VIM and Disaster Response updates: February 2017

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.

Nearly a year past flooding, teams still needed

Southeast Arkansas is seeking teams to help with repairs needed as a result of the March 2016 floods. The damage incurred is a result of the same storms that devastated areas of Texas and Louisiana. Organization of long-term recovery was delayed for various reasons, but is now in place and operational. Projects are identified and funding secured, but volunteer help is little to none. When considering mission opportunities, please consider our neighbors in Southeast Arkansas. Several priority cases are waiting. To volunteer, contact Ron Jones, Site Volunteer Coordinator, at woodrat3@live.com or Janice Mann, Disaster Response Coordinator, at disaster@arumc.org.

Leadership development mission to Mexico in May

The South Central Jurisdiction of the UMC, which includes the Arkansas Conference, is offering a leadership development mission experience to Manos Juntas in Rio Bravo, Mexico the first week of May 2017. Scholarships are available in the amount of $300 per person for those willing to participate in partnership as described in the mission brochure.

For more information contact the team leader, Audrey Phelps, vimphelps@gmail.com.

UMCOR’s Sager Brown Depot: Health and bedding kits needed

Because of your past generosity, UMCOR Sager Brown has been able to replenish its inventory of disaster relief supplies, better positioning it to respond to disasters. Although inventory has increased, they are still in need of health and bedding kits. If you and your congregation are able to assist with this request, that would truly be a blessing. Crisis can occur anywhere, at any time, just as with the recent tornadoes that hit Hattiesburg, Mississippi. UMCOR wants to be prepared to answer the call when our brothers and sisters need us. Should you have any questions about the assembly of these kits, visit www.umcor.org/reliefsupplies.

Mississippi tornado response

Arkansas Disaster Response Coordinators have offered tornado tubs from our current stock to the Hattiesburg and Petal, Mississippi, areas after the storms that produced multiple tornadoes across the South and Southeast. They have requested trained Early Response Teams (ERT), trained chain saw teams and heavy equipment teams. ERTs need to be self-sustainable. Recovery and the request for repair and rebuild teams will come later. Updates are being posted on the VIM/DR Facebook group or may be received from Janice Mann upon request: disaster@arumc.org. You can help by giving to Disaster Response, United States (Advance # 901670) through the Arkansas Conference office or at www.umcor.org.

Southeastern U.S. wildfires

The recovery period from wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and surrounding areas will be long for many of the affected households. You can help by giving to Disaster Response, United States (Advance #901670) through the Arkansas Conference office or at www.umcor.org. Contact Janice Mann to receive information about any future call for mission teams in that area.

Help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working hard with on-the-ground partners to develop projects and provide humanitarian assistance, mostly food, supplies and other non-food items to the survivors of Aleppo. Since 2010, UMCOR has been responding to the Syrian crisis by working with partners to provide for the basic human needs of refugees and internally displaced persons. To date, UMCOR has spent approximately $4 million on this disaster. UMCOR is currently finalizing a grant to assist in Lebanon as that country supports the nearly one-third of its population who are refugees. To support this work, designate your gift with Advance #982450, International Disaster Response, at www.umcor.org.

Travel to Cuba in July or November

Contact Nechi Fullerton at 501-766-8151 or nefullerton@yahoo.com to learn more about these opportunities with the Methodist Church in Cuba:

  • July mission: A Volunteers in Mission team is forming for a one-week journey to Holguin, Cuba, to lead Bible school. In addition to morning Bible School, the team will worship with the 2,000-member Catedral de Holguin, visit missions, house churches, small groups and see the sights. Those not interested in volunteering at Bible school can be valuable team members, as well.
  • If you cannot travel but would like to sponsor a child’s Bible school experience, craft projects and snacks are needed. Even a few dollars make a real difference in the mission team’s abilities to connect with students. Follow-up photos provided.
  • November mission: Be a part of a one-week November 2017 Mission Team to experience the Cuban Methodist revival while supporting and worshipping with Catedral de Holguin, the second largest Methodist Church in Cuba. This immersion experience includes large church services, missions, house churches, small groups and the sights of Holguin.

To keep up with these and future opportunities in Cuba, visit “Arkansas Methodist-Cuba Metodista Connection” and “Catedral Metodista de Holguin” on Facebook.