NYAC Response to Cyclone in SE Africa

NYAC Response to Cyclone in SE Africa


Tarps cover the roof of the education building at Dondo House for Children that was damaged by Cyclone Idai.

April 2, 2019 | M E M O R A N D U M April 2, 2019 | M E M O R A N D U M
TO:                 All active Pastors and Lay Leaders
FROM:           Thomas J. Bickerton, Resident Bishop
RE:                 Disaster in Mozambique
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Grace and peace to each of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray that this note finds each of you well and blessed.

As most of you no doubt are aware, a major cyclone has left a massive path of destruction in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.  This natural disaster has caused significant loss of life and a massive amount of devastation to homes and centers of ministry in all three countries. 
Some of that destruction has taken place on the sites where our New York Annual Conference has been engaged as a part of our Mozambique partnership.  This long-standing commitment to the ministry and people of Mozambique has been one that has given the people of the New York Annual Conference an opportunity to come alongside a sister Annual Conference with intentional efforts to improve the lives of people through a variety of ministry initiatives.
That opportunity is once again presenting itself as we attempt to respond to the devastating effects of this cyclone.  Our United Methodist system is at work through UMCOR which has provided a swift initial response of money and personnel.  We have every reason to believe that God is at work in our midst and through our established channels to immediately respond to the needs of people worldwide.

I am writing to ask you to initiate a special offering as a way of providing additional funds to help our sisters and brothers in these devastated areas.  If you could take this offering for UMCOR, designate it to “Mozambique Cyclone Relief,” and send those contributions to our New York Annual Conference Center, we will make sure that those gifts are used to provide hope and sustainability to those who have been directly affected.
Thank you for considering this request.  Together we can make a difference in responding to the needs of people across the globe.
The Journey Continues, . . .

Peace & Joy,

Thomas J. Bickerton
 Resident Bishop

History of the NYAC/Mozambique Connection & Cyclone Damage Reports

The New York Conference has had a mission presence in Mozambique since the mid 1990s. Bishop Forrest Stith led a delegation there in 1994 and we have been sending Volunteers in Mission teams ever since. The conference has worked with both former UMC Bishop João Somane Machado and current bishop, Joaquina Filipe Nhanala. Nhanala, the first woman bishop elected in Africa, has been a special guest at our annual conference.

Our conference has been active both in the southern (Maputo and Cambine) and northern areas (Beira, Dondo and Lichinga) of Mozambique. We were the first UMC missionary group to begin addressing the needs of the north. The efforts of the conference have included physical labor, educational training, scholarships, Vacation Bible School, and project funding as well as gifts of choir robes, recorders and dresses.
Some of the areas and projects where the NYAC has worked include:

  • Carolyn Belshe Orphanage in the United Methodist compound
  • Bishop’s residence/fellowship center
  • Dondo House for Children orphanage
  • Computer internet center
  • The English School, an afterschool English language program hosted by three UM churches.
  • Community farm project to teach best agricultural practices, raise food for the community, and help fund the church there.
  • United Methodist educational center to teach pastors and lay leaders about sustainability in their communities, as well as provide theological training and leadership development. The center project is a collaboration between the New York and Missouri annual conferences with the major funding coming from Missouri.
  • To train pastors for the UMC, in addition to students pursuing degrees in a variety of other fields. One of the first recipients was Rev. Dr. Julio Andre Vilanculos, the chancellor of the United Methodist University of Mozambique 
Assessments of cyclone damage that have been reported thus far:
  • Dondo House for Children: The orphanage, which was opened in 2018, sustained damage to the roofs of all four buildings – an education center, boys’ and girls’ dorms, and the director’s residence. The rain and wind also caused damage to the contents in each structure, like books and beds. As of April 2, tarps were keeping the staff and children safe from the sun and rain until permanent repairs can be made.
  • Parts of the roof were ripped off the Bishop’s residence/fellowship center in Beira. Repairs are needed to keep the building – which is still under construction – from deteriorating further.
  •  construction project – See photos attached showing damaged roof of this building under construction.
  • The roof of the school at the Gondola Training Center has been damaged.
  • Damage to a number of local UM churches and parsonages – for instance, Central UMC in Beira lost its roof and two trees fell on the home of Rev. Jecob Jenhuro, the bishop’s assistant in the North Annual Conference

Photo album from the flooding in Beira, Mozambique

A blog and photos from the 2018 Volunteers in Mission trip to Mozambique can be found by clicking here.

Read stories about the UMCOR response by clicking on the links below: