E-mail exchanges around the work of the Asian Rural Institute (ARI)

E-mail exchanges around the work of the Asian Rural Institute (ARI)

April 2, 2008
Dear Global Ministries friends:

The Africa Office would like to share the good news that yesterday Ms. Nozuko Toli, a member of the United Congregational Church of  Southern Africa (UCCSA) traveled to Japan to participate in the 2008 Rural Leaders’ Training Program of the Asian Rural Institute.

The Asian Rural Institute and the American Friends of the Asian Rural Institute worked closely with the UCCSA and Global Ministries’ missionaries, Dawn and Jon Barnes,  to apply for a travel grant and partial scholarship from the World Council of Churches.  The Barnes assisted Ms. Toli with all logistical matters in South Africa, as she applied for her visa and prepared for the trip.

OGHS has supported the Asian Rural Institute in a substantial way.  We are very pleased that this member of our partner church in southern Africa, the UCCSA, will have this opportunity to experience this training, along with 27 other rural leaders from many countries.

Sincerely,  Pat Sanborn
Africa Office, Global Ministries

April 2, 2008
This is terrific!!  Thanks for the information, Pat!  Sandra had shared the good news yesterday at the area executives’ forum!

OGHS had also sponsored a participant from Indonesia last year for this nine month program in leadership development, community organizing, and sustainable agriculture.

Xiaoling took David Vargas and myself to visit the ARI in Japan in December and we were very impressed with the program whereby all the students, faculty, and staff live communally and grow their own food and cook together, have Bible study together, etc.  It’s a marvelous model.  We happened to be there the day the Indonesian student was giving his final report to the whole group about his plans for what he will do upon returning home.  As David and I have told the area execs, this is a great program to let our partners around the world know about.

And then when David and I were in Thailand in January with the Church World Service trip and met leaders from the Myanmar Council of Churches and Burma Baptist Church we were delighted to hear that the former General Secretary of the MCC was a student at ARI, on a CWS scholarship, almost 30 years ago!  Talk about leadership development!!

Blessings, Cally
Cally Rogers-Witte
Executive Minister Wider Church Ministries and Co-Executive Global Ministries

April 16, 2008
Dear Cally,

Greetings from ARI.  We are in the midst of spring and all the surrounding cherry blossom trees are in full flower.  Thanks for passing on this wonderful email.  Nozuko has arrived safely at ARI (on April 2 to be exact).  Our 2008 training program began on the 7th of this month and we conducted our 36th annual opening ceremony this past Saturday.  This year we have 30 program participants from 15 different countries.  Nozuko is adjusting well to life here.  She is a very calm person (but not shy) and seems to just be taking everything in as she takes part in the daily activities and lessons.  I am looking forward to getting to know her better over the next months. 

I have attached a couple of photos.  One is of Nozuko (center) together with her fellow participants from Africa, Augustina from Cameroon (left) and Melissa from Liberia (right).  The other is Nozuko with classmates from Liberia (Melissa), India (Jaji), Myanmar (Mya), and the Philippines (Josie).

It was wonderful to hear of all the help Nozuko got from Global Ministries friends to get here.  A big thanks to Dawn and Jon Barnes in helping her with that WCC application as well as with all the travel and visa preparations.  That is a lot of work.  And also a big thanks to all who assisted in connecting ARI to the UCCSA.  We are very happy to this new relationship and hope to develop it further in the future.

Unfortunately, for some reason I cannot forward this to all the people below, so if you could pass work on to them that Nozuko arrived safely I would appreciate it.

In Peace,
Steven Cutting
Ecumenical Relations
The Asian Rural Institute
442-1 Tsukinokizawa
Nasushiobara-shi, Tochigi-ken 329-2703