Meet the Texas Conference Mission Depot Staff
Executive Director Rev. Scott Moore is building a team to help manage the Conroe-based Mission Depot training and empowerment center focused on disaster relief.
Few can imagine the horror of seeing your furniture soaked with dirty water and a thick layer of mud in every direction. Flood victims have this and much more to contend with, along with the pressure to maintain some degree of normalcy in the home. Tornado victims have a more dramatic scenario to sort through, on the heels of great personal loss and the aftermath of intense weather-induced fear.
Many friends, loved ones and fellow Texans are still recovering from the Houston area floods around Memorial Day and Halloween and the tornados in North Texas at year-end. Prior to that, the conference dispatched help in the wake of the explosion in West, the fires in central Texas and to address the widespread needs following Hurricane Ike. In times like these, families across the conference, the state – and beyond are more than thankful for the Texas Annual Conference disaster relief volunteers, resources and expertise.
Disaster relief is one of the many passions of Rev. Scott Moore who serves as the Executive Director of the new Mission Depot that is being built in the Conroe, Tx area as a warehouse and “command central” for all things related to recovery. “As the Assistant Director in the Center for Missional Excellence,” shares Scott, “I oversee TACCOR and all disaster response ministries in the TAC. Once the Mission Depot is completed, I will office from there. We will warehouse all disaster response equipment and supplies and process relief kits bound for UMCOR Sager-Brown Depot in Baldwin, LA. I will also be responsible for overseeing missions training and many of the mercy and justice ministries operating under the Center for Missional Excellence.”
The Depot is located on 5.8 acres east of Conroe – outside of the typical hurricane’s path and with easy access to every major road artery in Texas to get materials to disaster sites quickly. “We have accumulated tools and equipment that need to be stored, organized and prepared for the next emergency,” he adds. “Before we had a central warehouse we had equipment scattered in various churches, homes and in a rental unit, so this will be much more efficient going forward. We will also serve as a mini relief supply storage, inventory and staging area to prepare flood buckets and such for Sager Brown.”
While some of the disaster response and missions staff work on location at the present time, the Depot facility will office other team members as needed.
Carol Greenslate is now serving as TAC Disaster Director, having joined the staff under contract as Disaster Consultant following the Memorial Day floods to oversee the disaster relief operations, primarily in the hard-hit Southwest Houston area. Explains Scott, “Carol was later hired as the Disaster Director to manage our long-term recovery efforts. She sits as the UM representative on the Greater Houston Storm Recovery Network and oversees the TAC staff working directly on storm recovery.” Although she deals in helping others out of chaos each and every day, she loves her job. “I have been involved in this type of ministry for seven years,” she shares, “and feel so blessed to now serve as the director of the conference response to assess and handle hundreds of cases on behalf of flood and tornado victims.” Carol offices out of Westbury UMC and works cases primarily in Houston and Harris County, although she consults with and advises volunteers and long-term recovery personnel in counties throughout the conference.
She is thankful for the reinforcement provided by Peggy Wieting who serves as Disaster Administrative Assistant on a part-time basis to run the TAC Disaster Recovery Office established at Westbury UMC. Peggy is responsible for office and clerical duties for the office and the recovery staff operating at Westbury. “It is a pleasure to be in a position to work with other Christians, helping the people of the Houston region,” shares Peggy. “Setting up an office from scratch has been a new experience - an enjoyable one - and definitely a work in progress. Additionally, I'm learning a new language I’d call the Disaster Language! It's gratifying to contribute my talents to the efforts of a team that relieves the misery of flood victims. I look forward to seeing the changes that the Disaster Response team of the United Methodist Church can help bring about.”
The team member with the longest history in missions work is Jan Bierwirth, the Depot Administrative Assistant. The most recent team member is Pyppa Johnson who recently began serving as a full-time Disaster Case Manager. Jan handles the office and clerical duties relating to the Mission Depot, disaster relief, training, and mercy and justice ministries. She currently works from the Conference Service Center in Houston but will move to the Mission Depot when construction is completed. Pyppa works directly with clients recovering from the Memorial Day and Halloween floods of 2015. Adds Scott, “Her job is to walk beside clients as they navigate the confusing process of insurance, grants, loans, rebuilding, and addressing unmet needs. She connects survivors with agencies and support to help them establish a new normal following a disaster and also supervises a team of volunteer case workers.”
Shares Pyppa, “Based on my years of missionary experiences, both international and domestic, I have come to the conclusion that I was born for this. This call is as natural as breathing. I don't have to think about it, I just do it. For in Him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).”
Her mission field, the survivors of the May and October floods, is one of devastation. “The people I have encountered are still absorbing the shock. Regardless of age, race, or income, no one ever expected to be in this situation of having to rebuild their lives,” she adds. “People are broken physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. The common denominator is for me to remind them that they are not forgotten and we (UMC) are there to help.” Throughout all of the hurt and heartbreak that she experiences on a daily basis, she clings to Zechariah 4:6. “I am reminded that it is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, that we will help the survivors rebuild,” she says.
Always on Call
A former police officer and front line responder when Hurricane Rita hit Beaumont, Scott dearly loves connecting with churches, providing training, and seeing fellow Methodists take on the lion’s share of the work when people are in need. Prior to taking this newly created role, he has served as a leader in the Social Principle Implementation Committee, Conference Board of Church and Society and the Conference Missions Committee. “I’ve long had a desire to see this Mission Depot become a reality, and want to always be on the lookout of other ways to use it. We continue to study best practices of organizations doing similar work, and are poised to respond as we are needed.”