Wednesday, November 16, 2016

{#GivingTuesday 2016} International Leaders

Since The Advance will not be offering any matching funds for Giving Tuesday this year, the UMVIM, SEJ Staff and Board has come together and pledged $12,000 to be used as matching fund. So, on November 29: #GivingTuesday 2016, donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $12,000. We believe our mission is big, and we also believe that we can't send trained, equipped volunteers into the field to show Christian Love in Action without the support of our community. 

This year, learn more from those who have personally experienced the impact of all UMVIM has to offer. Lisa Williams, Global Ministries missionary serving in Belize, shares the impact of UMVIM volunteers.

How do volunteers help you carry out your mission as a missionary?

In Belize, there are great needs for teams in repairing, adding on to and building Methodist Schools. The government depends on the churches to provide most of the school buildings in the country. Volunteers bring resources and encouragement; however, the relational part of our ministry is the most important impact. But what is most needed is spiritual understanding, renewal and growth.

What differences do you see in teams whose leaders have been trained by UMVIM, SEJ?

I see more cultural awareness and a better understanding of “do’s and dont's” in the teams with UMVIM trained team leaders. There is also less straying off the “path” of what they are supposed to be doing. I want to think that there seems to be more team cohesiveness in teams that come with trained leaders. We always want to encourage teams to meet, bond and study cultural differences in advance of when they come. That doesn’t always happen, especially with conference teams where the team members may not even see each other until the actual trip. Thankfully, the Belizeans are very familiar with US culture and are most forgiving of our various cultural "faux pas". During our (Belize/Honduras District of the MCCA) annual conference in January of 2016, we discussed UMVIM team leader training, and it was decided that we will no longer accept teams without a properly trained UMVIM team leader.

Share a brief story about the impact of volunteers.

One example of seeing the long term impact is a group from Lost Creek UMC in Oklahoma. This church group has been coming to Corozal, Belize every year for 14 years now. They bring a huge group (not what we usually recommend) and divide up into 3 subgroups. They run two very high quality Bible Schools at two of our schools and also a youth sports camp. Largely because of this team and the impact they have left, we have children and youth that seem to really understand the love of Christ. For the same reason, Corozal Methodist Church has a youth group that meets year around. 

On November 29: #GivingTuesday 2016, donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $12,000. Please give generously to Advance #901875.

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