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Virginia church collects funds, air miles to help members bury their son


The Roanoke Times reports on Efiong and Kate Etuk, members of the Blacksburg Church of Christ in Virginia.
The family, originally from Nigeria, seeks funds to bury their 24-year-old son, Azuka, who died while playing soccer in Malaysia.

Members of the Blacksburg Church of Christ, the church the Etuks attend, have been working to help.

Efiong and Kate Etuk hold photos of their three eldest children, whom they left behind in Nigeria when they traveled to Blacksburg. Their son Azuka died in May in Malaysia, and the parents are trying to pull together resources to collect his remains and bury him. (Photo by Daniel Lin, via www.roanoke.com)

One of the church’s deacons, Travis Higgs, wrote an open letter to the congregation expressing the need for the church to support one of its own in such a difficult time.
The Etuks have been attending the church since 1995.
In the letter, Higgs wrote that the church will hold a car wash and yard and bake sale for the family to help them raise the funds to give Azuka’s life closure.
In addition to the money needed for Azuka’s burial, Efiong and Kate will need round-trip plane tickets from Roanoke to Malaysia. Airline tickets would also be needed for the entire family’s trip to Nigeria in the fall.
Friends of the Etuks, John Leehman and Sandy Toensing, have stepped in with an idea that seems to have merit. They contacted U.S. Airways about donating their own mileage reward points to the Etuks so they can purchase airline tickets. The couple also spread the word about the Etuks’ plight.
Efiong and Kate need about 160,000 airline points and $200 to $250 in taxes and fees for their trip to Malaysia. The entire Etuk family will need roughly 350,000 airline points plus $450 to $500 in taxes and fees for tickets to Nigeria.
In addition to airfare and the $7,000 for cremation and burial, the Etuks will need $3,000 in travel expenses for the trips to Malaysia and Nigeria.
As of Friday, the Blacksburg Church of Christ had raised $2,250, and the Etuks had received 165,000 donated airline points.
“They are a fine, hard-working family with good family values,” Leehman said. “These are good folks who deserve our support.”

Read the full story, which includes information about donating funds for the family.

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