reprinted with minor additions and corrections from

by Samantha House

More than 900 United Methodist churches across New York state have plans to help Africa University in Mutare.

In a statewide celebration on March 18, Methodist churches marked Africa University Sunday by holding special services, hosting guest speakers and dedicating prayer during worship. The Jordan United Methodist Church joined the day-long celebration by welcoming a guest to speak about Africa University during its two Sunday morning services.

Reverend S. Huw Anwyl rested his hands on the wooden sides of the podium, comfortably slipping into a sermon – a role Anwyl is more than accustomed to as the pastor of Laguna Niguel, California’s Shepherd of the Hills Church. Anwyl, born in Wales, explained that he first became acquainted with Africa during his time as a member of the Royal Air Force. Stationed in modern-day Zimbabwe, Anwyl said he used to take walks around the foreign nation after his shifts ended, admiring the ancient country and its culture. He said one place he often took the time to visit was an old Methodist mission.

Years later, Anwyl said he is still in love with Africa – and in particular, Africa University. Anwyl said he has seen the change AU sparks in its students’ lives. As a member of AU’s advisory development committee, Anwyl said he is determined to help AU grow and continue to provide students with the tools to build better lives.

“This is my dream, and it’s growing,” Anwyl said.

To help the Zimbabwe-based university prosper, Anwyl encouraged the parishioners of the Jordan United Methodist Church to set aside USD1 a day during Lent for AU. By donating, Anwyl told parishioners they would be directly doing good. “How often in our daily lives and experiences can we say, ‘Oh, that life is totally changed because of something I did?’” Anwyl asked. “That’s an opportunity, I say, that we don’t always get.”

By donating any amount, Anwyl told parishioners they would be helping AU spread its membership to all the countries on the African continent, helping youth across Africa build better futures for themselves and their families.

“Think of this: Africa University is destined to be and intended to be for all of Africa, not just Zimbabwe,” he explained. “To be part of that is so much of a privilege, I think.”

To get a taste of the good AU does, Anwyl encouraged parishioners to venture to Africa and visit the university in person.

Anwyl acknowledged that the wobbly economy has made life a bit rough for Americans. But helping others, Anwyl reminded his audience, is in tune with Christians’ charitable spirit. “I can’t highlight enough for you how rare it is for us to [have] opportunities to change lives,” he said. “You ask, ‘What difference do I make?’ You make all the difference, one dollar at a time.”

By donating a small monetary amount, Anwyl reiterated that Methodists across New York [state] were keeping AU alive. By practicing selflessness, Anwyl said Methodists were turning dreams into reality.