St. Luke's United Methodist Church


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
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ZOE Graduations in 2020

Posted on January 7, 2021 at 1:11 pm in .

Above, the Abakoranabushake “Committed” Empowerment Group, Nyamagana, Rwanda, has sent St. Luke’s UMC its greetings upon their graduation from the Zoe Empowers three-year empowerment program in June of 2020. The kind letter is translated below:

Kindly receive our warm greetings.

We are so happy to send this note to you in order to share with you a message of joy and gratitude, from the bottom of our hearts.

We used to think that God did not know us, and we ignored how beautiful was his plan about our lives until the time you have come to us.  Thanks to your support, our lives have changed; we have food, we go to school, we have medical insurance, and we can provide whatever is needed for ourselves and our families.

What we ask of God is to help us each day so that we can help other people in the community as a way to recognize your generosity.

May God bless you abundantly.  


Normally the graduation of these 34 separate families (a total of 114 youth) would be marked by a huge party with speeches and dancing and food, to celebrate the tremendous accomplishment of moving from extreme poverty to a life of sustainability and hope; COVID-19 ruined those party plans so it is important that we as a church take a moment to celebrate with them!

In addition, St. Luke’s UMC Missions Area, St. Luke’s United Methodist Women, and the Children’s Department had joined together to partnered with two more Empowerment Groups that graduated in December 2020!  We await the final letter from them, but we have been informed that another 64 separate families (a total of 189 more children) graduated from this life-changing program in December.  These are our mission dollars at work in the world!

One of the most important stories out of Zoe Africa during the times of COVID-19 was that EMPOWERMENT WORKS!   The children that our church supported were able to survive, pivot and use their savings, intelligence and grit to maintain businesses, eat and provide for their families.  Even more amazing was their willingness to reach out to their communities to help the elderly and less fortunate.  They made soap, masks and built hand washing stations for others.   Just three years ago, they were those less fortunate who would have needed help – NOW THEY ARE THE HELPERS!

What a resurrection story!

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