At the February 2020 Board Meeting, Africa University leadership honored Los Altos UMC for longtime support of and partnership with students attending AU.
California-Nevada Conference Epsicopal Leader and AU Board member Bishop Minerva Carcaño was in attendance. She reported, "We just heard a development report and our own Los Altos United Methodist Church was honored for its 14 years of support for AU students through scholarships. Los Altos has made it possible for 42 students to gain a college education, transforming their lives, the future of their families, their congregations and even their nations. Praise God!"
The relationship between Los Altos UMC and AU students is rooted in what started as a pen pal correspondence between then Los Altos United Methodist Women local unit president Jan Lull and mission worker Gladys Nyauchi who was serving in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Like many UMW local units, Los Altos UMW used the Prayer Calendar, a co-publication between United Methodist Women national office and the General Board of Global Ministries, to pray for UMC staff and missionaries around the world. Lull suggested that the local unit write a letter to a mission worker that shared her own birthday. That mission worker was Gladys Mauchy.
Through the course of their correspondence, Lull's unit learned that Mauchy's daughter was a former AU student studying in the US and needed financial support. The rest, as they say, is history. The unit established the Africa Student Education Fund and has been working with AU to support students who intend to use their education to serve African society.
Los Altos Senior Pastor Kathi McShane shared, “We at LAUMC are grateful for the courage and faithfulness of our United Methodist Women. They’ve led this church into a partnership with Africa University that has blessed all of us for a long time. It’s grace in our lives to know that the gifts of people who live here in Silicon Valley can help empower young women in Africa who are growing into their own leadership.”
Funds are given from folks across the entire Los Altos community on a special Sunday set aside for AU through a 'Sale-A-Bration" of arts and crafts, and an offering accepted at all 3 services.