|Spring Mission Project
Supplies also collected for Zimbabwe, Liberia
From Staff Reports
Holston Conference will aim to raise $125,000 for Kenya Methodist University and collect supplies for missions in Kenya, Liberia and Zimbabwe, Missions Coordinator Bill Daugherty recently announced. The annual spring missions project, always coordinated to conclude by Annual Conference in June, targets three African countries this year as part of the denomination's ongoing "Hope for the Children of Africa" focus.
On May 4 or an alternate date, all local churches are requested to take special offerings to benefit Kenya Methodist University, one of two Methodist universities on the continent.
This month, district offices also are receiving brochures explaining how supplies will be collected through local churches for children in Kenya, Liberia and Zimbabwe.
Each district will have specific supplies to gather between now and June 6, Daugherty said. For example, Tazewell District will gather health supplies (toothbrushes, adhesive bandages, washclothes) for Ishe Anesu School in Zimbabwe. Oak Ridge District will gather school supplies (pens, calculators, backpacks) for schoolchildren in Liberia.
The hands-on kits will once again benefit missionaries and children that Holston Conference has helped in previous years, Daugherty said.
"People are going to starve to death if we don't do something about it," he said. "The economy is so bad over there that if they did not have the food we sent last year, they couldn't feed people."
Hams and cornmeal sent by Holston to Maria Humbane at Ishe Anesu have been rationed, "triple-locked" in storage to prevent theft, and are still feeding hungry children months later, Daugherty said. "Maria protects that food with her life and uses her resources wisely."
Because the community around Ishe Anesu is aware of the supplies sent by Holston Conference, missionaries risk their lives to keep food safe for the children it was intended for, he added.
Missionaries Mary and Herbert Zigbou in Liberia will also benefit from this year's hands-on kit collection.
Earlier this year, Daugherty as well as the Rev. Randy Frye, Becky Hall, and Duke Dukart visited Kenya Methodist University on a fact-finding mission. The university's library and chapel need equipment and construction work, Daugherty said. In August 2003, Holston will send a construction team to Kenya along with funds raised through the special offering on May 4.
"If each member of our conference gives 75 cents a single soft drink we will meet our goal of $125,000," Hall said recently.
In Kenya, school is not free, Hall explained. "Even the government primary schools are not obtainable for the poorest sector of the population." Hall said the team members traveling to Kenya "were so touched by the vision and impact of the university ... (But) so much more needs to be done to ensure that young adults from Kenya can obtain the skills necessary to bring about change."
A video of the team's Kenya trip is available through district offices beginning March 15. Local-church treasurers will receive envelopes designated for the May 4 special offering. The envelopes should be brought to Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 8-11.