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Showing posts from October, 2009

Kingdom Days

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Some days are “kingdom” days…..those days when the reign of God seems to be so very evident, those days when you understand what Jesus meant when he said, “The Kingdom of God is like….”. Those days when you just can’t stop smiling, those days when you feel God can’t stop smiling either. July 16, 2009 was one of those “kingdom” days for me. Africa University Ground Breaking, 1991To understand the significance of this “kingdom” day, I need to rewind to exactly two years before. As Director of Connectional Ministries for the North Texas Annual Conference, I was scheduled to be a part of an Africa University mission team composed of conference representatives, including Bishop Alfred and Dr. Mackie Norris, and members of St. Luke “Community” UMC, Dallas. My father, Bishop Ben Oliphint, died July 7; we left for Zimbabwe July 13, three days after his memorial service.
Bishop Ben and Nancy Oliphint visit with a new friend at Africa University groundbreaking ceremonies The timing was especially…

Health Clinic

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How wonderful to be with Mrs. Jewell Moncure, widow of the late Bishop Rhymes Moncure, Jr., and daughter Roxanne, and to see the joy when they learned that the scholarship fund would be named in memory of Bishop Moncure. As the ribbons were cut and the plaques unveiled, the team was invited to tour the new facility. The building of the facility represented two firsts for Africa University: the shortest amount of time a building had been constructed (nine months) and the shortest time frame an annual conference had completed their pledge drive. I was pleased to see that the health clinic was constructed around a garden and gathering place. This reminded me of my late brother, Kelley Oliphint, Founding CEO of St. Mark’s Medical Center in La Grange, Texas. Kelley’s vision of a healing garden at the center of the hospital facility has inspired many with its theme of spiritual healing as central to all healing. The Bishop Norris Health Clinic provides a similar venue that I believe …

Jayne

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I wondered if I would know her…the little girl who had taken my hand two years ago, kept the sunglasses that I let her wear…and kept my heart as well. I searched the smiling faces of the children and suddenly, there she was.
Jayne, Mary Brooke and housemother Mary

“Did I give you my sunglasses when I came to see you before?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said.
“Do you remember me? I came to see you two years ago, and I gave you my sunglasses. Do you remember?” I asked.
“Yes!” she responded, (big smile, bright eyes).
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Jayne,” she said.
“It IS you! Jayne, I’m so glad to see you again!” I said.

Once again, she led me to her home to meet the woman she called Mother, and see the rooms she shared with nine other children. I remembered it was the first home in the row of dwellings that compose the Fairfield Children’s Home. I remembered her “mother,” Mary, who has served in this capacity since 1988.

There are 79 children at the home; most have been orphaned because of AIDS. In 2000…
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Rev. Vuyani Gladstone Nyobole, General Secretary, Methodist Church of Southern Africa and me in Johannesburg.

Our group met with members of the Methodist Church for dinner and especially enjoyed our worship time afterwards. I was interested in learning more about their mission, and found the following on their website:
Our Vision
"A Christ-healed Africa for the healing of nations”

Our Mission Statement
“God calls the Methodist people to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for healing and transformation”

Our Transformational Calls
A deepened spirituality
A resolve to be guided by God's mission
A rediscovery of "every member ministry - the priesthood of all believers"
A commitment to "be one so the world may believe'
A re-emphasis of servant leadership and discernment as our ministry model
A redefinition and authentication of the vocation of the ordained ministry.

The 4 Imperatives of Mission

Evangelism and Church Growth
Inviting people to personal faith in Christ and His …

Short Takes

How is Africa University impacting the country of Zimbabwe, the continent of Africa and the world?
The team met in the home of Grace and Henry Mudradzikwa for a delicious dinner, and learned that Grace had been involved in an effort which had raised $80,000 in Zimbabwe in scholarship aid for AU students who were unable to finish their education due to the economic hardships the country is undergoing. That night, the North Texas delegation members committed over $50,000 to this effort as well. Henry thanked the delegation, saying “please continue to help give us hope. The best friends of Zimbabwe are those who help educate our children.” In time, the fund raising efforts of the Mudradzikwa’s raised over $100,000, donated by Zimbabweans.“The peace movement in Africa today is being advanced by Africa University students through our Peace, Leadership and Governance studies.” Tino Bere, AU Legal Counselor