umcgiving

August 22 2021—13th Sunday after Pentecost—Africa University fund

Africa University Landscape. Photo caption: UMNews/M. DuBose
Africa University Landscape. Photo caption: UMNews/M. DuBose

A Moment for Mission

“The Lord is a sun and shield; God is favor and glory. The Lord gives—doesn’t withhold!—good things to those who walk with integrity.” —Psalm 84:11, CEB

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged worldwide last year, international students at Africa University sacrificed their own meals to put food on the table in vulnerable communities.

Four theology students at the United Methodist university started the Feed a Family campaign to help struggling families. They were among those who remained on campus after AU shifted to online learning in late March.

Everlyne Kukah Esther from Kenya, president of the East Africa Students Association and Africa University’s Volunteers in Mission, said she challenged her fellow students to skip at least one meal a week and donate the money saved to the campaign.

“If you can afford three meals a day, sacrifice one and eat two,” she said. “If you can afford two meals a day, eat one and donate one. And if you can afford one meal a day, please eat for six days and donate for one day. You will not die. There is someone somewhere who is in a situation … more serious than yours.”

More than 110 families, many of them headed by children or the elderly, benefited.

“Zimbabwean communities have impacted my life on campus through showing love and care toward me personally,” said Cesar Lodiha Akoka, a Congolese divinity student. “Giving back to the community as students is a way to appreciate the kindheartedness they have presented to us.”

Through our congregation’s support of the Africa University Fund, we inspire others to share in many ways.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, thank you for your incredible generosity. Teach us how to model that same spirit of giving to your children everywhere. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost — God of power and might: Through the ages, you have reminded us through prophets and apostles that we are called to battle – not with one another, but against the powers of darkness and evil. It is this battle that sends children to bed with empty bellies, while others have so much food it damages their health. It is the battle that imprisons those whose only crime is poverty, while those with more than they could ever spend lose sleep scheming how to get more. As we make our gifts to you this day, may we remember on which side we’re on. In the precious, loving name of Christ, we pray. Amen. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Newsletter Nugget
Fanita Vhiyaji is grateful for Africa University’s Feed a Family program, begun during the COVID-19 pandemic. The four students who started the outreach offered life and hope to her granddaughter who needs frequent medical attention.

Everlyne Kukah Esther said students from Angola, Congo, East Africa and West Africa contributed financially. The university’s farm manager donated food for the campaign, and the school provided transportation and support on delivery days.

Josi Musiyazvi, a beneficiary from the Tsvingwe community in Penhalonga, Mutare, was impressed by the students’ willingness to give up their own meals for those who have no food. “They evangelized in my life in a unique way,” she said.

“Our aim is to instill hope and help people see Christ in our action,” said divinity student Cesar Lodiha Akoka. “The community has to see the church as a caring agent. … Above all, extend the love of God to them.”

Through the Africa University Fund, United Methodists make a difference. Thank you.

Adapted from “AU Students Skip Meals to Feed Struggling Families,” Chenayi Kumuterera, UM News, Aug. 3, 2020. Used by permission.