Summer Mission Teams Go Global
Mission teams across the conference have been on the go with the gospel this summer. Read a few of their stories of life change here and afar.
News from Kenya
For two years, the mission team members from FUMC Rosenberg had their sights set on their destination in northern Kenya: Maua Methodist Hospital. Working through The Annual Conference Partners in Mission group, the team of three high school students, several college students and five adults was finally prepared for their mission journey and eager to go this summer.
“I could sense their excitement,” notes Partners in Mission Director Kathie Mann, “as this mission team actually began their journey to a place they had been praying about for two years.” During their stay, the team worked together to plaster stone walls, paint the maternity ward at hospital, play with the children and soon realized how labor intensive it is to build anything in that part of the world.
According to Mann, “One of the highlights of the week was building the AIDS Orphan home. Each one on the team had time to work at the site, meet the family and be in the village setting. At the dedication, the whole village came to celebrate this new home for the family of three.” That evening at team devotionals, one of the youth said that she would never take a door for granted again, realizing that family had lived in an open-door shack for years.
The youth made friends everywhere they went. “In visiting the School of Nursing, we were told that the school could not run their internet because they needed one piece of equipment that cost $100,” notes Mann. “Two of the sisters on the team had been given $100 each from home to use toward any ministry they thought worthy, and they instantly wanted their money to go toward the computers. Thanks to their generosity, the students and the doctors at the hospital now have research capability through internet access.”
Were the lives of these 11 people changed? Yes. Did Kenya make a difference in the youth on this mission? Yes. “In fact,” says Mann, “several in the group asked about mission for 2013, and we enjoyed serious conversations about missions as a career. Now as they return to Rosenberg, they have stories to tell about the children in the village, at the orphanage, the hospital and all the people we served. The spark will spread to their friends and family. Thus missions will grow….”
Teams from Memorial Drive UMC, First Rosenberg UMC, Bethany UMC in Austin and Windsor Village UMC as well as students from Wiley College have been sharing the Love of Christ this year in Kenya. The Children’s Center of the Kingdom Builder’s Center – Kenya is a home for Aids Orphans between the ages of 4 to 18 years of age in the small village on the hills of Dundori Kenya. It is sponsored by Windsor Village UMC Houston, Texas under the leadership of Senior Pastor Kirbyjon H Caldwell and Center Director, Pastor Velosia Kibe. To the right of Pastor Kibe (blue bloudse), Maria (in the blue dress) was 11 years old when she was admitted to the children’s center in July 2008 when Windsor Village opened the Center doors. She is from the Turkana tribe in Northern Kenya and represents one of 21 lives transformed by the care and nurture of the children’s home. Her life changed from forced prostitution by her mother who is now deceased, to a happy and productive life. She is now a creative and beautiful young girl of 15. Instead of daily abuse and pain, Maria now laughs, sings, concentrates on schoolwork and can’t wait to start her piano and guitar lessons at KBC Kenya. Maria has also been recently awarded the national title for the best girls’ volleyball player in the nation. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-726-2615.
Next stop: New Mexico
You are never too young – or old – to serve God in mission work. At 81, Barbara Hugghins, associate pastor at FUMC Jacksonville accompanied a group of 26 to McCurdy school in Espinola, New Mexico. The group included members of the youth choir and other adults who sang at three different venues to share the love of Christ through the universal language of music.
St. Mark’s Baytown team just returned from a 10-day mission assignment in Tanzania. Team member Bob Kelly says, “When we finally arrived in Morogoro, Tanzania, our weary spirits were lifted when we were greeted by some of the church members welcoming us with a song. This was only the beginning of warmth and friendship we felt throughout our stay.” According to Bob, Morogoro is a large city, but it had the feel of a small community because many children always greeted them on their commute.
“The word Vision best describes what we saw happening,” adds Bob. The elementary school was one classroom per grade but now houses 250 students. Women were learning to tie-dye, batik, and sew to help support their families. “They had a small store to sell school supplies and food for the community and were converting part of a building to be a medical clinic that later would become a birthing center. They were teaching students to become pastors to go out into the country and they were building a church – and we were there to help build the church.” Mission team members carried concrete blocks weighing 40-50 pounds and hauled sand and rocks. He adds, “We worked hard for short periods then had time to play with the children and talk to the church members. Local church members usually outnumbered our team helping with construction.”
When the team stopped at a Maasai village, they were again greeted by song and dancing. “Rev. Kalangwa had a “chance” conversation in Morogoro with a member of the village that, in time, led to the starting of a church which is resulting in the start of a church in yet another village. Great things are happening in Tanzania.” Kelley continues, “We look back at our experience in Tanzania with joy in our hearts. It is not because of what we did, but rather that we made a small contribution in these Christians moving toward their Vision.”