Our Story

Villages in Partnership is a community of people and organizations who are devoted to sharing God’s love and blessings with the poorest of the poor in the impoverished nation of Malawi, Africa. It all began with a quiet but unshakable feeling in the mind and heart of co-founder Liz Heinzel-Nelson that God was calling her to be in community with and serve the poor. In response to that call, Liz and her husband, co-founder Rev. Stephen Heinzel-Nelson, spent a year in Malawi with their family getting to know the country and its people, building relationships, and discerning how they and others could partner with people there to help change each other’s lives.
Villages in Partnership is the outgrowth of the seeds the Heinzel-Nelsons planted during their time in Malawi. Those seeds have grown into what is now a vibrant, wide-ranging development organization, involving dozens of people working in partnership with other churches, schools, businesses and community organizations to nurture enduring, life-changing relationships with villages in Malawi. Together, we work hand-in-hand with one another to devise and implement long-term sustainable develop projects designed to empower our friends in those villages to be able to lift themselves out of poverty.

The needs and extent of poverty that exists in Malawi is staggering, and at times can seem overwhelming. But at Villages in Partnership, we have learned that by working closely with the villagers and our partners on the ground in Malawi to understand and appreciate the issues they face, to share one another’s burdens, and to brainstorm and prioritize coordinated long-term solutions to address those issues, we can (with God’s help) make a significant difference and change each other’s lives for the better.

Villages in Partnership was birthed by the Allentown Presbyterian Church.  It has grown rapidly and expanded beyond the Allentown community to encompass “villages” throughout the U.S., and even the U.K.  In 2012, VIP separately incorporated itself and is now a stand-alone 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

We invite you to explore this website to learn more about our mission, our partners (both here and in Malawi), and the work we are doing. If you feel called, we encourage you to get involved, and join us in making a difference in this world. To see a video of co-founders Liz and Stephen Heinzel-Nelson discussing their story and the story of Villages in Partnership, click here.

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