Adventist church members will gather this weekend for a three-day convention that will feature South African Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Zukisani Mxoli.

The three-day annual convention, which begins Friday (12 January), with its theme, “If I can Help Somebody…,” will set the tone for Cayman’s Adventist Church’s continued community welfare focus in 2018.

“The convention theme reflects the church’s continuing focus and commitment to ameliorating community needs,” said Pastor Shion O’Connor, who heads the church in the Cayman Islands. “We selected our speaker this year because of his outstanding philanthropic role in this part of the world and well beyond, where he has many times achieved miraculous results armed with faith alone along with his dependence on God.”

An architect, lay preacher and evangelist, Mr. Mxoli’s direct professional involvement and inspirational leadership have resulted in the building of not only Adventist churches and administrative offices but medical, educational, community and other facilities across Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines and beyond.

Evangelist Zuki, as he is affectionately known in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa, has achieved this creditable record largely through his South African property development and architectural firm, administered with his wife Palesa (Pali), and by means of a supporting ministry, the Word Lives Ministries, which they run together.

The joint professional and ministry infrastructural development projects now extend into more than seven countries, with financial contributions ranging from 50% to 100% of costs.

These have included Lesotho’s ZAR$1.4 million (south African rand, equating to approximately US$110,000) Maluti School of Nursing, for its administration block and ten classrooms.

Other projects funded partly or in full by the joint professional and ministry partnership have included the ZAR$3 million (approx. US$236,000) science building for the Rusangu University in Zambia, and a ZAR$1.04 million (approx. US$79,000) library for the Kanye Adventist Hospital in Botswana.

The ZAR$2.3 (approx. US$181,000) construction cost for the married housing headquarters for Helderberg College in Cape Town was covered in full by Word Lives Ministries.

Then there was the Triumphant College main campus, in Windhoek, Namibia, for which Mr. Mxoli’s Word Lives Ministries matched the college’s ZAR$1,500,000 (approx. US$118,000), and the Helderberg High School, to which his architectural firm donated the drawings for the campus’ main sporting and cultural arena.

In Malawi, Mr. Mxoli’s ministries again contributed substantially to the ZAR$1.375 million (approx. US$108,000) for the construction of the student dormitory for the Malawi Adventist University.  In New Zealand, the architectural firm donated full architectural services to the New Zealand Centre of Influence, which includes a sporting and cultural auditorium, chapel, and related facilities.

This does not include a large array of other educational, church and administrative office projects supported by Mr. Mxoli’s architectural firm and Word Lives Ministries, either by way of professional architectural services or in financial contributions.

As a result of his impressive philanthropy, Mr. Mxoli is in high demand as an inspirational speaker. Such worldwide endeavours have taken him to countries such as Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, and a host of Central Africa and Northern African countries.
More recently, he was special guest speaker in Jamaica for that country’s church’s 2017 annual convention.

This level of professional and personal commitment has not always been easy, as reported in the March 2015 cover story for Adventist World, the Official news magazine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, published in 13 languages on the web and in seven languages in print.

The March 2015 article recounts the first philanthropic building experience, when Mr. Mxoli and his wife opted to build a church for a congregation in Katlehong, a township located 35 km east of Johannesburg. It was an initiative that almost brought them to financial disaster.

The downturn began when the local municipality challenged the church’s land agreement; overnight the bank withdrew further lending for the project.

But the Mxolis refused to be deterred and began to draw upon their personal resources to fund the construction of the US$300,000 edifice.

In addition to the problems that began to plague the project, an economic slump had hit South Africa, and the demand for building services had rapidly declined, so the Mxolis’ business income suffered a major decline.

The couple, however, refused to be daunted, despite falling into arrears on their bank payments for their house and vehicles for up to three months, and the advice of their lawyers and accountants to stop the “foolishness” of giving all they have to others.

But just in the nick of time, just three days away from foreclosure on their own home, a major South African businessman called.  He had seen the church being built by the Mxolis entirely at their own expense and was so moved that he contracted their company on the spot for a large building project.

Not only that, he paid Mr. Mxoli 50% of the agreed fees in advance, enabling the Mxolis to greet the agents who turned up to repossess all that the family owned with the news that they would be making all payments in full.

“It was the greatest moment of our lives,” Mr. Mxoli is quoted as saying in Adventist World, adding: “Once we take on a project, we make the commitment and then we ask God to provide the money—and He does.  Our faith in Him is growing every day.”

When not travelling worldwide as an inspirational speaker and overseeing his various business and church-related projects and ministries, Mr. Mxoli serves as a member of the Washington DC-based Adventist Church headquarters’ Executive Committee that directs affairs worldwide.

He and his wife Palesa reside in Johannesburg South Africa with their five children.

The Adventist Church in the Cayman Islands, comprising of some 15 churches and two companies across the three islands, has a total of some 6,000 active members.

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