Friday, May 30, 2014

Red Bird Missionary Conference

"So what does it mean to be on a mission from God? It is love in motion. It is the  people of God-you and me-being the feet and hands of God, wherever He calls us  to be." - Rev. Steven Riddle, Red Bird Missionary Conference UMVIM Coordinator

The Appalachian Mountain range is one of the most breathtaking places in our  entire country. However, this beautiful scenery serves as a backdrop to one of its poorest regions. Poverty, lack of jobs and substandard housing are just some of the deep-seated problems that this rural, 
outlying region has faced for generations. Red Bird Missionary Conference is one of the three missionary conferences of the United Methodist Church, which simply means that it operates in a geographical region where local resources cannot always meet the needs of those whom it serves. It provides a Christian presence in these communities and offers a multitude of sustainable programs, services and initiatives that do not merely put a bandage over the problem, but rather seeks to address issues at their core to foster hope and promote change.

UMVIM, SEJ has been sending teams to this region for many years, and Executive Director Paulette West had the pleasure of attending their 2014 Annual Conference. In this newsletter you will learn more about the wonderful things that are happening within the Conference, and we hope that you will prayerfully consider leading a team here. 

Red Bird Mission
Red Bird Mission is one of the four mission institutions that serve within the Red Bird Missionary Conference. Since its founding in 1921, it has grown to encompass K-12 education and early childhood development, a retail industry comprised of craft and community stores, senior and elderly programs, health and wellness education, literacy opportunities, women and children ministries, community housing and more. The tasks are numerous and the need is strong, but the community is responsive and change is happening.

Henderson Settlement
Also operating within the conference is Henderson Settlement. If you have served here before, you probably have had the good fortune of working with Jerry Lambdin, the Director of Mission Outreach. Below is a short video of Jerry talking more about how Henderson came into existence nearly 100 years ago! Starting as far back as the 1960s, Henderson has been waging war on poverty, even at times working side by side with the federal government. Programs have grown over the decades to include everything from libraries and health services to youth ministries and recycling programs that both raise money and address the area's widespread litter problem. 

Stories From The Field
Judy Wilson of North Webster, Indiana has been part of UMVIM teams with her church and family for many years at Henderson Settlement, working mostly on home improvement projects. But several years ago, she and her team began meeting a need that can often be forgotten in the shuffle of hammers and paintbrushes of a typical work mission. They set up a makeshift beauty salon and began offering hair cut and manicure services to the local women, even sending with them on their way with bags of shampoos, toothbrushes and other toiletries. It seems like a simple thing, but many of these women had never been cared for in this way. Over the years her group has continued to grow this ministry and bless the local women and their families by not only providing them with a way to feel lovely and cared for, but also by nurturing these relationships and establishing long-lasting friendships. Below is a short video of Judy explaining the impact of their beauty salon ministry and what a mutual blessing it has become.

How Can YOU Get Involved?
So glad you asked! Each year, Red Bird Mission Annual Conference, Red Bird Mission, and Henderson Settlement hosts thousands of short-term volunteers. They engage with the community and serve in a number of ways, especially with necessary home repairs and improvements for those who cannot financially cover them on their own. These volunteers serve as extensions of the body of Christ by donating their resources, time and energy to the multitude of sustainable programs that institutions within Red Bird Missionary Conference have put in place. UMVIM provides Team Leader Training and extensive resources, includingteam health insurance coverage, to those who answer the call to serve in this impoverished area. If you feel called to lead a team to this challenged yet hopeful region, please find all of the opportunities within the conference on our SEJ Mission Opportunity List. You may also contact Conference UMVIM Coordinator Steven Riddle directly. 

Bonus Videos
Rev. Steven Riddle, Conference UMVIM Coordinator
Below you can watch both parts of Rev. Riddle's UMVIM presentation at this year's Red Bird Annual Conference. He also shares about the importance of short-term volunteerism and the mutual way in which it benefits both the volunteer and those they serve. 

Tim Henderson, Facilities Director
Tim grew up in New York state, where he put down roots with his career, his family and his church. For years he avoided Volunteers in Mission because he couldn't quite understand "doing work for free." With a last name of Henderson, he finally decided that was God calling him to go down to Kentucky and see what Volunteers in Mission is all about. Watch this video to hear how his time at Henderson Settlement changed the course of his life completely, and how the Lord has continued to bless his decision to follow God into the rural mission field. 

The Lambs, Individual Volunteers
Click here to watch a video from Bill and Ruth Ann Lamb of Fairborn, Ohio, two retirees who for 7 years they have spent entire seasons serving the people within the Red Bird Missionary Conference. Watch and see why they return year after year with other retirees, who have become like a second family to them.

More Videos on our YouTube Channel!UMVIM, SEJ Executive Director Paulette West had the opportunity to speak with a number of volunteers and employees who serve within the Red Bird Missionary Conference. We have uploaded her interviews on our YouTube Channel and hope you will take a few minutes to hear more from these people who have made this ministry such a huge part of their lives.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Young People in Mission 2014: The Speakers

The 2014 Young People in Mission event is filled to the brim with incredible speakers that you absolutely will not want to miss. As you might know, our theme this year is "JUSTICE." This could mean any of a number things, and we know that these speakers will shed new light on what it might mean to you. 

It's not too late to sign up! Registration is still open for the 2014 gathering of Young People in Mission, and early bird pricing will run through June 1. Check out the YPIM Event Page on our website for more information and to register!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Registration and Insurance Instructional Video

Please watch this short video to learn everything you need to know about registering your team! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Invest: SEJ Disaster Academy

Disaster Academy Offers “Priceless” Knowledge and Encouragement
By: Susan Kim

“We're ready to go.”

That's how Jim Watson describes his Early Response Team (ERT), a team more than 50 people strong and the largest ERT in the state of Florida. At least part of this high state of readiness, Watson said, is due to the knowledge and inspiration he and other ERT members have gathered at the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Disaster Academy, a training event that draws hundreds of people from across the region.

“I make connections with people all over the Southeastern Jurisdiction, and I get a lot of ideas about what they're dong and why they're doing it,” he said. “Within the disaster response arena, things are always changing. At the academy, we learn from each other and also from FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] people who attend and talk to us.”

People who attend the SEJ Disaster Academy carry their knowledge and their relationships forward as they respond to disasters across the region.

Bill Robinson, who coordinates ERTs for the South Carolina Conference, is nearly finished overseeing the response to February ice storms that damaged hundreds of homes. “We did chainsaw work for 93 homes, and helped another 10 residents with roof damage,” he said. “We removed debris from the yards of more than 200 homes.”

When Robinson attends the SEJ Academy, he said he establishes relationships with leaders from across the Southeastern United States. “Those relationships are absolutely priceless. We share our stories about what works and what doesn't. We get to critique ourselves. You can see what disasters people are struggling with, and it gives you encouragement to go through it when it's your time.”

Catherine Earl, UMCOR Executive Secretary of U.S., Caribbean, and Central America, leads a session with Conference Disaster Response Coordinators at the SEJ Disaster Academy.

Learning Through Listening

David Newton, Mississippi Conference United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Coordinator, agreed with Robinson that the SEJ Disaster Academy instills knowledge in an environment that gives people the confidence to critique themselves honestly.

“Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have taught me the value of listening to and valuing the experience of those affected by catastrophic events,” said Newton.

Ultimately, the SEJ Disaster Academy – and UMVIM's work in responding to disasters – is about seeking to bear the presence of the love of Christ, offering hope to many who have lost everything, reflected Newton.

“Treating the recipient of aid as a person of worth created in the image of God shapes our response,” he said. “We attempt to minister to the whole person as we partner with the affected person or family, and as we stabilize or repair houses, clear debris and deliver requested supplies.”

Donate Now! 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.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Young People in Mission Design Team

Are you bringing your youth or young adult group to Young People in Mission

Then listen up!

We are so happy that you and your student ministry are involved with Young People in Mission! It a pleasure for our office to be so engaged in this event, because like you, we truly believe that discipling each new generation during their formative years is the key to the future of the Christian mission field.

You, of course, know your group better than anyone: the dreamers, the doers, the thinkers, the creatives, the speakers, the motivators, the leaders. It is an honor to guide these young people and help them discern how they could use their talents, which is why we wanted to tell you a little bit more about the Young People in Mission Design Team.

The Design Team is open to any student who is entering 9th grade, but has not yet completed their first year of college. It is comprised of a Chair, Vice Chair and 5 others from around the Jurisdiction who take on the responsibility of dreaming up what each year’s event looks like.  While we here at UMVIM, SEJ handle much of the administrative side of things and provide support, it’s these dynamic young people who translate their vision and ideas into reality. Who else is better to engage students than their own peers after all? Not only is being on the Design Team a lot of fun, but it’s also an incredibly opportunity for them to make new friends, work on a team, network with key people within the church, build their confidence, and even their résumé!

Members of this year’s Design Team will of course be very present at the event. We encourage you and anyone in your group who might be interested to take the time to talk to them a little more about their role and their reasons for serving.

Please take a look at and share this short video that profiles this year’s team and pray about identifying those in your group who might be interested in this opportunity. It will give you and them a great perspective on what it’s like to be on this team. You can also read more about the Design Team on our blog post here

Thanks so much for your time and your dedication to ministering to students. Registration is NOW OPEN and the early bird pricing will go away on June 1! Click here to learn more or to sign up. We sincerely hope to see you and your group next month!