Volunteers in Mission Serve West Virginia and the World

By John Langenstein

John Langenstein recently sat down with David Stilgenbauer and Ray Yarnall at the General Conference to talk.

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) are part of the lifeblood of the West Virginia Conference. When there is disaster or trouble, they are there. Hammers and saws in hand, loving smiles on their faces, they charge forward to do what needs to be done. I had the opportunity track down David Stilgenbauer, West Virginia VIM coordinator and General Conference Marshal, and Ray Yarnall, Northeast Jurisdiction VIM Coordinator, to talk about how their work is carried out, in our Conference, and across the Connection.

Ray Yarnall (left) and David Stilgenbauer at General conference. Photo by John Langenstein

“The most important thing we do in VIM is build relationships…” Stilgenbauer said, “I’ve seen so many people today I’ve met through work with Volunteers in Mission.” Stilgenbauer had just finished speaking to an Alaskan attendee as I came to the VIM stand in the exhibit hall.

Yarnall had a similar take away from his work in the Northeast Jurisdiction.

“I love the way people are transformed in our work. People reach out and make connections that they never expected they would.”

Yarnall highlighted the scope to which the West Virginia Conference has impacted the communities across the United States.

“West Virginia has been one of the leaders in sending volunteers post-COVID throughout the United States,” he said.

 Stilgenbauer provided a more exhaustive list of locations, including Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Alaska.

Mission workers are not limited to the United States either.

“We continue to reach out to our local churches and community, but also around the world,” Yarnall said of the Northeast Jurisdiction VIM.

This is all done with a singular intent – to follow Christ’s command to love one another.

“Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor,” Stilgenbauer said, “And the easiest way to show love is to stand alongside people. We do not do things to people or for them, but we work with them. If you need to dig a ditch, you’re in the ditch with them. If you need to fix a roof, you’re up there with them.”

For more information about Volunteers in Mission you can visit their website umvim.org. If you are interested in volunteering in the West Virginia Conference or want additional information about VIM’s work with it, please contact David Stilgenbauer by email or by phone at: 304-210-6938.