Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > October 2009 > News - October 2009
Skype brings global missionaries close to home

Claudia Maia and her husband, Dr. Eduardo Maia, work as missionaries at United Methodist-related Chicuque Hospital in Mozambique. Directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries were able to talk, via Skype, with Claudia during their recent meeting. A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.
By Linda Bloom*
Oct. 14, 2009 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)

Claudia Maia

In the age of Skype, the church can instantly connect with far-flung missionaries.

On Oct. 13, directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, meeting in Connecticut, used the technology to converse with a Brazilian missionary stationed in Mozambique. Skype allows real-time video calls over the Internet.

The visual connection was with Claudia Maia, a community worker in the United Methodist public health mission in Chicuque. Despite some small time-lapse problems and a six-hour time difference, the strong audio connection put her squarely into the room with the directors.

Denise Honeycutt, a director from Glen Allen, Va., interviewed Maia who told the board members, “I grew up in a Christian environment, and I was nourished by the Methodist Church in my town.”

She served for two years with Youth with a Mission before beginning her studies at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. She earned a bachelor of zoology degree and worked as a laboratory technician while attending classes.

Her husband, Dr. Eduardo Maia, is also a missionary and surgeon at the Chicuque Hospital. He earned his medical degree from the Federal University, and they married in 2005.

Dr. Eduardo Maia 

Two years later, after she graduated and he finished a residency in trauma surgery, they learned of the placement at Chicuque Hospital. Since Portuguese is the common language for Brazil and Mozambique, it was a good fit.

Honeycutt noted that the Board of Global Ministries looked at the possibility of one large congregation taking on the $30,000 annual expense of putting one of the Maias in the mission field. Bon Air United Methodist Church in Richmond, Va., agreed to host the couple and decided to support Claudia Maia for three years as a Virginia Conference missionary.

“They hosted them and they fell in love with them,” Honeycutt said. Such a covenant relationship is “a new model of what some of our large member churches have the capacity and can do,” she added.

Maia, who is just starting a new community-based health care project, said she also appreciates the prayers and caring attitude of the Bon Air congregation.

And she encourages every church member to become engaged in mission. “Each one of us is a missionary,” she declared. “Mission is the base of the gospel.”

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org


Watch or download commissioning service

Youtube: ConnectnMission

Related articles

Live from Stamford: the commissioning

Mission service offers live viewing, chat options


United Methodist missionaries

Give to Mission

Board of Global Ministries

Missionary Covenant Relationships

Maia missionary newsletter

Comments will be moderated. Please see our Comment Policy for more information.
Comment Policy

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.


*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW