Central Conference Pensions Testimonials

Your Support is Changing Lives

CCP staff make frequent visits to the central conferences that are administering and overseeing newly-established pension payment systems. During their visits, they meet and interview retirees and surviving spouses who are receiving pension support. Most use their payments to fulfill basic needs—food and medicine for themselves and their families—while some are starting household-based businesses, improving their homes and even assisting with family members’ school tuition.

Each retiree or surviving spouse expresses thanks to UMC donors around the world for their generosity in helping to provide pension payments in retirement that help improve their lives.

Here are a few of their inspirational stories:

M’Bouke Wrohon Adele
Surviving Spouse, Cote d’Ivoire

Adele’s husband died the same month that he retired—July 14, 1996—and she now lives with her son, Stephan, who is her primary care-giver. She has fond memories of first meeting her husband as a member of one of his congregations. “He loved to sing and teach hymns to his parishioners. He knew the tunes to every hymn in the hymnal,” she remembered. (No small feat, considering there are 400 hymns in the French Methodist hymnal.)

As a surviving spouse, Adele depends on the pension payments she receives every month. “The pension is a good thing. If I didn’t have it, I would not be able to buy electricity or water,” she said. Her son echoes those same sentiments saying, “I am grateful that we are part of the global United Methodist Church, particularly for the sake of our pastors. I pray this support will continue.”

The Reverend Judulo Daniel
Retiree, Liberia

Rev. Judulo Daniel remembers what it was like to be threatened for preaching during Liberia’s war for independence, but remains proud of his 32 years in ministry, during which he served six different churches. Judulo appreciates that his pension is delivered every quarter by his district superintendent—it helps him stay connected!

“I am very happy today. Thank you for this gesture, for taking care of us until we leave this world.”

Marie Fattoh
Surviving Spouse, Cote d’Ivoire

Marie has chaired her annual conference’s Mission Committee for many years. In that role, she recently organized volunteers to acclimate a missionary couple to their new work in a remote village. The team built a house for the pair, helped convert residents to United Methodism and introduced an economic development project to make soap from indigenous ingredients to sell at the regional market. “Mission is my passion,” she said. “We should teach people to be autonomous; that’s why I’m committed to self-development projects.”

She uses that same passion at home as the leader of a cottage industry; buying equipment and materials to manufacture traditional woven fabric. Local women whom she has trained help her weave designs that incorporate Burkina and Ivorian designs, setting aside a portion of the funds raised for other mission initiatives.

When asked about her pension support, Marie said: “The pension provides additional support for my projects as well as for my four children who are students. I encourage pastors to support the program; God said we should take care of the widows and orphans.” Both Marie and her mother are surviving spouses of Ivorian United Methodist pastors.

The Reverend Francisco Ferreira
Retiree, East Angola

Rev. Ferreria served 10 churches during his 41-year career in East Angola. He remembers moments of teaching, visitation and evangelism—but his fondest memories are of preaching. And he is grateful to still be called on to preach in some of the conference’s churches.

Francisco is using some of his CCP pension to purchase cement blocks to improve his home. He figures he needs about 4,000 blocks and has about 1,500 so far— neatly stacked in his yard, waiting for additional pension funds to begin his project.

He expressed appreciation and thanks for the pension he now regularly receives every quarter. “When I first retired in 2003, we did not receive any pension but I was able to grow my own food. Now I am older and unable to grow my food, so I am very happy that pension payments started in 2010 and come every quarter to help me survive.”

The Reverend James Gardea
Surviving Spouse, Cote d’Ivoire

Rev. James Gardea began his ministry in 1969 and retired in 2003 after serving two churches and holding a district superintendent position. For many years, he did not get paid and lived by growing his own food. If he had to do it over again, he would still be a pastor—but he would also be a better farmer! James still serves on a district committee, so he remains connected and admired. “I want to thank the U.S. Church very much. It moves our hearts for them to be so generous.”

The Reverend Vormah Glaygbo-King
Retiree, Liberia

Rev. Vormah Glaygbo-King is a retired pastor and also a surviving spouse who is now blind and afflicted with Alzheimer’s. She served 16 years and receives $110 per quarter in pension support. Vormah lives in a concrete block home with her only daughter and three grandchildren. Her daughter is grateful for her mother’s CCP pension support, which helps her buy food and medicine. Her daughter said, “We are very grateful for the funds which allow us to purchase medicine for my mother and also buy food for our family.”

The Reverend Taisiya Sergunina
Retiree, Russia

Rev. Sergunina helped establish one of the first United Methodist churches after the fall of Communism when many were afraid to join a religion that wasn’t Russian Orthodox. She attended seminary in 1995. After graduation, she converted an assembly hall into a make-shift house of worship. As the new church grew, Taisiya and her fellow parishioners traveled on mission trips to preach the Gospel to those outside her town. Retired in 2004, Taisiya is still active in the church and always takes the opportunity to tell others about Christ.

The Reverend A.G. Smith
Retiree, Sierra Leone

Rev. Smith is 85 years old and has been retired for “a long, long time,” he said with failing memory and physical stamina. Cared for by his daughter, AG’s family receives his pension via their bank account and they use the money for food, medicine and school fees for the grandchildren. He likens his life to bitter leaf sauce—a staple in the region. “To make bitter leaf sauce, you must pound it and pound it to take away the bitterness, then it is delicious. Our life is like that. If you do not pound, it stays bitter. But if you work to make your life happy, it will be happy,” he said with a smile.

What is bitter leaf sauce?
Commonly known as shakpa or satuwi leaves in Sierra Leone, they have a sour flavor. Before cooking, the leaves must be boiled, washed, rinsed and then kept in a bowl of cold water. When the sour flavor disappears, it is ready to use for cooking.
      Taken from Foods of Sierra Leone and Other West African Countries: A Cookbook

The Reverend Domingos Almeida Sobinho
Retiree, West Angola

Retired in 2009, Rev. Sobinho served 17 churches during his 44-year career. He began his ministry during the War of Angolan Independence and was jailed for his efforts. Since he was also a teacher, the bishop was able to gain his release after three months imprisonment. “I want to express my gratitude to both Bishop de Carvalho and Bishop Domingos because they talked me into staying in the ministry during my few times of doubt.”

Domingos has 12 children (seven daughters an five sons) and 14 grandchildren, many of whom live with him. His CCP pension helps pay for their medicine and tuition. He was a licensed local pastor and has proudly attended 46 consecutive annual conference sessions—every one since his first appointment in 1965. “Visiting members and being an evangelist were the most enjoyable duties of my ministry.”

The Reverend Jonah Tobivo
Retiree, Nigeria

Rev. Tobivo retired in 2003, having spent much of his ministry traveling to remote areas to build churches and preach the Word of God. Before CCP pension support started in Nigeria, he received a small stipend from episcopal funds. But upon the bishop’s death in 2006, that support stopped, and Jonah had to wait several years to receive another pension payment. He now uses his CCP pension to buy food and medicine for his wife and six children.

The Reverend Tezei Yugai
Retiree, Russia

Retired in 2007, Rev. Yugai was a second-career pastor who holds a degree in physics from Moscow University and worked for many years in the nuclear power industry. He came to Christ after first reading the Bible in 1993 and translating church services into Korean. These duties soon transitioned into preaching and eventually a seminary education. Tezei was instrumental in starting a new church and baptizing many new parishioners.


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