A Moment for Mission
"For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward." —Mark 9:41, NRSV
As she approached her teens, Runako Masline Katsidzira often accompanied her father, the Rev. Misheck Katsidzira, on hospital visits in her native Zimbabwe.
"At Mutambara Mission Center," she recalls, "I would visit maternity wards, holding newborn babies, asking their names and any other issues that intrigued me. Infant mortality … really pricked my heart. I developed a strong passion to pursue a health-related career." Today the mission hospital is a 120-bed facility in the Chimanimani District of Eastern Zimbabwe, and serves a population of more than 140,000 people with two doctors.
"We grew up poor and struggling," Runako says. The sixth of eight children, she helped her mother, Agnes Katsidzira, with gardening and sewing to supplement the family's income.
Some of Runako's first playmates were children with physical challenges. At the mission center, she received her primary education and learned braille and sign language. She says she "realized the circumstances I grew up in could not compare to challenges such people face in their everyday lives."
She adds, "The United Methodist Church was fully involved in my upbringing, for my father was a committed and full-time pastor."
Thanks to a World Communion Scholarship, supported by generous gifts on World Communion Sunday, Runako intends to make a difference in her home country and beyond.
"Being a pharmacist and a researcher," she says, "will allow me to promote health by designing, developing and distributing medicine to the needy around the globe." Thank you!
Loving God, something as simple as sharing a refreshing cup of water can make a huge difference. Remind us often that your children long for a caring word and a loving touch. Amen.
From Discipleship Resources: Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide - If it had not been for you, Lord, there would not have been a sun to greet us this morning. If it had not been for you, Lord, there would not have been a meal on the table before we arrived here, or a meal waiting when we leave. If it had not been for you Lord, there would not have been love surrounding us as we laid our heads to rest last night and as we opened our eyes this morning. As we contemplate the gifts we offer in gratitude for your many blessings, remind us once again: if it had not been for you, Lord, if not for your love and generosity, we would not be here. We give our thanks in your name, which is above all names. Amen. [Psalm 124]
Telling others about Jesus is important to Runako Masline Katsidzira, a World Communion Scholar at North West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. "As a pharmacist," she says, "I will … partake in health mission-outreach trips in communities/hospitals, an opportunity to encourage and share the gospel."
Facilitating access to cost-effective medicine in low-income communities and contributing to "the design, discovery and development of innovative drugs" are her primary goals. She hopes to develop a community-based pharmacy program that includes health literacy, peer education, a pharmacy-education center, counseling and income generation.
Zimbabwe, Runako's homeland, remains close to her heart. She would love to assist in establishing a pharmaceutical-research entity at Africa University.
Wherever her career takes her, Runako will always appreciate The United Methodist Church. Thanks to her scholarship, supported by generous gifts on World Communion Sunday, she is pursuing her dreams.
"I could not have made it without the scholarship," she says, "and words cannot express how grateful I am."