VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/10/15)—Kathryn “Kathy” Charland, an endorsed American Baptist International Ministries (IM) missionary, has been called to serve in partnership with the women’s ministries of the Baptist Convention of Zambia to assist in the establishment of a new Women’s Ministries Center.
In her role in Zambia, Charland will contribute to the development of the center’s faculty and its facility, which is to serve as a training center and extension base for literacy programs and economic development initiatives. Agriculture, animal husbandry, small business development and micro-enterprise loan programs are some of the tools that the center will use to empower women and alleviate poverty in the context of Christian discipleship.
In preparation for this new ministry, she will spend much of her first year of active service in a series of short-term learning and serving experiences with cutting-edge women’s center ministries in other places around the world.
A ministry in Zambia has been on Charland’s heart since 2007 when she did field work for her Master of Divinity degree in Zambia as an IM volunteer. “My eyes were opened to a world I had never truly seen before,” said Charland in a recent journal. “As I entered that world, as I walked with, prayed with, sang with, danced with, mourned with, worshiped with the people in that world, I could no longer ignore it.”
In 2012, when she considered returning to Zambia for another short trip, Charland “sensed God’s call to long-term service.” She began the missionary application process through IM and shared her desire to serve in the areas of poverty relief and discipleship.
At the time, Zambia was not a possibility for IM missionaries. IM identified a mission opportunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one in South Africa. As it happened, neither location was part of God’s call on Charland’s life.
Late in 2014, IM reestablished its partnership with the Baptist Convention of Zambia (BCZ), opening the door to for IM to once again send missionaries there. The Reverend Zulu, president of the BCZ, commented, “We felt a void in our Christian journey when we were no longer in partnership of IM.”
“The renewed partnership with the BCZ could not have been better timed,” said IM Area Director for Africa the Reverend Eleazar Ziherambere. “When I visited the Convention in November 2014 and asked BCZ why they so badly want to resume our partnership, they quickly pointed out their need for a coordinator for women’s ministries to help establish a Women’s Center. I understood then that the mighty hand of God was indeed directing his call to Kathy to serve in Zambia.”
Charland was quickly identified as the person for the job, and she leapt at the opportunity. “When I applied for mission service through IM,” she said, “we did not foresee how God would use circumstances to direct me to a country and a people that I fell in love with so many years before. Can you imagine the great things he is going to do next? Truly our God is ‘great and awesome.’ (Nehemiah 4:14 NKJV)”
“Discerning and following God’s call to international service is sometimes a winding and surprising journey,” says Jim Bell, IM’s director of vocational development. “We rejoice that in God’s providential timing, Kathy’s desire to serve in Zambia, the resumption of IM’s partnership with the BCZ and a service opportunity that matches Kathy’s gifts have converged at this moment.”
To learn more about Kathy Charland, sign up for her journals or email her directly, go to http://internationalministries.org/teams/637-charland. Look for Kathy Charland on Facebook at Reason2Hope.
For more information on IM’s Vocational Development opportunities, go to http://internationalministries.org/get-involved. Find us on Facebook at International Ministries Vocational Development.
American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, IM began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships with God and change their worlds through the power of the Holy Spirit. IM works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.