as to whether or not you are able to financially support a portion of this trip. If you are able to contribute any amount, please mail a check payable to Crafton Heights U.P. Church to the Malawi Mission Fund, 50 Stratmore St., Pittsburgh PA 15205 with the words "Malawi Mission" in the memo line. You can also contribute electronically by clicking here (make sure to indicate "Malawi Mission" in the "add special instructions to recipient field")

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We appreciate all of your love and support as well as your prayers for this trip and any financial support you are able to give at this time. We look forward to sharing stories and pictures of this trip as well as postcards and blog entries, and we welcome any questions, comments, or conversation about the trip.

During our team’s orientation retreat last month, Pastor Dave shared the Bible passage that has been the theme of the Partnership for twenty-five years. The Apostle Paul described his hope to spend time with the church in Rome in these words: “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Since the day that we first dreamed of making this trip, we have come to realize the truth and power of these words. Every one of us has already been blessed and challenged by our relationship with the African church, and we have deep hopes that our visit will provide further opportunities for encouragement – for our team and for our Malawian hosts.

With Great Thanks and Love,

Carly, David, Joe, Katie, and Rachael