Shining the Light Ministries, our mission partner in Nicaragua, provides agriculture training and support to low income families in the area around Leon. Their focus is in three areas: Gardens, Poultry and Sewing.
Here is an excerpt from their latest newsletter:
The Birth of a Ministry: Part II, by Pastor Greg Lentz
Empowerment Satisfies Hunger: Equipping Nicaraguan Pastors to Feed the Body and the Spirit
My final year of seminary was to begin with an internship at First Baptist Church of Fairfield, Iowa. Just as the internship was to begin, the pandemic broke out and churches were closed. During this internship I was able to work with Pastor John Kermott as the church navigated the pandemic. As restrictions lifted and services were opened back up, I was privileged to be able to sit through a couple of different meetings and listen to the concerns of the church family and how the church would adjust its efforts to have safe worship services through the use of Facebook Live and putting safe practices in place for those that chose to attend worship service in the church. For many there was this sense that it would be temporary, and it was just a matter of working through the challenges until things could go back to normal. Here we are a year later and many of the practices put into place a year ago continue to be practiced on Sundays during worship. My internship with First Baptist of Fairfield, Iowa was during the first three months of the pandemic. The knowledge and experience would later become foundational in the development of the new ministry work in Nicaragua. I was not aware of this at the time, but as always God is laying the groundwork even when we are not even aware of the plan or work, he has in store for us in the future.
Read the complete newsletter
Metropolitan Ministries, our mission partner, is offering Effinity Trauma Informed Care workshops. These five-part monthly workshops are available to all, to help us gain an understanding of the long-lasting impact of trauma and get practical tools to use in our service to others.
The next session is from 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24. Learn about resilience and practical tools you can use to develop a more inclusive and trauma informed approach to your service. Register here.
You can also watch previous workshops.
The Gulf Central District of the Florida Conference is offering the first in their series of Innovation 2021, a district wide learning event. The workshop, titled “Embrace the Journey: Becoming the Beloved Community,” explores how we are challenged by race, how we behave because of it, and ways we can be faithful in becoming the Beloved Community. The program includes:
- Powerful keynote by Rev. Dr. Gil Rendle, “Race in a Time When We Can’t Turn Back”
- Testimonials from our United Methodist white, black, and brown brothers and sisters on how racism continues to affect their lives
- Current approaches some of our churches are using as they move to becoming the beloved community
9:30 a.m. – noon, March 20 on Zoom Event details and registration
Abe Brown Ministries’ works to break cycles of incarceration by helping renew the minds of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens, motivating them to change their behaviors and achieve purposeful lives as a compassionate demonstration of the Love of Jesus Christ.
Karlin’s Success Story
Karlin grew up one of seven children to a single mom in North Carolina. After leaving high school, he worked several different jobs to support himself financially. Karlin especially grew to love his career in the trucking industry. Karlin described himself as caring and easily trusting of everyone he came across. While working as a supervisor, he blindly trusted one of the workers which unfortunately led to his incarceration. Following his release from prison, Karlin decided to join the Ready4Work-Hillsborough program for employment assistance. Through this program’s Career Development Classes and Employment Workshops, Karlin received the necessary resources he needed to get his life back on track. He obtained all of the skills that were necessary for him to become both a successful truck driver and a proactive member of society. Karlin states that Ready4Work-Hillsborough taught him better decision-making skills which ultimately increased his self-worth. With the help of his Career Coach, Karlin was able to secure a truck driving job at Action Specialty Packaging. Karlin’s goals are to obtain his GED and to maintain thoughts and actions of self-worthiness. He also hopes to stay in contact with Abe Brown Ministries’ Read4Work-Hillsborough, because they helped him stay grounded and on the right track.
Shining the Light Ministries, our mission partner in Nicaragua, provides agriculture training and support to low income families in the area around Leon.Their focus is in three areas: Gardens, Poultry and Sewing.
Here is an excerpt from their latest newsletter:
The Birth of a Ministry within a Ministry: Part I By Pastor Greg Lentz
I had met Jeff Schweizer at the International Ministries “Hear the Call” conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin in 2016. We were there to discern and explore our callings to ministry. I had recently completed my undergraduate degree and felt that I was being called to become a missionary. I was exposed to international missions on my trips to Haiti with 1st Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. During this time I was able to speak with a variety of different missionaries and also spent time with Jeff as we spoke about our different experiences. Jeff shared his experience in Nicaragua and I shared my experiences in Haiti. It was in a conversation with Jim Bell, Associate Director of International Ministries that he posed the question of what the work was that I wanted to do if I was to become a missionary. My simple response was that I wanted to share the Gospel. Jim Bell suggested that I should look at possibly taking some Biblical classes before making a decision on becoming a missionary. It wasn’t until I was driving home from Green Lake that I found myself overcome by a strong desire to continue my education. It is in this moment that I knew God wanted me to continue my education and enroll into Seminary. As I began my seminary experience at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, I continued to stay in touch with Jeff. Jeff left an open invitation for me to travel with him to Nicaragua. Over the next couple of years I remained in contact with Jeff, and in January of 2019 I was able to finally embark on a trip to Nicaragua that would change my life.
Read the complete newsletter
According to Wikipedia, the North American winter storm that crossed most of the United States from Feb. 13-17 was a major winter and ice storm with widespread impacts across the United States, Northern Mexico, and parts of Canada. The storm resulted in more than 170 million Americans being placed under various winter weather alerts across the country and caused blackouts for over 9.7 million people in the U.S. and Mexico, most notably the 2021 Texas power crisis. The blackouts were the largest in the U.S. since the Northeast blackout of 2003. By Feb. 19, the death toll had risen to at least 70, including 58 people in the United States and 12 people in Mexico.
The United Methodist Commitee on Relief (UMCOR) responds to natural or civil disasters of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own. Through UMCOR, United Methodists extend loving care to people within the United States. When disaster strikes, it is local churches that provide the first response to their communities. This basic understanding — that disaster response is local — forms the foundation for UMCOR’s US disaster training and response.
One such church is Friendswood UMC in Friendswood, Texas. The cold weather in the region caused pipes in their fire sprinkler system to burst, flooding large portions of the building. Members of the congregation responded to a call for help and worked in limited light since the church lost power. Some of the rooms were dark. The Rev. Jim Bass, Friendswood’s pastor, explained that a number of the church members still do not have electricity themselves. Still, they showed up to help the congregation.
If you would like to help churches like Friendswood UMC, you can make a donation to UMCOR’s Disaster Response and Recovery Fund.