Local youth raising funds to bring Awana to African schools

The kids had a goal of raising $3,250, which can equip five schools with Awana programming. They may raise enough help eight schools.

Youth reading Bible verses.
Dan Fisher, center, listens as youth recite Bible verses on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Verndale Alliance Church.
Photo contributed by Chris Dunrud
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VERNDALE — With a goal of bringing kids to Christ on the other side of the world, youth at Verndale Alliance Church are raising funds by reciting Bible verses this month.
The church annually has a Verse-a-Thon, where kids are asked to memorize and recite scripture to listening volunteers at the church. The kids then ask others to give donations for the verses that they learn and recite.
Donors typically give a bulk donation or offer a donation per verse recited. This Awana club had a goal of raising $3,250 for this project. That amount is enough to train and equip five public schools in Africa to incorporate Awana programming into their weekly curriculum. Early fundraising numbers show the club is already looking to far outpace the donations hoped for.
"We are going to raise our goal and pray that we can help eight schools ($5200)," Versa-a-Thon coordinator Chris Dunrud said.
"$650 trains and equips a school," according to Dunrud. "A school is anywhere from 500-1,500 students. So it's a huge opportunity to impact the continent of Africa."

MalloryUselman BrinleyJohnson.JPG
Mallory Uselman listens while Brinley Johnson recites Bible verses on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.
Photo contributed by Chris Dunrud

The opportunity to bring Christ-focused curriculum into a public school is unheard of in most of the world, but in Africa, the introduction has been opened up by the Minister of Education and it's become an amazing opportunity, according to those involved in the operation. How long the doors will be open is an unknown.
Dunrud said this opportunity has opened up in eight different African countries, starting in Zimbabwe.
"Right now, they're really on the ground level of equipping these schools," Dunrud said. "We don't know how long this will be an open door."
While locally, she feels they'll be able to equip more than five schools, there are thousands of schools Awana could potentially reach.
"We are calling it God's miracle," said Dunrud, who has been involved in Awana International for nine years.
The local kids involved had individual goals of 7-10 verses each. Some recited over 20 verses during their event on Wednesday, Feb. 16. A total of 80 kids recited 1,049 verses in about an hour and a half.
The youth have been raising funds for a couple weeks and they'll continue accepting donations through March 2.
Awana is focusing on eight different countries in Africa to spread the Gospel message. The group is asking for prayer for their project and donations to make this happen.
To donate to this project online, visit
The Verndale Awana Club meets Wednesday nights at the Verndale Alliance Church.
For more information about getting involved contact Dunrud at 218-296-2491 or

He's a writer, editor, photographer, truth seeker and promoter of the Wadena area.
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