Building a Center for Learning in Malawi

Posted by Patrick Henry College on 6/20/21 6:00 AM

Children of the Nations (COTN)

With the help of proactive faculty and administrators, two Patrick Henry College alumni spent their undergraduate internships working to build a better future in Africa with a ministry named Children of the Nations (COTN).

Typically, PHC success stories showcase admirable pursuits on American soil which lift up liberty and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding, such as White House internships, Supreme Court Justice clerks, and WORLD Magazine reporters. However, Patrick Henry College graduates are working all over the globe, utilizing their knowledge of liberty under God and unwavering biblical worldview to aid underdeveloped countries. In this case, two students aided in the development of next-generation business leaders in Malawi who will serve with godliness and integrity.

Many PHC graduates find their vocation in following Christ’s call to minister, support, and work in countries that cry out for a biblical understanding of truth and education.

This past spring, the Business Technical Institute began teaching its first class in Malawi, Africa, thanks to the independent research skills and tireless efforts of two Patrick Henry College graduates, Jay Church and Melissa Purnell.

In the fall of 2018, the Executive Vice President at Patrick Henry College arranged an opportunity for these two graduates to intern in 2019 for Paul De Pree, Vice President of Children of the Nations (COTN). De Pree and COTN were in the researching and planning stages to build a program for advanced business training, professional development, entrepreneurship, and personal mentoring. At the end of spring, 2019, Purnell and Church wrote and presented a 17-page project proposal for a program that provides skills to unemployed high school graduates so they might find jobs and earn income. De Pree stated, “The research work that Jay Church and Melissa Purnell did with me at [Children of the Nations] . . . was the foundational work upon which [the Business Technical Institute program] was built!”

The Institute aims to launch students' vocations and previous education from universities into sustainable careers. The program emerged alongside Children of the Nations—Malawi in order in order to encourage them to excel in the business world and to create a more stable environment in a country that is dominated by poverty, inequality, and food insecurity. The Institute is a promising start for Christian education programs to grow and flourish in Malawi as Children of the Nations seeks to establish God’s work in Africa. “We’re only at the cusp of watching God do great things for His children in Malawi,” said De Pree.

Church and Purnell graduated in June of 2019; Church with a BA in Government and Purnell with a BA in Economics & Business Analytics. Church now works as an Advocacy Manager fighting for human rights and religious freedom in the nation’s capital. Purnell has worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for three years, and continues to uphold PHC’s values with dedication and commitment.


Our alumni have served in a number of different international efforts. Did you know that one of our programs here requires students to travel overseas as a part of their major? If you want to learn about international relations while living out a real-life experience overseas, you might want to click below.

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