Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mission Highlight: SEJ Disaster Academy

Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes: all things that happen in virtually an instant yet often leave in their paths months or even years worth of recovery efforts. As we now face cleanup in the Central and Southern parts of our country after the tornados of the past week, this truth is fresh on our minds. Commitment to swift and appropriate disaster response by utilizing the United Methodist Church's connectional system is an important part of our mission as the General Church.

Disaster Academies are a collaborative effort between the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the 5 USA Jurisdictions. Through these academies, UMCOR is able to train annual conferences, districts and local churches on their respective roles in disaster response.

The Southeastern Jurisdiction Disaster Academy was held in February of this year. During this event, participants were given the option to follow 4 different tracks, each one focusing on disaster response on the volunteer, local church, district or conference level. No matter a person's role within their conference or their skill level, each participate left the Academy with specific knowledge of how they can engage during times of emergency.

The event brought together UMCOR staff, Conference UMVIM and Disaster Response Coordinators, clergy and lay members, allowing them to make connections and friendships while teaching and learning from each other. Mr. Greg Forrester, UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for United States Disaster Responsesaid it best, "We are here for training, to learn from each other, and more importantly how we are in relationship with one another when disaster strikes. It requires all of us working together to make the response happen and to show our connectional United Methodist Church at work." 

Too often we turn on our televisions to the news of natural disasters, and it is our human nature to want to help in any way we can. Providing necessary humanitarian relief is a tangible way to show Christian love in action. UMVIM, SEJ works to facilitate the placement of volunteers to the locations and projects in which they are needed. We serve those who answer the call to respond by providing resources such health insurance, team registration and comprehensive training for team leaders to help them prepare their teams for the mission field.     

Several participants at this year's Academy spoke with UMVIM, SEJ Executive Director Paulette West and shared specific opportunities of how teams can immediately become involved with disaster response. Read and pray over the opportunities below and see if perhaps the Lord is leading you to be involved. View the videos below to learn more about how you can get involved! You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter or visit our Team Openings page to stay up to date on the latest opportunities. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can help with the response in the wake of the recent tornadoes, please contact your Conference UMVIM Coordinator. Information will be available later this year regarding the 2015 SEJ Disaster Academy, including how to sign up. 

Randy Burbank–North Alabama Conference
April 27th Tornado Relief. Seeking teams with members of all skill sets to build and complete homes. Please contact Lori Feist a

Tom Vencuss–New York Conference 
Superstorm Sandy Relief. Seeking teams to assist with addressing long-term needs for those who have been displaced. Please contact Tom Vencuss at 

Amelia Fletcher–Alabama-West Florida Conference
2011 Mobile Christmas Tornado Relief. Seeking teams to assist in repairing the 35 homes still on their list, specifically with roofing and interior repairs. Please visit their website for volunteer forms and more information.

Cliff Harvell–North Carolina Conference
Hurricane Irene Relief. Efforts will continue throughout 2014 as the list of needs grow and as funding and volunteer support are coming in. Approximately 70 more cases are still open. Seeking teams with all skill levels, particularly in roofing and interior repair. For more information, please contact Cliff Harvell at

Kathy Kraiza–UMCOR Executive Director of Relief Supplies 
Disaster Relief Kits. Kits are a means of providing hope and are tremendous way of connecting the church to missions across the United States and the world. Constructing Disaster Relief kits are an especially effective way for Children's Ministries and/or those who are unable to participate in manual labor to engage in disaster relief. Click here to learn more.

Bonus Video: 
Billy Robinson–South Carolina Conference
This year's winter season was particularly harsh and unrelenting here in the Southeast. While we know to expect hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding, ice storms are something that we do not often deal with. A 91-year-old lady in South Carolina shared with Billy Robinson and his team that while the power in her home was out, the power of God never left her. 

Youth and Young Adult Opportunities

Helping People Grow Closer to God
Young People in Mission 2014
By Susan Kim

“I've grown to be a lot more confident in my walk with Christ. I've been able to be a leader in Christ in a lot of different circumstances where I never thought I'd be able to speak up before.”
– Gracie Thull, Young People In Mission
These are the words of a young person whose life was changed when she attended Young People in Mission, a camp experience with hands-on mission opportunities for youth across the southeastern United States.
The camp is just one of many mission-related activities that United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) offers for youth. As they participate in camps, internships, training and projects, the experience is so meaningful that many of them say it's the first time they have ever seen God -- the first time they have ever been filled with the Holy Spirit.
This year, in addition to experiencing Young People In Mission, youth will:
– Serve in internships, which are 9-week programs for college students who hope to experience various aspects of mission and ministry as they discern their calling into mission;
– Participate in Go&Serve Training Weekends, a team leader training immersion experience for youth, young adults, and adults who work with youth or young adults;
– Travel to national and international projects recommended by UMVIM as excellent mission destinations. To name just a few states in our area: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina. Globally, the list starts with Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and more.
Your support for UMVIM is about more than giving kids a fun time. It's about igniting a faith that will form the future of our church. Camps, internships, training and projects all work together to help encourage and challenge young people to serve with new eyes and a heart for Christ.
Your contribution means we can continue to offer these opportunities -- locally, nationally and globally. Your generosity starts a young person on the path to making a difference for a lifetime. How can we put a price tag on that? The amount is up to you and how you feel called to help. As we approach the Easter season, a time for renewal, please prayerfully consider giving in honor of a young person you know or in honor of young people everywhere.
If you would like to make a donation, please visit our Donate page and specify Young People in Mission.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

By Susan Kim
When Rachel Russell thinks about mission, she thinks about stepping outside of her comfort zone. For her, that's not a hardship – it's an opportunity.
Rachel Russell, 2014 YPIM Design Team chair and Freshman at Mississippi State University.
Over spring break last year, Russell, a student at Mississippi State University, traveled to Costa Rica where she worked with the Rice and Beans Ministries, an organization that provides food, construction services, day camps for children and other outreach to local communities.

From working with children to swinging a hammer, Russell realized that she loves seeing new places and helping people at the same time. “To me, it's a meaningful experience. It's the best of both worlds,” she said.
Now Russell is working to ensure that other young people can receive the gifts of mission work as well. She is chairing the design team for Young People in Mission, a camp experience with hands-on mission opportunities for youth and young adults ages 12 to 24. Scheduled for June 29-July 3 at Lake Junaluska, the event has a way of changing the way you think about your fellow human beings and even about God, Russell said.

“I have realized that we are all part of God's kingdom and that we should be looking out for each other,” she said.

Ryan Calhoun, also a Design Team member, remembers clearly the feelings he had as he participated in an Appalachian Service Project trip to repair homes in Tennessee. “We built a wheel chair ramp but we also built relationships with families. You could see the impact you were making on the family.”

Participants in this year's Young People In Mission event will focus on the theme of justice as it relates to kingdom, relational, restorative, and holistic.

Calhoun, a junior in high school from North Carolina, said he hopes the experience will give young people a perspective on mission – locally, nationally and globally.

“My mission work has shown me what it really means to love our neighbor and help them, and do whatever needs to be done to find God. Mission work changes my perspective. It humbles me, makes me better appreciate what I have, and makes me want to share what I have with others,” he said.

Calhoun, who has a dream of doing international mission work, said that every time he participates in another project, it renews his hope for the world.

“Doing missions has shown me that there is kindness in the hearts of all people,” he said.

Registration for Young People In Mission is now open! Please visit to register or to learn more!

Your gift to United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction, Advance 901875, helps to empower, coordinate and train short-term mission service opportunities domestically and internationally, for young people.

Mission Highlight: Alabama Rural Ministry and M25

In an attempt to increase participation among youth and young adult groups, we have compiled a list of projects which we know would be excellent destinations for a mission experience. The full list can be found on our website, but we wanted to share the stories from two projects in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM) has been an UMVIM project for years and we are incredibly thankful for their ministry. ARM is based in Auburn, but serves in Livingston and Tuskegee with home repair and children's ministries for low income families. Lisa Pierce, founder and director, sent us some notes:
Mostly, they are extending great doses of love to incredibly warm and welcoming people. So bring your hammers, your hearts, your hands and let's build something awesome together in the name of Jesus!
Recently we built a wheel chair ramp and deck for Ms. Eddie who has a painful form of arthritis making it an agonizing experience going up and down small stairs. Now she is able to get in and out of her home more easily and enjoys sitting out in the beautiful sunset each day. Mostly, she talks about the love of the youth and college students who have come to help and how that has made her know without a doubt how much Jesus loves and cares about her. If you are at our day camp, our kids faces light up every time a youth comes and reads with them, tells them a Bible Story or just plays a fun game of UNO. They feel valued and like Ms. Patterson, know that Jesus loves them. It makes them want to help others also.
ARM can host up to 70 people per week and still has openings for the summer. They are also interviewing college students to help run the summer camps. To bring a team or interview to be on summer staff, send Lisa an email at and check out their website.
M25 Mission Camp based in Marietta, GA and serving as a relational ministry to those without residence in Atlanta has been an UMVIM project for the past three years. Over the course of our relationship with this project and the leaders, we have been incredibly amazed at how God is moving in their community. We recently received the following beautiful story from the director, Gabe Barrett:
A while back, we were serving at a soup kitchen in downtown Atlanta. We were making pancakes and inviting all of our residentially challenged friends in to join us for brunch. A tall, older man named Clark came in, and two of the students found out it was his birthday. So they ran into the kitchen, made a big stack of pancakes, and scrounged around for some birthday candles. The students lit the candles and brought the pancakes out to Clark. There were about seventy people in the room, and everyone stopped and sang "happy birthday."
Tears of joy streamed down Clark's face.
He blew out the candles and everyone clapped. A while later, when Clark got up to leave, I stopped him at the door and asked him how old he was that day. He said 60. Then I asked, "When's the last time someone sang you happy birthday?" He thought for a little bit and said, "I think I was 15 the last time someone did that for me."
45 years. It had been 45 years since someone had said, "Clark, it's your day. And since it's your day, we're gonna light some candles and sing you happy birthday." 45 years.
At M25, we let God worry about changing people's lives; we just try to change someone's day. Whether it's with a hug, a prayer, a kind word, a listening ear, or a stack of pancakes, we try to make sure people know they are loved and valued.
Did those birthday pancakes change Clark's life? Probably not.
Did they change Clark's day?
For all the details about serving with M25, check out their website and email Gabe They still have openings for the summer, so check them out!
As always, we would love to connect you with a project. If you have any questions or want to talk in depth about your group and potential mission sites, please do not hesitate in calling us (205.453.9480) or sending us a note (
Go and Serve in 2014!

Mission Highlight: Cambodia

In January of this year, UMVIM SEJ Executive Director, Paulette West, traveled with a group to Cambodia to explore UMC Projects, develop relationships with project leaders, and gain a greater sense as to how the Church is moving and growing in Southeast Asia.
Paulette’s trip was preceded by a group from the Virginia Conference led by Rev. Glenn Rowley, Virginia Conference Director of Justice and Missional Excellence. In 2012, the Virginia Conference added Cambodia to their Initiatives of Hope Mission Ministry, and as listed on their website, they are “charged with equipping pastors and laity in their work of sharing the gospel and building community as they preach, teach and work in partnership to meet social and spiritual needs in their villages and cities.”

While in Cambodia, Paulette had the opportunity to interview several UMC Missionaries who are serving in different capacities.
The first interview is from Ester Karimi Gitobu, UMC Missionary from Kenya and VIM Coordinator. In this video she discusses opportunities for VIM Teams and Volunteers. 

The second interview is from Romeo del Rosario, UMC Missionary in Cambodia, and in this video he talks about the population in Cambodia and opportunities for the church to grow through children and young people. “We have to think of ways by which the church can be in ministry with the children and the youth.”-Romeo.

The final interview is with Clara Mridula Biswas, UMC Missionary in Cambodia from Bangladesh. She serves with education and children's ministries. Also, as a special treat for our hearts, there are several videos of worship, preschool kids laughing, and three videos of children singing.

Mission Highlight: Zimbabwe

South Carolina Conference VIM Relationship with Hatcliffe UMC- Written by Jessica Connor, editor for South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper
South Carolina United Methodist Volunteers in Mission have been helping one small community in Zimbabwe since 2006, building a parsonage, office and larger sanctuary at Hatcliffe United Methodist Church outside Harare.

The church serves a dense population of men, women and children in the suburban community, and though the Spirit was strong, the congregation had vastly outgrown its space. The S.C. Annual Conference embraced the UMVIM project as its own, and many churches statewide stepped up to help Hatcliffe. The first UMVIM team, led by Robin Landers, traveled to Zimbabwe in October 2008 to pour the foundation and leave supplies. In April 2010, Landers and a second team finished the parsonage and office. Its third and most recent trip, in summer 2012, built the structure for the roof.
Thanks to funds donated from UMCs throughout South Carolina, Hatcliffe members have continued work since then, and the building is almost complete.

“It’s all about God and serving Him,” Landers said. “And that is just what we tried to do.”
Jessica Connor, one of the eight missioners who journeyed to Zimbabwe in 2012, and the editor of the conference’s S.C. United Methodist Advocate newspaper, said the trip was a life-changer for her.
“Yes, I worked my tail off, but I also connected – truly connected – with people like never before in my life,” Connor said. “A classic workaholic, I stopped looking for work to do. Rather, I looked for people to talk with, learn from, spend time with. My team became my family. I threw all my expectations out the window and learned to truly rely on God. And today, I’m better for it.” She added, “I guess you can say I’ve been bitten by the ‘mission bug.’ I can’t wait for my next trip to serve.”
Blessed in Zimbabwe- Blog post written by Derrick Scott, Executive Director of Campus to City Wesley Foundation of Northeast Florida- Florida Conference Campus Ministry Team
I had the privilege of traveling with a team to Africa University in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe. I am still trying to put words to my experience. One thing is for certain — my first trip to Africa has left an unforgettable impression on my soul. I am looking forward to visiting this continent many more times over the course of my life.

One of the abundant blessings I received during this trip was meeting the people of Africa University and Zimbabwe. The “Shona” people, native to the country, are some of the most welcoming and hospitable folks on the planet..super generous and open-hearted. Also, hearing the stories of the students of AU was inspiring. I can honestly say that I have made some life-long friends. Thank God for Facebook!

The national politics of Zimbabwe was of particular interest to me. The current president is Robert Mugabe, whose picture has to be displayed by law in every store, restaurant, school, etc. The people are eagerly waiting for Mugabe to set a date for presidential elections. I wish I could have had some deep conversations about this and other issues related to the nation’s government, economy, and policies. The little bit that I picked up from newspaper stories left me intrigued and longing for more.
There are so many things I could tell you about my trip: experiencing the deep faith of the AU students, the impact of being a black man in the Motherland, the ways my preconceived ideas about Africa were challenged, learning the rich history of the UMC’s mission in the nation, and so much more. I will probably spend the next several years processing my time there. It has been said, “When you visit Africa, you depart leaving half of your heart behind.” Friends, that is a true statement.
Gulf Breeze UMC Relationship with Zimbabwe UMC and Zambezi Hunters- written by Dr. Lester Spencer, Senior Pastor of Gulf Breeze UMC in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Gulf Breeze UMC , in Gulf Breeze, Florida , has been doing UMVIM work in Zimbabwe with the Zimbabwe UMC and Zambezi Hunters for two years now. It all started with a member of GBUMC, Duke McCaa, who was on safari in Zimbabwe when he became aware of the great need for fresh, safe drinking water in the remote villages of Southern Zimbabwe.
From this initial trip, Duke returned to Gulf Breeze UMC to discuss this need with Dr. Bob and Linda Spencer, Madelyn Tucker ( chair of the missions committee ) along with the Pastors. UMVIM investigative teams to Zimbabwe were birthed from these meetings which lead to meetings with the Leadership of the Zimbabwe UMC and, ultimately, with Bishop Nhiwatiwa , the Bishop of the Zimbabwe UMC .

Zambezi Hunters, a Safari organization based in Zimbabwe, also became a partner in this effort due to the fact that they had many connections with the Chiefs and villages in the Southern part of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe UMC , Zambezi Hunters , GBUMC and UMVIM began to drill fresh water wells in various villages providing safe drinking water for thousands of people. Also, a new UM church was started in Nyangombe, one of the remote villages , (with five thousand people and no church) and a new Pastor was assigned there by Bishop Nhiwatiwa. All of this a as result of the this partnership.
In July of 2012, I took my youngest son, Joshua Spencer , with me on an exploratory UMVIM trip along with Duke and Becky McCaa and a few others from GBUMC . Our purpose was to meet with the Bishop and other leaders of the Zimbabwe UMC as we finalized plans for future work. We also visited the Old Mutare Mission, Africa University, Nyangombe , other villages and various wells that GBUMC had drilled throughout this region through this partnership.
Part of our mission was also to lay the ground work for future teams to Zimbabwe. In April of this year , one of those teams went back to Zimbabwe to start the construction on the new parsonage in Nyangombe as well as visit other mission sites and wells which we have recently drilled.
The UMVIM mission experience with my son and the other folks from GBUMC, was an awesome experience and my second time to Zimbabwe with GBUMC , UMVIM and this partnership. For several days,we camped at the ARDA Safari Camp, owned and run by Zambezi Hunters, which is one of the sites where teams will stay when they are serving in is region. It is in the middle of one of the most beautiful , wild and remote parts of Zimbabwe. It is in the Save Valley which is where the largest numbers of African wildlife reside in Zimbabwe. We heard Leopards and Lions at night . Crocodiles and Hippos dwell in the river next to the camp . On the way to the worksites each day, one can see all manner of African game. It is truly an “Out Of Africa ” experience.
I hope many of you will seriously consider taking an UMVIM team to Zimbabwe ! There are many needs there . Medical teams are needed desperately at the Old Mutare Mission Hospital . More construction work needs to be done on various church related projects . More wells need to be dug.
Please contact the UMVIM office for more details . Our UMVIM, SEJ Director , Paulette West, just returned from Zimbabwe as she had served there with our GBUMC team . She is up to date on the needs of the Zimbabwe UMC and knows how to plan for an UMVIM experience there .
Though there are serious economic problems in Zimbabwe at this time, we have not had any major problems in all of our travels and work there. Due to the partnership we have with the ZUMC and Zambezi Hunters, our teams have been well taken care of and able to do our work as we seek to offer Christ Love In Action!

Mission Highlight: Summer of Serving

The summer of 2013 proved to be a full and transforming season for many of our short-term volunteers in mission. Over three hundred and forty-eight teams answered the call to serve locally, nationally and internationally and allowed us to “join” them on their journey.
Additionally, several individuals served for a longer period of time. In this Mission Highlight, we wanted to shine a bright spotlight on how God moved in three people and the communities in which they served.
To begin, please meet Elissa Ewald. This young adult with a heart for sharing God’s love all over the world moved to Kenya to serve for six months. She shared that God spoke very clearly to her during her freshman year of college and when the time came, she answered boldly to serve. While in Kenya, Elissa served with Divine Providence Training Center ( She shared in her writing upon returning home and we want to include her original words because it is written so well:
“Kenya is also my home. I have another family here. I have an entirely other set of friends. I have people that I dance in the kitchen with, ones who put up with my singing loudly in the car, and ones who notice when I’m not in church on Sunday. This is where I felt called to go my freshman year of college, never having heard the Lord spoken so clearly or loudly before. It is where these beautiful people captured my heart. It is where the Lord called me back to last year. It is where I have stumbled ungracefully through trials and learned great lessons about myself and about who the Lord is.
He brought me comfort, and joy, and love, and a whole new group of friends that I couldn’t even have hoped for or deserved. He brought me community. Not just people for the sake of people, either. He brought me people laugh with and cook for, to grow with and learn with, to encourage me and to gently correct me. He brought me people to remind me WHO HE IS.”
Elissa studied Photojournalism at the University of Georgia and the images she shares on her blog are simply stunning. You can see more, and read more, of her story on her
Now let’s talk about Shaun Smith. This guy has hardworking and compassionate written all over him. Hailing from Virginia and married to a UMC pastor, he said, “My wife had been praying for ‘my situation’ as she called it.” Upon finishing a prayer, she was searching online for information unrelated to UMVIM and stumbled across the information about the Individual Volunteer Program. “We’re serious about saying ‘yes’ to God,” he continued, “so when it happened, she told me.” After researching the program, he submitted the application the following day.
Shaun attended Individual Volunteer training and received a placement to serve with Upper Sand Mountain Parish in the North Alabama Conference. We were able to catch up with Shaun at the Parish and through our conversations, we learned that Shaun had a big, transformational morning. In a video interview, he shared the following story:
“I’ll tell you, I never thought I would be the person who would fall on my hands and knees and beg God to take that last little bit…to take it from me. I never thought I would be that person because I had to be in control of giving it. Well, if I’m in control of giving it, it’s never going to be given. I never thought I would be that person. Today I was.”
Finally, we want to introduce you to Kylie Foley. For a little history, in our 40th year in ministry, we were excited to launch a College Internship Program. After several interviews and many prayers, we offered Kylie the opportunity to serve as our first intern.
She is a recent graduate of Florida State University and has led teams to serve with friends in Haiti. Her pastor posted the internship announcement on their Facebook page and she applied although, she noted, “I started the summer skeptical of missions. I just didn’t know if my passion was really my calling, or something I just loved as part of church culture.”
During the nine weeks, she spent a week and a half in the UMVIM, SEJ office and we filled her with information in preparation for her time in service. We were excited to connect her with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Wesley Foundation to provide housing and friendship for her stay in Birmingham. Kylie attended North Alabama Annual Conference and she shared on her blog, “I could go on and on about the things I learned. But here’s it boiled down: We’re called to be disciples and make disciples. That’s it. The church can’t be dying if Jesus is alive, so get it together.”
She then traveled to Lineville, Alabama to serve for three weeks with the Learn and Serve Camp through Servants in Faith and Technology (SIFAT). She shared, “Summed up, missions is loving others because you love and obey God. It is not a trip, an experience, a set time or people group. Missions is how you live your life, and all of those things can be part of it as well. But it doesn’t define missions.”
Finally, Kylie served in Quesimpuco, Bolivia for three weeks facilitating the beginnings of a guinea pig farm (yes!) and greenhouse, and also serving a church. Kylie shared in an email the following:
“This summer has helped me to strip down the definition of missions and label it as…Being a Christian. I ended the summer STOKED about missions…Mission trips are another way of daily discipleship and not just a check mark next to charity for the year. Working for a church or short-term mission agency to make “missions” more sustainably focused and culturally sensitive would be an absolute honor, and I hope God uses me soon for whatever He has planned.”
On her blog she shared images of her journal of her entire trip, and it is such a beautiful testament to her kind and quiet spirit. That blog can be accessed here:
Individual Volunteers serve in all types of settings throughout the year; typically they serve between two months and two years. For more information about the Individual Volunteer program, check out our Individual Volunteer page.
We feel that for its first year, the internship program was a roaring success. In beginning conversations about the internship program, our hope was that the student might experience various aspects of mission and ministry, have quality conversations with mentors, see justice at work, and spend time in discerning his or her calling. All of these hopes came to fruition and we plan to continue this program for many summers! To learn more about how you can support, join and pray for the internship program, please see the Go! page on our website.

Mission Highlight: VIM Training in South Africa

The Methodist Church of South Africa hosted Ms. Una Jones from the General Board of Global Ministries and Ms. Paulette West from United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction November 4-12, 2013 for a Project Coordinators’ Training. Clergy and Lay Representatives from Africa University, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe participated and shared ideas for coordinating projects and hosting volunteers.
Among the topics discussed, Ms. Jones and Ms. West shared the importance of becoming an Advance Project, remaining transparent in record-keeping, communicating with leadership and volunteer teams, and Global Ministries/VIM networks.
A few goals were to always mentor someone to replace you, share skills, build relationships, and host teams effectively.
The Reverend Joseph Washington, Global Ministries Regional Executive, led devotions each day and the Closing Communion Service.
During the breaks of the trainings, Ms. West was able to chat with the participants and in the following interviews, you will hear how volunteer teams can serve.
If you would like to follow up and wish to serve in the areas, please email with the name of the country/ies with which you would like to build a relationship.

Mission Highlight: Young People in Mission

Eight students gathered to create. Eight students gathered to pray. Eight students gathered to share their ideas, wrestle with their ideas, and weave their ideas into the outline for the 2014 gathering of Young People in Mission.
The eight students form the Design Team for Young People in Mission and put into practice the hard work which goes into planning and implementing the camp experience with hands-on mission opportunities; hosting students from across the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
This year’s conference will be hosted at Lake Junaluska, June 29th-July 3rd.
With the hope that this event will serve as a launch to empower youth and young adults to serve with new eyes and a heart for Christ, the Design Team chose the simple, yet incredibly complex, theme: ________Justice. Speakers from mission projects and churches will discuss and share ideas about Kingdom Justice, Relational Justice, Restorative Justice and Holistic Justice and how these all fit together for Glory of God.
Each night, Rev. R.G. Lyons, Senior Pastor at Community Church Without Walls, will stretch, encourage, and challenge the students through a Bible Study relating to the theme of the day.
Youth and Young Adults will have the opportunity to serve with mission projects in the area Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday. They will also split into family groups to share and (hopefully) build new friendships.
Workshops will be held each day with speakers sharing different ways students can be involved in mission in their hometowns, across the nation, and/or throughout the world. The workshop leaders will also have more details and can talk in depth at The City of Opportunity. There, students can learn more about how they can make a difference as they are called.
On the final day, Rev. Lyons will lead the group in Communion and a Sending Forth Service.
This is the first year that UMVIM, SEJ has worked with the leadership of Young People in Mission to help coordinate the event. We are so excited to work with this talented group of students and the many more we hope to meet over the summer.
For more information about registering or details, please email
Details are on our website at this link:
Registration will be open when we launch our new website, toward the end of February.
“Unlike any other conference I’ve gone to, or camp, you’re given so many different opportunities through Young People in Mission to just reach out in your own community and to the world.”-Rachel Russell, Design Team Chairperson

Weekly Prayer Guide

Sunday: Pray for Project Leaders as they host volunteers to best serve their communities.
Monday: Pray for Individual Volunteers’ physical, spiritual and emotional health as they serve.
Tuesday: Pray for the safety of Short-Term Mission Teams as they encounter Jesus by serving around the world.
Wednesday: Pray for Early Response and Long-Term Recovery Teams as they bring hope and healing to the people who have lost homes and loved ones.
Thursday: Pray for UMVIM, SEJ Conference Coordinators, Board Members and Staff as they seek to live out their vision and mission.
Friday: Pray that the local churches experience health and vitality as they discern their call to service and mission.
Saturday: Pray that Team Leaders will exemplify “Christian Love in Action” through their leadership.