A Challenge to Recommit
Years ago, when I first became a pastor at Spring Garden, the congregation had undergone a time of consid[...]
This past August and September Russ Hilliard and his wife, Jo Whiting, served as 'BKB Ambassadors' and visited several congregations in the Iringa Diocese on behalf of their companions in the United States. They went to share reports from U.S. congregations and to collect information from partners there. Included in the information that they collected were scholarship success stories like the ones below.
Idegenda/Arlington Hills, Saint Paul - Of their 47 scholarship students who have been sponsored by Arlington Hills, 19 are still in school, including three in college. One graduate is a medical assistant, one works in a lab/pharmacy, one is waiting for exam grades to enter the university to study education, two are secondary teachers, and one is a primary teacher...
[Beyond that] they added that even those who are back in the village model improved lives. The church and community members who see them can tell the difference that they have an education in that they have more exposure to the outside world and have better ideas... These returnees also are good advisors to those children in the local primary school, both about their studies and their possibilities if they do well.
Mkimbizi/Immanuel, Saint Paul - The pastor remarked about how much they appreciate the scholarships Immanuel provides for Mkimbizi students. She says that the scholarships go to the smartest and the poorest students, some of whom are orphans. "It is a form of evangelism," she reports, "because the scholarship recipients come back to their home church (or another church) as leaders and mentors."
We know from what we hear from visiting delegations and on our own travels across the Diocese that stories like these are just the tip of the iceberg. This year alone some 1000 students are receiving the gift of a better education thanks to the scholarship support that you provide. Because of your financial contributions and the prayerful, pastoral support of our companions in Iringa, economically disadvantaged yet academically apt students are able to write success stories of their own.
And what makes these stories successes? In part it is simply the education of students. This in and of itself is an undeniable good. Then you have the contributions that scholarship recipients make to their home communities. Whether they go on to get higher paying careers and, in turn, send their own children to school or return home as leaders, mentors, and evangelists, each is improving his or her corner of the world. Finally there is the reinforced sense of mutuality that comes from companions across the planet collaborating on a shared project such as this. Ultimately, 'success' belongs to neither party alone but to both and the One God in whose love they are brought together.
In a couple weeks BKB Cluster Leaders will be reaching out to congregational contacts for pledges for the 2017 academic year. Between now and then we ask you to prayerfully consider how you might support the next chapter of success stories that are waiting to be written.