Tuesday, November 29, 2016

{#GivingTuesday 2016} The Local Church

November 29: #GivingTuesday 2016 is here! The UMVIM, SEJ Staff and Board have come together and pledged $12,000 that will be matched, dollar for dollar, for every generous donation that is given today. 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. Hollis Crowder, Team Leader and Mississippi Conference UMVIM Coordinator, shares about UMVIM and the ways his team served in Zimbabwe. 

How do volunteers help you carry out God’s mission in Zimbabwe?

As team leader, God has connected me with the volunteers who served the people in Zimbabwe through dentistry, medical care, construction, Bible School, water well drilling, clothing for orphans, and the gospel of Christ. I often say that I am the appointed team leader for God's mission trip but really HE is.  From five different states, the volunteers on the team to Zimbabwe provided the services and worked alongside our country partners, who are a vital part of our team ministry. Advance travel to Zimbabwe was made to assess the needs of the hospital and surrounding communities. The team members brought the needed identified resources for this and future trips.  Additionally, individuals and various church small groups prayed daily for the team and the ministry with which they were engaged. With a relationship established with our Zimbabwe partners by the team leader and all the other support behind us, the team went to serve with confidence in me as the team leader and trust in God to do the work that only they could do. It takes a team to minister to a village and they did.

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

Team leader training provides valuable information to prepare team leaders about how to, whom to and where to go to. It included needed documents that help the team get insurance and valuable travel tips. Most of the training helps the team leader prepare team members for a mission trip with standard operating procedures and practices that are applicable on most missions. The training handbook has helpful checklist of things to remember as well as “do's and don’ts.” The training is an opportunity to connect with other persons in missions and to learn from some of their practical experiences but mainly to keep God first in all we do. Valuable resources are shared to help support missions. As a Vietnam veteran, I refer sometimes to our team headquarters as UMVIM, SEJ, the Mississippi Conference and our local church. All of these supports made the team’s mission to Zimbabwe possible.

Share a brief story about the impact of volunteers

Serving God through missions can be fun and a special bond develops with the team members. Our well team was a little nervous about finding water and hoping that we would have enough money to cover the cost if we had to drill very deep. A pre-drilling report estimated a 69% chance of finding water at the hospital. Water surfaced at a far less depth than expected, and the existing water tank was usable which left enough money to drill a second water well for the orphanage. We had set a small goal; but God multiplied what we asked making us realize how much greater God’s plan is. Each team member wrote reflections about the mission in Zimbabwe. Dr. Valda Crowder shared in her reflection, “I felt with the structure of Methodist missions, there was a foundation to build upon that allowed us to go in and create lasting change.”

#GivingTuesday 2016 - today donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $12,000. Please give generously to Advance #901875.

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