Church orphanages receive ‘gifts of love’

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Key points:

 • Seventy-four orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe benefit from the Orphan Sunday offering from the United Kingdom Mission Area.

 • Even before the pandemic threatened lives and livelihoods, families were torn apart by AIDS and children’s futures were at risk.

 • Recipients are inspired to give as well. “We will always have you in our prayers,” says David Kudzai Chando, 17, who lives at Fairfield Children’s Home.

Before COVID-19 struck Zimbabwe early last year, the effects of AIDS had already left many orphans and vulnerable children and youth. Since then, the pandemic has added to the number and increased the demand for nurturing and educating affected children.

Recently, the United Kingdom Mission Area of The United Methodist Church commemorated Orphan Sunday by donating almost $18,000 U.S. toward caring for 74 orphans and vulnerable children at Home of Hope in the Mutoko Mudzi District and Fairfield Children’s Home in the Mutasa Nyanga District. The money was divided evenly between the two church facilities.

“The orphans ministry is always blessed by God,” said the Rev. Alan Masimba Gurupira, “for there is a great concern for their welfare.” He is administrative assistant to Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa, Zimbabwe Episcopal Area.

“This gesture preaches a lasting sermon on the goodness of God through his people,” Gurupira added.

The Rev. Lizzy Chigwizura, district superintendent of the United Kingdom Mission Area, said she is very grateful for the success of the program.

“I have tears of joy,” Chigwizura said. “I am so happy and at peace.”

She said the mission area looks forward to doing even more with the Zimbabwe church and expressed gratitude for a job well done. “We feel we have achieved God’s assignment,” she said.

Chigwizura said the mission area worked with its ambassador, Jabulani Gumbodete, a member of Midlands Charge, Birmingham local church in the United Kingdom. Now based in Zimbabwe, he provided logistical support, coordinating with the bishop’s office and the receiving homes.

Together, they developed a list of needed items, identified suppliers and purchased competitively.

Gumbodete said he felt honored to participate in the project.

“I am very happy because the consignments were received with so much joy that touched the depth of my soul in a profound way,” Gumbodete said. “All the glory should be given to God. God works through people willing to be of service. It was a humbling experience to coordinate the program.”

Cecillia Thobani, Fairfield Children’s Home administrator, spoke on behalf of the children and the staff. “We are deeply thankful for the kind donation of groceries, school supplies, pig feed and many other things. In these hard times, you (extended) a helping hand.”

Acknowledging a similar gift to Hope of Homes at the church’s Nyadire Mission, Thobani said, “God is watching and smiling and will surely bless you abundantly.”

In the 2021-22 academic year, 42 primary and secondary students are enrolled at the school.

“We had three young adults at Africa University,” Thobani added. “Two graduated and are already working. One is doing vocational training.” Eight other young people are waiting to go to college. Thobani encouraged local families to host the students for weekends and holidays to acclimate them to life outside the orphanage.

David Kudzai Chando, 17, lives at Fairfield Children’s Home. “Your kindness has touched our hearts,” he said. “We thank you for having hearts that feel for others. This has given us hope and the warm feeling of being loved. We will always have you in our prayers.”

Munashe Matenga, 17, also from Fairfield Children’s Home, said the donations of school stationery, shoes, uniforms, suitcases, hand sanitizer and food will help mold the students’ futures.

“Your generous contribution will help to make our vision a reality. … We are very happy. We feel loved and always remembered,” she said.

The Rev. Patricia Chikaka, Old Mutare Mission chaplain, said, “I was very happy to receive such a big consignment of gifts of love for our children at Fairfield Children’s Home.

“They managed to extend a hand to the less privileged during these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Always stay blessed.” she said.

Emmanuel Chiimba, Home of Hope orphanage administrator, appreciated the United Kingdom Mission Area support. He was especially grateful for the groceries, expected to last six to seven months.

He said the home also received 21 pairs of shoes and uniforms for the 22 children at the home.

“We thank God for using his people to lend a hand to the children. May God bless all.”

 Chingwe is a communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference.

News media contact: Julie Dwyer at [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.

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