Love + Creativity + Connection = Recipe for Transforming Lives of Ivorian Students

Date Posted: 7/14/2011

Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations and to especially invite the little children to come to him, for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 28:19, 19:14).


Thanks to the United Methodist Women and members of the Texas Annual Conference who have mixed together their love for God’s children, their creative talents, and the combined power of the United Methodist connection, we are doing just that.


In Cote d’Ivoire, thousands of children lack the opportunity to attend primary school. Through its Adopt-A-Student Program, the Texas Annual Conference is working to change that reality and make disciples of Jesus Christ at the same time. Working together across the connection, we are doing together what we cannot do alone – transforming the world by making disciples of Jesus Christ, one student at a time.


For $600 a year, a child in Cote d’Ivoire can attend a United Methodist primary school, where they not only learn reading, writing, math and other subjects, but also hear the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of you have individually or as a church, sponsored a child – thank you! Some of you didn’t have $600, but you had time and creative talents and you gave those by sewing for Cote d’Ivoire and selling your creations at Annual Conference or giving up your luncheon and donating the cost of your lunch to the cause. Together, what a difference you made!


Connectional Power

During Annual Conference, with the help of 10 sewing ministries in our conference and some individual members who made beautiful gifts from Cote d’Ivoire fabric, we were able to raise $5,300 for this program. This money came as a result of many generous people donating extra time and special talents to make the crafts that were so successfully received by all who visited our display table.


Our biggest sale was a beautiful handmade quilt by Bonnie Magid with Paul Horton UMC. Bonnie’s quilt was purchased at the Clergywomen’s Breakfast by all who attended and given as a gift to Bishop Huie. We also had great helpers who were willing to travel downtown and serve behind the table. We are so appreciative of this help given by Jenna Arnold from St. Paul’s UMC Houston, Mary Landry from Servants of Christ UMC, whose excitement about the project and willingness was so appreciated; Modelle Brudner from Holy Covenant in Katy, who along with only one other friend, Betty Rowell, made too many items to count, delivered them at conference, plus stayed to help set up the display; Renee Teel, who was the organizer for the sewing group at Christ UMC – Sugar Land, delivering wonderful crafts including quilts, aprons, stuffed bears and sock monkeys; and Mary Riley of First UMC Livingston. We also want to thank Rev. Diane McGehee’s college-aged son, Danny Feiler, and his friend, Trent, who used their sales skills and youthful charm to help sell these wonderful creations during Annual Conference. You may have seen them when they were selling UMCOR bags made with this fabric prior to one of the business sessions. We could not have done it without all of them!


But that is not all, the UMW also joined in this connectional effort. Working together, they contributed a total of $2,563! That’s enough to send four children to school for a whole year – all because a group of women creatively chose to make a small sacrifice of giving up their annual luncheon and, instead, donating the cost of their lunch ticket to help little children come to know the love of God.


What a difference we can and are making through the connection – together we can make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Thank you Texas Annual Conference!


You can still help

What’s next, and how can you help? More children need to be sponsored through the Adopt-A Student program and those who have been sponsored need that sponsorship renewed each year. It’s a tall order, but working together as a connected people, each contributing what they have – whether it be money, time,  talents or all of the above – we can get the job done. (That’s actually not only a Wesleyan model, but also a Biblical one. Check out Acts 2:42-47.)


Here is what you can do: Sponsor a child as a church or as a Sunday school class – if 60 people gave $10, together you could sponsor a child and transform a life through the gospel. Sew items for sale at your Fall and Christmas bizarre and/or festivals and donate the proceeds to the Adopt-A-Student program. If you can sew or your church has a sewing ministry, we will give you the fabric without charge, in return for your commitment to sew and donate the proceeds.


Sew items for sale at Conference/District events and donate the proceeds. We supply the fabric you need at no cost to you. You supply the talent and time.


The following items sold the best or were requested: children’s and adult bib aprons, casserole covers, prayer squares, lined/unlined bible covers, tissue holders, quilts, pastor’s stoles, altar cloths, placemats and napkins. Check out the pictures online of all the items for sale.


To join in the ongoing fun, please contact Shirley Broome, administrative assistant for the Center for Missional Excellence, at 713-521-9383 or


Fabric is available at the conference office or your district office for this project. We look forward to hearing from you.