James and Elizabeth Phiri
JAMES J. Z. PHIRI, MMD chairman
James J. Z. Phiri is from Malawi. He surrendered his life to Christ in 1978 and in his early years served with ministries in Malawi and Mozambique. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cyprus Institute of Marketing and an MBA from Eastern University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Over nearly three decades, James worked for World Vision in Malawi and Mozambique, with assignments in more than 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. He is currently a Child Sponsorship Manager with World Vision in Brazil, and is also MMD board chairman.
His top priorities as MMD chairman are:
James and his wife, Elizabeth, have five grown children.
ELESINAH CHAUKE, MMD course writer and facilitator
Perhaps the course most talked about in MMD’s history is a course written by Elesinah to help the church in Africa become all that God calls it to be in a weary and hurt-filled world. Her preparation for the course Pastoral Guidance and Counseling in the Era of HIV and AIDS was an emotional roller coaster as she researched the devastation and havoc caused by this epidemic. As a result of this course, churches across Africa are being given the sort of tools they need to bring hope to families devastated by the spread of this disease.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Elesinah is a direct product of missionary work. She received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at age 14 in a classroom situation. At the age of 18 she had a definite and clear calling to full-time ministry and has since been continuously involved in church ministry in various ways.
In 1976, she went to North America to continue studying at Spring Arbor University in Michigan, then on to Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, returning to Zimbabwe in 1982. She has taught Systematic Theology and courses in New Testament at the Evangelical Seminary of South Africa in Pietermaritizburg, and was appointed Director of Student Affairs.
In 2004, Elesinah joined MMD South Africa as course producer and coordinator of Women’s Ministry for MMD, plus other related responsibilities. In 2010, in response to the tremendous desire of several churches, she began facilitating MMD courses in Zimbabwe.
JOHN JUSU, MMD curriculum administrator
The injustice of being given the chance to study in the U.S., then being denied that opportunity, was one of the factors that took John on the unlikely path from student radical to Christian champion of the downtrodden. As the best student in his Christian school, John thought he had earned the promised and much-coveted scholarship to a college in the U.S., when it was awarded to another classmate whose family enjoyed a higher status in the community. John rebelled against such hypocrisy, becoming a leader of a radical student movement. When all those under his leadership were expelled, he realized his own folly and began a remarkable turn-around. The greatest surprise was that John ultimately would indeed study in the U.S., earning his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois.
In addition to being course architect and editor for MMD, John teaches at Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a founding member of the Christian Higher Education Faculty Development Network and a founding member of the Consortium of Theological Education by Extension in Africa. He served as supervising editor of the Africa Study Bible.
John and his wife, Tity, operate a home for orphans and widows in Sierra Leone.
ASÈLE NDUWIMANA, MMD Burundi country director/women’s ministry
Asèle and her husband Emmanuel are living proof that Hutus and Tutsis can coexist and even become one flesh in Christ. In the midst of the genocide that rocked the church in Africa, they led Bible studies together and were living evidence of the transformation God wants to bring to a continent often torn by racial conflict. Born into a Roman Catholic family, she committed her life to Christ at boarding school and became active in IFES (InterVarsity Fellowship) at the University of Burundi, graduating as a college chemistry teacher in 1994.
After graduating, Asèle was married but did not teach immediately because of the war situation. Her husband worked full-time as the GBU-Burundi General Secretary. She taught chemistry in 1997 and 1998 and also started a women’s non-profit Christian organization. The priority of the organization was to help young people in the context of war. She has studied at the Great Lakes School of Theology in Burundi, receiving a certificate in Biblical and Intercultural Studies in 2001 and a BA Honors in 2003 in the same field.
Asèle’s husband Emmanuel is Executive Director of Partners Trust International, a ministry born in response to the aftermath of years of bloody ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi. They have experienced their share of challenges. They have five children, one who went to be with the Lord as a 13-month-old baby while being bathed by a nanny. Asèle is actively involved in women’s ministry as well as course facilitation and in the leadership/management of MMD Burundi.