This year, 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 on November 29: #GivingTuesday 2016. 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. Rachel Estes, Canterbury UMC Director of Mission and Outreach, was asked to share what UMVIM means to her.
How do volunteers help you carry out God’s mission?
Taking teams to Panamá is one of the blessings of my job. Starting with taking care of logistics and details so that families can focus on each other and this journey ahead, a mission week is time to explore a brand new path together in faith as a family. What a gift! As a team leader, I am able to witness children teaching parents, Panamanians teaching Alabamians, young asking old, stranger helping stranger…and that is why I came into this work…to see boundaries blur and lines erased.
What differences do you see in teams whose leaders have been trained by UMVIM, SEJ?
The team leader training is critical for the success of a team. Making sure that a team knows that they are traveling TOGETHER…that we are there to step gently on holy ground…that we are there to serve an institution, the Methodist Church, which was there so long before us and will continue to be there long after us. Team training reiterates the need for preparation before, reflection during and connection afterwards…that the time spent on those three can’t be too much or too long…it can only strengthen God’s work in front of all of us.
Share a brief story about the impact of volunteers.
Three Impacts of an UMVIM team: On the community where the teams serve I have seen houses built, food disseminated, immunizations given and prayers shared. The impact on the team member I see shoulders come down in rest, I see connections between scripture read and hands on ministry, and I see a shift in understanding the world from perspectives dramatically different from their own. The impact on me by an UMVIM team Every single team I’ve travelled with has shown me the strength of community, of letting go of judgement, of watching a team connect with each other and others and feel empowered. The impact of a team on me is watching each person’s gifts blossom into near fullness as they become immersed in faith and heart work.
On November 29: #GivingTuesday 2016, donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $12,000. Please give generously to Advance #901875.