United Methodist Women in Western PA support international ministry and mission through their local organizations and churches, and through their pledge to mission administered by the national organization. WPA United Methodist Women have received a request from Mrs. Nhiwatiwa, the wife of the Bishop of the two conferences in Zimbabwe and president of their equivalent of United Methodist Women. Mrs. Nhiwatiwa is seeking funds to complete construction of the Early Childhood Development School in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe. This unfinished school serves 160 children from 3 to 5 years old.
During their March meeting the UMW Conference Leadership Team decided to request donations this year, rather receive donated items as an in-gathering at Annual Conference. Get the word out! We welcome donations from individuals, male or female, and local UMW organizations. Our money becomes a portable way to be involved, to support ministry outreach when we can’t be present. United Methodist Women are strong advocates for children and for education!
When I visited Nyadire in Zimbabwe a few years ago, I had an incredible experience – learning about and living in a different culture, singing with the children, enduring the unpredictable electricity and the challenge of always boiling water. The best part was forming relationships with wonderful Christians on our VIM (Volunteers in Mission) team and the Zimbabweans we served with. I had the pleasure of leading the music for well over 100 children who attended our morning Bible School. (They were released from school to attend Bible School, hence, the uniforms.)
Not only did the children of Nyadire work their way into my heart, but some of them broke my heart. I’ve been in enough situations where I couldn’t understand what was being said, or had difficulty communicating, that when I visited a class for the deaf and those children “sang” to me by signing, my eyes filled with tears. Their song: “Love is Spoken Here.”
One of the outcomes of my trip is a better understanding of information that comes from others who have visited and are keeping in touch with people “over there.” I’ve listened with delight to my friend (college teacher and PhD in chemistry) who has been tearing apart old Singer sewing machines and putting them back together to be used amidst Zimbabwe’s particular challenges. While doing that, she has become an advocate for the “Girls Empowerment Pad Program.” Did you know that girls in Zimbabwe who attend school often must miss a number of days each month because of their menstrual periods? When people live In poverty, there is no money for purchasing sanitary napkins, so during that time of the month girls just disappear.
As bright and articulate as she is, my friend gets very nervous when she’s asked to make a presentation about what she’s doing. But – her passion is great enough that she endures the anxiety AND tells groups of women what she’s doing. The title of one of her presentations: “One Thing Led to Another.”
My friend sent this email to an electric sewing machine donor: “I received these [pictures] today from the Nyadire Hearing Impaired School. They have started sewing lessons. They have 3 electric machines. The plans are to send them some manual machines during the next shipment. There are 30 children (20 boys/10 girls) in this school and they are looking for opportunities for vocational and life skills.”
When women in the Pittsburgh area hear about this project, it resonates with them. They want to empower young women. Some get together in small groups and put together kits with instructions so girls can make re-useable pads by hand or with a sewing machine. Some collect cloth material, or sewing supplies. One thing leads to another. One person brings another on-board, lights the fire of passion, fuels the flames, makes a difference. You, too, can make a difference. What do you feel led to do?