First Timers See Mission in Action at UMCOR - Sager Brown
TAC Disaster Response Coordinator Clay Whitaker shares the spiritual and personal joys experienced by a 20-member mission team representing 10 UMCs across the Texas Conference.
“We could not imagine how God would use our 20 pair of hands for His service, but by the end of the week we had touched lives locally, community wide, nationally and internationally. We can only imagine the gratitude we will feel later when a disaster hits and the unseen faces of despair will turn to God to give thanks for the volunteers who prepared them. From across the Texas Conference we came to make a difference and a difference we did make. We left knowing we did God’s calling which made me proud to be a Methodist and proud to be a Christian.” –David Goodrum, First UMC, Sugar Land
“To have 12 first-timers on our 2013 mission trip this month was especially meaningful,” says Sager Brown Mission Team leader Clay Whitaker, pastor of Old River Terrace UMC. “Watching United Methodists who have only heard of UMCOR-Sager Brown, but have never experienced it first-hand, is a sight to behold as they taste and see that our Lord is good, and His goodness is alive and well through this powerful ministry.” Amazingly, adds Clay, “Methodists come from all over the country to give a week of service, and they pay for the privilege! They discover at Monday’s orientation the variety of ways they can volunteer. Some work in the warehouse, packaging and processing and some work in the sewing room, while others work around the campus with landscaping or light construction projects.”
”Repairing homes in the community, reading to first graders, helping at the women’s shelter of Chez Hope and working in the UMCOR Depot has made this one of the most amazing weeks for me. My expectation was to help get supplies ready but I received such blessings myself. My heart is so full from giving back in the name of Jesus that I am already looking forward to my next trip”. – Carrie Smith, Old River Terrace UMC
“As a longtime supporter of S-B it was exciting to see the facilities and get hands on with missions. The history and mission make this place sacred ground where what is done here is Holy work that transforms all who call this place home into the likeness of Christ. – Rev. Jamie Lea, First UMC Bridge City
“Christ is certainly at this place and everything that happens here. Spending time in prayer with my new brothers and sisters in Christ made this feel like Holy ground where missions are dispatched like a gift to the world. “– Candace Lea, First UMC Mt Belvieu
“The world is so large but doing a mission trip to Sager Brown reduces the expanse and brings it right to our backyard.” – Pat Valentine, FUMC, Vidor
“My churches have benefitted greatly from Sager Brown’s ministries in the past, so it means so much to come and give back and know that others’ lives will be touched because of the work that is being done here. This is a powerful opportunity to live out our faith.”– Rev. Nathan Gossett: First UMC, Kountze
“We did the Lord’s work, talked, laughed, sang, prayed. This was my first mission trip, but it won’t be my last.” –Mickie Patton, Addicks UMC
“After seeing UMCOR at work around the world, it was a pleasure to meet the staff who make the operation run so smoothly yet who never meet the people they are helping. They just know they are doing the Lord’s work “for one of the least of these brothers/sisters of mine” The warehouse is organized, work projects well planned and vespers at the end of the stay is a truly inspirational time.” – Colin Wilkinson, Christ UMC, College Station
“The fellowship and interaction with the mission community throughout the week was the best part. We came in as strangers and left as disciples of Christ.” – Mike Kelly, Old River Terrace UMC
“What a blessing this week at Sager Brown has been. It was a joy to go out into the community and work with children of the Headstart Center and at Raintree Elementary, but the real joy was working in the UMCOR Depot and knowing I was giving back something for having received the blessings of supplies after we experienced the disaster of Hurricane Rita.” - Donna Moody, First UMC, Kountze
“This mission week is well-suited for all age groups and abilities as the jobs were well organized and diverse – from working in the depot, to community service.” – Becky Akers, First UMC, Kountze
Others joining the trip included: Rittie Roeder and Rita Augustus from Old Terrace UMC; Rev. Tommy Myrick, and Gary Draper from Christ UMC; Rev. Paul Quiggins of Lakewood UMC, Tomball, Patricia Valentine of First UMC Van; Pat and Linton Cowart of First UMC, Vidor, Rev. Jamie Lea of UMC, Mt. Belvieu and Dwayne Duncan of First UMC, Bridge City.
While most of the mission team members are aware of Sager Brown’s global reach via international shipments of relief supplies, few know of the ministry’s commitment to bless their neighbors in their own backyard so the team members were pleasantly surprised to be invited to go out and serve in the local community. Almost every day of the year, visiting volunteers are sent to help mentor children at one of the local schools or to work on a home-construction project for someone who badly needs the help. Adds Clay, “Every project is followed up with a letter informing residents that the work done on their home is a gift in the name of Christ. How great is that? We will blow the trumpet when the next Texas Conference Mission to UMCOR-Sager Brown is scheduled!”