1.UMVIM is an approved United Methodist ministry.

2. The mission projects are vetted and screened.

3. Volunteer teams can continue their relationship with the project site they served at via The Advance and missionaries.

4. All are welcome to serve.

5. Training, forms, insurance, etc. available

6. It's simple. Contact umvimwj@hotmail.com to get started!

Faith in Action

Faith in Action

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu & Travel to Mexico; Volunteering in Tough Economic Times, Sri Lanka Emergency; Volunteers Bless Flood Victims in WA

In this photograph released by the Sri Lankan navy, a Tamil man and woman carry children after fleeing an area called the 'No Fire Zone' controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in northern Sri Lanka, April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Sri Lankan


Below is a link concerning swine flu outbreak in Mexico.

The CDC says, "CDC has NOT recommended that people avoid travel to Mexico at this time." They suggest instead that you take some precautions as outlined on the following website:



The Sunday School children from Rochester United Methodist Church gathered at the dairy farm of John Brunoff last Saturday to meet their cow. In the Lewis County town of Adna, they were celebrating helping him recover from last year’s flood in which all of his 272 cows drowned.
When the Sunday School heard about his need, they wanted to help. Leaders Danette and Bryan Jones organized a project selling Beanie Babies and candy bars, and raised over $650 toward the price of a cow. RUMC’s flood fund augmented that to buy a total of 2 cows.

Other UMC’s have joined in the project, including Moscow, Goldendale and Salmon Creek. Salmon Creek has donated more than $4000 just for this part of their flood recovery mission!
To date his herd has been rebuilt to 140 animals, 118 of which are milking. He needs to milk 200 to make a living. 15 pregnant heifers are available from a nearby farmer for $1500, a great bargain.

King 5 filmed the Sunday School visiting the farm; the story can be viewed at http://www.king5.com/video/index.html?nvid=353206

United Methodists made other great contributions that same day: Salmon Creek brought a gift of donated clothes for the Rochester Community Closet, RUMC’s new clothing bank started by Susie Hawes and June Gelvin. Also that day, Jim Truitt was coordinating about 40 volunteers from Edmonds, Vashon, Shelton, Salmon Creek, and Fairwood, First United Methodist of Olympia, and St. Andrew’s UMCs at five homes.

What a blessed day to see the joy shared as our churches work in community.
If you would like to contribute to the dairy cow project contact:
Brett DeMond, livingart@centurytel.net, 360-402-3037

If you would like information about donating to the Rochester Community Closet contact:
Susie Hawes, sjhawes@qwestoffice.net, 360-280-7797

If you would like to volunteer contact:
Ronda Cordill, r_cordill@hotmail.com, (509) 993-6753
Jim Truitt jftruitt@comcast.net, (253) 797-1680

*VOLUNTEERING IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES by Sue King, UMVIM Coordinator, Cal-Nevada Conference

Much of news and conversation is filled with gloom and despair regarding the current economic situation that our country and others around the world are facing. The concerns are undeniably real and can affect us and our loved ones personally and often with serious consequences.

It is at such times that we as people of faith are called to remember whose we are and who we are called to be. We are not alone.

I was reminded of this last Saturday at Epworth UMC in Berkeley. Forty people took six hours out of their free time on Saturday to attend an UMVIM team leader training....to gain knowledge about leading mission teams that help the many people in our world who are hurting and often forgotten. Instead of reacting to their own economic situations by turning their focus and limited resources INWARD, they were preparing to look OUTWARD and EXTEND the hand of Christ.

Beginning last year, a few people have asked me, “How is the economic situation affecting the Volunteers in Mission? Are there fewer volunteers going?” I can only say that the numbers of people wanting to serve continues to grow...this last training had the highest attendance ever! And, 2008 was another record year for volunteer numbers! Some churches are choosing to do more local trips in addition to usually scheduled international and hurricane response missions. It isn’t that volunteers haven’t been touched by the economic decline—it is because they know it, too, they want to help others they see hurting around them.

Yes, I am getting more frequent and urgent requests from churches and economically fragile communities here in California-Nevada Conference. They want to be UMVIM sites and receive volunteers help AND encouragement. Maybe you saw the Oprah show about the situation in Sacramento? Or, read the Sacramento Bee article about what Cameron Foothills UMC and others are doing to feed folks who have no option but to live in “tent cities”? This week I was assessing a site in Laton, CA and saw the orchards of older walnut trees that have been bulldozed and fields laying fallow because of drought in California—unemployment in Fresno County is 35% already. Those numbers include many of the agricultural workers who are at risk economically even in better times.

It is such a time as this that we are called to true compassion that result in deeds, not just platitudes. Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to take frequent looks at our UMVIM website to see what new local project has been added. There will be new ones every day.

Remember who you are.... and whose you are.

We are not alone when we reach out to another.....in prayer, in word, in actions.

In mission together,


UMCOR’s Sri Lanka office is working on the ground with other humanitarian aid organizations to provide emergency assistance to thousands who are being forced to flee from intense fighting in the northern region of Sri Lanka.

Thanks to an umbrella grant from the US Agency of International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), UMCOR is reaching the most vulnerable to provide 60,000 emergency kits that include water, glucose, and biscuits as well as help build 4,400 emergency shelters and 800 duplex-toilets for displaced people fleeing to Vavuniya.

In addition, UMCOR, working with the Ministry of Health and USAID/OFDA, provided World Health Organization standard emergency health kits and basic medical supplies to provide treatment to 50,000 hospitalized people in Vavuniya, Mannar and Padwiya where hospital resources are particularly strained.

Support this effort to help displaced people in Sri Lanka by giving to Sri Lanka Relief and Development, UMCOR Advance # 3020630.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009



Help Sierra Service Project (SSP) with a home renovation in South Los Angeles. In March and April, SSP volunteers began renovation on a house owned by the Vermont Square United Methodist Church. Starting in June the house will generate income for the church and be used as a non-profit office serving local youth. SSP will be hosting volunteer work days every Friday and Saturday in May to finish the house! Youth groups and adult volunteers are welcome. Come work for a day or bring your group for the weekend to work and stay at the church. Please contact Rick Eaton for more details and to RSVP: (916) 488-6441 or rickeaton@sierraserviceproject.org.

Honduras Service Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults

There is still space available in session one of Sierra Service Project’s Honduras service experience. Since 2003, Sierra Service Project has sent groups to Honduras every year and built 21 homes in total. Volunteers work alongside Honduran families and community members to build two simple, but safe, dry and secure brick homes. This is a cultural immersion program which offers insight into one of the poorest countries in the Americas to young people wishing to learn more about the area and selflessly serve. Project dates for session one to Talanga are June 21 – July 6. This trip will be led by Alan Cook. Alan is the director of Family Ministries and youth group leader at Central United Methodist Church in Stockton. Previously, Alan participated in a service trip to El Salvador and co-led a Southeast Asia mission experience as a student intern at Pacific School of Religion.

This service experience is open to mature youth and young adults. It is a great opportunity to meet other young people interested in social justice and service in Central America. Participants must be high school juniors and seniors, or college-age young adults. The trip cost is $1,995, which covers all expenses including airfare from Los Angeles. Limited financial assistance is available. The price of this trip will increase after May 1st due to an increase in airfare. Please visit the
SSP website, www.sierraserviceproject.org or call the office, (916) 488- 6441, for more information.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

News from the Ground: Individual Volunteer Experience in Georgia; Golden Cross Sunday; Volunteers Needed in Nicaragua, Nepal, & Guatamala & More

Photo: Children in Sierra Leon, courtesy creativevisions.org. To volunteer there read below>** STORIES FROM THE GROUND: NEWS FROM INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTEER IN GEORGIA

It is Monday, the day after Orthodox Easter and for many Georgians, it is cemetery day. People go to the cemetery and bring red eggs for their loved ones at the cemetery. When people get together they play a little game with the eggs, two people each hold an egg, bang them together, and whoever has the egg that cracks looses and has to give the egg to the winner. Many of our neighbors have stopped by and given us red eggs, precious gifts for Easter.

We have started using an exciting new laundry product called “BINGO”. It promises to “ facilitate” my life. Thus far, I am still waiting for the facilitation to begin but at least I have clean clothes.

Saturday morning the running club participated in the Easter Bunny Mystery run. It was an 8K run and it was raining pretty hard during most of the run. They did a great job in spite of the rain and their parents said that they were amazed that the girls were willing to come out and run in the rain. They wouldn’t do it for their parents or for their Georgian teachers. I suppose it helped that they got some small prizes like those obnoxious Easter candy things called “Peeps”. The kids here love them.

A week ago I visited an orphanage a little ways outside of the city. The orphanage houses about 110 kids between the ages of 6 and 15. When kids turn 16 they are booted out and must care for themselves the best they can. Many of them end up in trouble. Most of the kids are not true orphans but live there because their parents are either too poor to care for them, are in jail, etc. The conditions are relatively good compared to many such places and although their food isn’t fancy, it is adequate and they have clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in.

However, the women who work there do almost nothing to stimulate the kids to learn or acquire new skills. In spite of sunny pleasant weather the kids were all glued to the television watching inappropriate programs with vacant expressions on their faces. I am going to talk to the director of the orphanage about doing some trainings with the staff to teach them how to interact with the kids and to help them emotionally. One little boy appointed himself to be our guide and showed us all around the orphanage grounds. It breaks my heart to see kids who don’t have anyone to love them.

We have had political demonstrations in Tbilisi since April 9 but they have been totally peaceful with no major problems except for rerouting of traffic in the demonstration area. It has had minimal impact on us and we are not worried about it.

We hope you are all doing well and that spring is bringing you some warm sunny days. Stay in touch. We are always anxious to hear from you.
Vic and Kathy


A Sunday in May is recommended for the Golden Cross offering in support of the Health and Welfare Ministries of our Conference. The offering is used to support a number of different needs in Districts and local churches. The primary focus is the support of the sick, older adults, children and youth, and persons with disabilities.

Here are some opportunities for Health and Welfare Ministries in our local churches: the sick can seek a Parish Nurse's recommendations for diagnosis or treatment by specialists or preventive actions to maintain healthy bodies and minds; older adults can be encouraged to continue participation in church activities and physical exercises; health and housing support organizations can be identified for those needing assistance; child safety and care can be subjects for general instruction and specific guidance -- such as a good car seat or how to deal with childhood diseases; mentoring youth in their physical, mental, and spiritual lives which can lead to their continued good health; and meeting the challenge of making provisions for those with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of our church programs.

Applications for Golden Cross grants should describe the need and amount requested in a letter to the Conference Office. Contact Jim Russell at jimrussell1@juno.com or 425-788-6869 if you have any questions. Last year the applicants were flood victims in the Vancouver District so the relatively meager funds were distributed there. If we could reach an average contribution of forty dollars per church, we would have over ten thousand dollars to apply to the significant health and welfare needs in our Conference.


The church in Nepal is growing rapidly. If you feel called to serve in helping to build two churches in Nepal with an UMVIM team August 25 - September 13, 2009 then contact Jan & Kurt Kaiser at love2trvl.imbris.com.


The UMVIM (Volunteers in Missions) program is accepting teams to assist with the clean up and continue the long term recovery of 2007 while needs are being assessed from the 2009 flood.

If you or your church is interested in sending a team, please contact Ronda Cordill UMVIM Annual Conference Coordinator (509-235-5466/509-993-6753 or
r_cordill@hotmail.com) or Jim Truitt (253-630-1268 or jftruitt@comcast.net).


Regina and Bob Elgin will be leading a team to Managua, Nicaragua fromJune 14-23, 2010 to do these tasks:. English Tutoring. Bible School . Preschool projects . Church Construction To receive more information on this trip and how to register, pleasecontact Bob or Regina, relgin@cinci.rr.com, 513-777-5660. This is aUMVIM team from the Ohio River Valley District, East Ohio Conferenceand endorsed by teachUM, UMVIM-NCJ.Submitted by Lorna Jost, Coordinator, UMVIM-NCJ


ROMANIA MISSION TEAM - July 13-27, 2009 – VBS and community service projects supporting Global Hope ministry in Arad, Romania. You are invited to join this team! Contact Global Hope at 720.887.4673 or Will Johnston at willjohnston@earthlink.net

UMVIM TEAM LEADER TRAINING - Wednesday, June 17, 1-4 pm, Redlands UMC, Grand Junction. Contact Ann Fort, annfort8269@comcast.net, 303-220-0840 to register.3)

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE TRAINING - Wednesday, June 17, 1-4 pm, Redlands UMC, Grand Junction. Learn how your church can prepare for a disaster and how the United Methodist Church responds to disasters through UMCOR and UMVIM. To register, contact Rev. Gary Haddock, pastor@rumcgj.com, 970-245-1478.

VIMShare - The Winter 2009 issue of our VIMShare newsletter is on our web site, www.rmcvim.org.

DEBEQUE, CO UMC would like a team to help with VBS. Contact Pastor Roberta Botkin, 970-285-7912, 970-216-8682.

LOUISIANA - Youth volunteers age 14 and up are needed to help with home repair from Hurricane Gustav. Contact Laurie Byland, 225-383-4777, X255. Web site is www.thebluetarp.com

YOUNG ADULTS - Age 20-30 - You are invited to participate in an exciting program called Living Justice, June 13-17, 2009 in New York City. The program focus will be Eradicating the Diseases of Poverty:Women, Children and the Struggle for Wholeness. APPLICATION DEADLINE is May 1. Please contact Darlene DiDomineck, ddidomin@gbgm-umc.org, 212-870-3850.

SIERRA LEONE - YOUTH - watch an awesome video on You Tube by two youth who went to Sierra Leone to help build a school. Web site is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rUMdLsLHGM.

GUATEMALA - Medical team in September 2009 from St. Luke's UMC urgently needs NURSES to participate. Contact Rev. Pam Rowley, pam@stlukeshr.com, 303-791-0659.

THANK YOU - to all along the Colorado Front Range who have donated books for the "40,000 books for Kenya" Project!

UMCOR DEPOT UTAH - invites volunteers to come and help prepare the depot and process relief supplies.For information, contact Rev. Brian Diggs, 801-973-7250, WestDepot@UMCOR.org.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tornado Respose

Photo: Fire department volunteers help to clean-up a mobile home devastated by the tornado, courtesy FEMA/Leif Skoofgors


UMCOR provided emergency assistance following the April 10 tornado which struck the southeast including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

The 136 mph twister, was part of a string of severe storms that destroyed 500 homes and structures throughout seven counties. In Mena, Arkansas, more than 150 homes were damaged. Murfreesboro, Tennessee was especially hard hit with an estimated 250 homes damaged. Three teams from the Tennessee Annual Conference have responded with clean up efforts and others from the Memphis Annual Conference are on standby.

While assessment is ongoing, volunteer teams are needed for clean up.Those interested in volunteering should call Don Weeks at 501-681-2909 or email dweeks@arumc.org. For general inquiries, call Maxine Allen at 501-539-0280 or email mallen@arumc.org. You can support this effort by giving to Domestic Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ERT Training in Colorado; Laity & Clergy Training in Washington; UMCOR & Health Development

Photo: Gary Henderson, executive director of the UMC Global Health Initiative, responds to Bishop Ntambo of North Katanga Conference in the Democratice Republic of the Congo, courtesy UMC/Gary Henderson
* EARLY RESPONSE (ERT) TRAINING IN COLORADO APRIL 25, 2009, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This training is for people who would like to help with disaster relief soon after a disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane strikes. ERT members are self-sufficient, badged volunteers who help with tasks such as debris removal and making homes safe and secure. Training will be held at the Rocky Mountain Conference office in Greenwood Village, CO. To register, contact Betsy Keyack, bkeyack@att.net, 303-346-7057.

* Training Seminar for Laity & Clergy in Pacific Northwest Annual Conference

Over the years of my ministry, district training events have been the most consistently helpful and practical learning experiences available to me. Here in the Inland District, Rocks and Ripples 2009 promises to be such an event. I remember that in seminary, when a certain professor wanted to introduce us to a new idea, he'd say, "I want to drop a pebble in your pond." I spent a lot of happy hours as a kid skipping rocks across various North Central Washington lakes, and that professor's words brought a great picture to mind of rocks touching down on smooth lake waters and sending ripples out in every direction. I believe that this year's Rocks and Ripples will have a similar powerful effect on your leadership in your local church!

This year, in an attempt to bring that impact closer to where you live, we are offering two nearly identical sessions, the first starting at 8:30 a.m. at Simpson UMC in Pullman; the second starting at 2:30 at Spokane Valley UMC. Both sessions will feature our bishop, Grant Hagiya, speaking on "Sparking the Leader Within!" Our new bishop's passion is leadership; he's made a life-long study of the topic and has much to share. In addition, each session offers your choice of two workshops from many options. Whatever leadership role you have in your local church, whatever committee or team you serve on, you will find something of great help to you.

Thank you to those of you who have already made your choices and submitted your registration to the district office. If you are one who is still considering, I invite you to look over the options and sign up today! In order to have a fairly accurate count for the meals, we need your registrations by this Friday, April 17. So contact the district office by phone 509-838-3085, 800-549-1945, or by e-mail inland@pnwumc.org. You may register for your workshop then pay at the door. I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with you.

Dale Cockrum
Inland District Superintendent


A recent meeting of bishops and United Methodist health care leaders in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, has led to major capacity-building efforts throughout the Central Conferences in Africa through the assistance and support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Bishop Janice Huie, of UMCOR board president and residing bishop of the Texas Annual Conference, chaired the meeting.
Ten of the 12 African Central Conferences were represented at the gathering, which was also attended by representatives from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the United Nations Foundation, all key partners in The United Methodist Church's Global Health Initiative (GHI). The week-long meeting focused on creating a plan to help African Central Conferences and communities access resources so that their ministries can save more lives. The meeting included dialog and training sessions about ways each conference can build upon and improve existing health ministries; increase their partnerships and sustainability; and decrease dependence on the Church and US donations for health program support.

"This gathering laid the foundation for our ongoing cooperative work with the United Methodist health ministries in Africa," said Sam Dixon, Global Ministries' deputy general secretary for UMCOR and Global Health. "Working together, we can make a real impact on the health of the millions of people United Methodist hospitals and clinics serve, aiming to reduce maternal and child mortality and combat the devastating effect of diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS on African communities."

The meeting, also attended by United Methodist Communications, focused on assisting the conferences to build the capacity of local United Methodist hospitals and clinics, starting with developing health boards to coordinate their efforts. These health boards are the starting point for increasing capacity and effectiveness of the health ministries of each conference. This is especially important because across Africa, United Methodist hospitals and community based health care programs provide services to people and in remote villages where no other entity operates. These hospitals and programs need the consistent support and resources of the Central Conference structure to become more effective and save more lives. The aim of developing African Conference Health Boards is to provide oversight and backing to these critical health care ministries.To support United Methodist hospitals and clinics in their critical ministries of healing and health please give to Hospital Revitalization, UMCOR Advance #982168.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Volunteer in Ganta, Liberia, Toberman House Wins Humanitarian Award, Hope in the Sudan

Photo: Teresa Juan gathers water from the contaminated river prior to the UMCOR ministry, courtesy, UMCOR NGO

Operation Classroom is planning a teachers workshop July 25 to August 10 at the Ganta UM School, in Ganta, Liberia. They have requested workshops in :a. lesson planning, b. lesson presentation, c. classroom management,d. teaching methods for reading, math and science. Certificates will be given each participating teacher. The cost per teammember will be around $3,000 (depending on the price of the tickets whenthey are ordered.) The team will fly to Monrovia, spend one evening in Monrovia and then travelto Ganta. At Ganta they will be staying in a guest house. Time will begivento visit the hospital and the rehab center. Rev. Priscillaa Jaiah is theprincipal at the Ganta school. For more information and an application,contact Carolyn Wagner, PO Box 246, Colfax, IN 46035, orccwagner@hotmail.com. For more information about Operation Classroom, check the website:www.operationclassroom.org.


At the Toberman Neighborhood Center Gala Dinner Auction, “A Lifetime of Helping,” held recently in Long Beach, it was clear that, even in a down economy, the spirit of giving and volunteerism still prevails.

Toberman’s President and CEO Gloria Lockhart presented three “2009 Humanitarian
of the Year” awards to recognize the outstanding dedication and work done by its top volunteers and donors over the past year.

Award recipients included Bill and Joyce Sharman of Redondo Beach; Becky Noble of Chadwick School and the Village (K-6) division students at Chadwick, based in Palos Verdes; and Paul Freese of Public Counsel, Los Angeles.

Emceed by former NBA star and well-known LA sports figure Keith Erickson, the event played host to more than 250 guests and raised much-needed funds for Toberman’s social service programs. Among these programs are family counseling, emergency food and clothing, and an after-school safe haven where students come for homework completion, tutoring, reading development, a computer lab and recreation.

Toberman, a 106-year-old non-profit organization based in San Pedro,CA helps people break the cycle of poverty by orchestrating a myriad of social services for 15,000 financially struggling children, families and seniors every year. Toberman is situated on a brand-new, 36,000 square-foot campus completed in 2007.

Toberman Neighborhood Center, founded in 1903, is a Mission Project of the United Methodist Church: General Board of Global Ministries, Women’s Division and United Methodist Women. The organization was named “Non-Profit of the Year” by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles in 2006. Visit http://www.toberman.org/ for more information.


Teresa Juan spent 20 years as a refugee in Uganda, fleeing the civil conflict that wreaked havoc across southern Sudan for more than two decades, leaving more than one and a half million people dead. After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, refugees began feeling safe enough to go back to their native land. Now in her mid-fifties, Teresa recently returned to her country with her husband and eight children. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was there -- providing the tools Teresa needed to help her family make a fresh start.

Jobs, Water and Education
While Teresa felt safe for the first time in years, life remained difficult for Teresa and her family after returning to their village. Teresa, like countless other women across south Sudan, bears the heaviest cost of the legacy of war. Life as a refugee took a devastating physical toll on her husband, who can no longer work to sustain their family. Now, in addition to caring for her family and shouldering the burden of household chores, Teresa must find work to support her husband and children. While employment opportunities for women abound, most women lack the skills, tools, and capital to take advantage of those opportunities. UMCOR trains women in activities such as tailoring, vegetable gardening, catering, marketing and establishing small businesses.

Before UMCOR constructed a well in Teresa's village, Teresa's family relied on untreated water from a distant stream. "My family suffered greatly from drinking contaminated water," Teresa recalled. Like many other families without access to clean water, Teresa's family experienced diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and other side effects of waterborne illness. Not only did Teresa have to care for her often sick family, she had to walk 20 miles a day to gather the contaminated water. Now Teresa's water gathering activities can be measured in minutes rather than hours, allowing her to invest time in economic projects.
In that past, Teresa's children had few learning opportunities. Classes had been held under a tree large enough to provide shade from the hot sun but offered no protection from the rain. Schools canceled classes at the first sign of dark clouds. Primary school children now attend UMCOR constructed schools in Mankaro and Kenyi.

About UMCOR South Sudan
In countless villages across south Sudan the only education children have comes in the form of sporadic lessons under trees. Families still endure illness from contaminated water. Women continue to labor to provide sustenance and care to their families. UMCOR continues to work, village by village, to improve conditions for the people of south Sudan.

UMCOR began working in Sudan in February 2005 after assessment teams determined that UMCOR's experience could add to the humanitarian effort to alleviate suffering in South Darfur. Initial programs focused on providing essential non-food items to displaced people living in camps. UMCOR Sudan has since expanded its programs to include education, agriculture, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects. A second office was opened in South Sudan, a region with low levels of infrastructure and high levels of need. Programs in South Sudan focus on reintegration of the population by providing water and sanitation programs and school reconstruction after years of war.

You can support this work by giving to Sudan Emergency, UMCOR Advance 184385.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Greetings from Cambodia & the Country of Georgia; Mission News & Early Response Training; Volunteers Needed

Photo: Cambodian mother & daughters, courtesy, battembang.net

EASTER GREETINGS FROM CAMBODIA: by Katherine Parker, missionary

This is a special year when Easter coincides with the three day Khmer New Year festival. It will be quite a celebration. The rains are just starting to bless us with some cooling in the early evenings. In Cambodia we call this time of year when the rains return as the New Year because it marks that the time to begin growing rice is here. Farmers are out harrowing the fields and those with some irrigation are already starting to flood the paddies with the little remaining water in the ponds.Community Health and Agricultural Development (CHAD) just had a major evaluation with our partners from the Methodist Church in Finland. Lots of good feedback!

On my blog, a new story about prison outreach ministry is available. Thanks for reading. Thanks, also, for your continued support through prayers, visits and financial contributions .Happy Khmer New Year! Happy Passover! and Happy Easter!

*EASTER GREETINGS FROM THE COUNTRY OF GEORGIA by Kathy Starostka, Individual Volunteer
Happy Easter. I hope you are all well and that you have a wonderful Easter. The Georgian Orthodox Church goes by the old calendar so Easter will not be celebrated here until April 19. On Friday before Easter, parents will color many many eggs red to represent the blood of Christ. They do it only on good Friday and the children do not help. On Saturday night people go to church and spend the entire night there praying and the priests take turns reading scriptures. On Easter families break the fast of the last week six weeks during which many devout Georgians do not eat any animal products. They finally can eat animal products again so it is a happy time for them. They believe that fasting is a way to bring people closer to God. On the day after Easter people go to the cemetery to bring flowers and to leave food. They bring the colored eggs and two people each hold an egg, click them together and the person who breaks the other person’s egg will have good fortune. No Easter bunny here.

I have been busily setting up an instructional program in one of the small villages for several hundred refugees from the conflict last August. I have made arrangements for three of my students of English to go to the village two times a week and teach Georgian, English, and health and first aid.

April 9 was the day to remember the tragedy of when Russian troops came into Tbilisi about 20 years ago and shot down peaceful young people demonstrating in the streets. Tiko and I went down to that area where demonstrations were taking place yesterday. There were many people but it was totally peaceful. The people want changes in the government or at least they want the president of Georgia to acknowledge their problems and concerns.

My students at the Youth House are preparing songs, plays, and little poems for our end of the school year program. The little kids are doing Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They are memorizing everything in English which is quite an accomplishment for five year olds.

So life goes on in Georgia. We are doing fine, spring is here and we are waiting for strawberries to appear in the market.
Happy Happy Easter.


EARLY RESPONSE TEAM (ERT) Training - Saturday, April 25, 9:00 - 5:00 pm. This training is for people who would like to help with disaster relief soon after a disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane strikes. ERT members are self-sufficient, badged volunteers who help with tasks such as debris removal and making homes safe and secure. Training will be held at the Rocky Mountain Conference office in Greenwood Village, CO. To register, contact Betsy Keyack, bkeyack@att.net, 303-346-7057.


St. Luke's UMC 2009 Guatemala surgical team will be providing surgeries in Guatemala the week of September 11 - 20, 2009. We still need more nurses for this trip. Please contact Mark Ely, marcos@puravida.org if you are a nurse who would like to participate in this amazing trip. Please spread the word to nurses at your church and place of business!

McCURDY SCHOOL MISSION TRIP, New Mexico - You are invited to join a team from Salt Lake City on this mission trip, August 9-14. Contact Marilyn and Hugh Douglas, 801-571-4870.


UTE MOUNTAIN NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATION, Tawaoc, CO - You are invited to join a team from Salt Lake City on this mission trip, July 6-10. Contact Marilyn and Hugh Douglas, 801-571-4870.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fight Malaria; Volunteers Needed in Washington State

Photo: Ad for Nothing But Nets, courtesy www.umc.org


Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly challenged his readers to donate $10 for the purchase of an anti-malaria bed net, and thousands of people have joined the campaign. The people of The United Methodist Church, along with Sports Illustrated, NBA Cares, the United Nations Foundation and several other groups, are raising funds to purchase bed nets to end malaria. You can join the cause and contribute money for bed nets that will keep children and families safe.

The children of Africa need you to help stop the spread of this disease. There are many different ways to prevent malaria. Bed nets, vaccinations, insecticide spraying and water treatment are important tools. Purchasing bed nets is an easy way for individuals to make a difference in combating this disease. At this time, no consistently effective malaria vaccine exists. Plasmodium, the parasite that carries the disease, changes rapidly and can become drug resistant. With your help, we can slam dunk this disease.

Stop malaria from scoring! Send a net. Save a life. Bed nets work in two ways: They stop mosquitoes from biting during the night and spreading the disease, and the insecticide on the net kills mosquitoes when they land on it.

Send a net. Save a life. You can save a life by making a $10 donation through The Advance (982015). It's that easy.
Cheerleaders are needed to spread the word and get everyone involved. Adopt the Nothing But Nets campaign as a mission project. Display your Nothing But Nets poster prominently in your church. Ask the pastor to receive a special offering during a worship service devoted to mission.
Lead a fundraising campaign to fight malaria. Order a game plan to get additional information. Go to www.umc.org for more info.

The UMVIM (Volunteers in Missions) program is accepting teams to assist with the clean up and continue the long term recovery of 2007 while needs are being assessed from the 2009 flood.

If you or your church is interested in sending a team, please contact Ronda Cordill UMVIM Annual Conference Coordinator (509-235-5466/509-993-6753 or r_cordill@hotmail.com) or Jim Truitt (253-630-1268 or jftruitt@comcast.net).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Volunteers Needed in Alaska; UMCOR in the Dakotas; New Birthing Kits Needed; Chocolate Makes A Difference

Photo: Sign at Eagle River Methodist Camp in Juneau, Alaska, courtesy methodistcamp.org.


Eagle River Methodist Camp needs volunteers to be staff at its Discover Camp. The Discover Camp is the 3rd-8th grade elementary camp that is led by Sandie Coon. The camp will be held July 26-31, 2009. For more information contact Alaska UMVIM Coordinator Lori Staats at staatslori@gmail.com and Susan Bus at susanb@serrc.org.


UMCOR’s disaster response personnel are on the ground this week to assist the Minnesota Annual Conference and the Dakotas Annual Conference in flood recovery following last week’s river crest that flooded several communities in Fargo and Moorhead. About 3,000 cleaning buckets have arrived to aid in clean-up.

Red River basin residents are monitoring sandbag dikes, as bad weather continues and a possible second crest threatens the levees.
Volunteers may contact, Lorna Jost, Volunteers in Mission coordinator for the North Central Jurisdiction, at 605-692-3390 or send an e-mail to
umvim-ncj@brookings.net. While volunteers will not be deployed right away, it is anticipated that help will be needed for months to come. You can also help Red River residents by giving to Domestic Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670.


In developing countries, an estimated 60 million women give birth with the help an untrained birth attendant or family member. Without the basic, sanitary tools for delivery, newborns can develop a Tetanus infection, the leading cause of infant mortality.

To reduce this risk, UMCOR’s list of relief supplies now includes a birthing kit to aid attendants in conducting clean and safe deliveries. The birthing kit costs about $8 to assemble and contains basic yet essential items such as soap, latex gloves, plastic sheeting to receive the baby, string and a clean razor blade to cut and tie the umbilical cord, two receiving blankets and a zip lock bag.

Observe World Health Day (April 7) this week by supporting this new birthing kit initiative and promoting safe and healthy deliveries. Download the birthing kit instructions now or give to Material Resources, UMCOR Advance #901440. to purchase its contents.


UMCOR is encouraging United Methodists everywhere to stock up in advance on fair trade purchases, especially chocolate in preparation for Easter Sunday, April 12. Why not consider giving fair trade Easter baskets as gifts to family or friends? By doing so, you help small scale farmers increase their livelihood and help UMCOR meet its 100-Ton goal.

As of March 4, United Methodist congregations and individuals participating in UMCOR’s 100-Ton Challenge bought nearly 70 tons of fairly traded products through the UMCOR’s partner Equal Exchange. United Methodists purchased 115,506 pounds of coffee and 9,729 pounds of chocolate.

With every pound sold, small scale farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia benefit. Buy your fair trade chocolate now at Equal Exchange Interfaith Store. You can also give to UMCOR SA&D Program, UMCOR Advance #982188.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jamaa Letu Orphanage; Individual Volunteer Training; ERT Training; My Story from Mexico City;UMVIM to the Holy Land; Hurricanes

Photos: Children at Jamaa Letu Orphanage (top), courtesy pnwumc.org; plaza in Mexico City (middle), courtesy travelblog.com; Devastation from a hurricane (middle), courtesy umvim.info; and City of Bethlehem (bottom), courtesy holyland.com.

Online Donations Now Possible for Jamaa Letu Orphanage in Congo
It is now possible to make an online donation to the Jamaa Letu Orphanage in the Congo.
To make a donation to this special place that receives much support and love from those in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, simply go to www.pnwumc.org.

Individual Volunteer Training for Those in the Western Jurisdiction, June 2009
Interested in becoming an Individual Volunteer? Come to the training event held at the beautiful Aldersgate Retreat Center in Pacific Palisades, CA June 25-28, 2009. For more information about the program and this training contact Landon Taylor at ltaylor@gbgm-umc.org or Nancy Eubanks at nteubanks@gmail.com.

ERT (Early Response Team) Training In Rocky Mountain Conference
If you feel called to be an ERT or Early Responder volunteer after a disaster then you must receive training. There will be an ERT training in the Rocky Mountain Conference Center in Denver, CO April 25th from 9:00 am to 5 pm. For more information, please contact Betsy Keyack and/or Ann Fort, the Rocky Mountain UMVIM Coordinators, at bkeyack@att.net and annfort8269@comcast.net. If you want to have a training in your annual conference contact Heather Wilson at umvimwj@hotmail.com and Barbara Tripp from UMCOR at barbaratripp@earthlink.net.

My Story: The UMVIM/UMCOR Consultation in Mexico City, by Chuck Kriegh, PNW UMVIM Task Force
This meeting was very meaningful for me as I really only knew about the VIM from the standpoint of being a Team Leader to the Chihuahua City region of Northern Mexico. I believe the thing that most impressed me was the time we spent in dialog with the other participants. The list of people from South America, Central America, Mexico, Cuba, Caribbean Island and of course the Untied States was very impressive to me. To be able to meet with people doing what I have spent 12 years doing was very rewarding to me.

I learned that when when we do things with and in those countries with less resources we don't always do good. Sometimes, we can do great harm even though we have good intentions. As Americans we often have the attitude that we "can fix it" and that we know what is best. But the reality is that the greatest blessing behind UMVIM is not the clinics, churches, hospitals built or the wells dug, or the immunization shots given. These are all important and great. However, what is greater than this is the building of relationships in Christ. My Latin American brothers and sisters told me that what they loved most about the work of the volunteers was the opportunity it gave for all of us to connect, learn about one another from one another, and share what Christ and done in our lives.

I also learned that there is an office at Global Ministries that is just dedicated for watching out for the safety of children who are minor volunteers and/or at an UMVIM site. This office is headed by Joanne Reich and she gave a great presenation at the consultation.

In addition, I found out about how volunteers can financially support their UMVIM work through The Advance for Christ and His Church. Many of the sites teams serve at are also Advance sites and can receive 100% of your donation. So even if you cannot go on a team you can support their work and ministry through The Advance.
Finally, I received information about the Individual Volunteer program which allows an individual to serve for 2 months to 3 years as a volunteer. There are places all around the world that are requesting individuals that often will provide room & board and/or a small stipend for your service.

When I was on the plane ride home along with Debra Conklin and Heather Wilson, our minds were full of ideas to make UMVIM an even better and more effective ministry in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the Western Jurisdiction. My heart was full of love for my Latin American brothers and sisters and I am renewed and inspired to continue to the work God has called each of us to do for His honor and glory.

UMVIM Team to Serve in the Holy Land
The group will depart on December 28, 2009 from Sacramento and return January 13, 2010. Rev. Tana McDonald is leading this tour assisted by Rev. Don Lee, and Rosann Mackey.
While in the Holy Land, you will prayerfully participate in strengthening our UMC peace and justice connections. You will live in Bethlehem, at the complex of the Basilica of the Nativity, interact and worship daily with Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Our group will visit Deheisha Refugee Camp, Hebron/Christian Peacemakers, Lutheran Christmas Church/numerous mission projects. We will have a suitcase ministry and deliver much needed children’s medicines/school supplies to HOPE Secondary School.

On January 6th you will leave the walls of Bethlehem and move to Jerusalem. In addition to sacred site-seeing we will worship with our Jewish brothers and sisters at the Wailing Wall and meet several Israeli Peace activists and justice partners.

Lastly we move on to Jericho and up to the Jordan River to reaffirm our baptism before heading to the Sea of Galilee, Mt. of the Beatitudes, Capernaum and Nazareth. Our lodging will be on the Sea of Galilee at a lovely, peaceful spiritual retreat center.
Estimated cost (including lodging, 2 meals daily, [except for one dinner at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem]) is $4000. Applications are available now. Get your passport if you think you would like to join us. Orientation and educational meetings will be held at Sierra Pines UMC on Saturdays: September 26th, October 24th, and November 21st, from 11:00 AM-3:00 PM. Plan to make at least two of the meeting to be eligible to go.
Our most important mission work is connectional--meeting Israeli, Palestinian and Muslim peacemakers.

If you would like more information on this trip, please contact Rev. Tana revtana@gmail.com Taylorsville/Greenville/Chester UMC, (530) 284-7316, or Rev. Don Lee at revdonlee@gmail.com Sierra Pines UMC(530) 268-6907, or Rosann Mackey at rosann.VIM2009@gmail.com (530) 272-6566.

Volunteers Needed for Hurricane Recovery Work
If you plan to take an UMVIM team or go yourself, please do not go before contacting the Disaster Response or Storm Recovery Center. They are coordinating all response efforts and will direct you appropriately. Early Response Training is needed ! See your Jurisdictional UMVIM website for upcoming training sessions.

Ron Baughman, Director of VolunteersTel - Office (251) 340-1985; Cell (251) 591-4443E-mail: rbaughman@awfumc.org
Disaster Recovery Ministry6333 Piccadilly Square DriveMobile, AL 36609Website:

FLORIDA CONFERENCELin Arnold-Skrovanek, Storm Center ManagerTel 800-282-8011 Ext 198Fax 863-688-7233E-mail: larnold-skrovanek@flumc.org

Louisiana UM Disaster Recovery Ministry
141 North 6th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802Office (225) 346-5193Fax (225) 346-6974Website: http://www.laumcstormrelief.comE-mail: laumdisastermin@bellsouth.netRev. Yvonne Dayries, Manager of VolunteersE-mail: ydayries@bellsouth.netMerci Center, North CarolinaPhil Platter, Early Response Coordinator Tel 888-440-9167
Mississippi ConferenceBeth Dean, Volunteer Teams Coordinator Tel (866) 435-7091 or 7092 or 7093E-mail:

Missouri: Tornado Disaster Response - Volunteers needed to help with cleanup and repairs
Office of Creative Ministries, Tel (573) 474-7155 Donations to UMCOR Advance #901670, Domestic Disaster Response
Texas Conference - Rita RecoveryWebsite: http://www.umcortexas.com/E-mail: volunteers@umcortexas.comTel (409) 892-0140

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hands-On Chain Saw Training for Early Response Teams (ERT); Travel Ban to Cuba; Red River Flood Watch; & Missionary Carol Partridge Visits

Photos: Havana Cuba coastline (top, courtesy theodora.com), Missionary Carol Partridge (middle, courtesy gbgm-umc.org), Red River in North Dakota (bottom, courtesy latimes.com)
Chain-Saw Training for Early Response Teams (ERTs)
Bob Lee of Los Altos UMC, CA and Dave Drew of Gardenerville UMC, NV have been hard at work putting together hands-on chain saw training for Early Response Teams that attended last falls UMCOR trainings in Los Altos, CA or Reno, NV. The training is also open to ERT trained folks trained at other times in the past, too! We can offer the training in May 15-17 for one or two days (depends on numbers of responses!) PLEASE, REPLY PROMPTLY-- we need to know how many of you would be willing to commit your time, travel and $17.25/day for food to come to the training May 15-17th at UM Camp Lodestar

This training will offer hands on, supervised, safe practices to help our Early Response Teams understand the way to approach debris removal that disasters create. ERTs will also come away with the ability to recognize when they don’t have the expertise to take on some jobs..

Topics covered are: site safety, maintenance of the saw, safety of surrounding workers, safe operation of running and non running saws, safe approaches to stressed wood piles( how to avoid pop ups, sling backs & widow makers etc.) PPE (by OSHA standards at minimum). We will issue a CA-NV UMC certificate that lists the topics covered and states the participants have successfully met the standards of training as a ERT chain saw operator and are registered with CA-NV conference and UMCOR.

The training location is Camp Lodestar in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, near Wileyville, CA. See description here http://cnconsole.brickriver.com/files/oImage_Library_FQADXU/about_our_camps_and_campsites_BNT9FTXW.pdf
The camp is glad to provide housing for us AND we will provide free brush and tree-cutting for the development of their ropes course--all while getting our hands-on training and certification! If you are flying in, Sacramento (SMF) would be a good airport to use.

The first Chain Saw Session starts Friday evening with Safety and Maintenance instruction. All day Saturday is hands-on training cutting brush and trees. If we have enough interest, we will do two sessions—max of 10 people each session.

Also, we are trying to schedule an UMCOR instructor for a Friday evening/ Saturday Early Response Team training. So, if you didn’t do ERT at Los Altos or Reno last fall, you can sign up this time!

Bob and I are hopeful that a group of 10 who are already ERT trained could begin with Safety and Maintenance on Friday evening with “hands on” on Saturday and another group from the ERT class held Saturday could do Safety and Maintenance Saturday evening with “hands on” on Sunday.

Students will be required to provide their own safety equipment, sharpening tools and saws maybe even a wedge if they have it. Also fuel and oil.
Safety equipment is mandatory and should include: Hard Hat, Safety Glasses, work boots, chaps, lightweight leather work gloves & hearing protection.

All volunteers need to complete the attached GBGM insurance form and send it to CA-NV UMVIM office. CA-NV UMVIM will cover the cost of the insurance, but ALL must send the original, signed GBGM insurance application by May 1, 2009.

If you want to register for the training, please contact:

Eddie Frutchey
Administrative Assistant for UM Volunteers in Mission
California-Nevada UM Conference
P.O. Box 980250 West Sacramento CA. 95798-0250 (mail)
1276 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento CA. 95691 (location)
Office: (916) 374-1584
Fax: (916) 372-5544

If you have questions about the training, please contact:

Bob Lee
Cell 650-468-1612
Home 650-941-0260
Email carm-lee@pacbell.net
140 Hamilton Court
Los Altos, Ca. 94022


Sue King, PhD
Director of Volunteers in Mission
California-Nevada UM Conference
P.O. Box 980250 West Sacramento CA. 95798-0250 (mail)
1276 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento CA. 95691 (location)
Office: (916) 374-1582; Mobile: (916) 202-3879
Fax: (916) 372-5544

Churches Ask For End To Cuba Travel Ban

NEW YORK (UMNS)-U.S. Protestant denominations and agencies, including the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and Board of Church and Society, are asking Congress to lift the travel ban that severely limits their interactions with churches in Cuba. The letter to Congress notes that the decades-old ban particularly reduces the ability of national and regional church groups to send delegations to Cuba and support church partners in that country. Congress recently passed legislation that permits U.S. citizens with relatives in Cuba to visit more often and for longer periods than in the past. The relaxation of the restrictions on relative visits did not affect the general travel ban. The letter asks for support of H.R. 874 in the House and S. 428 in the Senate, bills that would lift the travel ban.

Red River Flood Watch in North Dakota & Minnesota

Residents near the Red River, the border between Minnesota and North Dakota, are continuing to watch cautiously for breaches in sandbag levees.

Although the river continued to recede - dropping to just above 38 feet early on March 31 as a snowstorm blanketed the region - melting snow could bring a second flood crest by mid-April, the National Weather Service said.

"Half a dozen homes of people in Grace United Methodist Church (in Moorhead, Minnesota) are in imminent danger if a levee were to fail," the Rev. Craig Haberman, Grace's pastor, told his North Star District superintendent, the Rev. Alan Bolte. "Members in our congregation [who are] affected are evacuating, either out of town or to homes on higher ground here in Fargo/Moorhead."

On March 29 - the day after the river crested - about 78 people, fewer than the usual 105, attended Sunday morning worship at Grace church. Haberman extended that morning's time for sharing joys and concerns so people could learn and share news on how others are doing.

The Rev. Duane Gebhard, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Crookston, Minnesota, said that though water was receding in the Red Lake River, Crookston members were most concerned that ice jams could raise the river levels several feet.

In many riverside towns, residents who had not evacuated were urged to block household drains to prevent household flooding. Several still experienced basement seepage. Rural areas lie outside the zone protected by levees. Some farms are flooded or isolated by surrounding floodwaters. Some town and city streets are under water.

Bolte said that a number of United Methodists from around Minnesota have traveled to Fargo/Moorhead to help with the sandbagging task, including groups from Litchfield, Grace (Fergus Falls), and Alexandria United Methodist churches.

Other congregations have begun preparing cleaning buckets as prescribed by United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Making an assessment
The Rev. Heather Klason, Minnesota Conference disaster response coordinator, foresees entering the area in the coming week with the president of Minnesota Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters to make an assessment. Clean-up will probably begin in a few weeks.

"I ask for prayers for all the folks who are in the path of this flood, including our pastors, our churches and all of the communities and families who live outside of the communities, some who have already lost their homes," Bolte said. "Pray the levees hold. Pray for those all along the Red River as the amount of water increases as it flows north.

"I also lift praise to God for all the efforts of volunteers who have given their time and energy to do this massive work," he said.

Those interested in sending volunteer teams to the flood area are asked to contact Lorna Jost, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinator for the North Central Jurisdiction, at 605.692.3390 or umvim-ncj@brookings.net.

Teams would not be deployed for another three or four weeks, according to Jost, but probably will be needed for many months to come. Volunteers are asked to refrain from directly contacting pastors in the Fargo/Moorhead area.

UMCOR is coordinating donations to assist communities affected by the Red River flooding. Drop checks in church offering plates or mail them directly to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Write Advance #901670 Domestic Disaster Response, Red River Floods, on the memo line. Credit card donations may be made online or by calling 800.554.8583.

*Rebeck is Director of Communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Missionary Carol Partridge in Cal-Nevada Conference

Carol Partridge, a General Board of Global Missions Missionary serving in Macedonia as Director of Christian Education, will give a presentation of her work at a dinner gathering hosted by Epworth United Methodist Church in Fallon, Nevada on Monday, April 6.

The church is located at 280 E. Stillwater Avenue, Fallon, NV 89406.

If you're interested in attending, contact Kathy Fraker at kathyfraker@charter.net or 775.867.3095.

For information about Carol Partridge's other scheduled visits, view Confirmed Itineration Schedule here or contact Laddie Perez-Galang, Conference Secretary of Global Ministries, at 510.396.2347 or laddieg@pacbell.net.

To learn more about Carol and her missionary work in Macedonia, read her biography, found on the GBGM website, or visit her website at http://www.carolpartridge.com/.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Story of Service: From California to Mississippi

Cal-Pac Mission Team Serves in Mississippi

The 2009 Pasadena Mission trip to Mississippi worked alongside the heroes from the storm, and witnessed the return of many businesses to the community. We were challenged to keep in mind that our task of building houses, was in the context of rebuilding hearts and homes in Mississippi. Our team of 20 people met up with the Riverside district at the Ontario Airport and partnered together in working on seven homes.

The Team
The Pasadena Mississippi Mission Team was made up of 20 people from seven different churches: David Shellman from Covina UMC, Becky Haase, Sheldon Haase, Howard, Fallman, Mark McConnell, Larry Andreason, Michelle Park, David Palmer, Rich Garner from Glendale First UMC, Carl Weekly from Live Again, Nancy Oriet from Sonrise; David Crismer from Sierra Madre UMC, Scott Kinkennon and Wesley Swords from Lancaster UMC, Sun Young Park, April Jackson, Annica Carey, Doreen Nakamura from Sage-Granada Park UMC, Miles Harlan from Tujunga UMC, Donna Albrecht from Palmdale UMC.

The Task
There was a great amount of work that was done by the team this year. The Pasadena Riverside team was divided into 7 smaller work teams when we arrived at camp Gulfside. Our teams painted a house, installed plumbing, put in flooring, framed a house, dry walled, installed lighting and doors, cleared debris, cleaned bathrooms, and many other needed tasks. Our crew was lead by our crew chief – Sheldon Haase who made sure that the many hands were not idle. Other crew leaders were David Shellman, Mark McConnel, Carl Weekly, and Miles Harlan. Without capable leaders it would be impossible to get the tasks accomplished.

The Mission
This year many of the homeowners worked alongside our team. Here is one example of how God utilized our team in demonstrating a tangible sign of love. On Monday afternoon, a young man came to the mission site to ask for a tarp to cover his roof before the heavy rains that night. The tiles for his roof had not arrived yet, and the paper covering his roof wasn’t sufficient to weather the coming storm. As he shared his plight with the director, our crew chief sprang into action by collecting the needed materials, and calling various people from different crews to come to this man’s house and install the felt for the roof. Within the hour a team assembled at his house and secured his roof. The young man was overwhelmed by the team’s generosity noting that all the hard work he had put into the house would have been lost if the rain had come in and saturated the dry wall and insulation. He shared thanks with the team saying that he felt that God had brought us to him. While listening to his story, I was reminded that God’s abundant love is seen though the outpouring of our love in direct action.

The Pasadena District Union provided a generous contribution to our team this year. Participating churches and individuals helped to raise money by put together special events or through fundraising letters. The giving of this district and its congregations exceeded expectations. Thank you to all who gave towards this mission trip! Your gifts have made a difference in the lives of the people that we served.

Next Year
The team has again signed up to return to Mississippi to build hearts and homes in Mississippi. The energy that comes from being part of mission in a tangible and practical way is inspirational and can only come from God. Our team will be going April 17th - 24th.

Respectfully submitted by
Rev. David Palmer,
Team Coordinator