On October 13th, we celebrated United Methodist Women Sunday at Church of the Pines. Members of UMW led the worship service. Sue Loeffler, member of Church of the Pines and UMW member, gave the message entitled Showing God's Love in a Practical Way. We want to share a portion of her message and ask you to comment on ways that you are showing God's love in practical ways.
Sue Loeffler began by saying "Some of you that have encountered me over the past week have heard me whining about agreeing to do this presentation....Well, shame on me! When I finally sat down to prepare and pull my thoughts together, I realized that, gosh, I have had some special experiences in 'hands-on' mission work, and in opportunities to learn and to grow, and this is something that I should be sharing with others.
So, I say to my community of United Methodist Women, I am honored to represent you today and to talk about a part of our organizational purpose - to expand the concepts of mission. Mission - a noun - an organized effort to spread one's faith or to carry out humanitarian work. Missionary - one that is called by God, one that is sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of services and education. These are traditional definitions.
Well, I would guess that many of you are like me in that I have not felt called by God to be a missionary in the traditional sense. I have an awareness of various missions, locally, within our state, our country and globally. I have pulled out my checkbook and made monetary donations. I have shopped for and donated items in response to specific needs. And I am grateful for and donated items in response to specific needs. And I am grateful that I have been able to make these contributions. I know that they were needed and put to good use.
While I have done these "good deeds", there was always a persistent and nagging sense that something was missing. Like, maybe I am supposed to be doing something more. But what? I don't really have any special skills or talents or knowledge, but I do have time. I do have the ability to learn. I am not afraid to try new things. I can use my hands to do things. I do have a constant desire to grow spiritually. And I do believe in the Vision of United Methodist Women which is to turn faith, hope and love into action on behalf of those in need.
Action - another noun - the process of doing something. Well, Volunteerng is an action; donating and energy for the benefit of other people and causes. I came to realize that I actually was being called...to do service through volunteerism. For the past 7 years, I have been donating some of my time and energy to a place that calls its volunteers "missionaries." I would like to tell you about Midwest Distribution Center, a place where I have found that I can be part of turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of those in need.
Midwest Mission Distribution Center is a disaster relief facility which serves the Midwest. It is located 4 miles south of Springfield, Illinois on an 8 acre campus, in the middle of cornfields, but with great access to I-55. It is a ministry that is related to the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church (which we in Wisconsin are part of) and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. It is one of ten cooperating depots in the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Supply Network. Midwest Mission is a non-profit organization and receives 100% of its funding from private donors. The United Methodist Church and UMCOR do not provide any financial support.
Since opening for ministry in 2000, Midwest Mission has been showing God' Love in practical ways through the distribution of education, health, micro-business, and disaster relief supplies meeting basic human needs around the world and around the corner. Their mission statement is to transform the resources of God's people into humanitarian relief.
Ok, those are the fancy words, but really...what is Midwest Mission? It is a center that receives donated supplies, materials and equipment. It prepares them, stores them and then ships them. Midwest Mission takes the donations and put them into a format that will be useful, purposeful and practical. Some of these supplies are assembled into kits, bins or buckets. Church of the Pines has donated over 100 flood buckets last year and we have also donated school bag kits and layette kit items that we delivered to Ingathering and those donations went on to Midwest Mission. Items such a bicycles and sewing machines are repaired or refurbished. School desks are made from donated wood. Medical supplies are collected. There are work areas for specific activities (the bike shop, the sewing machine shop, the desk shop). There is a large workroom for kit assembly and sewing.
Once the items are prepared and are in a state ready for shipping, they are placed in inventory. There are two large warehouses where the "ready to go" inventory is shelved.
Midwest Mission distributes its kits, resources and supplies only upon receipt of a request. Supplies are given free of charge, regardless of race, gender or religion. UMCOR supplies (now limited to the flood bucket, school kit, and hygiene kit) are shipped following the specific request and directions of UMCOR.
MIDWEST MISSION SHOWS GOD'S LOVE IN PRACTICAL WAYS!
Next November, United Methodist Women will be going to Midwest Mission to work for three days. This opportunity is open to our entire church family."
Sue Loeffler has certainly found a way to turn her faith, hope, and love into action on behalf of those in need.
We invite you to share here how you have SHOWN GOD'S LOVE IN PRACTICAL WAYS.