Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Conference plants tree in honor of GBGM missionaries

11/1/2019

Ministry leaders and staff from the Oklahoma Conference join missionaries serving the Mozambique South Annual Conference for a tree planting ceremony on Oct. 24. From left: Dorrie Parrott, El Reno-Wesley missions chair; Rev. Allen Carson, El Reno-Wesley pastor; Karen Distefano, UMVIM/disaster response for the South Central Jurisdiction; Rev. Derrek Belase, OKUMC director of connectional ministry; Rev. Norma Gravley-Quinn, OKUMC conference treasurer, administrative services director and chief benefits officer; John Nday, agricultural coordinator at Cambine Mission; Florence Kaying, nurse practitioner in maternity and child health at the Cambine Hospital/Clinic; and Rev. Jeremy Basset, OKUMC director of the Office of Mission. Photo by Meagan Ewton.
There’s a new pecan tree on the north side of the Oklahoma United Methodist Ministry Center that honors the agricultural ministry of John Nday, a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries.

Nday gave a presentation to Oklahoma Conference staff and ministry leaders that shared about the work taking place at the Cambine Mission in Mozambique, where he serves with fellow missionary, nurse practitioner and wife Florence Kaying. The tree-planting ceremony took place after both Nday and Kaying shared about their respective work at the mission.

“Trees are very important because of the climate change we are facing,” Nday said. “During our training, we emphasize planting trees because they take care of the environment as well as provide food.”

Rev. Jeremy Basset, director of the Office of Mission for the Oklahoma Conference, said the tree would be a reminder both of Nday’s work and the need for both physical and spiritual aspects of faith.

“Our theology isn’t about saving souls for heaven, but about bringing heaven to Earth; it’s a combo that seeks wholeness for people,” Basset said. “This pecan tree is a tree that for many years will remind us of this good work.”

Nday and Kaying serve at the Cambine Mission located in southeastern Mozambique in the Inhambane Province.

The mission serves a locality of roughly 14,460 people through services such as an orphanage, several schools, a health center where Kaying serves as a nurse practitioner, and the farm project led by Nday.

The population faces agricultural challenges such as floods, cyclones and droughts which contribute to poor soil conditions.

Nday said he approaches his work with three goals in mind: produce and supply food to communities, provide agricultural training, and get crop access to the market to support church and community sustainability. He trains farmers in agricultural techniques such as turning livestock manure into compost and using green nets to reduce radiation on crops.

“I ask, what are we doing to make sure those who are vulnerable have adequate food and improve their living conditions?” Nday said of his approach.

After Nday spoke, Kaying shared about her work, using Nday as a translator. She said her work at the Cambine Hospital/Clinic is focused on maternity and child care, which emphasizes breastfeeding education to prevent premature transitions to solid foods. She said the center also offers an HIV clinic as well as training for nutrition and hygiene.

Dorrie Parrott, missions chair at El Reno-Wesley, attended the presentation with her pastor, Rev. Allen Carson, because her church is one of Nday’s missionary sponsors. Parrott, who also serves as Crossroads District representative to the conference Mission and Service Ministry Team, believes it’s important for churches to support both local and global missional ministries in order to cultivate a worldwide view of missions.

“We are an agricultural community, and in our own congregation, we have people in agriculture, medical workers and school teachers,” Parrott said.

“We saw all that with John, Florence and the Cambine Mission.”

Nday hopes he can stay for another term to help encourage sustainability.

“Sustainability isn’t done in a year; it takes time,” Nday said. “If we’re not coming back, people get discouraged. If we don’t come back, we haven’t invested in a good way. With this way (staying another term), I think people can have sustainability.”

John Nday
John Nday shares some of the results of his agricultural work at the Cambine Mission in Mozambique.
Florence Nday
Florence Kaying describes the range of services offered by the Cambine Hospital/Clinic as Nday translates.
Tree Planting
Karen Distefano (right) takes a photo of director of connectional ministry Rev. Derrek Belase (left) and missionary John Nday (center) as they shovel dirt onto a new pecan tree’s roots as part of a tree planting ceremony on Oct. 24.

Photos by Meagan Ewton

 

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