Thursday, November 9, 2017

#KingdomConnection: Emerging Generation

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 theme for this year's Giving Tuesday is #KingdomConnection. Through this, we will tell the stories of United Methodists who have been empowered to Live, Learn, and Love through connecting to mission opportunities throughout the Kingdom of God. 

UMVIM is passionate about connecting the emerging generation to a life of mission service! One young adult who has been enabled to serve through the UMC's #KingdomConnection is Allen Doyle, senior at Birmingham-Southern College and UMVIM, SEJ's 2017 Summer Intern. Through his internship, he went through UMVIM Team Leader Training and got the chance to serve with the North Carolina Annual Conference's Disaster Recovery program and Bahamas Methodist Habitat. Check out what he has to say about his experiences below! 

1) Tell us about the mission work that you partook in this summer.

Allen: The nature of my mission work this summer was centered around Environmental Hazards and the churches role in all phases of a disaster. UMCOR divides disaster response into 5 categories. Preparedness, Rescue, Relief, Recovery, Review. During my time in North Carolina we focused on the long term Recovery Phase of Hurricane Matthew in various communities (Princeville, Tarboro, Lumberton, Little Washington, and Fayetteville.) Most of this work involved case management and home repairs and reconstruction. In the Bahamas, my focus was entirely on the Review and Preparedness phases. I created Standard Operational Procedure for an Emergency Shelter, as well as a Disaster Response Manual for the organization.

2) How did you see the locals of Bahamas Methodist Habitat and North Carolina impacted by the work that your missions teams contributed to?

Allen: In North Carolina the impact of the volunteer work teams was immeasurable. The ability for a person to move back into their home after such a traumatic experience is so vital to their recovery process. It is also so empowering to see so much work being done in your neighborhood and community as you collectively work to create a new normal. Although there are major hesitations for a recovering community to allow large number of untrained volunteers, it creates a sense of support for persons during the loneliness created during loss. Similarly the work done in the Bahamas is so vital to the James Cistern community. The four greatest impacts to the community surrounding BMH is the jobs created for the staff, as well as the ability for Bahamian individuals to be involved with international communities. The work done by work teams is much needed in the community, and the impact that an international mission has on a person is life changing. 

3) Going off of your experience, how would you explain the value of United Methodist mission work to someone who had never been on a trip like this? How did UMVIM prepare you for your work?

Allen: Having any sort of experience in an international context is radical. It opens your mind in ways that no domestic experience. Any opportunity to go abroad is valuable and impactful. However going on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Places that exist in communities across the globe can change lives in ways that are radical in ways beyond comprehension. The connectional ministry that is the United Methodist Church and the Wesleyan Faith is broad and immense. Not only does it creates a sense of home for a traveler out of their context, it creates a commonality with persons as they attempt to work together for each other and for the kingdom of God. The Methodist church is not unique in its good works. The menagerie of faiths worldwide are all actively working for the common good. The thing that makes the Methodist Church stand out is the training, thoughtfulness, and nuance it approaches missions with. The UMVIM team leader training opened my eyes to the world of Missions and the unintended consequences that can occur on these trips. It also opened my eyes to the profound impact they can make in peoples lives. This training also allowed for me to understand the more business and leadership aspects of mission work to create and implement a meaningful trip that is a good use of money and time resources.  

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