Namikango Mission

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Eric Gephart

Aug 27, 2019

When you meet Eric, he shows a winsome smile, obviously intelligent,and has an easy sense of humor that makes you feel at ease around him.

His journey to Namikango Mission started in a distant state, far from the historical roots of the founding Texas churches.

Eric was born and raised in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, He grew up ina Christian home with his dad serving as an Elder. When asked when he started thinking about missions, Eric said, ‘as far back as I could remember, I wanted to be a missionary.

Eric sought a Bible degree and majored in Christian Ministry,completing his Bachelor’s degree at Messiah College in Harrisburg,Pennsylvania in 2009. He then enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Tennessee. Eric worked his way through grad school, graduating debt-free in 2013.

During his grad school work, Eric did an internship in Nairobi, Kenya,and ended up sharing a tiny two room apartment with a young man named Ryan Hayes. Ryan had arrived the week before. Both of them worked in a microfinance program to help poverty-stricken families build resources for small businesses. Eric and Ryan became close friends and it was that friendship that eventually drew Eric to Namikango. Eric received an invitation to come and help build an English Bible School Program for Namikango. This fit well with his passion, so by June 2015, Eric agreed to move to Malawi.

Eric spent all of 2016 in the United States raising funds so he could move from Kenya to Malawi. In 2017 he arrived in Zomba ready to get started.

There he had the task of creating an English Curriculum for the Namikango Bible School – a daunting task. Eric found a solid program of Bible training already functioning on the village level. Curriculum for 20 courses had been developed and updated over the years, serving 25 Village Bible Schools in Malawi and two in Mozambique. The plan was to develop a higher-standard English program that could possibly be submitted for accreditation with the National Council of Higher Educationin Malawi. Research into that possibility is ongoing.

While the new starting date for the English program has been pushed back, Eric has made significant progress in curriculum development. He currently serves as head of all Bible programs with the able assistance of Mission Staff leaders. The new English program will emphasize practical discipleship, personal spiritual growth, community impact, and a little agricultural training to supplement the traditional text-based curriculum aswell as lots of Bible courses.

One additional note is that Eric has helped restart the "Liu laNamikango" - a news and teaching bulletin that had lapsed for several years. They currently print 5,000 copies for distribution through camp meetings, church visits, Community Health Evangelism (CHE) and Village Savings and Loan (VSL) programs. This is the revival of a long-standing tradition of printing materials produced by Namikango.

Eric is happy to be at Namikango. He has a tremendous appreciation for the strong tradition of Namikango Mission and he strives to build upon the foundation laid by numerous missionary families from years past and present.