In the summer of 2010, I traveled to Russia as a member of a Volunteers in Mission team that was a mixture of VIM veterans and me, the rookie who had never been on a VIM team before.
What a privilege it was for me to travel to the Russia Volga District with a wonderful group of young people representing Trinity United Methodist Church. It was such a joy to be in mission together uniting with our Russian brothers and sisters of Syzran United Methodist Church.
There were so many “light-filled” moments on this trip, but the experience that touched me so deeply was our visit to the Syzran Baby Orphanage. This translated from Russian to English as the “house of baby,” and we embraced this dear terminology throughout our stay.
Health and wellness programs provided by the Methodist Church in Mexico have expanded tremendously in recent years, and a recent VIM team’s experience proved what an effective outreach this can be. Serving together with the Manos Juntas Medical Clinic in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, this past July, the Volunteer in Mission medical team from West Ohio helped provide medical care to 120 patients at the City Hall in Nuevo Progreso. Many of the patients were men who normally would never seek help from a church.
Ten servants from the West Ohio Conference, Maumee Watershed District, traveled to Concha del Ora, Mexico, in May 2011. Concha del Oro is a small mining town in the Sierra Linda Oriental Mountains, about 2 1/2 hours south of Monterrey, Mexico. This was the 2nd or 3rd trip for some and a first for others. Our purpose was to share the love of Christ, build relationships with those we would otherwise never know, be a model of peace, share the Gospel, and help people of this city build their temple (sanctuary) of worship.
I’ve just gotten back from my third mission trip to the Oriental Conference in Monterrey, Mexico - and each time I return with more blessings than I feel that I have left there. We had a team made up of Walt Goble (Pastor of McArthur and Albany UMC’s), Sheryl Goble (Supply Pastor of Asbury and Starr UMC’s), Cathy Powell (Albany), Casey Thompson (Locust Grove), and myself.
By Mariellyn Dunlap Grace
“Are you sure this is the place?” Pastor Hector Aguirre’s wife Berta asked in disbelief.
With no water or electricity, the location of Templo Aleluya, Piedras Negras’ newest Methodist congregation, was not exactly ideal. How would they even get people to come? As Pastor Hector began visiting his church’s new neighbors, a pattern emerged. Living in tiny shacks beside the railroad tracks, these people were hungry. So Pastor Hector and his family prayed for enough food to satisfy the hunger of everyone who came to church.
The Kamina Children’s Home in the Democratic Republic of Congo provides a home for children who have nowhere else to turn. Orphaned by disease or violence, these children face dim futures without the support of someone who cares. In a land where childhood dreams are often stolen by AIDS, malaria, or tuberculosis, the Kamina Children’s Home strives to provide a brighter future for its residents.
By Mariellyn Dunlap Grace
“Wings of the Morning has been the one thing that has held the North Katanga Conference together. Those are the words of my father,” explains Gaston Ntambo, missionary pilot for Wings of the Morning (WOTM) aviation ministry.
Mid-August, I returned from an educational mission trip to the North Katanga conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This trip was educational both for me and for my students. I stayed in the D.R.C. for six weeks teaching an elementary English course to a group of 20-30 adults. Many of my students were clergy who might be elected to the General Conference this spring. I was to prepare these pastors for their voyage to America.
“If I take the Wings of the Morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”
- Psalm 139:9-10
Wings of the Morning is more than just an airplane. It saves lives. It saves souls. The North Katanga Conference, where this critical aviation ministry is located, is a geographically remote area of the Congo that is the size of Texas. In a place where there are no paved roads, the main forms of transportation are walking and riding a bicycle.