Shaping the Future of Africa

by Bishop Ernest Lyght

The United Methodist Church created Africa University for persons like Isaiah Njimbu.

And Isaiah's ministry — growing out of his education at Africa University — is a realization of our vision: a university for all of Africa. A university supported by United Methodists through the Africa University Fund and special second-mile giving.

Watch stories of two additional Africa University students here

Your support prepares Africans to launch lifesaving and enriching ministries like Isaiah's Child Action Initiative, in Kasungami, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Isaiah's journey is a remarkable testament of faith and love. Civil war in their country, the DRC, separated Isaiah and his wife Yvette. She moved into a refugee camp in Tanzania while he continued classes at Africa University.

"We could not easily communicate until 2005, a year before my graduation," Isaiah wrote in his blog. "It was a special event to meet again and restart a new life together."

After graduating in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in sociology, Isaiah, like most Africa University graduates, returned to his home country.

"God put in my heart a big vision to create a ministry . . . to assist needy communities, poor families, (and) orphaned and vulnerable children," Isaiah said.

Child Action Initiative evolved from the chaos of life in Kasungami. Isaiah discovered horrible conditions there. He is dedicated to improving life for the people of that struggling community.

"I . . . became very aware that children did not have the support and nurturing they needed to realize their fullest potential," Isaiah said. "They didn't have enough to eat; they could not go to school; many of the residents were victims of malaria, typhoid, waterborne diseases and poor sanitation."

After providing clothing and education for orphans in the community, the Child Action Initiative quickly expanded to offer safe drinking water, recruit volunteer doctors and nurses to share medical services, and develop a farming program that allows local residents to grow food for their own consumption and sale.

The son of a United Methodist pastor, Isaiah volunteered at the Fairfield Children's Home at the Old Mutare Mission Center, near the Africa University campus. He said this experience prepared him for working with the poor and orphans in his home country.

Isaiah was the first recipient of the Oak Ridge (N.C.) United Methodist Church Africa University Scholarship. He has built a strong relationship with the congregation, a major supporter of the ministries in Kasungami.

"I can serve because good people made my academic life possible," Isaiah said.

In 2009, Isaiah earned a scholarship to the Servants in Faith and Technology Initiative in Lineville, Ala. This allowed him to expand his technical and community development expertise while building relationships with mission workers from around the world.

One man called by God to serve in his home nation. A university designed to offer opportunities to Africans. Meeting needs, while seeing how much remains to be done.

Our support for Africa University begins with the $2.5 million to the Africa University Fund. That is only the beginning of our commitment. Your second-mile support for Africa University is vital to students following Isaiah's example: students called by God to serve and prepared to serve by a university for all Africans.

Click here to make a commitment to Africa University. Join our growing list of supporters.

If you have questions, or need more information about Africa University, please contact the Africa University Development Office. The e-mail is audevoffice@gbhem.org. The telephone number is 615-340-7438.

The above article was recommended for inclusion in OUMC's web site by Vern and Barbara Story.
Africa University is one of several United Methodist ministries supported by our apportionments.

Ernest Lyght is Bishop of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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