Note from Outreach Team Coordinator:
Mary and Herbert Zigbuo are long term missionaries who have served Jesus and God’s people with passion, love, sacrifice, and courage. Mary is now working here in North Carolina. Herbert is now retired and is battling cancer. In this current struggle, Herbert lives with courage, grace, and humor, the way he has always served God and those whom Jesus calls “the least of these.” These servants of God are blessings to us all. – Steve
In March, I was humbled to be part of a celebration of courage, hope and love! The Fellowship Hall was filled with family, invited guests, volunteers, and friends! The hall appeared like a scene of what I perceived the kingdom of God to resemble! A diverse group of people from all walks of life sat around tables making small talk. Symbols of Christ-like acceptance and support were demonstrated by pats on backs, hugs, embraces, laughter! Walking around the hall greeting people, Miss Bertie* held fast to baby boy Ti ‘Reem* as he sought to play with her glasses! Talking came easy! “My bad”, a young man said to an elderly gentleman as they conversed. Then the young man quickly added “Oh, I mean…” but was interrupted by the elderly gentleman. “I know what you meant” he said with a quick smile and a wink. He was actually proud of his new attitude of comprehension and acceptance of what he used to negatively refer to as “street talk”!
A love beyond what the world teaches us was present in that Fellowship Hall! A love where judgment is suppressed and acceptance is encouraged….. a love Paul spoke of in Romans 12:10: “Love one another with brotherly affection, giving precedence and showing honor to one another”. That’s the kind of love United Methodist Church supported Anson County Circles of Hope portrays.
During the celebration, eleven persons were honored for their completion of an 18-week ‘Getting Ahead’ class that includes a comprehensive curriculum in which participants investigate the causes of poverty in their communities and learn how to build up financial, emotional and social resources to get out of poverty. Since its establishment in 2009, 29 persons representing 26 families have benefitted.
Each participant was given an opportunity to make remarks during the March celebration service. I feel Angela’s* remark summed up the hope and dreams of all eleven participants: “Being part of Circles gives me the courage to follow through with improving me and my son’s life. I’ve known for years that I needed to take steps to get ahead but I was scared of what other people thought about me. I was so scared of losing my welfare benefits. Now that I have friends to stand with me, it’s not so scary anymore”.
Circles is a nationally recognized, community sustained and driven campaign to eliminate poverty one family at a time. Circles bring the experience of poverty into the hearts and minds of community leaders and members. A Circle is made up of a family living on a low-income and two or more Allies meeting once or twice monthly to work toward the family’s plan to move out of poverty. Meetings bring the families and community volunteers and Allies together through the sharing of a meal and engaging in discussions about poverty and developing community-driven plans to address poverty. For more information on the General Board of Global Ministries’ work with poverty, see http://www.ministrywith.org/learn/.
I am humbled and thankful to serve as Coach for Anson County (North Carolina) Circles of Hope. I am truly thankful for your faithful support over the years and even until now! It has been a “bumpy” (but very fruitful J) ride! Thank God for providing, through your prayerful, physical, moral and financial support, “seat belts” that enables me remain faithful to the call the Lord placed on my life! I ask for prayers for good health, strength and wisdom.
Thank you for your support of the General Board of Global Ministries’ Advance, through which, I am blessed to receive salary (and other) support. I invite you to continue supporting me through the following Advance Special: Mary Zigbuo Missionary Support Code: 10721Z. Please make your check payable to ADVANCE GCFA and mail to: Advance GCFA; P.O. Box 9068 GPO; New York, NY 10087-9068.
A NOTE FROM HERBERT: As his battle with cancer continues, Herbert is strengthened by his faith in the living Lord of our lives! He asked that I send words of thanks for your prayers, notes, letters and cards.
You can reach Mary at: firstname.lastname@example.org