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Pittsburgh Theological Seminary grants first mission award

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s World Mission Initiative recently honored Aubrey Briggs, a Sewickley Heights resident, with its first Award for Outstanding Mission Service and Support.

Since first traveling to Malawi in 1993, Briggs has had a dream that the people of the Domasi region would have abundant water conveniently and consistently available. His dream was five-fold: first, that the women of the community would no longer have a four-mile round-trip walk to fill and carry their water jars to their homes; second, that resident students of the Domasi School would have water for drinking, bathing, and sanitation; third, that the H. Parker Sharp Clinic would have the water necessary for it to function as a medical center; fourth, that the five-acre vegetable garden, which feeds the students could provide an income for those who tend it, would be irrigated; and fifth, that the residents in nearby villages would also have water available even in times of drought. For ten years, and with many ups and downs, Briggs planned and completed “The Domasi Living Water Project”.

Briggs designed the project, oversaw construction, and put in $300,000 of his own money. Accomplishing the project required the support and cooperation of the Synod of Blantyre (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) and the intervention of the Malawi government General Secretaries. It required the on-site participation of several of Briggs’ family members from Australia. It required the service of mission volunteers. It required the employment of 50 Malawian workers who were paid by Briggs 38 percent above the Malawi government’s recommended wage.

Additionally, Briggs had other plans for the country. However, until recently he and the Presbyterian Church in Malawi have been stymied by Malawian officials. However, following a change in government leadership this past spring, Briggs is now able to return to Malawi to complete his river project which will allow for increased trade because of a “traveling lock” system which safely transports cargo from Lake Malawi down the rivers through Mozambique to the oceans. Briggs expects that Malawi will have unprecedented wealth almost immediately.

World Mission Initiative is a fellowship of Presbyterians dedicated to developing mission vision, nurturing missionary vocations, and cultivating missional congregations. WMI exists to help Christians understand how God is at work in the world and how they can share in that work.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a graduate professional institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Founded in 1794, the Seminary is located in Pittsburgh, Pa. and more than 300 students are enrolled yearly in the degree programs. The Seminary prepares leaders who proclaim with great joy God’s message of good news in both word and deed. PTS is rooted in the Reformed history of faithfulness to Scripture and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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