Spotlighting Our Local, National & International Outreach
With the Mission Fair coming up in October, this issue of the Mission Memo is focused on service. Service is a major tenet of the United Methodist Church. From the Book of Discipline in the section discussing The Process for Carrying Out Our Mission, we find:
—send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed, being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence, ...
Sure, it can be hard to make that first step to engage in community service, but the Mission Committee aims to make that step a little easier by bringing in local agencies to discuss their programs and answer your questions. Tables will be set up around Coy Hall for each of the organizations represented, such as The Salvation Army and Colorado Kids Belong. Of course there will be snacks and refreshments available for everyone. So plan on sticking around after church service on October 15th to discover and learn about all the good that is going on in our community.
Since this publication is a product of the Mission Committee, it can sometimes feel like we are espousing mission in an echo chamber. So for this issue, we solicited (coerced?😉) other perspectives. We even received a volunteered response to the solicitation in the last issue of the Mission Memo. Enjoy their mission experiences.
With the coming of fall, children are back in school. As such, the students need supplies to help them participate fully in the classroom experience. Once again, our church has collected markers, pencils, notebooks, crayons, glue sticks and much more for the students at Truscott Elementary. We won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that the children at Truscott will be well prepared to hit the books. Thanks to everyone who donated supplies to our drive. They were delivered to the school Monday morning August 14th, in conjunction with the annual Tea and Tissues event for kindergartners and their parents. Speaking of which we have a report on that event:
Tea and Tissues
Betsy, Phyllis, and I came to carry supplies to Truscott on August 14th. This is the day that kindergartners come to school for the first day with their parents. Phyllis brought cookies and limonade. I brought deviled eggs topped with chorizo. Two or three families came over to snack. I chased down everybody and anybody to see if they were interested in my English or Spanish class. I ended up talking to one couple about the Unity group that meets on Monday. We wondered if they are accepting newcomers.
I plan to go back on September 7th with a tri-fold board to talk to parents about the English/Spanish class.
My mission experience at FUMC started one fall afternoon when I pulled into the parking lot and noticed a group of boys lounging around on the front lawn. They told me that they were waiting for younger sibs to be dismissed from Truscott so that the Bill Reid students could be sure that the younger kids would get home safely.
I learned that, in winter, the kids basically huddled together on the lawn for half an hour until their sibs were dismissed.
Forget the meeting! I knocked on Pastor Jane's office door and explained the kids' situation. Surely we could do "something" to provide shelter. And, of course, we Methodists are all about food. So...in cooperation with the schools, we started our after-school ministry. Complete with snacks..and, sometimes, homework help. Or to buy a winter coat for a girl who came warmed only by a threadbare sweater in late October.
That ministry lasted nearly until the pandemic. But it reinforced, for me, the necessity of looking "closer" into the lives of people who have no affiliation with us. It wasn't as "sexy" as building a house where a family had none (which is clearly important). We weren't motivated by a desire to "get new members". But we reached out to kids who had no one else to care for/about them and their families. We fed them. We hugged them and we listened to them. We even helped with their homework!
I remain thankful for our members who showed up daily to assist in this ministry. And I am thankful for "our" kids (now young adults) who still greet me at Walmart or on a street corner with a big hug. Ministry works both ways.
Youth Mission Trip
Youth of our church have hectic schedules. Whether school is in or
out, the youth have little time to spare between sports, music,
dance, and many other unique extracurricular activities. Despite this
seven of our youth gave a week of their valuable time to service
during the 2023 youth mission trip to Kansas City MO. Four of our
adults helped lead this important trip along with these youth.
the evening of June 22, 2023, the youth and adults met at the church
to load the trailer and van to leave bright and early on the 23rd. We
only took the van and the small trailer, so it was difficult to make
everything fit within the limited area. Luckily, we had Judy Graff
with us! Judy masterfully fit all our food in luggage into the
confined space almost like magic. The morning of the 23rd we set off
on our one-day drive to Kansas City where we stayed at Wood’s
Chapel United Methodist Church’s student building.
The work ...
Monday we began our work at Saint Luke UMC. There we helped with the
garden, pulling weeds, cleaning a pond, and other landscaping work.
The people of Saint Luke were thrilled to have us there. The church
did not have many people capable of doing this manual labor in the
summer heat. Our youth and adult volunteers were more than happy to
help with these needs in this church.
also spent a significant amount of time working at the Kansas City
Community Assistance Center (CAC). Here we did a variety of tasks.
The CAC functions as a food pantry and empowerment center. Some of
our volunteers helped guests select their food in the food pantry.
Some enthusiastically did more landscaping work outside (apparently,
they didn't get enough of it at Saint Luke). The rest of our
volunteers helped organize and restock shelves. We came back a second
day to do much of the same work, but also to do some deep cleaning of
having a relatively small group of volunteers, we still accomplished
much more than was expected and at a faster rate. Because of this, we
had some extra time to help Jim Bruns with some housework. Jim helped
organize all our work on the trip and had some things around his
house that needed to be done that otherwise would not have. We were
happy to help him and his wife however we could.
The play ...
is always important to have a bit of fun on Mission Trips! Our first
two days in Kansas City we spent time at the WWI Museum, Crown Center
shopping center, and the pool. On Sunday we also went to service at
Saint Luke’s United Methodist Church.
also enjoyed a variety of food! We ate at Gates BBQ and Fritz’s
(where they deliver your food by train). We also were invited to the
homes of a few members of Saint Luke’s for dinner. We had BBQ ribs
at Jim’s home. At another member’s home, we had spaghetti and
another opportunity to swim in their private pool.
More Photos of the Trip
Future of Youth Mission Trips
Mission Trips are an extremely important aspect of our ministry at
our church. These trips provide volunteers to those who normally
might not regularly receive help. It also teaches life skills to our
youth and helps form lifelong friendships and bonds with the people
who attend these trips. The youth who attended this trip are already
excited to discuss potential locations for the 2024 mission trip. I
look forward to serving with these youth again wherever we end up.
want to thank everyone who has supported the youth mission trips
throughout the years. I have been a part of eight youth mission trips
and look forward to being a part of many more. I always know I can
count on our church community for continued support for future
mission trips. I would also like to especially thank Judy Graff,
Shannon Heusinkveld, and Mark Messervey for being great adult
volunteers on this trip. Their support and guidance allowed this trip to
be a success. And of course, thank you to the wonderful youth who
attended this trip. I am grateful for each one of you and look
forward to future trips!
does Mission mean for our youth?
me, mission means going somewhere to another state to help those in
need. This help could be as little as pulling weeds or organizing
food, but it makes a huge difference to the people we help there.”
mission trip to me was a time to learn how we can help people in ways
we didn’t think we could and getting to do it with all our
Isaiah 4:6 - "There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain."
Earlier this summer, several of us felt "the heat by day" working on a Habitat for Humanity home. A dozen of us, including five from Loveland FUMC, did exterior painting on a home in the Sierra Valley neighborhood of South Loveland. As the late July sun climbed in the sky, we tried to maneuver and work on the west side of the home and then the north side. But there was no getting around the fact that the east and south sides needed work too. Into the bright sunshine we went with ladders and buckets and rollers.
Reflecting at home later, I realized that if we had been smart, we would have started on the sunnier sides of the house when the sun wasn't as fierce. Life is often like that: we don't know what we should have done until it's too late to have done it.
And that's when I realized my blessing. Here I was in my quiet cool home, drinking iced tea, and reflecting on what was merely part of my day. The home we worked on was going to be a family's shelter, their cool home in the heat, their dry home in the storm, their quiet home for times of reflection.
As we continue to explore ways to serve God by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service, consider joining a Habitat work day. Even when physically taxing, it is always spiritually rewarding.
Another Service Opportunity
If you missed the FUMC Habitat build day this past July, you're in luck. There's another one scheduled in October, when the weather should be much cooler and we don't start quite so early. Work alongside friends from church ... meet other volunteers ... like the school teacher we met this last build ... or the couple who own a Habitat house in the neighborhood. They have already put in the sweat equity that was required to purchase their house, but they feel strongly about the program and want to help out their new neighbors. So let's follow their example ... let's help others achieve their goal of home ownership!