Monday, November 27, 2017

#KingdomConnection: Congregants

Giving Tuesday 2017 is on November 28th, and we hope that you will partner with United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction to promote, encourage and enable people to exemplify "Christian Love in Action" through short-term mission service both at home and around the world! Please give generously by clicking here!                                                                                                                    UMVIM's #KingdomConnection enables congregants from local churches to fulfill Christ's call to serve as his witnesses to the ends of the Earth. One congregant who has gotten the chance to serve is SarahBeth Morris of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Alongside her husband Alex, SarahBeth has served on St. Luke's annual trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Through their work in Honduras, they have gotten the chance to make a tangible impact on the local community of Tegucigalpa while also furthering their joint walk with Christ by starting off their new marriage with a dedication to service. Read below for more of what she has to say!

Under the leadership of Team Leader Hunter Upchurch, St. Luke's has partnered in mission with the people of Honduras for more than 8 years doing construction work on churches and community centers, building stoves, running VBS, and partaking in fellowship with hospitalized children. St. Luke's looks forward to returning to Tegucigalpa in the summer of 2018 to continue work on the Methodist Church of Honduras' Central Office. St. Luke's' long-term commitment to the Methodist Church of Honduras exemplifies "Christian Love in Action" that results in effective, relational missions. 

What was the value of partaking in mission work with your local church family?
Members of St. Luke's Working on a Missions Center in Honduras

SarahBeth: The value has been huge for me. Adults that I've grown up seeing in church became my friends on a work site. People in the church that I had not had the chance to interact on a personal level with whether due to age difference or what have you, became my friends. We came from such different backgrounds but we were all working toward a common goal bonding us together. This made seeing them back home at church on Sunday even more special. Having the same experience with my husband, someone I'm already so close to, just really strengthened our bond as well. It truly helped start our marriage off on a great foot. Bonding together to further His kingdom made me fall that much more in love with him.

What was the impact that your team made on the locals of Honduras?
St. Luke's Focuses on Construction to Help Empower the Church in Honduras

SarahBeth: I pray we impacted the locals as much as they impacted us. They are the most generous and kind people. They are so loving and thankful for every little thing we do. I think the greatest impact our group made this past year was when we visited a local children's hospital with care packages for patients. The kids lit up at the gift bags and the parents were truly grateful for the prayers. Tearful, meaningful prayers were had in each room we visited. The families truly believed in the power of prayer and you could tell it meant the world to them.

What's the connection between your church and the project site?

SarahBeth: Our church has been working specifically on the mission team center in Tegucigalpa for multiple years now. Our church has been diligent in furthering the progress on this specific project and the progress has been beautiful over the past couple of years.

How did you see God at work while on your mission?
Members of St. Luke's Have Made a Long-Term Commitment to Honduras

SarahBeth: You can see God at work through the smiles on the people's faces, on the progress of a building meant to further His kingdom, in the heartfelt hugs you get coming and going. Specifically the hospital visit for me and the prayer with the patients and their families. God is moving in big ways through the Honduran people and through our church. No matter the nationality you can feel truth in the fact that we are all his children united in the bond of Christ.

Tell us about how the leadership of your trained Team Leader (Hunter Upchurch) impacted your team's ability to serve?

SarahBeth: Hunter is an amazing leader. He is well experienced with this trip and his organizational skills keep us all at ease. We always know the plan and feel led in the direction that God has intended for us. He keeps us thoroughly prepared before hand with team training meetings letting everyone know what to expect. To have a leader who can speak Spanish is also a great blessing. We were provided with great translators but it's also very nice to have Hunter make that connection with the Honduran people on behalf of our group.
Thanks to St. Luke's- Jackson, MS For Their Service!

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