Celebrating a New Beginning and a New Year

Feza, a 21-year-old African refugee from the Congo, recently celebrated her birthday with her family of 11 and her Open Table church family. Feza said it was her first-ever birthday party because her culture does not celebrate birthdays. Rev. Brenda Smith says, “I think we surprised and impressed her with our singing of ‘Happy Birthday’, lighting the candles on her cake, and requesting her to blow out all at once while making a wish.” She also received gifts and the group enjoyed food and swimming. Feza’s preschool daughter and elementary age sister say they can’t wait until their birthdays!

Rev. Brenda Smith says, “Feza is smart, sweet, and highly motivated. It has been enjoyable guiding her to reach her goals. Since starting the Table, she has started her first job, gained scholarships for college, and is about to begin CNA classes so she can work in her field of interest. Feza is working towards citizenship, gaining a driver’s license, and aspires to be a physician.”

How Can You Help?

One of Feza’s continued requests is transportation on Sunday mornings, so the whole family can attend PVUMC worship together. The family became Christians in their refugee camp as Free Methodists and they would like to remain Methodists. Feza and her family endured 18 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Her family had been forced to flee the Democratic Republic of the Congo after many people in her family were killed in the war, including her grandfather. We would love your prayers for Feza, her children and the whole family of 11 who are all working towards making America their home.

PVUMC serves as one of the leaders in The Open Table movement. We are always seeking those who wish to serve on a table. Contact our Open Table and Lay Leader, Kent Heltne, kheltne@cox.net to serve on a table and sign up for training. Or email Pastor Brenda for more information about how to get involved in this ministry. If you can help provide transportation for the family on Sunday mornings, please contact Rev. Brenda.

What is Open Table?

The Open Table is a national organization which began here at PVUMC by Jon Katov and others. Its mission is to reach out to the marginalized and mentor them so they learn the necessary skills to navigate life. A group of 6-10 people surrounds a struggling young adult, veteran, homeless person or family to guide them back on their feet to independence. It usually takes eight months to a year for this journey. It is truly putting God’s love into action and embracing all people. PVUMC members have served on approximately 20 tables since Open Table began, with five tables launching in January 2018 or later in the spring.


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