Dear Friends in Christ,
Thank you for the opportunity to go with our mission team to the UMCOR West Depot in Salt Lake City. What a wonderful time we had. You can read a report on the work we did, watch a video of the presentation we gave in worship on May 27, and view some more video clips and a gallery of photographs.
There is an old saying that says, ‘if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans!’ I know when I embark on any kind of trip that I have an idea in my mind as to what I expect it to be like. One of the things we talked about in our devotional time was to let go of any expectations that we had for the trip and to let Jesus interrupt our agenda. Our motto was semper gumby, always flexible.
I was excited to go to the UMCOR West Depot to learn more about UMCOR and to participate in their work. I thought that it would be interesting work assembling the various kits. What I quickly discovered was that the work UMCOR assigns depends upon their needs, and not my need for variety. The work was very repetitive, and I gained an appreciation for those who do such repetitive work day after day: those who work in sweat shops, factories and as farm laborers. It was a very humbling experience.
As the week progressed, we also grew together as a team. There was much comradery, teasing and inside jokes as we worked together or alongside one another. The sharing became deeper and more personal reminding me of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ, living in community with each other, loving and encouraging one another. As Hebrews 11:24-25 says,
Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.
UMCOR’s motto is “Be There. Be Hope.” We were there, and I hope that the kits we touched and assembled will bring hope in the days and months ahead. We know that two of the pallets of hygiene kits that we worked on were immediately heading to new immigrants in Arizona. I give thanks for the work that we did and encourage each one of you to think about going on a mission trip in the future. If your age or health make this impossible, know that, as we learned, it is the little things done repeatedly that can make all the difference, and you are never too old to share Christ’s love.
— Pastor Joan