The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
know many of our readers are parents and grandparents, and have felt that heart swelling joy of watching your own young person walk across the university stage to shake hands with the provost or dean, accept their diploma, and toss their cap in the air.
I get a similar feeling when I walk around Iringa and run into the graduates I’ve known over the years.
Here’s a woman who was a single mom who went to business school, worked as an office manager, then started her own business. Now she’s the general manager of a hotel. Along the way, she financed the educations of her own three siblings and her daughter, all who are now college graduates themselves.
Here’s a man who works in community development. He was raised by his grandmother, who managed to enroll him in secondary school and pay the first year’s fees. But he knew there wasn’t enough to fund the next semester, so he went to an empty classroom to pray. “God, if you want me to be a farmer, I will do it. But if you want me to continue school, show me the way.” The next week his pastor told him that the parish had received a new American partner, and that there would be scholarship funds for his next year. Later, there was a scholarship for college. And years later, the young man donated 40 iron sheets for the roof on the new chapel in his home village.
Here’s a doctor. He, too, was raised by elderly grandparents. As a kid, he missed some school days because of migraines, but he showed great potential. He received a BKB scholarship to secondary school and did well. Next came a scholarship for medical school. Now he supports his grandparents as he raises his own family.
These and many more stories show the life-changing power of providing educational opportunities. Our students use the gifts of education to improve life for their families, their churches and their communities.
In a recent conversation, General Secretary Ngogo stressed the value of the BKB Post-Secondary Scholarship Program in developing the human resources of the diocese. We can take people who are committed to the work of the church, he commented, and give them training to increase their value even more.
Our scholarship program is implemented by a joint review board that interviews applicants and awards scholarships each year. That will happen in late September. Most years, the awards total $25,000 - $30,000. Sadly, this year the fund holds only about half the amount that is needed.
How can you help a student with great potential? Make a gift online or send a check to SPAS with "BKB Post-Secondary Scholarship Fund" in the memo. Congregational leaders and partnership committee members, you might check your BKB scholarship account, and consider donating a portion of your accrued balance.
And then let’s see what God guides those students to do and be!
Acting Director of Bega Kwa Bega