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United Methodist Agency Thanks Partners for Roles in Campaign to Get Three Missionaries out of the Philippines

Atlanta, GA, June 27, 2018 -- “What a blessing mission partners and friends are; we thank God for them,” said the head of The United Methodist Church’s worldwide mission agency, referencing the international and ecumenical collaboration in a campaign to persuade the Philippines’ government to let three young missionaries leave the country.

“The United Methodist leaders, agencies and members in the Philippines have really stepped up to the plate in ‘Let Them Leave,’ our campaign launched on June 26,” stated Thomas Kemper, general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries, “as has the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. The Philippine Central Conference Board of Church and Society is particularly active. The campaign includes a call to daily prayer and an online petition.

One goal of “Let Them Leave” is the release from seven weeks of detention of Tawanda Chandiwana, who is from Zimbabwe. Another aim is to clear the way for him and two others, Miracle Osman from Malawi and Adam Shaw from the United States, to obtain the documents they need to depart. (For information on each situation, see: link to our release.)

Our church’s Council of Bishops is standing tall with us and has appealed to the Philippines’ government to pave the way for the three to leave,” Kemper said. “The World Council of Churches has issued a strong statement of support.

“United Methodist Women rallied its members in great numbers in support of our ‘Let Them Leave’ petition addressed to the government in Manila. Our global missionary community has been solidly with their colleagues facing difficult times. Our Global Mission Fellows form a rock of support in prayer and advocacy.”
The prayer request is for a daily petition to God at noon, wherever one is, until the three are allowed to leave. The Council of Bishops suggests the following or similar prayer: “God of grace and peace be with our missionaries. Keep them free from harm. Bring them home. Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.”

Kemper thanked the United Methodist news media for extensive, timely reporting on the missionaries’ situations and the “Let Them Leave” campaign. He cited United Methodist Communications, the United Methodist News Service, and annual conference media outlets.

“The media in South Korea, where Methodism is strong, is spreading the word,” Kemper noted, “and our bishops’ press release has been printed in full on internet sites we never heard of before.

“It’s amazing and wonderful how people of goodwill everywhere rally together in the cause of justice and freedom.”