Professing our faith through living it out
Our Ongoing Work in LaGonave
The island of LaGonave, Haiti is home to over 100,000 people, most living in extreme poverty. We work with our partners in Haiti in the areas of healthcare, education and economic development. Our primary mission is a “mission of presence” — we work to develop long term relationships, to listen and to respond to the people in our sister communities.
Members of Covenant have been deeply involved at the partnership level. Deb Griffin and Lee Wilder serve on the board of directors. Jim Ingvoldstad has been the liaison for the Bill Rice Clinic and the “go to” person for medical issues. Deb supervises the community healthworker and children’s nutrition programs. Lee directs the adult literacy program and serves as treasurer of the partnership. Alison Caughman has just assumed the critical role of partnership coordinator and will be responsible for communications among all of the partner organizations.
Covenant Supports Global Mission Co-Workers
Covenant supports mission co-workers Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather living in South Sudan. They are both ordained ministers from the Greater Atlanta Presbytery and took their first ordained calls in Africa.
Shelvis serves as the principal of the RECONCILE Peace Institute (RPI), which offers three-month courses in community-based trauma healing as well as peace studies and conflict transformation. RPI trains community leaders from the areas of highest conflict in South Sudan. The courses build the participants’ skills and knowledge, while their time in the dormitory, sharing meals together, and engaging in practicums builds relationships which break down barriers and transform mindsets. After graduation, students return to their communities with a network of committed peace builders supporting them in the very challenging work of healing and reconciliation.
Nancy coordinates the PCUSA’s South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project (SSEPP), a five-year initiative focused on: mobilizing communities to support local schools, training teachers, increasing girls’ attendance in school, constructing schools, and building peace to support development. The vision for the project originated from the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan’s commitment to strengthening the education system in South Sudan, a country in which over 1/3 of primary school age children are not in school and the drop-out rate for girls is the highest in the world. The peacebuilding component to the project acknowledges the deep need for stability and safety in order for schools to thrive.