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Christian Union
February 22, 2015

Mwangi Thuita '17 Has a Passion for Serving

Mwangi-Thuita_Mag5_articleThe Community Service Team with Christian Union at Cornell is working to share the Gospel in Ithaca, New York, and their acts of service are conveying what words alone cannot.

The team serves the university's neighboring community through a variety of volunteer works, quietly modeling Christ's compassion for all people.

"Our students formed the Community Service Team because they wanted tangible ways to communicate the love of Christ," said Anna Shea, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Cornell. "They want others to experience, through their actions, that Jesus is alive—not just on the Cornell campus, but throughout Ithaca as well."

Shea, who is advising the team, holds a Masters in Theology in History from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

"Jesus spent His time on earth feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and addressing the needs of people who tend to be undervalued by society," she said. Therefore, the service team exists to demonstrate how Jesus values all people, especially by going the extra mile to lend a hand.

Lending a hand is second nature for Mwangi Thuita '17, a native of Kenya. Last summer, he returned to his homeland to teach English and math.

At Cornell, Thuita has been instrumental in establishing the Community Service Team and is currently one of the co-leaders.

"We really need an example like him, someone who is thinking about how to care for their community and challenging the individualistic mindset that many bring," said Shea.

Thuita helped draft the team's mission, vision, and values in a way that prioritizes the underserved and often forgotten people of society. In doing so, the students bring honor to the elderly, sit and listen to the homeless, and share a smile and learn the names of people passing through the line in a food pantry.

Participation in Christian Union's leadership development ministry at Cornell gives students the opportunity to lead by example, to work out logistical challenges, and recognize the specific skills God has given their fellow students, explained Shea.

Thuita has also learned about Christian leadership through the example set by dedicated and faithful ministry fellows.

"I've learned that Christian leadership involves sacrifice and courage that can only come from faith. Christian leaders are constantly giving of themselves out of love," said Thuita.

In addition to being active at Christian Union at Cornell and managing a demanding academic load, Thuita also participates in squash and the Cornell International Affairs Society. However, he says making time to volunteer in the community is a call to serve outside the collegiate comfort zone.

"As Christians at college, it's easy to be content in pursuing our education and extra-curricular interests and being in fellowship with other believers. But we are called to love others in our community," he said.

In the fall, the team served at a food pantry and also took part in Cornell's annual Into the Streets event, helping to organize a library for a local school.

"What we hope to be about is loving others through our service and reflecting God's love for them," said Thuita.

Their work has also inspired older volunteers at the food pantry who are excited to have young people join them in their efforts, noted Thuita.

Being part of Christian Union and serving their neighbors has taught Thuita and his peers that being a servant leader in the likeness of Christ means knowing Him and seeking His guidance.

As Thuita said, "Prayer is where all works that are pleasing to God begin."