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Mission Partners: September 2016

UPDATE from Westminster Presbyterian Church:

Princeton University’s Community Action Week at Westminster Presbyterian Church
Insiya Essani, PU Class of 2020

caw2016_groupatsocialPrinceton University Pace Center’s Community Action Week (CAW) allows first year students to work with local organizations in small groups of ten to fifteen students guided by trained group leaders. The incoming students of the Princeton University Class of 2020 were invited to live at Westminster as they took part in serving our community. Westminster has been hosting CAW for 13 years. In the past, 100 to 150 PU students participated. This year Pace Center maximized student participation by reaching over 523 students. Their primary focus is to increase the number of students who are aware of the communities that surround them.

The CAW Education Trenton: Nurturing Bright Future group worked in conjunction with the Westminster Church and Commcaw2016_fliersgroupunity Life Center to help facilitate two events: the annual Back to School Supplies Giveaways and Carnival. These events invite over 1,500 families via door to door fliers, fliers at local schools, and personal calls to participate and take advantage of the resources offered by the church and community center.

Westminster leaders dedicated the first day of CAW to orienting the students. This included visiting the Bethany Garden, the War Memorial, and the South River Walk Park. David Byers helped design this national award winning park which sits above the Route 29 tunnel, and incorporates the history of Trenton via multiple double arches and granite markers.

On the second day, Princeton students and three CA leaders helped organize the annual free backpack caw2016_backpacks_familynstudentsand school supplies giveaway for Get SET students, and church children. Mary Beth Charters brought a car filled with backpacks and school supplies from Nassau. We are all very grateful to Nassau, Wright Memorial, Westminster Presbyterian churches, and individuals who donated beautiful backpacks filled with lots of school supplies! This event also included playing board games and doing educational activities, thereby, allowing incoming students to gain a more personal interaction with the children.

caw2016_fishgame_largegroupThe second event was the carnival. This event included traditional carnival games, free prizes, face painting, dancing, and a moon bouncer. CAW students wore funky hats and led the entire event. The sounds of laughter and eyes filled with excitement were clearly evident. At both events children registered for the Get SET After School Program, and adults registered for The English as a Second Language School at Westminster.

“An education at Princeton University emphasizes leadership, and I have realized that being a leader does not mean having a glorious title or changing the world, but rather a true leader is one who is able to embody humility and works with his or her own community before aiming to change the whole world. Tcaw2016_lindadavemewo such leaders are Pastor Karen Hernández-Granzen and Linda Konrad Byers who work WITH the community instead of FOR the community. Their work is a constant reminder that for long term improvement it is vital to be a member of the community and to embrace the positivity present within the community rather than constantly highlighting only the negativity,” said Denay Richards.

Many students are leaving this experience inspired to come back and continue to work with the Get SET program and the community throughout the course of their education at Princeton. This opportunity will be a constant reminder of effective leadership as students embark on their academic journey.


UPDATE from Cetana Educational Foundation:

Cetana on the Move. . . 

cetana_constructionThanks to some generous donors, the Cetana English Proficiency Center (CEPC) in Yangon is moving to new quarters. Construction is underway on Cetana’s new school in downtown Yangon. When the move takes place later this fall, there will be more space for more students, a location within the transit hub, and a fresh, open, and attractive environment for learning. Cetana students and staff are excited and eager to make the move. Building out on the third floor of the teeming Theingyi Market involves turning a derelict, loft-like space into a modern, efficient school. Cetana will have four 25-student classrooms, a reception area, director’s office, administrative space, teachers’ room, computer lab, library and a small kitchen. Surprisingly, the rent for our new location will be substantially less than the center’s previous quarters.

Furnishings are what will make the new school truly welcoming. The two informal spaces–student lounge and teachers’ room–should be areas that encourage sociability, with comfortable sofas and chairs. Projection equipment would be an important teaching tool; internet connections would let teachers and students get online and access a variety of online learning tools. These important refinements will support casual interactions and learning in and outside the formal classroom setting. If you would like to help Cetana with this wish list, please consider a contribution. Donations can be made online at https://cetana.org/donate/

And in Kanpetlet. . . 

The Cetana-Metta Partners English language program in Kanpetlet, Chin State, Myanmar, which Nassau Church mission funds are supporting, is making progress. U Ba Win, who came to speak at Nassau Church last summer, was in Kanpetlet this past spring with a former Bard student, Aung Mon. They interviewed teachers in the local public school and assessed their fluency in English in order to design specific training to suit their abilities. An intensive training, directed by an American ESL trainer and Myanmar trainers, will take place in March 2017.  In addition to teacher-training opportunities, there is a critical need for more teaching aids—textbooks, grammar and vocabulary books, and audio-visual materials. With funding from Nassau Church, Ba Win and Aung Mon were able to take copies of the government textbooks so that each child has a copy. (The government supplies only a textbook for each teacher. ) Additional workbooks and other teaching materials are being sent from time to time.

Come on October 7 to Celebrate the Partnership

cetana_aung-tunThe mission committee hopes members of the congregation will come celebrate the Nassau Church-Cetana mission partnership the evening of October 7 at 6 pm in the Assembly Room. Aung Tun, a former Cetana scholar and new Cetana board member, who now works for the Asia Development Bank, will talk about the country’s progress toward democratic reform. Rangoon Restaurant, in Philadelphia, will provide a classic Burmese meal of Ohn no Khao Swe,  and we will also have a chance to thank Nancye Fitzpatrick and Bob Hendrickson, both of whom traveled to Burma with Lois and Jack Young and have remained committed to Cetana. Tickets for dinner and the talk are $25, and all proceeds from the event will benefit Cetana students. Advance reservations are necessary. Contact Sue Jennings (609.683.4435; susancjennings@gmail.com).


UPDATE from Villages in Partnership:

vip_stephanieIn July, Stephanie Patterson traveled to Malawi to witness the difference that Villages in Partnership (VIP) is making in the lives of people there.  Stephanie was immersed in the partner villages, hearing stories such as how a goat given by VIP, made possible by a $50 donation, could change the life of a family and allow them to put an iron sheet roof on their house or send a child to school.  Thank you to everyone who contributed items for the trip. Stephanie was able to see in the faces of the villagers how the support of Nassau Presbyterian, along with God’s grace, is impacting the quality of life, and immense amount of gratitude the people of the Sakata region of Malawi have for every gift, no matter how small.  They were very much appreciated!

Liz Heinzel-Nelson, Director of Villages In Partnership and Stephen Heinzel-Nelson Pastor of Allentown Presbyterian Church will be preaching and teaching at Nassau Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Mark your calendars.

At Nassau, we like to see for ourselves the fruit of our gifts and commitment to VIP as a mission partner. Watch this video for the great need, the important work, and the loving Malawians who put helping each other above all else. Stephanie Patterson (summer of 2016) and Joyce MacKichan Walker (summer of 2015) saw firsthand what it means to walk hand-in-hand with sisters and brothers in Christ.

For more information on Villages in Partnership and ways you can help or get involved you can contact Loretta Wells at lorwells4@gmail.com or http://villagesinpartnership.org/

Posted in Mission, Mission Partner