Current mission needs: VIM and Disaster Response, September 2016

For information on any Volunteers In Mission (VIM) project, contact the individual listed or Byron Mann, Conference VIM coordinator: vim@arumc.org or 870-826-0268. For Disaster Response (DR) projects, contact Byron or Janice Mann, DR co-coordinators: disaster@arumc.org or 870-703-8359 (Janice). On Facebook, join the group “Volunteers in Mission & Disaster Response – Serving Arkansas & Beyond” for updates.

Louisiana flood relief: How to help

Louisiana is currently inundated with teams wanting to help with flood recovery, but needs are still being assessed. Arkansas’ own disaster response co-coordinators will participate in that process. For now, though, the best way to help our neighbors to the south is to send money through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (choose “U.S. Disaster Response”).

Another helpful option is to assemble cleaning buckets to replenish the supply sent to the Baton Rouge area; visit www.umcor.org/umcor/relief-supplies for assembly instructions. Check with your District Disaster Response Coordinator or your District Office for drop site locations.

Southeast Arkansas is ready to welcome your team—now!

Before flooding in the Baton Rouge area made national news, the southeast Arkansas communities of McGehee, Lake Village, Crossett, Dermott and others experienced significant flooding. Volunteers in Mission teams are needed now to repair these flood-damaged homes.

If your church is looking for an inexpensive nearby mission, consider Southeast Arkansas. They need help now. To schedule a team, contact Janice Mann at disaster@arumc.org.

Byron and Janice Mann, the Arkansas Conference disaster response co-coordinators, traveled to McGehee to help with setup of long-term recovery. “The big plus for a local mission to the Southeast District is that McGehee has a wonderful facility to host teams,” Byron Mann said. The climate-controlled space has real beds (not cots), a kitchen and large common room. Several churches in town take turns feeding teams each evening.

“Louisiana is going to need help for a couple of years, but we are ready now right here in Arkansas,” he said. He offered some considerations for planning your next mission journey:

  • Louisiana has received many offers of help. Southeast Arkansas has had very few offers.
  • Travel from central Arkansas to Baton Rouge takes an average of six hours. Travel from central Arkansas to McGehee is one and one-half hours. A mission to Louisiana includes a minimum of two days travel for three days of work. A mission to Southeast Arkansas will allow a team to work five full days and make a much larger impact.
  • Teams staying in Arkansas can use less money for travel and more to help storm survivors in Arkansas buy materials for restoring their homes.
  • Louisiana was awarded a FEMA Recovery Grant; southeast Arkansas was denied a grant.
  • Most flood survivors in Louisiana had flood insurance; very few of those in southeast Arkansas had flood insurance, meaning their individual needs are greater.

Need training before you come to help? Read on for an opportunity coming up soon….

Get VIM/DR training at SCJ Mission Academy, Sept. 11-14

Register now for the South Central Jurisdiction’s Mission Academy, Sept. 11-14 at Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center in Fayetteville. It includes instruction from Volunteers in Mission, as well as disaster response training from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), preparing individuals and teams to serve wherever they are needed. Learn more or register at www.scjumc.org/mission/academy.