It’s been an amazing year serving globally at Resurrection! From serving in our newest partnership of Puerto Rico to our oldest partnership of South Africa, hundreds of lives have shifted towards a better, deeper relationship with Christ by connecting with people from around the world. If you’d like to know more than this simple newsletter can share, we encourage you to go to the blog and enjoy the stories and pictures of lives well lived.
Laughter, connecting with children & teachers, education, relationships, and joy are a few of the words to describe what it’s been like partnering in South Africa with West View Methodist, Elim Methodist, and Ditshego Schools in 2018. Two teams traveled to South Africa to be present with our partners at West View Methodist Church and to respond to requests for training at a school called the Ditshego House of Laughter, where the staff already have created a miracle in serving the children of Mooiplaas. In March and June, team members worked with the Ditshego staff to further develop their abilities in first aid, computer skills, responding both to child abuse and the impacts of grief and catastrophic events on the children; English language learning; and crafts for the children. Team members also assisted at the preschool and worked on making the covered hoop gardens ready to grow vegetables.
In September, the direction of travel reversed, as Rev. Siphiwe Madi, associate pastor at West View, came to Kansas City to attend Leadership Institute and visit with staff in several of Resurrection’s departments and ministries. One highlight of his visit was a chance for South Africa team alumni to share a potluck (or bring and share, in South Africa) with Pastor Siphiwe, exchanging stories and expressing gratitude for the connections each had made.
For those of you that have traveled to South Africa and loved working with children in that culture, there is an opportunity to serve children from a similar culture right here in Kansas City: The Reading Nook is a program led by Methodists in KC working with refugee children from the Congo & Rwanda improve their reading skills. You can volunteer the 1st or 3rd (or both!) Saturday morning of each month. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
NOTE: Global JOY in Serving this year is partially focused on sponsoring students or teachers at Ditshego. You can donate towards a sponsorship in the Narthex the weekends of Dec 9/10 & Dec 16/17 or visit the website here.
Over the last eight years, Resurrection has been focused on supporting the Methodist Church of Haiti in rebuilding some of the damaged churches in the Petit Goave area. One of these priorities was rebuilding a church in Bourdeau damaged by the earthquake in 2010 and more recently finished off by Hurricane Matthew in late 2016. The difference of this project was that it was located up on top of a mountain that required a 1 hour hike each way.
After much deliberation and prayer over the project, Resurrection’s May/June 2018 team climbed the mountain during the week they were there and had some of the most amazing experiences. Not only were the views incredible, but the community was second to none. On the first day, after a 20 minute drive up a dry river bed, the team was met at the base of the trail by about 20 members of the community. As we navigated the trail upward, they sang and danced. When we arrived in the community at the construction site, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the people living there. During that week on the mountain (a mountain top experience), God revealed a bit of what it must be like in heaven. Everyone were equals, regardless of social status, wealth, background and ethnicity. We all had a common goal of building a physical church where the community could come together to worship and to meet during the week. In most of these rural communities without many buildings, churches are used for community meetings and to bring in non-religious who might ultimately end up finding God. Even though the project was financially funded by Resurrection, community members spent time hauling all of the building materials on top of their heads, on a donkeys, and on motorcycles to the job site. It took months of preparation to make this project a reality. Church is projected to be complete by February. You also can join a trip to Haiti in 2019! While the February trip is closed, and the June trip is almost full, there are still spots available on the March 30th reforestation trip and the November medical trip.
NOTE: Global JOY in Serving this year is partially focused on reforestation in Haiti. You can donate towards the purchase of trees in the Narthex the weekends of Dec 9/10 & Dec 16/17 or visit the website here.
Since the beginning of 2018, when we began going to the island of Puerto Rico, we have witnessed communities and churches coming together from different denominations to help each other after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September of 2017. During this time, we have come to learn what it means to be in partnership with the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and have seen first-hand the variety of impacts that have taken place as a result. In total, 34 team members from Church of the Resurrection have served alongside 80 volunteers from the congregation and community of Hatillo located on the northwest side of the island. Many return with hopes of going back soon, (10 Team Members are ALREADY signed up to return)!
In February, as the first team to Puerto Rico, we found many challenges and rewards awaited us. Our host church was Iglesia Metodista El Calvario in Arecibo. The Church not only provided us with housing and sustenance but also grateful fellowship. Their appreciation will be remembered for a lifetime. Our team had the important task of preparing the camp bunkhouse for future Resurrection teams. It was hard but satisfying work for our small but willing to serve team. Many new friends were made while at the camp (and a little weight gained from the tasty food!). Our mission was fulfilled with help from congregants both the church in Arecibo along with Iglesia Metodista Samuel Culpeper in Hatillo.
“Being the first full team there to serve and work with Samuel Culpeper Methodist Church was a great experience, both for the team from Resurrection and the staff and members of the church in Puerto Rico. It was a learning curve for them preparing and hosting the team, which they did quite well. What a warm welcome we had and quickly made friends with everyone. The relationships you make to me are as important as the work we were able to do while there. What a joy and pleasure to work with the local volunteers and help in a small way of improving their leaking roof and helping a member at his home. Pastor Eric made us feel very welcome in our stay there.” – Brad
In September, Pastor Eric Hernandez, Senior Pastor conducted a Lunch and Learn Session during Resurrection’s annual Leadership Institute and brought with him 14 Pastors and Lay Leaders. His hope and desire is to share tools and resources that he has established as a result of him learning from Church of the Resurrection to be used for the Spanish community and looks forward to Resurrection sharing them with as well. As of this writing the church roof has been successfully sealed, the bell tower completed disassembled, windows installed and interior work is scheduled to begin. Currently there are 5 trips scheduled for 2019, to learn more go to www.cor.org/puertorico.
The ZOE Program works with vulnerable and at risk orphans in Malawi. Most of these children have lost both parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. ZOE accepts up to 100 of these orphans from a village into their 3 year empowerment program. At the conclusion of the 3 year program, 85 % of the children have the life skills to support themselves and are living in stable families. Resurrection is currently providing the support for 5 ZOE villages or approximately 500 orphans. The October 2018 Economic Empowerment Serve Team visited a first year ZOE village and visited a couple of ZOE graduates / entrepreneurs. The young lady pictured below graduated from a Resurrection sponsored ZOE Village. She is now supporting herself and her brother and sister. She started with a tea shop, built a house for her family, bought a plot of land that produces vegetables for sale and has established a pharmacy in Lilongwe.
If you’d like to serve Malawi, but remain in KC doing so, if you have knowledge or interest in the area of economic empowerment in developing countries, we’d love to have you join the Economic Empowerment Committee that meets quarterly to monitor and guide the Malawi Economic Empowerment Initiative. We also have positions open to send our teams off at the airport or write a quarterly newsletter – contact Sheree Reece.
It may seem like ESL, cement, encouragement, volleyball, small groups, training, prayer, Zumba, computers & soccer have nothing in common, but when you add 5 to the mix, it’s amazing what 5 Resurrection teams, local Honduran leadership & local Honduran volunteers can accomplish when you put them all together.
Three teams in April and June served in Ciudad Espana alongside our local church volunteers to build up the Juan Wesley school and the University sponsorship program. Accomplishments included 4 weeks of team-teaching ESL, participating in cultural presentations and a recycling fair with the students, dancing traditional dances with the school teachers, teaching (and receiving) bi-lingual prayers, fellowship & relationship building with the Juan Wesley teachers over communal meals. We also completed key construction projects that included the opening of the science lab and library building. Importantly, our 5-year record on soccer games continues to stand tall – we lost in June, 4-2 to the teachers, extending our un-broken streak of second place finishes in our little 2-team conference.
In Ciudad, we are particularly proud of the amazing progress the Juan Wesley school has made. Principal Olga has significantly lifted the academic standards and our student sponsorship now supports 101 students who would otherwise not be able to attend any school. Our sponsorship program also supports 23 University students who take 4 different buses on a 2-hour trip each way, every day to attend the state sponsored University in Tegucigalpa. By sponsoring students through their university education, we are helping them break the chain of poverty, build their careers, and give back to their communities.
Two teams – June’s RezDT team and July’s RezLife team — served in El Obraje. Accomplishments included installing 10 computers in the school where Pastor Alejandro is principal, teaching ESL, participating in cultural presentations that included a special school assembly on important historical Honduran tribes, Zumba classes, leading small group leadership training with Obraje church members, conducting sports clinics and assisting in VBC, and significant construction work installing cement floors in homes whose dirt floors constitute health hazards to the families in the community.
In Obraje, we are particularly proud of the amazing progress Alejandro’s church has made over the last 5 years. From a 1-room church in 2013, by working together, his church has added classrooms, an internet café, clean water room, and when complete a health clinic and church kitchen. We have supported the Obraje women’s ministry, men’s ministry, youth program, spiritual gifts training, and now small group leadership. At each step, our teams have worked alongside church volunteers, building both the leadership capacity and program ministries in the church. We are deeply appreciative of the long-term relationships our Downtown and RezLife pastors have built in Obraje.
In 2019, we have 8 serve teams to heading to Honduras: June El Obraje (education & light construction), June 1-8 Ciudad & June 8-15 Ciudad (both ESL & light construction) and July Ciudad (ESL & light construction). The Jan & Feb 3 trips (medical, health education, and men’s) are all full. There is also a July trip with Rez Life to El Obraje.
Tropical rains, puddles and mud? No problem.
The Costa Rica Mission Projects’ (CRMP) onsite child care center playground doesn’t hold up well in the rainy season (April through December) and becomes unusable for days at a time. With its slopes and natural grass, the heavily used play space quickly becomes a muddy mess after a common downpour.
The Resurrection July team staying at CRMP (which includes the child care center, bunkhouses, student housing and more) discovered how beloved the playground is…and how difficult it becomes when the kids can’t use it for periods of time. While the July team completed and funded other projects, including VBS and a neighborhood outreach with the Pavones Methodist Church, the team conserved enough funds to support the first phase of the playground renovation. Resurrection’s spring break 2019 team and mission funds will support the second phase. The playground will be covered with a partial roof to protect it, and artificial turf will be installed.
So, while it will continue to rain “crocodiles and dart frogs” in this tropical locale, our little friends now will be able to go outside, let off energy, and give their instructors a much-needed break.
The onsite child care center is one part of the CRMP’s ministry, which has longstanding relationships with churches in the region. The center provides affordable, quality care to single working mother’s who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
Learn more about Resurrection’s mission trips and partnerships in Costa Rica here.
US SERVE TRIPS – Columbus
Ten members from RezWest traveled to inner-city Columbus this summer to be a blessing to the Church for All People (C4AP), a mainstay ministry that delivers essential services to vulnerable people in emerging communities on Columbus’ southside. They left with an overwhelming feeling of wanting to return.
C4AP hosts a non-profit called Community for All People under the umbrella of the church. The organization establishes affordable housing and rehabilitation in the community, operates a “Fresh Store” that provides healthy produce and goods in a virtual food dessert, along with household and clothing items in a Free Store on the church grounds. The organization has transformed a community from the inside out while lifting up its people in love and grace.
Our group from Resurrection worked alongside community leaders in the store, served meals, helped with summer school education programming, and witnessed how the transformation of a community from the ground can lift people up to reach for the Kingdom of God in ways unimaginable before the transformation began. Katelin, a representative from C4AP states, “We worship a God of abundance. We see all the problems we face as opportunities…needs are actually assets”.
The team deeply understood the transforming grace that Community for All People injects into the community when they left feeling full and inspired to bring that knowledge back to our own communities here in Kansas City. Two of the team members who were impacted so deeply by their experience, will lead a trip in June of 2019!