Very few individuals around the world today have what it takes to change the world—not because they lack the ability to do so, but because they doubt God can use one person to make a difference in the overwhelming needs. Luckily for Zimbabwe, this is not the case with Albert Mavunga, World Help partner and the founder of Smile for Africa. He is an ambitious and faith-filled young man who has never doubted the Lord’s plan to use him to change his home country.
While many of Zimbabwe’s doctors, lawyers, and politicians fled the country looking for better jobs, opportunities, and lives, Albert chose to stay and make a difference in the country he loves:
Hope in a country that is crippled by HIV/AIDS. One in four children in Zimbabwe will live their entire life with AIDS, and an estimated 1.2 million adults are currently infected with this disease.
Hope in a country whose economy is struggling to stay afloat. Families are forced to wait in lines, often for days at a time, to receive a loaf of bread or a tank of gas. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed to 95 percent in the past few years.
Hope in a country that is being torn apart by war and famine. And yet, amidst all of this, Albert chose hope, promise, and a future. He chose to trust in what the Lord planned to do through him.
Growing up, Albert heard a John Maxwell quote that stated, “If you tell someone your dream and they don’t laugh, it’s not big enough,” so when Albert shared with his friends what he hoped would come of his future, they cracked smiles and chuckled, and he knew he was on the right path. From a young age, Albert knew he wanted to attend school in the United States, as well as eventually open an orphanage and school that would provide for not only monetary needs but also the spiritual needs of children in Zimbabwe. Though he did not know how he would make all of these dreams a reality, Albert trusted in God’s plan.
With no more than $50 dollars in his possession, he boarded a plane from Zimbabwe to the United States, bound for a small college in West Virginia. Not long after enrolling, however, Albert was excused from school due to an inability to pay his fees. He had no option but to move into a homeless shelter in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Never one to sit idly by, Albert decided to spend his extra time serving others at a nearby food bank. During this time, he met Thomas Road Baptist Church’s youth pastor who asked if Albert would speak at the next youth group activity. Through this, the Lord’s plan became clearer, as Albert was introduced to Jerry Falwell Sr. and eventually to the director of Liberty University Praise, who offered Albert a full scholarship to LU after hearing his story.
Slowly but surely, Albert’s dreams have become reality. In 2008, he founded Smile for Africa, an organization that works directly with orphans and children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
This organization, though young, has already started a sports ministry, a dental assistance program, and a poultry project that will provide food for families. This program is currently providing food and education to nearly 500 children, all of who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS that is running rampant in Zimbabwe. Through partnership with World Help and countless sponsors around the United States, the children of Zimbabwe are receiving nutritious meals, clean drinking water, medical care, and the hope found in Jesus Christ.
In a recent meeting with the World Help staff, Albert challenged us to, “see it, say it, and seize it.” No longer should we look at the world and accept that there are families without homes, children without parents, and countries without hope. No longer is it acceptable to sit by and wait for someone else to fix the issues at hand. Instead, Albert challenged us to look into our own lives to find something needing to be changed.
If you’re like me, your first thought after a challenge like that is: “But I’m just one person . . . I can’t make much of an impact.” Unfortunately, after hearing Albert’s testimony, I knew that I was just finding another excuse. I took a real look inside to consider just what I could do, if only I’d stop listening to my fears of failure, judgment, and inability.
I realized that not everyone will be called to open orphanages, organizations, and schools like Albert. Some of us may be called to help feed the homeless or to reach out to someone who feels alone. The things that seem ”small” to us are just as important to the Lord, so long as we’re in His will.
With this realization came the desire to seek out, recognize, and fix the things in my own life that need to be changed. Small or large. Easy or difficult. Short-term or long lasting. It no longer mattered to me what the task was, so long as I was helping to edify and spur on the kingdom of Christ.
I ask you to do the same. Look into your everyday routine and find something that just doesn’t sit right with you . . . most likely, you don’t have to look far.
“Will you accept this challenge?”
To see it? Open your eyes to those individuals on the street asking for pennies. Don’t cross the street to avoid coming face to face with a family in need.
To say it? Stop listening to the lie that says you don’t need to share the Gospel. Stop believing that it’s alright to keep your mouth shut and heart closed.
To seize it? When the Lord gives you a dream, don’t tell Him it’s not possible—no matter how small or large, or how difficult it appears. The Lord will bring you through, if only you will trust.
Through faith, Albert Mavunga has been given the opportunity to transform lives. Can you imagine what would happen if we were all willing to go to the same extremes?
Result: Get out there and start telling people your dreams. When they begin to laugh, know that your journey has begun.
In the next 10 years, Albert hopes to expand his organization so that thousands can be provided for, loved, and shown the power of Jesus Christ. What will you accomplish with your next 10 years?
I pray that you will be moved to action, just as Albert was . . . to change a life, a community, or maybe even a country. Who knows what is possible in Christ?
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Become a World Help sponsor today of a child from Zimbabwe and join thousands that are providing help for today . . . hope for tomorrow! When you become a child sponsor, you are connecting to a specific child in our program and will be able to build and nurture a relationship through letter writing and prayer.
Already a World Help sponsor? Consider sponsoring another child or sharing this post with your community to encourage them to join with you in bringing help and hope to children around the world!