The bishops of The United Methodist Church are praising God that all three of the young UMC missionaries detained by in the Republic of the Philippines have been allowed to leave that country and are now safely reunited with their families.
American Adam Shaw reached his parents’ home in Brunswick, Ohio, on July 4; Zimbabwean Tawanda Chandiwana landed in his home country of Zimbabwe on July 6; and Malawian Miracle Osman was allowed to leave to and join her parents in Malawi on July 11. Chandiwana had been incarcerated for eight weeks, while Osman and Shaw were prohibited from leaving by intentional government visa and passport red tapes. All three are mission personnel of United Methodist Global Ministries.
These young adults had come under surveillance when they took part in February in an international investigation of alleged human rights violations on the island of Mindanao, which is under martial law. They and United Methodist leaders in the Philippines denied any wrong doing.
The Council of Bishops and colleagues in the Philippines are pleased to have played a role in promoting the #LetThemLeave campaign, which resulted in prayers and petitions from around the world. About 18,000 people from more than 110 countries signed the online petition addressed to the government of the Republic of the Philippines.
“The council expresses its appreciation to those thousands of individuals and to many organizational mission partners. We commend the staff of Global Ministries for the resolute and focused way in which officers and staff responded to this crisis, working in close concert with our Church in the Philippines,” said Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, president of the COB.
The bishops also thanked the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and United Methodist Women for their support. The legal community in the Philippines provided able assistance. The denominational and secular press globally were positive influences in alerting United Methodists and the public at large to the plight of our missionaries.
“We are grateful for unity in our objectives. May the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ always bind us together in the causes of justice and compassion,” Bishop Carter said.