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

Friday, July 31, 2009


Photo: Devastation caused by ice-flooding in Alaska, courtesy http://www.nationalgeographic.com/.

Volunteers will be responsible for their own travel expense and should plan on arriving in Fairbanks or Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. Travel from these two locations is being provided, but must be coordinated beforehand. Coordination for travel from Dawson will handled by Rob, and will require an up to date Passport. Travel through Fairbanks will be done with Arlan DeYong at ajdeyong@gci.net. It might require folks to spend a night in a motel in Fairbanks. Ideally people would fly to Anchorage, rent an RV big enough to house the team and then drive to Eagle. That would provide a better housing arrangement but it would be much more expensive.

Housing at this time is tents and temperatures can get a little cool so they need to bring sleeping bags rated to 0 degrees. They can check weather at http://www.acuweather.com/ or http://www.weatherunderground.com/ for the time they will be there.

Food is being provided and showers are available in the school.

Please bring your own hand tools. You might even want to bring some you could leave there after you are ready to return. I am sure the residents can put them to good use.

This is a remote village and there is little shopping available, so it is imperative that the volunteers come prepared for their own needs for the duration of their stay. It is being recommended that a stay of two weeks is best.

There will be the possible need for teams next year but what that will look like will not be clear until after September.

Thank you.


1) A Multi-Church Team to Vava’u, Tonga: July 21 – August 4, 2009
Richard Thompson from Bakersfield – First UMC will lead a team of 15 volunteers from various churches in our conference, Oklahoma and Washington to Tonga. The team will be doing medical work, construction work and an after-school program. Joining Richard will be Ofa Thompson, Rebekah Thompson, Aaron Thompson, Ray Bowles, Fred Cramer, Gerry Stratton and Scott Wallace of Bakersfield - First UMC Larry Kavinoky, Cindy Gyugyi, and Stephen Gyugyi of Palo Alto - Wesley UMC Mark Thompson of Miami, OK. and Wyatt Finn from Olympia, WA.

2) Mother and daughter volunteer to join missionary daughter in Cambodia:
June 23 – August 12
Martha Parker of Mill Valley – Mt. Tamalpais UMC will join her daughter Katherine Parker ( A GBGM UM Missionary) in Cambodia to aid with projects there. Martha’s other daughter Janet Parker has been serving in the region since April 28th and will continue through June 12th. Martha’s background is in nursing and she has a community health and advance practice as the Mill Valley School district nurse. You can check out all the Parker’s activities at Katherine’s missionary blog: http://chad-cambodia.blogspot.com/

3) Multi-Church Medical Team to Coatepique, Guatemala: July 31 – August 9
Doug & Betsy McLeod of Concord UMC will lead another team back to Guatemala. The team of 18 will include doctors, a LVN, a pharmacist and a medical student. They include Maribeth Sayre, Tim Paris, Jill Paris and Robert Kirk of Concord UMC Sidney Warner, Susan Pintar, Rebecca Jensen, Warren Shaul, Anita Shaul and Susan Paslov of Carson Valley - First UMC Judith Rech of Lexington, KY - First UMC Jan Pearson of Walnut Creek UMC Alice Impraim and Wolfgang Meier of Alamo - San Ramon Valley UMC Leslie Lessenger of Benicia, CA. - CCCUCC Michelle Kop and James Lessenger.

4) Lodi UMC to Camp Monte Toyon of Aptos, CA.: July 25 – Aug. 2
Team leader Kathy Baldauf will lead a team of 11 to serve at Camp Monte Toyon. They will be working on a variety of tasks there. Kathy will be joined by James Schultz, Larry Bonadurer, William Davidson, Henry Geiszler, Ina Schultz, Carol Bonadurer, Phyllis Geiszler, Virginia Moore, Virginia Green and Marilyn Field of Lodi - First UMC.

5) Korean UMC of Santa Clara Valley Team to Almaty, Kazakhstan: July 26 – Aug. 6
Team leader Jake Rhee will lead a team of 4 to serve in Kazakhstan. They will serve by fitting eye glasses and providing photo ministries there. Jake will be joined by Yune Oh, Suk Soon Chung, Kee Choi and Benson Choi of Korean UMC of Santa Clara Valley.

6) Assessment Team to Jamaica: August 4-9
Team leader and Interim UMVIM Director Phil Bandy will lead a team of 10 to Fiji to assess new projects there. Joining Phil will be Scott Allread, Frances Allred, Jerry Allred, Nymphas Edwards, Lois Edwards, Weldon Sons, Sandy Sons, Edward Hewitt and Susan Hewitt.

7) Lynnewood UMC of Pleasanton & First UMC of San Diego Team to
Seward, Alaska: August 8-15
Team leader Steve Elliott will lead a team of 9 to serve in Seward, Alaska. They will be doing some construction work as well as teaching VBS classes. Steve will be joined by Gabe Elliott, Becca Elliott, Kim Risedorph, Joy Hamilton, Wendy Kenley, Cyndi Atherton, Amy Atherton and Winifred Stribling of Pleasanton - Lynnewood UMC. Jeanne Runner-Arth of San Diego - First UMC

8) Multi-Church Team to Fiji: August 11-25
Team leaders Judith Church and Virisila Batiratu will lead 8 volunteers to serve in Fiji. They include Katherine Kim, Emma Kolb, Sandra Metzger, Gordon Metzger, Nancy O'Bryon, Beverly Schier, Procsy Vadao and Judith Potor.

9) Care-A-Vaners construction team works in Mt. Shasta, CA: August 30 – Sept. 8
Rod and Gloria Castor head up yet another group of nomadic volunteers who will go in mission, living out of their RVs while working on light construction and repair projects throughout the California-Nevada Conference. The Care-A-Vaners have worked this year at Laton UMC, The East Salinas Family Center. Mt Shasta and other locations this year—give us a call if you want to join them in this work.

We also lift up in prayer those affected by the recent ice flooding in Alaska near the Yukon River. We pray for the inspiration of volunteers to serve and the safety for all in their recovery effort.


As you probably are aware, the current greatest avenue for providing compassionate care for people's physical needs is through water.. Right now, a child dies every 15 seconds due to water and sanitation issues. If you join us in addressing this need, we will save many lives, while opening countless hearts to the Gospel.

Our goal at EDGE OUTREACH is to train ordinary missionaries in sustainable WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Health/Hygiene) solutions with which they can empower indigenous people to care for themselves in a way that has a lasting, transformational impact on the community, physically and spiritually. The most comprehensive training for this is available at our International Water Conference, which takes place October 15th-17th.

With classroom instruction and plenty of hands-on training, participants will leave confidently in their abilities to, conduct community assessment and water testing, perform purification, utilize filtration options and methods (including biosand), address sanitation issues, provide health/hygiene education. and deal competently with cultural concerns. Like-minded missionaries from all over the world will receive this training together. At night, people gather around a campfire and share stories of what God is doing on every continent, providing great encouragement and new ideas and approaches for their missionary brethren.

The conference is heavy-duty training designed to equip even people with no previous experience in water to be able to provide effective solutions, and to be able to pass those solutions on to others. The best part is that the indigenous people are able to operate the systems themselves with ease. We also have on-demand training to meet more time-sensitive needs. Imagine a simple, sustainable, high-capacity water purifier installed in a church by a few simple missionaries. The pastor runs it, filling containers with pure water for the community.

The community shares stories of greater health and the love of the people who provided this gift. People who would never approach a church will come for the pure water, and can receive the Living Water of Christ as they do. You can check out our guide to water purification in mission work by filling out the form; it explains how the process works.We also do hand-pump repair conferences. There are hundreds of thousands of broken hand pumps in Haiti, Africa, and the rest of the world that would be usable if given a simple repair (a little piece of leather wears out).

If you teach the indigenous people how to repair them, you will provide water for the thirsty and have a tremendous impact. Aside from the big October Conference, we are also holding water conferences in California Feb 19-20 2010, and in St. Louis in April of 2010. The NLI Purifier:It's a small unit designed for use with the poorest of the poor. It kills all bacteria and viruses in a tank/body of water. It runs off of a car battery and table salt (you can recharge the battery using electricity or a solar panel, if necessary). The instructions for operation were tested on middle school children to ensure that they were easy.

The possibilities for its use in church planting, medical work, community outreach, disaster, relief, etc. are near endless.Put one of these in a church with a couple of storage tanks, and you dramatically expand the church's outreach. It can easily scale up to whatever the needs of the community (up to providing water for 10,000 people).

There are two video clips about the purifier here. The first explains the purifier in a general sense. The second goes through the entire unit and explains what the parts do, how it works, etc. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ4vT6O7ixU&feature=channel_pagehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhLr2SrjILs&feature=channel_page -- EDGE OUTREACH1500 Arlington Ave.Louisville, KY 40206502.568.6342Cell: 502.558.5876Fax: 502.568.4500http://www.edgeoutreach.com/

Friday, July 24, 2009


Photo: Opening of UMCOR office in Philippines, courtesy David Valera/UMCOR. Read below for more information....
* Cross-Cultural Competency in Healthcare Symposium

American patients are increasingly global in makeup. Some 50 million areculturally diverse and operate under concepts of health and medicine thatare unfamiliar to many healthcare professionals. The Cross-CulturalCompetency in Healthcare Symposium will equip healthcare professionals tosuccessfully care for some of the most distinct and underserved immigrantsand minorities in America.

Details: At Research Medical Center-Brookside Campus in Kansas City,Missouri, on Friday, October 2, 2009. Symposium Info:http://inmed.us/2009_cross-cultural_competency_in_healthcare_symposium.asp For: Physicians, Nurses, Dentists, Therapists, Physicians Assistants, PublicHealth Specialists, Residents, Pharmacists, and all Health ProfessionStudents. CME and CEU credit available.

Symposium Info:http://inmed.us/2009_cross-cultural_competency_in_healthcare_symposium.asp For more information email office@inmed.us, or call 816-835-1899 Nicholas Comninellis, MD MPH, President INMED - Institute for International Medicine http://inmed.us/"Equipping health professionals to serve in medical missions"6700 Troost Ave. Suite 224 Kansas City MO 64131-4401


UMCOR will open an office in the Philippines on July 24 to help bring relief to a population vulnerable to natural disasters, civil conflict and extreme poverty. Based on the campus of Union Theological Seminary in Cavite, about 50 miles south of Manila, UMCOR Philippines will serve as the communications hub between United Methodist conferences within the Philippines and the US.

The office will also offer an on-site storage facility for material goods and relief supplies.
Bishops, disaster response coordinators and partner organizations will gather at UMCOR Philippines on July 21-24 to participate in a disaster preparedness training led by Melissa Crutchfield, head of UMCOR’s International Disaster Response and Lisa Jackson, head of special projects, to implement appropriate responses to different phases of disaster.
Support the new office with your gifts to Philippines Emergency, UMCOR Advance #240235.


There is now an UMCOR Depot in Salt Lake City, UT headed by Rev. Brian Diggs. For more information about the depot and how you can volunteer there visit http://www.umcordepots.org/ or http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/work/umcorwest/.


A Multi-Church Team to Vava’n, Tonga: July 21 – August 4, 2009
Richard Thompson from Bakersfield – First UMC will lead a team of 15 volunteers from various churches in our conference, Oklahoma and Washington to Tonga. The team will be doing medical work, construction work and an after-school program. Joining Richard will be Ofa Thompson, Rebekah Thompson, Aaron Thompson, Ray Bowles, Fred Cramer, Gerry Stratton and Scott Wallace of Bakersfield - First UMC Larry Kavinoky, Cindy Gyugyi, and Stephen Gyugyi of Palo Alto - Wesley UMC Mark Thompson of Miami, OK. and Wyatt Finn from Olympia, WA.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Photo: Primetimers enjoying a lunch. Join Primetimers to serve in Southeast Asia. Read below for more information. Courtesy www.westburyumc.org.

The final Primetimer event this year has a SE Asia flare as Jeanie Blankenbaker leads the group of older adults to Cambodia from Nov 4-14, 2009. One of the original Mission Initiatives of the GBGM, Cambodia is proud of its growing, young and energetic Methodist Church! In 2003, the UMC in Cambodia joined with three other Methodist agencies for a “one Methodist” agreement, working towards the formation of an autonomous Methodist Church in Cambodia.

For more information on this opportunity to explore the culture of Cambodia and spirit of Christ in its midst, visit http://www.primetimers.info/ and check it out. Deadline is soon approaching!

“A Journey in Mission: Following Christ in Cambodia”Cambodia Methodist MissionPhnom Penh, CambodiaNovember 4 - 14, 2009Event Cost: $1,975.00


In early February former Missionary and former WI Missions Coordinator, Billie LaBumbard took a risk and brought a Volunteer in Mission (VIM) team to Laos. The team included two NP nurses, a Pharmacist, and an English as a Second Language expert. 2009 has been a blessed year for Lao Samphang MC and the more than 2,000 non Christians in a number of districts in Northern Laos that received medical care.

This visit marked the first time a VIM team has come to volunteer, work side by side with Lao authority and the needy in the field. At first, the unknown caused great fear. Most of the work was done in the rural areas. The group was divided into three smaller groups: Group 1 – The ESL team locate in the capital city of Laos was tasked with teaching English to children, women, and men in the church, Group 2 – A Medical team stationed in rural villages that set up clinics to service the community and Group 3 – A medical team that traveled deep into the country side and traveled from village to Village. It was a tough and challenging project but believed or not it has been one of the most effective projects. It was so successful that the Lao authority has requested Lao Samphang MC to continue and expend such program to cover more villages and to be made available to poor villages on an annual basis if possible.

VIM workers are called by God to serve and spread the good news to everyone. The Lord used this team to show love and care to not just those who were Christians but also to the non Christians who were in need of help. As stated by a policeman who traveled with the VIM team, “The Methodist people really care for the sick and poor. Their love shines through in their work. They help everyone who comes to them and do not treat one better than other.” A chief in the village of Bangalo (located in Phoukhoun District) said, “The Methodist people are different from other Christians. We welcome them any time”

There were other words of appreciation. The students at the Phoungsoumboom church expressed great thanks to Yvone who they considered the best English teacher ever. They will miss her greatly and wish that she will come again. The church of Nonphoub village and the Lao authority sends a big thank you to Julie. Just her smile and kindness made many of the sick people well. As for Billie and Mary, your presence with the medical team was a welcoming bright light. The entire Christ community is looking forward seeing you again. A big “THANK YOU” from all of us!


As Lao Samphang Methodist Church (LSMC) Council chair, we invite you to be a part of the SOLUTION. We are looking for VIM individual or teams to teach English to our pastors and future church youth leaders. Commitments can be from 3 months to 1 or 2 years. For more information please contact Lao Samphang Methodist Church, P. O. Box 225 Nongkhai 43000, Thailand Lsmethodist@gmail.com or jouayv@hotmail.com

Monday, July 20, 2009


Photo: Ancient ruins in Honduras, courtesy nationalgeographic.com. Interested in learning more about Honduras, read below.


Interested in learning about and/or serving in Honduras? You are welcome to attend the Honduras Summit 2009 held on September 10-12 at Christ United Methodist Church, in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information please visit www.ccum.net/HondurasSummit.


If you are interested in serving as a volunteer in the ice-flooding recovery in Alaska please get in touch with Robert Paire and or Rev. Richared Whetsell. Robert's email is robert.paire@gmail.com and Richard's email is whetsell@ak.net.

In addition, please contact FEMA coordinator Carol Gordon 425-367-2368 or Amy BeVille 907-317-9982.

Due to the amazing response, the three villages of Stevens Village, Eagle, and Tanana might have enough volunteers already to get the work of rebuilding homes finished by mid-September. However, currently other villages are being looked at to see what their needs are.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Photo: Part of Camp Indianola in Washington State, courtesy www.campindianola.org. Read below to see how you can volunteer here.

Volunteers! The Grandriver Station of Louisiana Disaster Response is very much in need of volunteer teams to fill its calendar. Teams are presently rebuilding homes damaged by the last two hurricanes. What a great way not only to be in mission, but to "practice" for your upcoming LAVIM endeavors! AND, there will be folks in your church area that will have an interest in disaster work here in the conference that might never consider international or out of state mission. Get more folks involved in mission! Build your church's ministry and enthusiasm! Build the Kingdom of God! Do the Gospel!

Contact Michelle at the phone, e-mail and address below. You can also register your team by going to http://www.la-umc.org/ and clicking on Louisiana Disaster Response.
Tell Michelle I sent you!
Larry Norman
Director, LAVIM

Michelle L. Hadden
Administrative Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator
LA UM Disaster Response-Grand River Station
Located at Grand River United Methodist Church
30825 Hwy. 75
Plaquemine, LA 70764


Volunteer Opportunities: 2009 Inter-tribal Canoe JourneyThe PNW Conference will welcome First Nations and Native American elders and Canoe families to Indianola Camp and Retreat Center on August 3-7 for the 2009 Inter-tribal Canoe Journey. Though this event is not open to the public, there are many volunteer opportunities for those who would like support the event and offer relationship to the Suquamish Tribe, who will host.

If you are interested in applying to help, go to the Canoe Journey website at www.tribaljourneys2009.com, and click on Volunteers

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Photo: The Great Wall of China, courtesy nationalgeographic.com. Voluteers are needed there to teach English. Read the story below.


Let me take this avenue to cordially invite you to attend the next Cambodia Consultation scheduled for September 17-19, 2009 in Metairie, Louisiana. Metairie is part of the makeup of the city of New Orleans, so you can expect not only exciting news about our work in Cambodia, networking with our missionaries and other UMVIMs engaged in Cambodia but that marvelous South Louisiana hospitality and food! (Jambalaya and New Orleans Po-Boys are on the menu!)
Attached is the brochure and registration and you can also register on line at http://events.signup4.com/camcon2009.

Information is also included for two hotels, Radisson and Sheraton, where you can find reduced rates for the Consultation, $79 plus tax, available until 8/28.
Romy del Rosario, Country Director, Svay Youtharoat, Principal of the Methodist Bible School and Tuy Chamroeun, President of the Methodist Youth, Clara Biswas, Irene Mparutsa, Katherine Parker and Esther Gitobu, missionaries, are among others slated to be here from Cambodia.
The deadline for registration is August 31, so please consult your calendars and plan to come. Metairie is the site of the New Orleans Airport (MSY) and Airport Shuttle and the Sheraton will get you safely to your hotel destinations.
If you have questions contact me at 225.346.1646 or LduckN@aol.com.
As we say here, Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez - Let the Good Times Roll! Welcome to New Orleans and the Cambodian Consultation!
Larry Norman, LAVIM Director


Volunteers are still needed and welcome to come and serve in Alaska due to the ice-flooding. You can connect with Robert Paire and Rev. Richard Whetsell whose contact information is found in the blog post right below this one dated July 8, 2009.

Robert recently noted: Alaska is a big place, and I am still learning myself. Dawson City, Yukon Territory Canada, is our nearest neighbor 100 miles up the Yukon River from Eagle. I think you can purchase commercial flights into Dawson, or at least into the provincial city of Whitehorse 200 miles away. Everyday there is a large commercial river boat called the Yukon Queen, run by Holland America, transporting passengers from Dawson to Eagle and back. It’s a very handy way to get into Eagle, the trip only takes about 4 hours and it’s free. The only catch is you will need a passport to travel around in Canada, but I think it’s worth it because the roads into Dawson are much better than the roads into Eagle.

We are having a lot of trouble scheduling volunteers out of Fairbanks. In the first place it’s 360 miles to Eagle, Holland America takes two days to get here. If you drive yourself you will have trouble finding a rental car that will allow you to drive on gravel roads. Not to mention that the roads are narrow twisty mountain roads with blind turns and 1000 foot drops offs.

In addition he notes: FYI if you decide to pursue things a little further on your own the fastest, and probably the easiest way to get into Eagle is as follows:

- Book a commercial flight into Fairbanks
- Spend the night at Golden North Hotel $80/Night 800-447-1910
- Leave Weekday by Everts Air $170 One way to Eagle 907-450-2350
- Make arrangements through Arlan DeYong to travel by Holland America Coach.

1) Bring a Tent to sleep in
2) It is much easier to get to Eagle from Fairbanks or Dawson City YT than from Anchorage
3) Bring basic hand tools such as tool belt, hammer, tape measure, small pry bar, utility knife as so forth.
4) meals are provided for volunteers by the city.

For more information about serving in the village of Eagle, Alaska go to http://www.eaglecity.org/.

Thank you for your willingess to serve in this time of need!


Teach English in China for Big Stone Education group. Big Stone hasestablished an educational company in China for the purpose of placingteachers and providing educational management services. Profit from thiscompany provides funding for our charity work in China's rural countryside.Our current big project is a non-institutional sustainable orphanage andorganic farm.We are currently in need of 40 Americans willing to come to China for a yearor more, and teach English to the students in our partner schools.

The employees are paid and managed directly by our company. This will helplighten or eliminate the stress and discomfort caused by the office politicsfound in most schools in China, and allows them to focus on what they camehere to do. Our salary and benefits package is a cut above many of the otherteaching jobs in this province.The benefits include:. 10 month (renewable) employment contract (September - June). 6,500 RMB monthly salary. 20 teaching hours per week. Airfare reimbursement in cash. Private off-campus housing (3-star standard). Private transportation to school each day. International medical/health insurance. 1 all-expenses-paid travel excursions per term (2 per year). Weekends and holidays off. 2 - 3 Chinese language classes per week. Kung Fu classes (optional). Experienced American management For more information or to apply please contact:ChristaWingert@bigstonechina.org

Requirements:. Native English speaker (US, Canada). Good communication skills. Willing to live / work in Henan, China. Above 18 years oldPreferred:. Bachelor Degree (any major). TESOL or equivalent. Teaching experience


Rev. Nick Elliott, former Executive Director of UMVIM, SEJ, will be leading a 12 member construction team to Havana, Cuba. Team will assemble in Miami on November 30 and fly to Havana on December 1-10. We will be working on the Methodist Seminary in old Havana, worshipping in different churches, and learning about the Cuban culture.
Please email NSEUMVIM@gmail.com for an application.

Special consideration will be given to persons who have never been to Cuba. Anticipated cost is $2250 from Miami.


There is a critical and immediate need for an additional pastor to assist a Virginia Conference UMVIM team in the training of UMC pastors in the Nakuru District of Kenya in the East Africa Conference. A last minute and unavoidable team member cancellation has led to this vacancy. The focus of the training is basic theological, doctrinal, and pastoral education instruction for approximately 20 pastors. The need is immediate as the team leaves August 13.
The cost of the trip is $3000…with most of the money due now as we make travel and lodging reservations. On such a short notice we trust that the Holy Spirit will touch the heart of the right pastor(s) to assure training commitments are met. Can you help?
Details of the trip:
Dates: August 13 to August 28, 2009 (these dates are firm)
Leave and Return from: Dulles International Airport
Cost: $3000, all inclusive (except for personal purchases and optional safari at the end of the trip)
Place: Nakuru, Kenya, in the Rift Valley, East Africa Conference UMC at a new UMC boarding school
Contact for more information: Rev. Nancy Robinson, 804.264.7856 (H), or 804.873.1487 (C);
call anytime, but hurry!


Opportunity to work on New Construction at Camp Mekokiko on the Big Island of Hawaii, October 1 - 16, 2009 !! This would be a UM/VIM team open to any who would like to experience a little different work location. Housing is in a mixed dormitory with only 14 beds available, thus setting the maximum size of a team. We do our own communal cooking, have laundry and showers available and all tools needed are provided by the camp. Couples or singles are welcome.

You arrange your own transportation to Kona, HI and we will coordinate meeting members coming in to the airport. Camp is about an hour and half from the airport. Follow on travel is at your discretion, but highly recommended if you have not been to the Islands before. We will have ample time to sight see around the Big Island on our days off (when it rains!) Individual cost (in addition to your airfare) are estimated to be $350, which includes $100 each to the camp building fund, car rental, GBGM insurance, camp shirt and food.
Check the camp out at: www.hawaiipacificmethodists.org/mekokiko.htm
For more information and sign up contact:
Tom and Mary Louise Hager tomterrific3@juno.com
695 Summer Lane White Salmon WA 98672-7400 Phone (509) 493-2445 or cell: (206) 399-3523

Wednesday, July 8, 2009



Robert Paire is the volunteer coordinator for the Eagle Rebuild Construction Team. If interested in serving in Eagle please contact him at Rob Paire at robert.paire@gmail.com and/or phone his office at 907-547-4001.

Meals are provided for all volunteers at the school as well as showers. Robert welcomes volunteers to bring tools they think practical. There are 3 generators and they try to spread them between the construction sites. They are looking for donations for hand tools and power tools but they are still in short supply.

Transportation is probably the biggest hurdle and we have several options. The best options for getting to Eagle are usually out of Fairbanks or Dawson YT. From Fairbansk or Dawson, Holland America has offered to transport guests for no charge. From Dawson it's a nice easy 4 hour ride down the Yukon river on the Yukon Queen river boat. From Fairbanks volunteers will have to catch the motor coach in Fox 6 miles west of Fairbanks. Also, tickets can be purchased to fly into Eagle for $170 plus $.70 lb for luggage over 30 pounds.

In addition, Rev. Richard Whetsell is the Disaster Response Coordinator for Alaska. His email is whetsell@ak.net and his phone is 907-398-2252. He adds:

Stevens Village has still not made a decision on how they will proceed. We won’t know about the need for volunteers until they make that decision.

Tanana is being resourced by the CRWRC and they believe they can handle that okay.

Eagle is doing well with their volunteer solicitation but they believe they can always use more. This is the most organized of any of the affected villages. Be prepared to bring a tent or mobile facilities for housing. There will probably be housing available but this would insure that you had a place to stay. Go here http://www.wunderground.com/US/AK/Eagle.html for current weather conditions.

FEMA has announced that it will require a “hold harmless” release to be signed by each volunteer. Will have that document later this week.

There is some help with transportation. It is possible that FEMA might help with that, but if people can get to Fairbanks, we can get them to the villages.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Photos: Volunteers serving in Guatamala, courtesy J. Grant Weins. For more information see their story below under "Stories from the Ground: Guatamala"

Thank you so very much for spreading the word about the opportunity and great need for volunteers to serve in Alaska in rebuilding homes. If you are interested in serving and/or know someone that is please contact me with their names and contact information as I am creating a database of persons/teams available to serve.

Wanted to correct you on the name of one of the villages that I gave you in my previous email. The village is not "Canana" but "Tanana". Please forgive me for any confusion here. Again, the three villages are EAGLE, TANANA, AND STEVENS VILLAGE. As it stands now, volunteers DO NOT need to bring tools. Tools will be provided/donated some by Samaritan's Purse and the Mennonites. Individuals are welcome to bring their favorite hammer but the bulk of the tools will be provided to them at the site.

Since it is customary for volunteer teams to bring an amount money that can be used for a donation/love offering, we are awaiting news as to what is culturally appropriate with the residents in the villages of Eagle, Tanana, and Stevens Village for bringing in money and/or leaving it behind. Once I receive word of this, I will pass this information on.

Safe Sanctuary training and background checks (especially of teams leaders) is encouraged to be done PRIOR to arrival at the site. If you have any further questions about this please contact me.

In addition, the village of Eagle seems to be serviced thus far through the Mennonites and as such we've been asked as the UMC to first direct our efforts towards the village of Tanana where there is a place for volunteers to stay and we are awaiting news as to how and if meals will be provided there as they will be in Eagle. I am still awaiting news on Stevens Village.

The greatest cost for volunteers will be for them to get from their homes to Fairbanks, where volunteers are encouraged to fly into. Fairbanks is the preferred place for teams to fly into but teams may also fly to Anchorage as well. Then Holland America will transport them most likely by boat to the village of Tanana. So far, Holland America is offering to do this as a courtesy for volunteers helping in this recovery effort.

Please note that hotel accommodations are available for those teams that need overnight stays in Fairbanks/Anchorage as a result of airline/flight schedules. Thank you again. I will continue to update you as further details develop.


Birchwood Camp of the Alaska United Methodist Missionary Conference is building a new log building on our camp and we are in need of willing workers. Due to the national cancellation of a scheduled MDA camps, we have a week of camp space available from July 31 to August 6 this summer. We need a variety of workers and abilities during this time. If enough people are available we will do some log building. We also need those skilled in carpentry and basic repairs as well as those of you who just enjoy working in yard.

Ever dream of going to Alaska but don’t want to be just a tourist? (Or if you want to tour after work we can supply information)

Perhaps you have been to camp at Birchwood and want to give back.

Perhaps you live near by and would love to be part of a giving group.

Maybe you’ve been a part of other volunteer in mission work teams and are ready for another experience.

This week may be for you. We can promise meaningful work, great meals, and warm hospitality, awesome scenery, and perhaps campfire sharing and singing.

The Details:

Your biggest expense (if you live outside Alaska) will be your transportation). You would fly into and out of the Anchorage airport. Cars are expensive to rent but are available. If we know your arrival time we may be able to facilitate transportation to camp. You will need to bring bedding or a sleeping bag, pillow, only casual clothes (Jeans long and short sleeve shirts, raingear, close toed shoes. Layered works well in Alaska)

We can feed and house you that week for $20 per day. There will be parking available for those who want to bring an RV. Go on our website http://www.birchwoodcamp.org/ for an VIM application, health form, and voluntary disclosure form. We do require that you have health insurance and can facilitate short term insurance for you at a low cost if needed. Fax it to us at 907-688-2734. If these times don’t work for you but you want to help, e-mail us at Director@birchwoodcamp.org and tell us of your interest and availability.


We were in Guatemala from May 18-27. We flew into Guatemala City and got thereon the evening of the 18th and stayed there for the night. The next day westarted our drive to the city of Quetzeltenango (also known as Xela), which iswhere we did our work. We got to Xela on the 19th after going to Lake Atitlanand Santiago.

In Xela we stayed at the VIM headquarters There they have amedical clinic and some dorm style rooms for volunteers to stay in. There weresome rooms that weren't finished and needed some work done on them. The wallsand ceilings needed some spackling and cementing work done, so that's what wespent most of our time doing.

We had to do everything by hand. We had to siftthe sand into a wheelbarrow then take it to another part of the compound wherewe mixed the cement/spackle with shovels. After we mixed the sand there withthe mix to get what we wanted, we carried it with buckets to the walls andceilings we were working on. We had to use trowels to get it on the walls andceilings with trowels. We had a plumb line that we had to get to and wouldsmooth out our work with boards every now and then to see how close we were togetting to that line. We covered multiple walls and ceilings while we worked.

In addition to all that, we also built some scaffolding and unloaded a truckfull of bricks, both of which will be used for future projects there. Weusually worked from about 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon with acouple of half days. In addition to all that we had the opportunity to takesome school supplies, which can be a real luxury in Guatemala, to a school there in Xela.

When we weren't working we got to see some of the sites therein Xela, as well as some Mayan ruins and sites in Antigua. The trip was veryrewarding for all of us. We got to work and interact directly with some of thelocals and hear their stories, and really got to make an impact by helping them.We also got to bond with each other, see the sites of Guatemala and makememories that will last a lifetime.