Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of blogs by Daystar U.S. development officer, Walt Avra, reflecting on his time in Kenya during a recent trip. Read the first installment HERE
One of my primary roles at Daystar U.S. is to support the scholarship program. During our recent Daystar trip, God opened the door for me to meet many current and former scholarship students. I was surprised at how many Daystar graduates are impacting so many areas of Kenya and Africa. There are over 18,000 Daystar alumni and 4,500 students! They are impacting many segments of communities in Africa.
Here are some alumni and students I was able to meet in person:
John Daau, Leadership Development, South Sudan (Graduated 2008)
One day we met John Daau, who is from South Sudan. John is building his country by training leaders and pastors and raising up the next generation servant leaders among children at Good Shepherd Academy, a school he started.
Mary Mambo, Maternity Clinic and Orphan Rescue Home, Kenya (Graduated 2000)
We also visited Mary Mambo, a nurse practioner who sold her medical clinics for middle class Kenyans to move into the slums to minister to the poorest of the poor. She delivers over 2,000 babies in a year in the one birthing room! She also rescues street children. We met two former rescued street orphans who are now Daystar scholarship students. These girls who have come from such a very difficult situation are so confident in their new life in Christ.
It is hard to describe the poverty and hopelessness in the slums but Mary Mambo is bringing hope to the hopeless as her team values each individual. She and her staff care for the community’s physical needs and pray for each person by name.
Innocent, Corporate and Young Men Leadership Development, Kenya (Graduated 2017)
A former scholarship student, Innocent, is teaching servant leadership courses in schools and the corporate world. He is impacting the world for Christ! He is mentoring boys to show them how to be godly men. He said this is his calling for the rest of his life. He is dismayed about how people separate their faith in Christ from their workplaces. “We must be in the world but not of the world," he said. He was given the opportunity to visit Atlanta to be trained in the Chick-fil-A leadership program. He is contextualizing this training to Kenyans in order to build the next leaders of Kenya and Africa. I look forward to seeing the multiplication of many other leaders who are trained to be world-impactors in their workplaces.
Francis, Student Mobilizer and IT Lab Technician, Kenya (Graduated 2017)
A former scholarship student, Francis, is a part of 220 other Daystar students on the mission team that go on six trips every semester to different villages to share the Gospel door to door, and to hold evangelistic meetings. After he graduated last semester he got a job as an IT technician at Daystar and spends his free time mentoring and encouraging other Daystar students.
Priscah, Future Journalist, South Sudan, (Graduated 2018)
A South Sudanese student, Prisca, was also rescued after being given to marry a 60 year old man when she was only 10 years. She graduated this past week and has a passion to use her degree in journalism to be a voice for other girls with no voice in South Sudan!
Daniel, Accounting Student, South Sudan (Graduating 2020)
So many of our Daystar scholarship students are from across different countries in Africa. Daniel is from South Sudan. Every student is required to attend a Discipleship class and chapel service each week. I sat in with the discipleship class Daniel led and it was the same Navigators material I used when I was in college! The lesson was on God’s purpose for man to glorify and love God. He did a great job at engaging each person in the group and being sensitive to their individual needs. The students were so sharp in their response to the Bible discussions. Daniel is also serving as the treasurer for Daystar Christian Fellowship.
Over and over, I was impressed by how many of the scholarship students have come from such difficult backgrounds, yet they are so thankful to God. They are articulate communicators and confident in their mission to be God’s light. I am excited about the future of God’s Kingdom work all throughout Africa through these leaders.
I realized firsthand that the scholarship program is such a huge blessing to so many individual students, families, and communities. For as little as $150, a struggling Daystar student receives a small one-time boost of support. For $6000, a deserving low income student’s tuition is covered for a year.
Christian education at Daystar has become a door of opportunity that brings so many of these individual students and whole communities out of a cycle of poverty and hopelessness. This education combined with the life-changing message and model of Jesus brings lasting hope and transformation to African communities.
Optimistic Bridge-Builder | Impact Focused
I love to learn from my brothers and sisters in Africa and South Asia where my family lived and served the past 7 years. It was a joy to be involved in installing water hand pumps and providing basic education in villages without clean water and without the good news of Jesus.
I became passionate about Daystar University through my strong friendship with a Daystar graduate, Julius, who became my mentor while in graduate school. I am inspired by the great faith of others and how God can multiply our efforts as we work together.
I enjoy exploring the outdoors with my wife, Mercy, and our two children. I also enjoy reading books and the news.