We are not powerless in the oppressive situations in which we feel caught. We are not bound to the reality we see. We are creators. We can make the new. – Elizabeth O’Connor
Elizabeth O’Connor shares her vision and idealism for the powerless, a quote that has inspired me during my time with PCP. I am in awe of what God has done in these three short years that have exceeded even my idealism and vision for this ministry. Therefore, after much prayer and discernment, I believe it is time to step aside from PCP. I do so with sadness because of what this ministry has meant for me, but I also do so with confidence in God’s future for both PCP and myself. My final day will be March 24, 2016. Tom Verdoorn, PCP Board Chair, will step in as Interim leader while a search is under way.
I have great admiration for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Over these years I have become quite thankful to be associated with this denomination building numerous relationships, new and old. The ECC is a dynamic, vital organism that affirms the truthfulness and trustworthiness of scripture while remaining sensitive to culture and worldview in all of its iterations. I have learned much from many of my ECC colleagues and will miss the robust dialogue over countless cups of coffee.
Together, under God, we are witness to much fruit. Building on the work of Dr. Eric Gunnoe, Mary Stockmeyer, and the Medical Steering Team’s good leadership, have we reimagined a thriving Medical Ambassadors program creating the ten Medical and Health Focus Groups, recruited the lead for each and have begun to populate each group with outstanding medical and health professionals. Taking the Leads to the Louisville Christian Medical Conference last fall, with elucidating medical missional best practices, was a personal highlight for me. So was creating the 50th anniversary commemoration of Paul Carlson’s martyrdom. It was a joy to meet so many people deeply impacted by the friendship or memory of Paul Carlson, and especially to know Lois, Dwight, and Wayne Carlson and to be warmly embraced by this family.
One of my favorite moments was recruiting Dr. Jon Coker, with the able assistance of Herb Frost, to lead the restoration of Zulu Hydroelectric Dam. With his team’s leadership we are astonishingly slated to bring electricity to Karawa Hospital this August after three years of Herculean efforts. We wrapped up the Farmers to Market program, migrating elements into today’s local entrepreneur investments under James Fischer’s good leadership. A marketing-communications overhaul was kicked off when Northwestern University agreed to create a class singularly focused on the Paul Carlson Partnership case study. The four final presentations from these Medill students enhanced Nicole Weldon’s groundwork, and Becky Dangel’s effort today. Pro-bono BCG Consultant, Scott Keenan, provided critical analysis. Rick Fisk invested pro-bono time and talent to conduct eleven Focus Groups and deliver an excellent Strategic Plan, a map for PCP’s future.
Give praise to God for the success of the Congo Clinic Initiative. Indeed 151 sponsors have agreed to sponsor 108 clinics and hospitals over the next five years. Certainly the timely coordination of the CEUM request for clinic upgrades, the IMA World Health solar panel research and availability, along with the need for a 50th legacy campaign invited an opportunity I could not resist. My “dream team” of Doug Morton, Keith Carpenter, Kreig Gammelgard, and Chuck Wysong met the execution challenges. To the two anonymous donors who provided the $100,000 Matching Grant – thank you!
I am especially proud of our little staff of six and fully take credit for this outstanding team I hired. Craig, James, Becky, Nicole and Jacques, thank you for the sacrificial way you have invested your unique giftedness. I will miss working with you. I give thanks for the PCP Board, a working board that has endured my creative visionary spirit and came alongside me for what initially felt unobtainable. It is amazing what one can do when someone believes in you. To the PCP Board, thank you.
To each of you who is a part of PCP – thank you. You each are a vital, essential link of this ministry. I pray you will each continue on the path to develop a knowledgeable heart for Congo as you continue to support this ministry. Indeed, it has been a privilege to give leadership, to participate in God’s work, as Executive Director.
Meritt Lohr Sawyer