The mission arm of FUMPC is very strong. As a church body, the commitment to helping others is a major focus. There are many ongoing projects - some local and others are far more reaching. Some projects may be a "one time only", others of a repeating, annual nature, and others happening continuously. The projects are many and varied. They offer opportunity for everyone to be able to contribute to mission projects that touch their heart. Reaching out to be Christ's hands and feet to a world in need.
“HELP CHANGE THE WORLD”
Lent is fast approaching and with it comes the annual “Help Change the World” program. The children, during Children’s time in each worship service February 18 to March 25, collect the spare change from our pockets and purses. It is then evenly divided between two projects; this time the mission team has chosen to send the money to Montgomery County Cares for their various services and to Della Lamb Refugee Resettlement Program in Kansas City.
When Della Lamb was started by United Methodist Women in 1897, it was focused on breaking the cycle of poverty wherever it was needed most. At that time the primary population being served was Italian immigrants. Its main office is located on Woodland Avenue in a neighborhood where it is uncommon to see windows that aren’t covered by steel bars. Four years ago the agency started fulfilling its mission in a new way: resettling the refugee.
The agency has been doing adult education primarily for immigrants since the 1990s. It also established a charter school for immigrant children that has grown to 550 students who speak 19 different languages. It offers numerous programs for people living in poverty, so it is well equipped to serve in refugee resettlement.
In late 2016 the refugee resettlement program has been in turmoil. The flow of refugees coming has been slowed to such a degree that Della Lamb has had to lay off staff. Still, needs remain.
People often confuse immigrants with refugees, which have a very different status. People crossing a border are called asylum seekers. Refugee status must be earned. When an asylum seeker enters a refugee camp, he/she is asked a series of questions. The person will be asked the same questions later in the process – perhaps years later. If the answers don’t match exactly, the person may not qualify for referee status. The background screening form is eight pages long. Public relations director, John Hyde, gets frustrated at political rhetoric around refugees; “We’re being told that we don’t know who these people are. We know more about these people than anyone,” says Hyde.
Executive director of DL, Judy McGonigle Akers, explains the need. Contribution funding toward the resettlement project helps to do the following … as the federal funding runs out sometimes in the first 30-days or first 90-days after arrival … we have gotten them into jobs … but, often the job-placement hasn’t happened till close to the 88th-90th day after arrival. Because they are then working and “earning” a paycheck, but will not receive their first paycheck until sometimes 2-weeks … sometimes a month after first-day … the rent and utilities and groceries and transportation to/from jobs still has to be covered, despite that the federal funding is long gone by that time covering rent and utilities and groceries on the first 1-2-3-months. We call this need “91st-Day Funding Need” … because it represents a one-time investment into the life of the newly arrived refugee client … which is the bridge toward their self-sufficiency transition. They’ve got the job, they are performing well on the job … but, still need all of the “maintenance issues” provided “by someone” since the federal monies are gone … while they are earning their way to self-sufficiency through their paychecks.
DRESS A GIRL PROJECT REPORT
In a fun of sewing, 12 women gathered to sew simple dresses for girls around the world. Each dress was created from colorful fabrics from project coordinator, Linda Eatherton’s overflowing stash and decorated with trim of various kinds. Twelve dresses are now complete and on display in the fellowship hall. Many more dresses are partially complete and will be finished at the next “sew-in” (date to be announced). Two women, wearing either a splint or a sling, attended and were seen ironing dresses or crocheting a prayer shawl. See Linda if you are able to attend and/or contribute supplies.
….AND THE DELIVERIES CONTINUE
The first delivery of the New Year was made to The Container Project on January 24. Layettes, wheel chairs and brightly colored wooden trucks for children will soon find new homes in places around the world. Thanks to all of you for your support of this and various projects.