Volunteers in Mission / Disaster Response

Early Response Team from Arkansas tarps a home to prevent further damage after Hurricane Michael in Port St. Joe, Florida.

A team from FUMC Rogers in the Northwest District install cabinets in a rebuilt home that was destroyed in the April 2018 Crawford County Tornado.

Team to Sulphur, Louisiana for Hurricane Laura Relief/Chainsaw Safety Class
Kevin Overholt will be leading a team to Sulphur, Louisiana the first weekend in October. Their primary mission will be chainsaw work and tree cleanup.  A unique feature of this deployment is that Kevin will be teaching a chainsaw safety class on the ground using real world situations.

There is dormitory style lodging provided by the Louisiana Conference, so you only need to take bedding. The tentative plan is to travel Thursday, October 1st, work/train Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then travel back Monday the 5th.

Current ERT Certification will be given priority. You will be able to get chainsaw safety training on this deployment.

Contact Kevin at 870-448-7505 (call or text) or email kevin.overholt68@gmail.com.

Volunteer Opportunity – For the whole family, for the whole church – Build a Home with Help Build Hope
Arkansas Conference of United Methodist Church Disaster Response Ministries and Volunteers in Mission are partnering with several different organizations to rebuild a home.  This home in Pine Bluff was destroyed in the wind storms that occurred on Easter Sunday this year.

This is a mission opportunity for the whole church.  Anyone of any age may participate.  (Youth under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone from their church in a 1:10/1:7 ratio, children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent.)  All must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

Friday evening Oct. 16th, from 4pm-7pm, about 20 volunteers will meet in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church Conway to set up and cut lumber for each wall of the home.  Saturday, Oct. 17th, from 8am-2pm, 70-100 volunteers will assemble the individual walls of the home.  No experience is required and all tools will be provided.  At a later date volunteers will transport the walls to the stand-up site.  A group of volunteers from Christian Aid Ministries, a partner in Disaster Recovery, will install the roof system. Volunteers will be needed to complete the exterior and interior of the house over the next couple of months.

Click here to register.

Current In-Conference projects:

  • Disaster Recovery efforts are ongoing after several events across the state.
  • ECHO Village – construction of homes and facilities, Eureka Springs.

Outside the Arkansas Conference:

  • Any of the flood and tornado devastated areas are continuing relief and recovery efforts
  • The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico has reached out to VIM to request assistance in the ongoing repair/rebuild efforts from Hurricane Maria’s devastation. For more information about team requirements or about registering your team, see the volunteer FAQs and Guidelines or contact Byron Mann at vim@arumc.org.
  • Any of the wildfire, flood, or hurricane devastated areas are continuing recovery efforts.

For a complete list of VIM and DR projects see SCJ Disaster and SCJ Missions. Contact Byron at vim@arumc.org for more information and to schedule.

Upcoming Mission Journeys

Please share your team’s Mission Journey Experience and/or your church’s outreach events here. We would love to know and share what you are doing in service to others.

Local Church, Disaster Response WANTS YOU!
Local church involvement when disaster strikes is vital in assisting individuals and families affected. Disaster Response wants to help local churches understand how important they are as response partners in their community and in this ministry. We would love to come talk to your group, class, or church and begin a partnership that will make a meaningful difference when disaster strikes. Contact Janice at disaster@arumc.org to find out more.

The beginnings of ECHO Village

ECHO Village in Eureka Springs recently added to list of UMVIM approved US Domestic Mission Sites
ECHO Village is a unique concept of community living that is a group of small homes situated close together in which the residents living there work together to help each other in their daily living. The concept is that affordable housing is provided for seniors, handicapped, single parents, homeless, early prison release, veterans, low income individuals who need housing security. There will be a community garden, chickens, playground, community room, classes for parenting, finances, job skills, resume building, etc. Each person commits to helping their neighbors.

These homes will be owned by Eureka Christian Health Outreach (ECHO) and rent at low entry level to enable individuals to get a leg up on their economic situation. The community room will be available for larger gatherings and trainings. It will be a unique community that lives and loves together for the benefit of all.

ECHO Village is a brand new community under construction.  Phase I includes eight houses which are dried in and ready for finish work. Current needs are volunteer work teams especially for finish work on new structures.

For more information or to schedule a work team contact Suzy Bell at mightywarriorrocks@yahoo.com or Byron Mann at vim@arumc.org.

Disaster Response Operation under “Blue Skies”
During the calm, we focus primarily on preparedness so that when disasters come, we are equipped to respond. During this time we are trying to connect with churches that are “go to, getter done” churches to respond when disaster strikes in their community or beyond.

Ideally, these churches would name a disaster response coordinator, commit to having an early response team, and commit to having a series of trainings. These trainings wouldn’t be exclusive- other churches and resources in the area need to be reached to build capacity.

We would love to hear from you or your church and meet with you to discuss this vision of disaster response. Click here for a letter that better explains this vision.

Watch here for more information about projects in the future and connect with us on Facebook for the most current updates. Our page is Volunteers in Mission & Disaster Response – Serving Arkansas & Beyond.