Newsmaker: Dedication to Education

A recent convert has been drawing attention to himself and his dedication to education. Along with two fellow teachers, Byalusago (Christopher) Mugimu opened a senior secondary school in Mukono Town, Uganda, in 1989.

In just a few years, these three young men, all in their late twenties, have carved a campus out of the jungle. The first year, the teachers rented facilities, but after just one year they had saved enough money to buy land in Mukono, a town located in the lush countryside among banana and tea plantations.

With their students pitching in, the men made their own bricks from sand, clay, and water. “God has been very good to us to provide these essentials,” Brother Mugimu noted.

“A number of students cannot afford to pay the modest school fees, so they earn these fees by doing construction. We never turn any student away.” After the school’s first twenty-four months of classes, the teachers and students had completed two buildings containing five classrooms and two small offices.

The school has continued to grow. Currently the student body numbers 320, with 50 of the students being boarders, who live full-time in dormitories on the campus. The faculty consists of 24 teachers.

The school has achieved some distinction because, unlike similar institutions, Mukono School teaches vocational subjects such as welding, brick laying, construction, knitting, and other practical skills. Of the first twenty candidates from the school who sat for their matriculation examinations, six were accepted for university training—a remarkable accomplishment for a new school still raising money for supplies and lab equipment.

“There are many things which we cannot build with our hands,” observed Brother Mugimu, “so we must buy those things. I know that we will continue to be blessed.”George Barrus, Johannesburg, South Africa

[photo] Photo by George Barrus

Knowing the Need

Like many quiet examples of goodness, Roberta Hill of the Cedaredge Ward, Montrose Colorado Stake, rarely calls attention to herself. She goes about serving others without fanfare, often unknown to any but those who are directly involved.

She and her husband, Bill, maintained a large yard for many years, yet she still found time to work in the yard of a woman with cancer, a sister in the ward whom she visit taught. In addition to the women she is assigned to visit, Roberta has managed to visit others, and she is often Bill’s home teaching partner when he needs one.

Always alert to others’ needs, Roberta doesn’t ask how she can be of help, nor does she offer help idly. For one family, whose three children have learning disabilities, she arranged for a trip to a pizza parlor, a visit to a llama farm, and birthday T-shirts.

One sister had suffered a debilitating stroke, making it difficult for her to dress herself. Roberta designed and sewed a dress that allows the woman to dress herself more easily.

Whether Roberta Hill brings fresh vegetables from her garden, a homemade gift, or just her bright personal warmth, others feel her sincerity and her love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.Jane McBride Choate, Loveland, Colorado

[photo] Photo by Matthew Reier

A Hunger to Serve

Clair Hawkins has made a career out of food—preparing, processing, and selling it. He’s also made a career out of service—recognizing a need and doing all he can to fill it. And many times, Brother Hawkins, a member of the Meridian Tenth Ward, Meridian Idaho East Stake, has combined these two careers with delectable results.

It began years ago when Brother Hawkins, along with other members of his immediate family, owned a chain of fast-food restaurants. They would often cater lunches or dinners for various community organizations at no cost. “It was our way of donating to and serving the community,” he notes.

Later, as the owner of a food processing plant, Brother Hawkins continued to be aware of the need for food. He looked for opportunities to give, and every Christmas would gather truckloads of toys and food for needy children. “My wife, Mary, and I loved getting involved. We’d been blessed, and we wanted to reach out to others.”

But seasonal giving wasn’t enough, and Brother Hawkins eventually became one of the founders of Working Partners, a statewide organization that collects food for the hungry. In its first year, the group collected almost one hundred thousand pounds of food, which it donated to the Idaho Salvation Army. The numbers have grown in the years since, and Brother Hawkins continues to push the need to give to others.

Recently, Brother Hawkins was honored by the Salvation Army for his work. “Many of the advances in the area of food donations and public awareness of the Salvation Army’s hunger programs would not have been possible without your personal diligence, help, and support over the past few years,” wrote Daniel Starrett, the organization’s captain administrator, in a personal letter to Brother Hawkins. “Not only have you offered your organizational skills and leadership, but your personal commitment and dedication to the collecting of food donations have been exemplary.”

[photo] Photo by Matthew Reier

In the Spotlight

  • Yvonne Rempp, a member of the Yerington Ward, Fallon Nevada Stake, received the 1993 American Cancer Society Ruby Life Saver Award, an award presented to the volunteers who excel in promoting cancer control through education.

  • The 1994 national president of the Women’s Council of Realtors is Beth Tolbert of the Alpine Third Ward, Alpine Utah Stake. Elected at the annual convention, Sister Tolbert will serve as leader and spokesperson of the 14,000-member organization.

  • The Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest honorary award granted by the U.S. Secretary of the Army to army civilian employees, has been awarded to I. Brown Zundel, executive secretary in the Tucson Arizona East Stake and senior research consultant and a division chief at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

  • When Ts’ooane Patrick Molapo, elders quorum president in the Maseru Branch of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, graduated in general agriculture from the National University of Lesotho, he was also honored for being the agricultural college’s top student in economics.

  • Debralynn Mitchell of the Emerson Ward, Caldwell New Jersey Stake, was a soloist at the prestigious “Messiah Sing-In” at New York City’s Lincoln Center during the 1993 holiday season.