By Rich Shaffer
Conference Lay Leader
I had been planning to visit each of our Mission Projects and Service Agencies as a way to familiarize myself with the places where our Church is making a difference in the lives of people. But I just had not made much progress until the Mission Passport was introduced last August (2018).
This was the motivation I needed. It encouraged my wife, Deborah, and me to visit each of the nine sites. We decided we would visit each mission and even revisit the sites I had already seen. We did not call ahead, we just stopped by during office hours unannounced.
All of the staff and directors were very friendly and eager to show us around and explain the life changing work in which they were engaged…ministries of caring for the safety of hurting children and families, helping survivors of natural disasters recover, food, utility assistance, clothing, backpack feeding programs, pre-school programs and much, much more. It was very moving to be able to see firsthand the impact our Church is making through the efforts of the people at our Mission Projects and Service Agencies.
The seven Mission Projects and two Service Agencies in the West Virginia United Methodist Conference are currently being supported in part by the budget of our Conference, and therefore by the apportionment dollars placed in the offering plates all across the Conference each Sunday morning. Each of these nine sites have a different and unique way of reaching the people of their communities. Some functions are the same, but each has its own context in which to be fruitful in ministry. In addition to apportionments, our sites depend upon volunteers, donations, fund-raising projects and the annual Celebration of Missions Events in each District.
Let me encourage you to visit all nine of our Mission Sites and Service Agencies. They are fascinating! And if you wear your work clothes the staff may ask you to help with a variety of tasks!
My travels to the Mission Sites and Service Agencies has been very meaningful and has helped me to appreciate all of the work being accomplished among God’s People.
The Mission Passports were distributed to the churches across our Conference, but if you are not able to find them in your local church, contact your District Superintendent’s Office. These Mission Sites are your outreach projects doing good works on your behalf for the expansion and the Glory of God’s Kingdom.
Go and see our apportionment dollars at work and praise God for the laborers.