Claudine Kasongo is presented with Certificate of Achievement from the Rev. Jon Short.

Claudine’s Story: Being a Blessing to Others

By Barbara Dadd Shaffer | Photos by Jesse N. Love

Claudine Kasongo shares her story at the South Congo & Zambia Dinner in Portland, Ore.

When both of her parents died, Claudine Nyota and her siblings were left to fend for themselves – away from their village and living in the big city of Lubumbashi.  Her older brother begged door-to-door for money for chores to support them.  School was important, but there was no money for bus fare to get there and she often fainted en route from hunger.  A couple of years after the Jamaa Letu Orphanage for girls was founded, her pastor arranged for her to live there.  She was twelve years old.

Today, 14 years later, Claudine is the first university graduate from the orphanages with a degree in Nutrition.  She is also the mentor and leader of the students who are following her path.  There are 10 are currently studying at various universities with 12 more eligible in the next two years. One young woman will graduate next month with a degree in law.

Both the General Conference in mid-May and The PNW Annual Conference in late June were graced with Nyota’s presence.  She spoke at a rally for the environment during General Conference and she told her personal story on Saturday morning of Annual Conference.  Several churches in the Conference were able to meet her and hear her story.  We, the people of The PNW Conference, are proud of her accomplishments and how she represents the ministry of the Jamaa Letu Orphanages.

Other members of the Bishop’s Task Force on Hope for the Children of Africa shared the history of the orphanages and the financial needs today to support it.  Many on the Conference floor are already supporters and others were challenged to start.

Her full name is Claudine Nyota Kasongo.  At home it would be Kasongo Nyota Claudine.

Claudine’s friends and supporters have begun to call her “Blessing” because she is one.  It’s a nickname that fits.

The Jamaa Letu Orphanages for boys and for girls is a ministry of The United Methodist Church in the South Congo Conference (Africa) and The Pacific Northwest Conference. Donations may be made through your local church or directly to the Treasurer’s Office of the PNW Conference.

Visit On Facebook, search: Hope for the Children of Africa.


RESOURCES_TreasureD1107: Treasure

Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.  Whether you are in plenty or in want, money has a direct connection to your values, your faith, and the health of your relationships.  It’s no wonder that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a radical message about our “treasure” and our hearts.  In this four-week study, Jacob Armstrong uses Matthew 6 to reexamine how we look at our finances and possessions, through the counter-cultural teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.

Sessions include:

Week 1: Where Is Your Treasure?  (Matthew 6:19-23)

Week 2: The Problem with Two Masters  (Matthew 6:24)

Week 3: How to Give  (Matthew 6:1-6)

Week 4: Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing (Matthew 6:25-35)

Designed for use in a small group study or during an all-church stewardship program, features Jacob Armstrong helping participants examine their lives, their ways of giving, their finances, and their faith, then discuss and reflect on how generosity can affect our relationships with people and with God.

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