Thursday, September 1, 2016

Be Healthy and Stay Safe in the Mission Field

Mission Highlight: Health & Safety
In our previous Mission Highlights, we shared how we serve short-term mission volunteers through Resources and Training, as well as the variety of Opportunities that we offer to them. But once a team is out in the mission field, what can our organization do to keep them healthy, safe, or protect them should an accident occur? Read on to find out!
Health & Safety Training Resources
Accidents happen. Or sometimes, maybe someone becomes too sick to safely work while serving. While we pray that this isn't the case for your team, we want our team leaders to be fully prepared when leading a mission journey. Our Team Leader Handbook is designed to guide you on the many things to consider when traveling for missions, and that includes how to be safe and maintain healthy team members. We'll help you think through questions like: Is the water safe to drink or should it be treated? Does the project host have access to medications if they are needed? Are there mosquito-born illnesses that your team should take extra precautions to prevent? What worksite safety standards are in place, and what do you do if you think your team is in hazardous work conditions? 
Of course, our Handbook is what we use for our in-person Team Leader Training course as well; the added benefit of sharing experiences with seasoned volunteers is one of the most valuable ways to gain insight into this important aspect of mission travel. Learn more about Team Leader Training by clicking here

Bonus: The Appendix of our Handbook is filled with First Aid Kit checklists, a team leader timeline guide, personal and team packing lists, and more to make sure your team is prepared to serve away from home. 
Medical and Travel Insurance 
Each week, our staff meets to pray for our teams and volunteers who are in the field. Among the many things we pray for are the health and safety of those who are serving. Serious accidents and illnesses are a rare occurrence, but when they do happen, we have a comprehensive and affordable insurance program that is available to virtually every volunteer who travels for mission purposes--and no, you don't have to be affiliated with the UMC to access this insurance!

Taking advantage of the UMVIM, SEJ supplemental health insurance programis one of the most prudent decisions a team can make for themselves. While all UMVIM projects are safe, working on the mission field can carry with it some inherent risks. Not only does it ensure medical care should the need arise, but it also covers things like emergency reunions, trip interruption, and even loss of baggage. Click here to learn more about how our insurance offerings eases the minds of volunteers and their families!
We are committed to our volunteers through every aspect of their mission journeys. Continue to stay in touch with us this year to learn how UMVIM, SEJ is here to connect you into mission opportunities across globe and equip you for service. Click here if you are not already receiving our Weekly Updates, Mission Highlights, and more.

Monday, August 22, 2016

UMW 2017 Ubuntu Journeys Announced!

Please pray about joining other United Methodist Women in building strong missional bridges between Methodist Christian women on (or more!) of the following Journeys:

Ubuntu Journey, Colombia
Dates: April 20-27, 2017
Anticipated Cost: $2,200.00
Theme: Empowering and Dignifying Women through Faith, Love and Hope
Bible Text: Ephesians 2:14-15  “For it is He who is our peace….made both groups one by tearing down the wall…creating one new humanity…thereby making peace.”

For more information, contact Team Leader, Paula Morgan at:

Ubuntu Journey, Mozambique
Dates: July 18-26, 2017
Anticipated Cost: $TBA
Theme: Women of Faith and Determination 
Bible Text: Exodus 3:7-10 (NRSV). I have heard their cry… indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them and to bring them up out of that land to a good, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

For more information, contact Team Leader, Sandy Binotto  at:

Ubuntu Journey, Portugal   
Dates: September, 10-18, 2017
Anticipated Cost: $TBA
Theme:  To Love and To Serve Together
Bible Text: Revelation 22:2 “…through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life…”

For more information, contact Team Leader, Marcia Florkey at:

For information on any of the 2017 Ubuntu Journeys, you may also email: 

Please note that these trips are not associated with UMVIM, SEJ. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Invest in Mission Opportunities

"How can I help?" 

It's a question that, as Christians, we ask quite often. At UMVIM, SEJ, the answer comes in the form of Mission Opportunities. Your help can be in the form of time, money, learning, and prayers. 

Hopefully, the answers below will answer your questions about UMVIM Mission opportunities:
Q: How do I find out about mission projects?

AUMVIM, SEJ maintains the International Mission Opportunity List for the United Methodist Church. Take a look at this list, and you will quickly see how UMVIM teams can answer needs all over the world. When you donate funds, you are helping UMVIM create and provide training resources so that mission teams can work effectively and safely. 
Q: What are medical missions?

A: Medical-based mission trips - which make up a large percentage of the UMVIM effort - deliver the expertise of doctors, nurses, dentists, and others from the medical field to underserved areas across the globe. If you are a healthcare provider, we encourage you to volunteer your time. Or, if you are not a medical professional, but are concerned about the health of others, please donate.
Q: What about disaster response? 

A: Flooding, earthquakes, drought, fires, hurricanes. There will, unfortunately, always be a next disaster. UMVIM, SEJ works with the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Annual Conferences to send volunteer teams to disaster-affected areas. We now have a Disaster Response Liaison on our staff to help communicate the need for volunteers and to connect them to the appropriate response. Contact our Disaster Response Liaison, Gray Miller, to discuss how to best use your resources in disaster response.
Q: What's available for youth and young adults? 

A: We have opportunities just for you! Those on our Young People Mission Opportunity List have expertise and experience in providing age-appropriate mission opportunities. UMVIM, SEJ also offers a Summer Internship Programfor a college-aged student. They serve in both domestic and international placements in hopes of discerning a call to mission or ministry. Consider giving to the Internship Program.
Please give generously to Advance #901875 at, or mail a check to: UMVIM, SEJ, 100 Centerview Drive, Suite 210, Birmingham, AL 35216

We hope that you are moved to give this summer.  Thank you for your continued prayers and generosity!

Grace and peace,

Paulette S. West
Executive Director

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

{Priority Projects} Tanzania

There are many opportunities in Tanzania for you or your team to serve. Please contact the UMVIM, SEJ office at 205-453-9480 or for additional information.

Types of Ongoing Mission Opportunities
Construction: Church, School, Clinic/Hospital
Medical Setting: Clinic, Labratory
Education: Teaching in Schools - primary, Leadership training for pastors

Priority Projects
  • United Methodist Church Construction in Morogoro - construction of a church and evangelistic center (Advance #15059N)
  • Susannah Wesley Training Center in Morogoro - Training women in skills and enabling them to be self-sufficient and educating children (Advance #3020705)
  • Wesley Primary School in Morogoro - Building classrooms and providing vulnerable children with an education (Advance #3020704)
  • Morogoro United Methodist Preschools in Morogoro, Mangae, Mbabala, Dodoma - Building classrooms and developing educational materials to improve educational instruction (Advance #15048N)
  • Morogoro Pastors' Training Center  in Morogoro - Teaching skills to local pastors, enabling them to serve new congregations and communities (Advance #3020710)
  • Reaching Out Ministry  in Morogoro - Supporting and growing small churches in rural areas to spread Christian teachings (Advance #150530)
Types of Ongoing Mission Opportunities
Construction: Church, Parsonage, School, Boreholes
Medical Setting: Clinic
Medical Personnel Needed: Physician, Physician Assistant, Nurse, Pharmacist
Medical Specialist Needed: Pediatrician (copy of medical license required)
May Be Brought with Team: Medicines, Medical Supplies
Education: Teaching in Schools - preschool and primary, Teaching in Churches - children, youth, young adults and adults, Mission Bible School - children and youth, Church Leadership Training for Laity and Pastors

Priority Projects in Magu, Tanzania
  • Secondary School Construction - The church is working towards finishing a secondary school to serve vulnerable families who are struggling to fund secondary education for their children, something that is not free in Tanzania. Walls are already completed with work left to be done on roofing, plaster, and finishing.
  • Church Construction - The Methodist Church in Tanzania is in need of assistance in creating homes for their churches to meet in and church construction on several churches in Magu.
  • Medical Clinic/Community Health Seminars - The church at Magu has a fully functional, new medical clinic. The clinic is fully licensed and the doctor operating the clinic is retired from government service with many years of experience. The clinic would welcome medical teams to help with the never ending case load as well as helping lead public health seminars.
  • Church Seminars - Magu is the headquarters of the Methodist Church in Tanzania. It is a strong church that can benefit from any number of trainings and conference for youth, adults, women and men's' groups, and pastors.
Types of Ongoing Mission Opportunities
Construction: Church, School, Children's Home/Orphanage, Latrines
Other: Lodging

Saturday, July 30, 2016

{Priority Projects} Chile

Please contact the UMVIM, SEJ office at 205-453-9480 or for additional information. Click here to read the Mission Highlight on John Elmore, the UMC Missionary to Chile.
  • Northern District of ChileThe Methodist Church of Chile has been trying to start a Church community in the town of Hurra, a town of about 2,000 people in the Middle of the Antacama Desert. They have the property and a building was constructed, but the earthquake in 2005 completely destroyed the building, and they would like to rebuild this church building.
  • ValparaisLocated 80 towards the coast from Santiago, Chile is a community called "Villa Alemana".  They wish to build a new church and the foundations have been installed, however, they need help to finish the project.
  • City of Santiago, Chile: A building over fifty years ago, and the fourth church of Santiago, "Buen  Samaritano" is located in La Cisterna, a community in Santiago. The construction of the church was done very poorly, and the roof is now leaking, in additional to numerous other problems. Repairs are needed.
  • District William TaylorDue to the Earthquake of 2010, the Talca Methodist Church parsonage is in need of major repairs. The church community there would like to add another room to the parsonage.
  • District ConcepcionBuilt 60 years ago, the first Methodist Church of Lota parsonage needs to be rebuilt. Lota is  25 miles from the Seaport town of Concepcion, the third largest city in Chile.
  • Southern District of ChileLocated in the Lake District of Chile, the Methodist  Church of Osorno building is in need of major repairs.
  • Coelemu: There is an urgent need to complete the parsonage. There are also Sunday school classrooms that need painting. It would be ideal to have teams who also can provide Church Leadership Training for laity, Bible School for Children and Youth, vitamins and calcium supplements for older adults and children, as well as aspirin for adults and children.
  • PitrufquenRepairs are needed on the sanctuary and parsonage, and the Social Hall needs to painted. It is also requested that the teams also provide Bible School for children and youth, a communion altar cloth and communion set, vitamins and calcium supplements for older adults and children, as well as aspirin for adults and children.
  • Puerto NatalesConstruction of Sunday school classrooms and repairs on the parsonage are needed. The best time for volunteer teams in the Chilean Patagonia is from October to March, during the Spring/Summer. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

{Mission Highlight} Opportunities

In 2016, Our Mission Highlights will focus internally, on what UMVIM, SEJ does to serve the short-term mission community within the United Methodist Church. Join us this year as we focus on the ways we equip teams and their leaders through Resources, Trainings, Mission Opportunities, Healthy & Safety education, and Relationship-building. 
In our previous Mission Highlights, we told you how we serve short-term mission volunteers through Resources and Training. The next step is to find the Mission Opportunity that fits your group's interest and abilities. We work with projects across the United Methodist connection so teams can serve where and how they are being called. These opportunities range from healthcare and education, disaster response and recovery, construction and home repair, and everything in between. Read on to find out more.
Mission Opportunities Lists
UMVIM, SEJ maintains the International Mission Opportunity List, and all projects on the Internationaland Domestic Lists are developed with the leadership in the regions or country in which they are located. UMVIM helps connect volunteers with project leaders to assist with the resources and skills to see projects to completion. If you're not sure whichMission Opportunity is right for your short-term mission journey, we are here to help. (Check out our Mission Highlight on Resources to learn more about how our staff is available to assist you in every aspect of short-term service!)
Medical Missions
Medical-based mission trips make up a large percentage of the UMVIM effort. Doctors, nurses, dentists, and others from the medical field take their expertise to underserved areas across the globe to provide quality medical care. If you are a healthcare provider and would like more information on how you can volunteer your time and services, check out the Medical Missions page on our GO! tab for more information. Our Medical Missions blog, run by UMVIM board member Jane Dunn, is a wonderful source of information.
Disaster Response
UMVIM, SEJ works with UMCOR and Conference Disaster Response Coordinators to communicate the need for volunteer teams to disaster-affected areas. A generous UMCOR grant has allowed us to bring a Disaster Response Liaison onto our staff to further our ability to connect volunteers to the appropriate response. Click here to head over to the UMVIM, SEJ Disaster Response page, where you will find opportunities all around the Jurisdiction, and contact information for your conference's Disaster Response Coordinator
Youth and Young Adults
Today's young people are tomorrow's leaders, and we are intentional about providing opportunities to the Next Generation of the United Methodist Church. In 2013 we launched a Summer Internship Program where the brightest of the SEJ youth are able to serve in local and international placements. It can be challenging for youth leaders to find appropriate opportunities that develop both disciples and leaders, so we have developed a Mission Opportunity List that is geared to youth-appropriate mission opportunities. Click here to check it out
You don't have to look far to see the wide variety of ways UMVIM, SEJ provides opportunities for you to serve. Continue to stay in touch with us this year to learn how UMVIM, SEJ is here to connect you into mission opportunities across globe and equip you for service. Click here if you are not already receiving our Weekly Updates, Mission Highlights, and more.

Friday, June 3, 2016

UMVIM, SEJ Welcomes Rives Worsham as 2016 Summer Intern

Executive Director Paulette West and 2016 Intern Rives Worsham
The staff and board of UMVIM, SEJ are excited to announce Rives Worsham as the 2016 summer intern. Rives comes to us from the Virginia Conference, where he has been a lifelong member Trinity UMC in Richmond, and is currently attending the Virginia Military Institute.

During his time in Trinity’s youth ministry, he grew in his love of God and missions under the influence of his youth pastor Forrest White, who also serves as the Virginia UMVIM Coordinator. Rives was able to learn about the value and importance of short-term missions, and had the opportunity to serve in Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Memphis, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, as well as his local community in Richmond.

When asked him why he felt called to apply for our internship, Rives answered, “I am passionate about serving others and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. I am most excited just about the job variety that comes with this position. I don't think there are many jobs that have you doing so many different things, from working in rural communities in Tennessee to the tropics in Costa Rica.”

Rives is studying Economics and Business at Virginia Military Institute, where he also plays Division I soccer. His ability to work within in a team setting has been sharpened at VMI, both on and off the field, a quality that is essential to engaging in effective mission service. He is also a natural born leader, and we know he will only continue to learn more about what it means to serve God and others through missions.

“One of the things that I love about mission work is that I always learn from the people who I am serving, about God, and about life,” said Rives. “It is something that I have always been passionate about. I am looking forward to the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others while they undoubtedly make a difference in mine.”

Rives will begin his summer in the UMVIM, SEJ office in Birmingham, Alabama. His domestic placement will be with the Reelfoot Rural Ministries, and his international placement will have him traveling to San Isidro, Costa Rica to serve with Costa Rica Mission Projects. Each year, our interns also work with our Design Team at Young People in Mission, UMVIM’s hallmark event that is held at Lake Junaluska.

The UMVIM, SEJ Summer Internship Program was established in 2013 as way to further equip a member of the Next Generation of the UMC to grow in their missional capabilities. Our former interns have gone on to serve as UMC clergy and other roles within the denomination. To learn more about this program, please visit our website.