Thursday, October 17, 2013

Whitworth M.A. in Theology alumnus serves in Malawi, Africa


Tyler Holm, a 2011 graduate of the Whitworth M.A. in Theology Program, and his wife, Rochelle, have lived in Malawi, on the southeast coast of Africa, since 2012. As missionaries, they are serving a long-term commission sponsored by Presbyterian World Mission.

“Settling in Malawi truly felt as if we were coming home to the place which we were made for,” Tyler says. “As we have worked more and more, that sense of purpose only deepens.”


Tyler is a lecturer in the University of Livingstonia College of Theology. His students are studying to become ministers to fill a deep need for trained ministers in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian. Tyler is an instructor on Bible knowledge, and he leads Bible reading groups for students. In his spare time, he does online coursework for his master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Through Tyler’s encounters with other educational systems, he has grown to appreciate the liberal arts education taught by well-rounded professors at institutions like Whitworth. He says the freedom for students to develop their own faith life is critical. “During a class I was teaching, I had presented several different scholarly theories. Exacerbated by the conflicting theories, a student cried, ‘Just tell me what to believe,’” Tyler says.

Rochelle works as the manager of the Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation and the Smart Centreat Mzuzu University. Unsafe drinking water is a serious problem in Malawi; the centre seeks to provide low-cost, sustainable water and sanitation solutions for household use.The Holms first began serving in Malawi through short-term mission trips, and they gradually became rooted in the country. “In Malawi, the focus is on people. People are truly interested in others, and they show grace as we struggle with the local language, ChiTimbuka,” Tyler says.

In addition to Tyler’s M.A. in theology degree from Whitworth, he holds a B.S. degree in aviation from Central Washington University. Rochelle earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Western Washington University, and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in environmental science from Washington State University.

To watch a video in which the Holms share about their work, click on http://www.pcusa.org/resource/rochelle-and-tyler-holm/.

Since 1837, Presbyterian World Mission has helped congregations and individuals participate in God’s mission around the world. More than 200 mission workers currently serve in more than 50 countries.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.