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Vickery Meadow Summer Reading Academy Success

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The 8th year of the Vickery Meadow Summer Reading Academy help its final day last Thursday! This year, 122 volunteer youth and adult tutors, along with 182 students, filled the classrooms and halls of Jack Lowe Elementary School from July 11th through August 3rd.

We are so thankful for the parents who brought us students for 4 weeks of academic enrichment, reading, and fun! Our volunteers contributed over 7,000 hours of their gifts, energy, and compassion. The support of DISD’s Refugee Support Services Department, adjunct faculty and students from SMU, and the contributions of many, many partners (including Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation, Temple Emanu-el, Park Cities Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Women of PHPC, and more) all came together to provide this free, month-long, summer reading academy for students possessing unique and diverse needs.

Our volunteers had this to say about their experience: 

“Where do I begin!  This past month has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  I signed up to help each Tuesday and found myself going every day that I did not have my granddaughters.  The children are absolutely precious.  I had tears in my eyes today when I gave each of them a hug.  I only wish I could have done more.  When my days at (my professional work) are over, I WILL be at McShan Elementary helping in any way that I can.”

“I remarked to somebody today that the kids come running and skipping into the school every day. EVERY DAY!  With smiles on their faces. What a gift (we) have given them. I hope one day they will realize how fortunate they are for this gift!”

 If you have an interest in supporting students through the gift of reading a book together, please consider volunteering throughout the year through our McShan Elementary Reading Homeroom and Saturday School programs. For more information, please contact: Dalene Buhl at .

Posted by Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell with

PHPC Serves in Malawi

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The Malawi Mission Committee for Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church traveled to Malawi from June 6th through June 27th, 2017.  Helen Zimba (Social Worker), Shoshanna Conway (retired RN) and Sean A. Smith (Finance professional) traveled to Malawi to represent our PHPC congregation.  The trip intention was to meet and renew our relationships with all of our partners in-country.  We felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and the congregation with us throughout the journey.

Malawi has 16.4 million citizens with 79.9% identified as Christians.  The vast majority of Christians are Presbyterian.  The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian rules over the three synods: Blantyre Synod (southern region), Nkhoma Synod (central region) and Livingstonia Synod (northern region). PHPC focuses the majority of our efforts in the northern region.  Scottish Presbyterians, led by David Livingstonia, established the first missions in the northern region in 1875.  Today Livingstonia Synod consists of 170 congregations, 1,000 prayer houses and 200,000 members. 

We have felt the grace of the congregation’s generosity in sharing in our mission efforts in Malawi for 20+ years.  The trip in June was to evaluate that the generosity of our church is being cared for with the best of Christian intent.  We are happy and excited to announce that all of our partnerships are being exceptional stewards of PHPC funds and donations.  From Ministry of Hope’s crisis nurseries, orphanage feeding centers, Embangweni Mission Hospital, School for the Deaf, School for the Blind, CCAP Livingstonia Synod, University of Livingstonia, and many others, we visited and renewed our faith with our partners. 

We are excited to announce a rebirth and renewal of the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and University of Livingstonia partnership scholarship fund.  We are establishing rules and terms with the leadership of the university.  We will share more as we finalize the terms.  One success story of PHPC is the “prophet” doctor of Ebangweni Mission Hospital.  He has a story to tell that deserves its own page.  We will share this story in the near future.

The PHPC Mission Committee also welcomes its newest official partner: Timalechi Early Childhood School in Embangweni, Malawi.  The school prepares very young children for primary school.

Facts about Timalechi Early Childhood School:

• School started by our own Helen Zimba's father

• Agnes Nkhata, daughter of Helen and Granddaughter of school founder, is the director

• Serves 75-80 children ages 1-6

• Seeking Malawi Government accreditation as a listed Early Childhood Development 

• Starting own farms to feed the children (Self sustainable)

• Long standing core of steady staff/family oversight

• Needs teacher salaries

• Needs seeds for farms

• Needs enhanced bathroom facilities (currently one bathroom for whole school.  Adults and children share with no running water)

• Needs running water/fresh well

• Have American and Malawian representatives in each country

The Committee voted unanimously to start a new partnership and inject a $2,500 startup donation for the following:

• $1,800 - 5 teachers annual salaries ($30 per teacher per month)

• $500 - New uniforms for the children - We hope to have all or some completed to present in person on June 13th.  (YES pictures will be taken!!)

• $200 - seed money to plant two fields of crops

 These three areas of focus that the committee chose give the staff and their leadership the ability to concentrate on long term success and goals.

We visited all these partners and more while in-country.  More stories will be written on each partner in the coming months.  We want to share with the congregation the amazing work your committee and the Malawian people achieve with your generosity.  We would not be able to help our brothers and sisters in faith without it and without the commitment of the Malawian people to strive every day to become self-sufficient.

Yours in Faith

Sean A Smith

Malawi Mission Committee Chairman

Posted by Sean Smith with