Tomorrow our delegation of 21 persons from the Indiana Conference will leave for Africa University to deliver the check for $1 million raised by our Indiana Conference to endow a chair of agriculture for Africa University. The check is, of course, a large symbolic check, since the actual funds go into the AU Endowment Fund held in Nashville, Tenn., in order to protect those funds from the economic ups and downs in Africa. I am sure our gift will be well-received, and it represents the gifts of so many of you from Indiana. So thank you for your support of this campaign which was approved by the 2013 Session of our Indiana Conference.
As you may remember, our goal is $1.6 million and it includes the $1 million endowment of the chair of agriculture, along with another $600,000 in scholarships for students to attend Africa University. We are not finished with the total campaign, so I look forward to more of our churches helping us to finish. To date, about 1/3 of our congregations have given to this effort, so we know that we have the capacity to finish the rest of the campaign.
At the Bishop's Youth Rally this past Saturday the youth texted questions for me . One of the questions was, "Why are you passionate about Africa University?" Good question, and so I want to share my answer.
I am passionate about Africa University because it represents the values that mean so much to me and to our Indiana Conference of the UMC. Those values include: education, mission, developing young leaders and working for the peace of Christ. Africa University is all of those things, and its vision is for young leaders to be brought together from across Africa (right now 28 countries are represented among their students) to live in peace, to learn the ways of Christ, to gain an education and to go home and lead their countries. The future of Africa, a huge continent more than three times the size of our own lower 48 states, is all about leadership, education and harmony. Some of the AU students come from countries which are at war with one another, and yet on the AU campus they learn a new vision for a continent living in the peace of Christ.
The Chair of Agriculture is also a part of my passion for AU. One of the best ways to feed the hungry people of Africa is to train leaders in modern and effective agriculture techniques. So our endowing that chair in perpetuity means training leaders to train others to feed people.
So, the 21 of us going on this trip (including several younger clergy who are participants in the Bishops Leadership Academy) welcome your prayers for a safe trip, for a meaningful experience, and for an opportunity to share in the transformation of our world. Thank you for your support and your prayers and your generous giving.