Last week, when I wrote about the upcoming Mission Teams Fair taking place this Sunday, October 4, I told you WHAT we were doing. This week, I want to tell you WHY.
Rev. Chuck Graff provided this explanation for what we do in Costa Rica:
“The purpose of our trip and work is to share the love and grace of God with others through construction of a new sanctuary, medical clinic and parsonage near Puerto Viejo. This year we will be working on various projects on small, rural churches. Also, our Vacation Bible School with the children in these churches using storytelling, puppets, balloon animals, music, and other creative means bless hundreds of families. Our collaboration with our brothers and sisters in Costa Rica is spreading Christianity and Methodism in Costa Rica (and beyond to neighboring countries) throughout Central America as we are blessed as we go out to be a blessing to others.”
Our team to Kenya also conducts a Vacation Bible School during the visit. However, our main mission is to provide uniforms for 250 students unable to attend school without our help. When we began, the ministers in the local churches selected 250 of the neediest and most promising students in their community. These ministers are led by Rev. Stella Mwiti, who attended FUMCFW while she studied here in 2008 and 2009. These chosen children were in various grades and we have continued to support them as they moved up through their education. Those unable to pass the exam for high school admission dropped out of our program and have not been replaced. Of those who continue, we not only provide uniforms, we provide funds for their tuition as well. We recently learned that five of the students who just graduated from high school have been accepted to university. These are five people who have a promising future due solely to your generosity. There are five future careers, five future families, five future assets to their community that you are directly responsible for.
When I traveled to Kenya on our first trip in 2010, the team separated on Sunday morning to attend services at several local churches. Near the end of the service I attended, Stella asked me to say a few words. I don’t remember much of what I said, but I will never forget what happened next. Stella asked me to continue standing as the congregation began to chant in their native language. Without a working knowledge of Swahili, I was unable to understand what was being said. Stella explained that they were blessing me. Shock was quickly followed by panic as I wondered what I was supposed to do with this. Stella answered my unspoken question by telling me I was to accept these blessings, bring them back to Fort Worth, and share them you. She said that as we in Fort Worth pray for them, they pray for us, for our community, for our church and for our children as the only way they know to say “Thank you” for what we do to change their lives and the future of their community.
When I ask you to be generous, please remember that our donations have an tremendous impact in these countries and extend to many lives.
Daniel Roe, Mission Teams Ministries Council Chair