Daystar University's Afrizo - 2018 Tour Recap

It seems like just yesterday when six students from halfway across the world stepped out of the airport in Minneapolis and were greeted warmly, despite the sub-zero temperatures. What followed was a whirlwind month of singing, dancing, serving, laughing, and ministering with people of all kinds throughout the country while sharing the mission of Daystar University. These students exemplified the sort of people Daystar is developing - creative, intelligent servant leaders equipped to transform Africa. 

 2018 Afrizo team - Daisy, Barbara, Daniel, Manasseh, Caroline, and Priscilla

2018 Afrizo team - Daisy, Barbara, Daniel, Manasseh, Caroline, and Priscilla

The team was presented with a large task to undertake - 25+ shows in 28 days across 5 states. The goal of the tour was to raise funds for the mission of Daystar. These dollars will help to advance existing projects and allow more students the ability to receive a life changing, Christ-centered education. They sang in schools, churches, retirement communities, living rooms, and cafes. They saw the snowy mountains of Colorado and heard the waves of the Atlantic Ocean hit the shoreline of Florida. They danced with preschoolers and prayed with retired missionaries. These ambassadors shared their testimonies and helped forge new connections with Daystar University.

STATES VISITED:

Minnesota | Pennsylvania | Colorado | Florida | North Carolina

What follows below are snapshots from life on tour, and some reflections on the month from the team members themselves. 

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Thoughts on host homes:

“we created a bond and we will never forget any of them.” - Caroline

“we see many things in the media that are not true about America and it was nice to see life here for what it is.” - Priscilla

“I loved the moments we sat at the dining table to talk about God, life, Daystar, and music. Those had the most impact in me.” - Manasseh

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What tour taught you about servant leadership:

“To be a great leader, I have to be very selfless, intentional about leading as well as serving, and be able to see others through God’s eyes.” - Daniel

“Leading is not always about being at the forefront. It can be staying behind to make sure that everyone is ok, that no one is lagging alone. It can be doing the final sweep of a room after everyone has left. It is following Jesus and it is a lot of love.” - Barbara

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How tour has changed your worldview:

“I had no idea the level of love and support people had for Daystar, and the desire they all had to see our students excel in their studies.” - Daisy

“There are a lot of good people around the world who are looking for an opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life through donations, advice, and something as simple as a smile.” - Daniel

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Favorite part of tour:

“I did enjoy the beauty of the mountains in Vail. It was overwhelmingly beautiful.” - Caroline

“Going ice skating with a host family, Priscilla and I slipped a couple of times (I fell many times) but it was so much fun. An ice hockey coach had pity on me and gave me a mini lesson on how to not be a newborn giraffe on the ice and by the end of the night I could sort of muddle my way through skating sans a rail.” - Barbara

“Every time we got on stage and I would see the people moved by the Spirit through the music.” - Priscilla

 Daystar U.S. staff and the 2018 Afrizo team

Daystar U.S. staff and the 2018 Afrizo team

A huge thank you to everyone that helped make this tour so special. The host families that opened their homes up to house the students and share life with them. The students that acted as tour guides to show what their schools and communities had to offer. The churches that hosted events and worked so hard to promote them. Those who attended the concerts and sang and danced. Those who prayed for the team as they traveled, especially during snowy drives and delayed flights. Those who donated to ensure that Daystar University can continue to grow and educate the next generation of African leaders.

This year's tour had a goal of raising $60,000 which has not yet been fully met. Though the month may be over, the opportunity to give in response to the blessing of Afrizo is not. Tours such as this rely entirely on donations and can only happen when they prove to be financially sustainable. If you did not have a chance to give this time around and would like to, or would like to increase your donation, please click the button below. It is only through the generous support of our donors that Daystar U.S. is able to continue to provide teams like Afrizo the opportunity to share the good news of the work God is doing in Africa through Daystar University.

Thank you, asante sana.

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Find Joy Comes In The Morning, Afrizo's newest album, at all your favorite online retailers!

iTunes    Amazon   Tidal   Google Play Music   Spotify

Alumni Report: Jesse Masai

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Jesse began his education at Daystar University when it was still a wild and dusty campus in the small town of Athi River, a growing suburb of the capital city Nairobi. Snakes and leopards were not a rare sighting. “Students enjoyed walking around on the rocky hills, taking photographs, and swapping tales about the wildlife they had met,” Jesse said, reflecting on his years at Daystar. It was at Daystar University that Jesse cultivated his skills and passion for communications and serving others. As a reporter and editor for Daystar’s student newspaper, Jesse took it upon himself to tell important stories about the campus and people in the surrounding communities. “I have memories of walking to nearby villages with my team, reporting on hunger, drought, and chronic diseases,” Jesse said. “Our stories were often picked up by the mainstream media.”

Studying communication at Daystar University wasn’t always Jesse’s plan. His parents were missionaries to an unreached people group in Kenya. He first heard about Daystar while volunteering at the missionary agency’s headquarters. He helped edit their prayer newsletter and his sharp skills drew the attention of his supervisors. They told Jesse that Daystar University would be the best place to develop his communications skills while also learning to use his gifts for service to God and humanity.

Jesse’s supervisors personally took him to Daystar’s Nairobi campus to process his application. But Jesse was from a humble background and paying tuition and fees seemed impossible; however, with the help of donors in the United States, Jesse was awarded a scholarship. “Mine was an improbable tale,” Jesse said, “Nowhere else could it have been possible but at Daystar.”

Jesse earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication Art and graduated in 2004. “Daystar University has given me three things I keep finding useful in my journey,” Jesse reflected, “practical skills with which to carry out my tasks, values to guide my commitments, and attitudes to keep me grounded in the basics of faith, life, and learning.”

Jesse has brought those three things to his position as the Director of Communication and Public Relations for the County Government of Nyandarua in Kenya. He can recall several times where his Biblically rooted education from Daystar has impacted his career. Working in government in Kenya poses threats to values everyday, particularly around money, sex, and power. “Against a culture of overbearing displays of power, I am modeling a life of servant leadership,” Jesse said. “Against a culture of falsifying expenses, I am modeling a culture of accounting for every cent.”

Jesse credits his values to what he learned at Daystar University. After being asked how he has seen Daystar University impact Africa Jesse said, “One cannot talk about value-laden education in Kenya and Africa without mentioning Daystar University. Most alumni are doing a great job to impact Africa in whichever sphere of influence they may be found.”

 Jesse and his wife Juddy, who is also a Daystar alumni, on their wedding day.

Jesse and his wife Juddy, who is also a Daystar alumni, on their wedding day.

Jesse reflected on the recent 2017 general elections in Kenya, “In my role, I am responsible for coordinating media and publicity. Some media owners attempted to bribe me, to sway advertising business their way.” But Jesse stayed true to his values, with his wife supporting him along the way. “Together we were grateful for the grace to light our tiny candles in the darkness of public services,” Jesse said.

There are thousands of Daystar alumni like Jesse, displaying unwavering values in the face of adversity. Whether serving in government, the medical field, or helping others on a grass-roots level, Daystar alumni bring unparalleled values and transformation to Africa. 

Behind the Scenes: Meet Mailou

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Help us welcome the newest member of the Daystar U.S. team, Mailou Thao! Mailou is a 2013 graduate of Bethel University with a major in social work. She joins our team as our new administrative assistant.

Mailou worked as an operations clerk for Wells Fargo before coming to Daystar U.S. and currently serves as the assistant treasurer for her church. Mailou loves working behind the scenes with numbers and databases.

Mailou is dedicated to helping others pursue education and has a dream to give a personal scholarship to help students in need. This dream encouraged Mailou to join the Daystar U.S. team and its mission to transform Africa by educating Christian servant leaders.

When Mailou isn’t working she enjoys reading theology books, hiking, and playing board games with her friends. We are very excited to welcome Mailou to our team!

Farewell to Mary

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Mary Gosselin has served as the executive administrative assistant for Daystar U.S. for over four years and will soon enjoy a much-deserved retirement. Before coming to Daystar U.S. Mary worked as a school secretary for 25 years. “I was praying for a new part time job when I heard about the job at Daystar U.S.,” Mary reflected. “I was really excited about Daystar’s mission to transform Africa.”

Mary experienced Daystar’s mission firsthand when she traveled to Kenya in 2015. “Daystar University is a shining light in that city and country,” Mary said, “The most meaningful thing for me was actually seeing the faces of the students we help. Those students have such an earnest desire to get an education at Daystar.” Mary was inspired by the students she met and everything they sacrifice to get an education, often giving up food for tuition. “Giving my time by working at Daystar U.S. was one of the ways I could give back to those students,” Mary said. 

 Mary enjoyed traveling to Kenya in 2015 and meeting Daystar University staff and students.

Mary enjoyed traveling to Kenya in 2015 and meeting Daystar University staff and students.

During her time at Daystar U.S. Mary was a true servant leader, always lending a quick and helpful hand to anyone who needed it. “Mary is the most positive person I know,” said Nancy, Daystar U.S. Finance Manger. “She has the greatest servant leader heart I’ve ever experienced.”

 Mary, third from right, is looking forward to spending more time with her family after she retires. 

Mary, third from right, is looking forward to spending more time with her family after she retires. 

Mary’s joyful spirit and quick laugh will be deeply missed at Daystar U.S. and she deserves to be celebrated for her years serving the organization. “I’m looking forward to having time to rest, study and pray and spend more time with my family and grandchildren,” Mary said. “And, of course, I’ll be volunteering at Daystar U.S.”

Student Profile: Faith

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My name is Faith and I am the youngest in a family of five. We were brought up by a single mother. She tried her best to send us to school but sometimes she couldn’t even afford to pay for our basic needs. My older siblings didn’t manage to finish their studies because life was too hard, and they are still struggling today. My hope in Christ helped me persist in my education and made me strong everyday. High school was challenging for me because I had to spend most of my time out of class because we could not afford the fees. But God saw me through and my grades were good enough to go to college.

I joined Daystar University in January 2014. I came to school having only 5,000 Kenyan shillings ($50) and went through the orientation program. After that it was not easy to pay the fees. I met some friends who told me about financial aid where I met Jennifer, Daystar University’s financial aid officer. She took me through the steps to apply for a scholarship and by January 2015 I received a full scholarship. This helped me greatly because I was able to concentrate on my studies and give it my best. If it wasn’t for the Daystar U.S. scholarship I can’t tell you what could have happened to me.

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I studied mass communication and electronic media and graduated in July 2017. At Daystar I learned to be a servant leader and that is the most important thing I am taking with me to the professional world. I want to have a positive impact on people. I am trusting God to give me a job opportunity and want to serve Him my entire life. My dream is to open a children’s home so I can give back to my community. Eventually I would like to get my master's degree.

Thank you so much for your gift and for the sacrifice that you made so I could study at Daystar University. May the Lord bless you more and more so that you may continue to bless others.