Our mission statement calls us to be more like Jesus Christ for our community and beyond. In January 2017, we made a significant commitment to being Christ beyond our community in Belmont by launching our international effort by investing in the lives of vulnerable children through Zoe.
ZOE is a distinctive three-year program, developed in Africa that empowers orphans and vulnerable children around the world to overcome extreme poverty, become fully self-reliant, and learn of God’s love for them. Active in Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Liberia, Guatemala and India, ZOE has over 30,000 children enrolled. ZOE is invited into communities where orphans are already living and brings them together in supportive working groups of 60-100 children. ZOE’s indigenous staff members help these children articulate their own dreams for their lives. ZOE then provides the small inputs and training they need to work together to transform their lives in just three years. These children who often feel beyond God’s love are able to both see and hear the gospel in ways that are compelling but not coercive.At the end of each three year commitment, we hope for children to emerge from ZOE able to secure their own food, send their siblings to school, run businesses, and be leaders in their community. And perhaps especially, they will understand God’s love for them and pass their blessings on to other children in need.
In 2017 we became a Zoe Hope Companion and are partnered with the Abishyizehamwe (“Together”) community in Giti, Rwanda. 81 children that were once orphans in 2017 have currently graduated from the Zoe empowerment with the goal to never need charity again. In just one year, our gracious congregations and friends fully funded our first community.
2017 Community- Abishyizehamwe and FUMC-Belmont members visited together in August 2018. This community was in their second working year together at the time of our trip.
In 2018, we continued our support and became the Hope Companion to the Imena ("Excellent") community in Rwanda, a group of 63 orphaned children.
In 2021 the Imena community graduated from the Zoe empowerment program. Due to the extreme success of our partnered empowerment groups and our generous church, we were able to commit to two more empowerment groups in August of 2019. Ikirenga (“Excellent”), a group of 78 vulnerable children in Rwanda and Takondwera (“We’ve rejoiced”) a group of 84 children in Malawi.
In April of 2022 we partnered with our most recent community in Rwanda named Twitezimbere Bwisige. Twitezimbere means "Progress". Our family consists of 29 households being led by orphans no older than age 21. There are 86 children in our care. We introduced our newest family at our annual Zoe Auction August of 2022. Due to the success of the auction and our Christmas Alternative Giving offering and monthly donations we have been able to complete our financial obligation to Twitezimbere in June of 2023. We are excited to receive our 6th family to support soon. All of these communities of vulnerable children and orphans overcame extreme poverty, improved their own lives and the lives of those around them. In January of 2023 we received our annual report on our most current family. Click Twitezimbere Bwisige Group - Rwanda, for the full report.
How can you help?
You can contribute to our Zoe effort by clicking here. You can volunteer to join or help our Zoe committee by emailing Kari Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pray for ZOE, for the ZOE staff, and especially for our young brothers and sisters in Rwanda who will be working to escape poverty and learn of God’s love.