Posts Tagged ‘mission’

Flanders Field

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

On Flanders battlefield Christmas Eve 1914 German, French and British troops facing each other, were settling in for the night when a German soldier began to sing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.” Others joined in. When they had finished the British and French responded with other Christmas carols.
The men from both sides left their trenches, met in the middle, shook hands, exchanged gifts, and shared family pictures. Christmas Day soccer games were held. A combined worship service was held to bury the dead from both sides.
The generals were not pleased. Troops who know each others’ names and share family stories are less likely to want to kill each other. War seems to require a nameless, faceless enemy.
After that magical Christmas truce the troops spent a few days simply firing aimlessly into the sky. Then the war turned back to earnest and continued for three more years.
Yet the story of that Christmas Eve lingers – a night when the angels really did sing of peace on earth.
As technology in our global village zooms in on our impoverished neighbors we begin to sense the vulnerability of people in the Developing World. Personal computers and Facebook are providing faces and names to some of our new global friends struggling with extreme poverty. People who know each others’ names are less likely to shrug off the needs of impoverished neighbors. Poverty will disappear when it becomes a priority to the western world.
We are beginning to grasp the fact that all the people on earth compose God’s family. All major religions include concepts of love for one another. As Christians in mission, Emerging Mission Ministries is developing and supporting mission solutions that build on those aspects of love to alleviate global poverty.
When the right time came, God sent a son and a woman gave birth to him. God’s son obeyed the law so he could set us free from the law and we could become God’s children. Now that we are God’s children, God has sent the spirit of the son into our hearts. Galatians 4:4-6

Minot Mission

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We went. We saw. We prayed. We worshiped. We cried. We lent a hand.

We were two teams. The first departed Southwest District Friday morning 12 August. The team received overnight accommodations from Lydia Zion UMC in Jordan , Minnesota. After a breakfast feast provided by the Rev Larry and Vicky Kasten we arrived in Minot, North Dakota on Saturday evening 13 August and were welcomed into the home of our hostess from Faith UMC, Kara Gross. The team worshiped with the Faith UMC congregation at the home of their sister church Vincent UMC on Sunday morning. After worship we met Judy Roed, the UMCOR project coordinator, who introduced us to the owners of the homes we were to assist. The house of Mr. Rhodes had been underwater up to the roof. The house of Mr. Silseth had suffered flood damage up 3 feet on the main floor walls. The team only worked at the Rhodes residence for one day as asbestos was detected to be present in the ceiling. The team decided to concentrate efforts at the Silseth house. The team finished its work and departed North Dakota on Friday.

Team #2 departed Southwest District Monday morning 22 August and arrived at the Gross home 22 hours later having driven straight through. On Tuesday morning we met with the project coordinator and Mr Ortiz the home owner. The Ortiz house had been under water up to the ceiling. We mucked out the basement and the first floor up to the ceiling. The team completed its work on Friday and departed Minot on Friday afternoon. Their trip to Lydia Zion had an extra surprise with the Southwest District’s UMCOR trailer getting a flat tire along the way. After a restful night, the Kastens greeted them with a good morning breakfast prior to their departure for Indiana.

We saw the aftermath of the Souris River flood that left over 4000 homes, many businesses, and churches in need of flood recovery assistance. Many homes and perhaps Faith UMC suffered extensive damage beyond repair. Teams from churches and charitable organizations are working together in hopes of getting survivors back into their homes before winter. Winters are extremely severe and come early in North Dakota.

We worked alongside the home owners. It isn’t hard to love people who have lost everything. They were so thankful for us. Their appreciation of us increased our faith. They became a part of us. Something very unforgettable happens when you help someone carry once valuable possessions to the curbside amidst the debris. Priceless treasures from spouses, parents, and children buried in a pile of useless clutter along the roadside awaiting the coming trash compactor to be taken forever away.

 Jesus asks his followers to teach others to observe his teachings. He only gave us two. Love God and love one another. Our responses to people in need reflect our love for God.

 

 

Shadow Dancing

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Matthew 11: 16-17 “. . . to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’”

Listen . . . Can you hear the sound of music? Can you hear the children laughing? Can you hear the cries of grief and despair?

Someone stole a necklace from our Ilula Orphan Program display at the Pike County Fair. We emphasized that the proceeds from the sale of the African handcrafted memorabilia were to benefit HIV Aids orphans. Pure religion is enacted by caring for orphans and widows. Jesus indicated that as you do not help the least of people you have no part of him. Some people dance to a different tune. The price of the necklace was made up by a volunteer.

A misguided Norwegian assailant murdered 77 men, women, and children last week because of religious differences. Deliberate acts of killing innocent children along with a seemingly lack of remorse complicates our abilities to comprehend rationality for such atrocities as a just war or capital punishment. Where are those among us who cannot weep as the world wails? As you mistreat others you mistreat the Christ.

A former missionary to New Guinea explained that part of her mission service training involved in-depth study of tradition and religious culture. The God of the indigenous people just might be your God. Why can we not dance to the sound of the pipers? Can we hear the beat of pluralism in the drums? Those to whom Jesus was speaking could not hear the music either. The ways in which we withhold love and solidarity from others, we withhold it from Christ.

Can you hear the sound of the music? Some in this global village may be on the verge of shadow dancing.

Of course this text is intended to reflect a Pharisaical comparison of the emphatic teachings of John the Baptist with the compassionate instructions of Jesus. In the larger context, Jesus noticeably emphasizes love to all peoples regardless of religion, culture, and tradition.

How are you sharing faith with persons of other cultures and traditions?

How can Christians and persons of other religions be in mission together?

Is pluralism relevant in our global village?

How can Christians practice pluralism and be faithful to the gospel?

Minot Mission

Friday, July 29th, 2011

In response to an urgent priority appeal from Bishop Coyner, UMCOR, The Dakota Conference, and Faith UMC in Minot, North Dakota, we are planning a flood recovery work team to begin work in Minot, North Dakota on 15 August. 

The following information comes from Rev Debra Ball-Kilbourne pastor of flood ravaged Faith UMC in Minot:

 “Work teams are very much needed, particularly those who come self-contained because housing is at a premium. Schools, camps, churches were all impacted in this flood and there are no motel rooms–survivors are in them. However, we have a large farm in Max (somewhat close to Minot), owned by the Trustee Chair of Faith, where we have an open invitation to house self- contained teams working either on homes or our church. You would find it quite easy to commute to and from Max.

 Snow falls early in this part of the world and people will soon be ill from our flood conditions once cooler weather sets; please come as soon as possible, John. We have more than 4,000 homes and Faith Church that need to be gutted. Most teams come and work during the week days and travel on the week ends. Five days of hard work is about what a team can really do; but if you want to stay longer we will surely welcome you. Tetanus and Hepatitis A shots should be up-to-date before coming. Bring tools with you, such as hammers, crow bars, good, filtered masks, gloves (include surgical gloves to wear inside work gloves), work boots, and long pants. This is very dirty work.”

 We do have to be badged. There is a way to take an online course and get a temporary badge in order to work alongside someone that has been through the training.

 Pastors, please publicize this urgent mission appeal in your church newsletters and bulletins.

 If you are interested in serving on this flood recovery team please contact John Windell at windelljohn@yahoo.com or 812-499-3849 or 812-536-2332.