Preston Hollow: Mission in Malawi
Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church began its mission partnership in the African country of Malawi through an invitation from PC(USA) mission co-workers, Nancy and Frank Dimmock. Throughout their 35-year tenure of service, Nancy and Frank were involved in health, education, and development ministries in partnership with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), the largest denomination in Malawi.
Their heart and love for the people of Malawi inspired Preston Hollow members to join them in relationship, discerning together how the gifts and resources of the Dallas congregation could be a catalyst for the gifts and resources of the CCAP and its members. For almost 20 years, PHPC and its partners, specifically in the Synod of Livingstonia, have committed to meeting regularly and have been involved in bolstering many ministries throughout the region: from schools and shallow water wells to crisis nurseries, health ministries, and women’s empowerment programs.
“Over many years, gatherings, and conversations, we learned of the extreme health care needs in Malawi,” says Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell, Associate Pastor at Preston Hollow. “Infant and maternal mortality rates are extremely high. Medical personnel are in very short supply.”
The CCAP mission hospital in Ebengweni, Malawi, serves as the main source of health care for over 100,000 residents and had operated without a fully certified Malawian medical doctor. In partnership with CCAP, Preston Hollow committed to funding for four medical students, numerous nursing students, teachers, and seminarians. All health care students were required to sign a bond to work after graduation for one of the Synod’s three mission hospitals in return for their educational support.
“Our purpose was to invest in the future leadership of Malawians to serve Malawians.”
In 2008, Preston Hollow member, Karen McCracken, met with Kondwani Zgambo (pictured above) and other medical residents to help strengthen the relationship between the students and the CCAP. Upon graduation and passing board certification, Dr. Zgambo was appointed medical director of the Embengweni Mission Hospital, where he chose to serve as an intern during his medical studies.
Dr. Zgambo meets patients daily – including traveling to more remote areas to eliminate barriers to life saving care. He also leads his staff and mission partners to increase the hospital’s capacity to provide healing and wholeness, inspired by Christ’s love for all.
“For Preston Hollow, our commitment to our partners in Malawi reminds us of how we are all members of one Church and one Body,” says Rev. Lee-Cornell. “It is easy to not look beyond our own neighborhoods for the presence of God, yet, we are often astounded when we experience God’s love and grace in places we never imagine we would find ourselves – like singing and dancing in a field with a chorus of Women’s Guild members (Presbyterian Women) in Mhana, Malawi.”
“It is important for us to find ways to connect and be in community around the globe. Not because we have much to offer, and certainly not because others need our gifts, but simply because we are all God’s beloved children, and together, we get a deeper glimpse into God’s kingdom.”
If you would like to join Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in supporting the Ebengweni Misson Hospital, they currently have need for solar-powered energy, so that the loss of government-supplied electricity (which happens frequently) will no longer prevent patients from receiving the critical care they need.
You can learn more here.
Our sincere thanks to Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell and Preston Hollow members, Karen McCracken and Kim Vernon, for their work on this article.
Photos are courtesy of John Vernon.