|Skype brings global missionaries close to home|
By Linda Bloom*
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
Oct. 14, 2009 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)
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
“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
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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