February 26, 2023 Africa University Fund/1st Sunday in Lent


A Moment for Mission

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23, CEB

The COVID-19 pandemic caused economic difficulties around the world. It was immediately apparent, especially at Africa University in Zimbabwe – the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. As labor costs and the price of goods slowly rose in early 2020, the university successfully adapted to the situation.

“The principle that we use is, we prune and grow,” said the vice chancellor of Africa University at the time, the late Prof. Munashe Furusa. “We recognize there are areas we can do without for this year, and we cut down on those areas. Part of it is to understand what is core and to agree as a principle that we can forego certain things this year and then pick them up the following year.”

Africa University began to buy in bulk wherever possible, reduce meal portions to save on food costs and limit the use of the generator during power outages, occasionally leaving studying students in the dark and without hot water. These decisions were not made lightly and took into account the voices and opinions of students. “We talk to our students and we increase prices where possible,” Furusa said. “We have shared the governance, responsibility and accountability with the students.”

Despite the changes, the atmosphere at Africa University remained positive and fruitful as enrollment and educational opportunities continued to grow. Furusa credited the worldwide church’s support and commitment to a Holy Spirit-guided vision, saying: “Our growth is also due to faith-filled commitment and action by the people called United Methodists.”

One of United Methodism’s seven apportioned-giving opportunities, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent. As prices continue to rise and the world recovers, the need for your faithful giving is greater than ever. Your gifts through the Africa University Fund are securing the future of education and the church on the African continent. Thank you!

-Adapted from “Africa University 'prunes and grows' to stay afloat” by Eveline Chikwanah, communicator of the Zimbabwe East Conference. Used by permission.

Children’s Message
Who likes learning? What’s your favorite thing to learn about? (Allow for answers.) We actually read about learning in the Bible! Throughout the Psalms and the Gospels, God constantly teaches people new things and calls them to teach others.

Our denomination, The United Methodist Church, loves learning, too. We support schools and universities all over the United States, helping students to achieve their dreams of becoming writers, doctors, musicians and other professionals. We also make sure young people in other parts of the world can follow God’s call to learn and help their communities.

Thirty years ago, The United Methodist Church founded Africa University in Zimbabwe. Now, over 3,000 students from 28 countries across Africa get a quality education to help them fulfill their dreams and give back to those around them.

Some of the money that we give through our church offerings goes the Africa University Fund, which helps the school to grow and allows students to accomplish great things. Now, Africa University graduates are cleaning up cities, creating sources of clean water, fighting deadly diseases, teaching new students and much, much more.

Africa University is really awesome. We get to help make it possible!

Let’s pray: Lord, you want us to learn new things and share them with others. Thank you for Africa University and the incredible learning that happens there. We praise you for the awesome things you are doing there and how you’re using the university to change the world. Amen.

Offertory Prayer
God of wisdom and love, thank you for minds that can understand your goodness and for hearts that can feel your hope and love. As we bring these tithes and offerings to you this day, may they spring forth hope and new avenues of education as we contribute to the Africa University Fund. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries
Generous God, as we remember Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, we acknowledge the temptation that pursues so many of us: to measure our worth, our power and our security by what we have. As we offer these gifts to you this morning, we pray that you might deliver us from the temptation of building our lives around what belongs to us. Continually lead us to the conviction that what matters is that we belong to you. We pray in the name of our Savior and Redeemer. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget
In its 30th year, Africa University has become one of the biggest academic investments in Africa. Many believe that the United Methodist-related institution has brought needed change.

AU alumnus Roger S.W.Y. Domah now serves as a representative of the national legislature in Liberia. Domah said he was educated with the Pan-African concept of leadership that encourages putting the interests of others first. He believes Africa University prepared him to work with people of all African cultures.

Domah is convinced that students are trained to be the voice of the people on the continent. “Advocacy has been my line of duty since I left Africa University,” he said.

Another alumnus, the Rev. Henry S. Dolopei, shared the successes of Africa University with many U.S. partners. He commented, “My involvement helped to sharpen my experience with Christ, creation and the community.”

Dolopei, Domah and many others who have benefited from Africa University are convinced of one thing: Many Africans would not have had the opportunity to acquire a          quality education without Africa University.

Giving through the Africa University Fund allows United Methodists like you to provide transformative experiences for African students through education and empowerment. You are making a difference. Thank you!

-Adapted from “Liberians reflect on Africa University’s impact” by E. Julu Swen, a communicator in Liberia, and Julie Dwyer of UMNews.


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