Putting our faith into action
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree… You only need a heart full of grace…a soul generated by love.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
United Methodists have believed, from the beginning, that each of us is called to participate in the outreaching ministry of Jesus Christ. John Wesley described this work in simple, practical terms: “Do all the good you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can.”
Putting our faith into action is at the very heart of our Christian calling. By volunteering to serve through programs such as United Methodist Volunteers in Mission or the Mission Volunteers program of The General Board of Global Ministries, every person in the church has the opportunity to serve and to live their calling more faithfully. People from West Side UMC and other Methodist Church’s around the country identify emergent needs around the globe, and mobilize teams to address these needs with hands-on support.
Recent Trips by our Members
Costa Rica 2015
Four members of West Side recently joined a group from Birmingham UMC to travel to Costa Rica on a Volunteers in Mission trip. Here is their report:
This was our fifth trip for mission work connected with the Methodist Church of Costa RIca. We are involved in two projects. The Methodist Children’s Home is a living community for children have been declared legally abandoned, usually having been removed from their original homes for a variety of reasons. Two of the proposed five homes are completed on which we have been involved in activities ranging from digging the trenches for foundations (and filling them back up with cement) to painting, grouting tiles and other finish work. Our most recent trip was primarily devoted to building cinder block walls for a multi-purpose building.
The second project is with the Faro del Este (Lighthouse of the East) Methodist Church. This church was constructed a decade ago largely from funds and labor provided by the Birmingham (Michigan) United Methodist Church as a memorial to the son of our team leader who died in an accident. This year we worked on an adjacent building that will serve as a parsonage and classroom facility.
The Costa Rica program is organized by the Birmingham church and annually involves from 16 to 24 people although about half of the team is from other churches. A dozen or so are “regulars’ and there are always a few new people. This year we were pleased that Tom and Karen Jeppson were able to lend their considerable energy and skills to the project.
The strength of projects with ongoing involvement is the opportunity to experience first hand how God has grown the fruits of our (and many others’) labors: A church that was barely holding on is now bursting at the seams and doing its own mission work. An former open field is now home to two dozen children with others who have moved on and many more to come, especially after the remaining buildings are completed.
As with all the mission projects we have been on, the greatest joy is the people: the team members who have become almost like family, the missionaries and local pastor whose involvement ranges from spiritual guidance to “down and dirty” manual labor, the Ticos (Costa Ricans) – paid and volunteer – who work so faithfully and joyously beside us, and the children who are happy once again in a new home that offers the promise of a life immeasurably better than what they faced a year or so ago.
Would you like to learn more about Volunteer in Mission opportunities around the country? Here’s a great place to explore and learn more.