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

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.