"Covenant Relationship for a Better World"
As part of this program First Church currently supports two missionary teams:
Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi - Missionary serving in Tanzania
The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi graduated from the Seminary at Mulungwishi in the Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was recommended by the Persons (Retired missionaries who have been supported by our congregation for many years). Mutwale is serving the United Methodist Church in Tanzania as Director of Church Development and Evangelism. He is also the Superintendent of the Dar as Salaam District and the legal representative in Tanzania of the Bishop of North Katanga in the DRC.
He and his wife, Kabaka Noala Alphonsine (also a missionary), work in Christian education and health information, especially related to HIV/AIDS including reaching out to refugees. Mutwale started working in Tanzania in 1992 and became missionary with Global Ministries in 1999. Prior to attending seminary, Mutwale was a headmaster of a primary school in the DRC. After seminary, he was a pastor and teacher and then a chaplain of a secondary school in the DRC. They have six children ages 12-32 years old. Mutwale is passionate about the ministry occurring in Tanzania, and hopes to welcome future mission teams to see this ministry firsthand.
The Border Church/La Iglesia Fronteriza
Formally established in 2011, The Border Church / La Iglesia Fronteriza promotes sacred and sacramental presence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border as a witness:
- to Christ’s solidarity with the peoples of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands;
- to ecclesial unity across dividing lines - especially those of nationality and citizenship status, but also those of race, language, culture, and class;
- of practical partnership with the incarnational work of people serving migrants and deportees on both sides of the border.
The community’s weekly celebration of the sacrament of communion, shared across the border wall at Friendship Park, the historic meeting place on the border between San Diego and Tijuana, has been covered by media from around the world.
With extensive experience working with migrants and deportees, the Border Church team in Mexico is now prepared to launch a holistic program of support for migrants and deportees, structured toward a simple outcome: to assist migrants and deportees in establishing themselves as stable and productive residents of Tijuana. A successful pilot program has been completed, demonstrating the effectiveness of their methodology, which can be thought of as something akin to “refugee resettlement,” played out in the unique context of Tijuana.
A.I.M. and A.I.D.
The proposed programs will be advertised in Tijuana as two-fold: “Asistencia Integral al Migrante” (A.I.M. - Holistic Support for Migrants) and “Asistencia Integral al Deportado” (A.I.D. - Holistic Support for Detainees). Customized to the needs of each population, both programs will offer HOLISTIC SUPPORT (“asistencia integral”), comprised of the following: Outreach, Counseling, and Social Work.
The most immediate goal is to “reach” the migrant, which requires culturally appropriate “outreach” to the vulnerable conditions in which they find themselves. Through the provision of basic services and humanitarian aid (hot food, personal hygiene products, blankets, portable bathrooms, etc.) Border Church team members will share with migrants and deportees a brief experience of peace, hope, and security. Those expressing a desire to reside permanently (or semi-permanently) in the city of Tijuana will be invited to register in the program and a profile using best practices of data management will be established. Upon registration, the migrant will be given an ID Card, for purposes of identification and tracking, and admitted to a short-term shelter where they will be afforded the services of trained Psychologists and Social Workers.
The objective of the program’s psychological counseling is to stabilize the person spiritually and emotionally, to resolve their migration issues, and to prepare them for residence in Tijuana by focusing on the basic requirements of living in Mexico (documents, e.g.). Through legal counseling, migrants can come to grips with the fact that they are no longer living in their city of origin, nor in the United States. They can learn to see that viable opportunities exist for them where they are. If appropriate, and if preferred, they will be provided help to return to their city of origin.
Beginning with the data collected at the time of registration, the program of social work will assist migrants and deportees in obtaining identification documents, securing employment, and establishing an affordable residence. Leaders of the Border Church / La Iglesia Fronteriza will also assist migrants and deportees in arranging visits from family members in the United States, whether through crossing to Tijuana or at Friendship Park.