Ministry Partners:  United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Medical Missions International, and CitiHope Malawi

Team Leader: Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D.

Michael Christensenteaches practical theology at Drew University where he directs a training institute and community development network known as Communities of Shalom.  Dr. Christensen founded WorldHope Corps in 2007 in partnership with CitiHope International and the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund.  This will be his sixth mission trip to Malawi since 2005.  He plans to post daily travel blogs about the mission trip on his blog site at

Team Members:

Mary Johnson, from Madison, NJ, will be a senior in High School next Fall, and has been actively involved in a number of civic engagement projects, including: Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at the Special Olympics, Princeton Downs Syndrome Awareness campaign, the environmental club at school, and church mission trips. She is a member of the Chatham Presbyterian Church and feels a special connection to Africa and hopes to help children in need there.  

Megan Christensen, also from Madison, NJ, currently is an exchange student in Madrid, sponsored by the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. After a year in Spain, she returns in June in time to join the Malawi Mission Team and will be a senior in High School in the Fall.  Megan has gone on previous church mission trips to Bolivia, Mexico, New York City and Birmingham, AL.  After hearing about previous mission trips her father, Michael Christensen, has led, she wanted to go herself and is excited about participating in the Malawi mission.

Dr. Rebecca Laird currently teaches spiritual formation at Drew Theological School and serves as Director of Ministerial Formation and the Spiritual Formation Certificate program.  Ordained in the Church of the Nazarene, she served for several years as Associate Pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Summit.  She has gone on several mission trips over the years, worked in urban ministries in New York and San Francisco, and was a community development consultant with World Vision. She is married to Michael Christensen and lives in Madison, NJ.  This will be her first mission trip to Malawi.

Sandra Bragg, from Standish, Main, was raised in the Church of the Nazarene, converted to Roman Catholicism and currently attends the Episcopal Church.  She is employed as a medical assistant.   As a church volunteer, she increasingly has felt called to international mission.  After meeting the President of CitiHope International, who referred her to WorldHope Corps Malawi mission trip, she has been excited about making a difference—even a small one–for women and children in Malawi.

Ilse Zwinkels lives in Amsterdam and attended Hotel School in The Hague after college.  She managed a hotel in China for two and half years, and then moved back to Amsterdam where she worked as a sales manager.  Now 26, she is back at the University in a master’s degree program in Strategy, Communication and Organization.  On holiday this summer, she plans to meet us in Lilongwe, stay and volunteer for a month in Mzuzu with CitiHope Malawi.

Hosts in Malawi:

Rev. Copeland Nkhata, Senior Pastor and District Leader

The United Methodist Church, Mzuzu Circuit

Box 1015

Mzuzu, Malawi