Mission Trip Experience
My name is Jack Matthews. I was born and raised in Houston and currently live in Tyler, TX. I have been working and volunteering in a ministry of some kind for the last 15+ years. Volunteering on a U.M. ARMY workday in 2010 actually led me to meet my wife, Marla, while building a wheelchair access ramp. Marla and I got married in 2011, we have two boys, Jackson, and McClain, who have managed to keep us on our toes, but also show us a deeper level of connection to God and our Church. I currently work for U.M. ARMY as a Regional Director, setting up and facilitating mission trips in the Texas and Louisiana United Methodist Conferences for church groups large and small.
My calling is to help churches and their congregations redefine how they see mission opportunities. Many think about missions as something international or far away. I focus on local missions because you do not need to travel far to have an impact. As an employee of U.M. ARMY, it is my job to facilitate mission trips for youth and young adults. I want to use the knowledge I have gained by working for U.M. ARMY to help local churches have the tools they need to get to know and help their neighbors. How can I help your church grow missionally? Through connecting it to organizations like U.M. ARMY, or as a consultant analyzing what you are currently doing and showing you a way forward. Let’s redefine what mission looks like at your church together.
Rev. Eric Pugh
Eric is a native Ohioan, who grew up in Central Ohio, attended The Ohio State University earning a BS in Biological Sciences. Eric served 8 years in Parks and Recreation Management in Ohio and Texas, prior to answering his call to ministry. Eric has been in full-time ministry with the United Methodist Church since 2005, serving in Youth, Young Adult, Family, Missions. Currently he serves as the Executive Pastor for John Wesley UMC in Houston, Tx. Eric is an ordained Deacon in the UMC, with an MTS from SMU - Perkins School of Theology. He is currently working toward a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching, from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, in Chicago. Eric has been married for 21 years and has 3 teenage daughters. Eric is an outdoor and travel enthusiast. He is passionate about helping others discover their God given gifts, answer their unique call to ministry and achieve their goals. Eric is an excellent communicator, with great interpersonal skills which allow him to lead in small and large group settings.
Eric has a heart and passion for servant ministry. During his 15+ years of full-time ministry, Eric has planned and led more than 30 week-long service opportunities for youth and adults, both in the US and abroad. Eric has worked domestically with JUMMP, UMARMY, Big House, Mountain Top, Texas Ramps, and various other community service organizations. Internationally Eric has worked with Living Water International, Trinity UMC (Kenya) and Project Chacocente, where he currently serves as member of the board of directors. Eric believes that the key to servant ministry is relationships. Establishing mutually beneficial relationships is essential to successful long term missional impact.
Rev. Gaston Warner
Gaston is experienced in Christian engagement with poverty alleviation, and for the past ten years has led Zoe Empowers engaging with hundreds of short-term and virtual mission trips interacting with orphaned children and vulnerable youth in Africa and India. Gaston is an elder in the Texas Annual Conference and has worked/consulted with numerous para-church organizations striving to alleviate poverty locally and internationally. Gaston holds a BA from Brown University, a MDIV from Duke Divinity School, and an MBA from the University of Durham, England.
Gaston Warner enjoys assisting congregations in thinking through how to conduct mission trips, in situations of long-term poverty, which center upon God's work, the dignity of all involved, and avoid common pitfalls which have limited missional relationships and effectiveness in the past.