--By Elsa Zollars**--
It has been 12 years since Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park commissioned a Volunteers-in-Mission team to visit the United Methodist Mission in Nyadire, Zimbabwe. In addition to identifying the needs of the once well-functioning Nyadire Hospital, the team visited the Home of Hope Orphanage (HOH) on the mission. Once they were back in Pittsburgh, The Nyadire Connection (TNC) was born. The group’s goal was to address some of the identified needs of both the hospital and the orphanage, and the sponsorship program for the children of the HOH was begun.
Sounds like Old News!
But it is GOOD Old News -- and it's getting better. In addition to the strong continuing partnership with the people of the mission and the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area that has resulted in continuing support for the hospital and renovation of several of its rural clinics. TNC itself has grown to include United Methodists from churches through the Pittsburgh District and beyond, and partnerships with other organizations.
TNC's sponsorship program has expanded and includes not only Home of Hope children, but orphans living in their home communities and hearing impaired children at the Nyadire Mission. They've also added a scholarship program.
Catherine, Tsungi, and Lovemore are three of the HOH children, now 19-20 years old. They have been continuously sponsored through TNC for the last 12 years. Their physical, medical, and educational needs have been provided for in a loving environment, and supportive, caring relationships have been developed with their sponsors. All three students have graduated from Nyadire High School and passed their O-Level exams.
Catherine has graduated from the Nyadire Teachers College and is currently teaching in a pre-school near Mutoko.
Tsungi passed her A-Level exams, in addition to her O-Level exams. She is presently enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe studying actuarial science.
Lovemore is studying mining engineering at the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences.
Sponsorships are more than game changers. They are life changers.
TNC now offers scholarships to help HOH, HOHO and Hearing Impaired Nyadire students who who complete their primary and secondary education, pass their exams and want to continue their tertiary (post-secondary)education. Molly Michael of Baldwin Community UMC coordinates the scholarship program, named in memory of Sister Rut Lundgren, a missionary nurse from Finland who lived in Nyadire for more than 35 years. Learn more about the Sister Rut Scholarship Program.
Michael recently launched a Crowdfunding site to raise money for the Sister Rut Scholarships. The goal is $15,000. View the site at crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/sister-rut-scholarship-program.
TNC offers three types of sponsorships. Mary Beth Zollars of Christ UMC coordinates the programs for children at Home of Hope; Marie Hunt of Christ UMC coordinates sponsorships for orphaned children living in rural communities through the Home of Hope Outreach program; and Molly Michael coordinates sponsorships for Hearing Impaired Students.