Charo (Maria) Breckenridge, Global Service Co-worker (LTV)
Describe the mission of our partner, the United Church of Zambia University
I have come to help with the educational mission of the UCZ University. This school prepares students who want to become teachers, social workers, farmers and ecologists and future ministers. The university attracts and serves mostly Christians who come from UCZ churches.
What is your role in their mission?
The university library manages a small computer lab which had been closed to all students until I arrived in Zambia. It had been closed for lack of supervisory personnel. I have been assigned to work in that computer lab and assist students and monitor equipment.
What led you to want to serve?
First of all, I wanted to join my husband in his assignment here. Besides that, I have always enjoyed being of service to others. I have recently retired and I am pleased to have found a work assignment that lets me be with my husband and serve young people usefully.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
Matthew 14:13-21 - Jesus has compassion for the multitude
What are some of the challenges facing the people where you serve or our partner?
The students who come to this university are often very poor in comparison with the people I have lived with all my life. They do not have the financial resources of students in the U.S. and other nations. Their general poverty does not allow them many choices and access to university study is difficult.
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that should be shared with churches in the U.S.?
Since I started working here, my co-workers at the UCZU have demonstrated that people everywhere are pretty much the same. I have found helpful, polite, and gracious people who care for each other and have welcomed me generously. Even though our cultures and history are different, they have treated me with loving kindness. I know our churches at home would benefit from this message of acceptance.
What are some ways that churches can show support to the people where you serve or our partner?
Please remember the UCZ University and the people of Zambia in your prayers. The needs are great. If anyone wishes, financial gifts in support of university (through Global Ministries) are most welcome.
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country of service, work, or theology?
I am a great admirer of Nelson Mandela and I have read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. That book taught me about the African struggle for racial equality. Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad was also a book that I learned from.