Mission Teams announced for early 2014

Mission teams and team leaders from the Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, Illinois Great Rivers Conferences are scheduled to be in mission here this year. Four teams from the East Ohio Conference will be arriving in the first six months of 2014.

First Quarter 2013
Report of the Coordinator
UMVIM Liberia

 The United Methodist Volunteers in Mission in Liberia brings you greetings of peace in the name of Jesus. And, we are pleased to update you on our activities.

God has blessed us with two new partnerships that have come to fruition this year. The first being the Friends of Africa which, through Bro. Pryde Bass, Sr. of the East Ohio Conference, has begun the fulfillment of a long term commitment to working with the St. Paul River District area of the Liberia Annual Conference and beyond by having its first team visit with us as shown below. The second is Bethany UMC in the Virginia area whose first set of funds for the Bopolu Mission was presented to Bishop Innis during the Liberia Summit, November 15-16, 2012, in Illinois. These funds are being utilized as shown in the photos.

Teams scheduled for the first quarter arrived accordingly, and there are more discussions ongoing for other programs like Heifer International to return to Liberia.  The highlight of this first quarter was for Kathy Dickriede, team leader of the East Ohio Conference, to have with us Bishop John L. Hopkins and three of his District Superintendents serving at the Camphor Mission. We appreciate the below teams for mission services:

Dates Local Church and Team Leader
December 28- March 2014 Deborah Moore
(Short term volunteer at Camphor Mission)
January 2-16, 2014 Farmer-to-Farmer, East Ohio,
Pryde Bass, Sr.
January 6-13, 2014 Solon UMC, East Ohio
Scott Low (Josh is serving as a short-term
 volunteer at Camphor Mission)
January 6- February 3 IGRC Teams, Bunny Wolfe
January 13- 27, 2014 Pedaling Parsons, East Ohio,
Don Richards
February 3-10, 2014 Victory Memorial UMC, Oklahoma Conference,
Connie Taylor
February 3-March 3, 2014 East Ohio Conference Teams
Kathy Dickriede
March 3 – 18, 2014 Kevin Schaner

Challenges:  I wish to extend my gratitude to the Oklahoma Team for its counsel during the loss of my sister. But least did I know that this would have continued: four others – a niece, a cousin, an in-law, and an aunt – would follow. These losses, all in the space of 37 days, had an impact on me. The day one of the remaining two of my aunts died, Kevin Schaner and her team had a difficult travel on their return trip to Monrovia from Ganta with their vehicle. The driver had placed the team at risk by not having his tools and communication device for which he lost his job. But thanks to God they were all experienced volunteers and as such did the right thing. As such, we wish to extend our apology to Kevin and her team for this experience. It was the first of its kind in LUMVIM history and we certainly regret the incident and pray not to have a re-occurrence.

As we continue to pray, we thank God for strength to carry on God’s mission.


Report to the Connectional Table of the LAC from the UMVIM Coordinator July 6, 2012

Briefing of the UMVIM Coordinator to the Connectional Ministries semi-annual Meeting

We are grateful to God for the leadership of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and the opportunity to continue to serve the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission as its coordinator.

As we continue in meeting the needs of parish ministries, the Friends of Africa, through Bro. Pryde Bass, Sr. of the East Ohio Conference provided material support, in partnership with the East Ohio Annual Conference, for the partial renovation of the Stephen Trowen Nagbe Retreat Center at White Plains. This work was done  in preparation for the arrival of future teams that will volunteer in the St. Paul River District area of the Liberia Annual Conference.  The Liberia Annual Conference in this partnership was to provide transportation and labor compensation which has not been completed to date. This is a challenge for the UMVIM because we are still due some labor costs.  As a pilot project, the St. John UMC in Harrisburg was worked on and dedicated to the glory of God.

Following these activities, we took advantage of visiting with our friends in the United States in pursuit of mobilizing resources for the ministries of the church across the Liberia area.  Interestingly, we wish to request a refund since we had to underwrite the cost of our travel after an unsuccessful financial assistance request from a few units of the Liberia Annual Conference including the LAC’s treasury to perform formal duties.

While in the States, we visited with the below:

Bethany UMC

This church, in the Virginia area, has been gracious to partner with one of our projects – Bopolu FUMC and it is committed to making sure that church is completed in a mission station style. We appreciate the support of Mr. John Broglio, his wife Laurie and their children; and Rev. Jeffery J. Roberts and members of Bethany. Casting all your care upon him 1 Peter5:7

The McKenna family: Chris, Tricia, Gorma, Sonie , Rebecca and Joseph were a blessing on this trip for which I am grateful (not forgetting Grace, the gift of Love).

Hyde Park UMC

Rev. Tim Bias, who serves as the directing pastor at the church, along with his staff was excited to have us at their church. We participated fully in a week long activity based on the scripture: “The Lord knows those who are his.” (2 Timothy 2:19) For Hyde Park, the new Ganta Hospital was of interest and we are in discussion and the prospect of having a work team to visit us this November is gaining momentum.  Let me say thanks to Rev. Sara Thomas for being such a wonderful coordinator; John and Barbara Fillion for hosting, Mark and Nancy Turner, Cindy Ware and all other staff at Hyde Park UMC;  special thanks to Marietta and The Thursday Edition, Rosie Red and parents. You are all in my prayers. The West Ohio Conference is blessed with such a wonderful congregation and people.

Our visits with Gay Street UMC in Mount Vernon, Faith UMC, FUMC Andover, Masury UMC, and Garfield UMC was so wonderful and filled with blessings and riches. “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” Romans 11:33. One of these was the defining moment of this mission trip: when we had the opportunity to preach the Mother’s Day message at FUMC Andover. We were led to speak from Matthew 1:18 on the theme, “God’s Purpose.” This has had an impact on our life and we look to the Lord for guidance. We appreciate Pastor Vernon Palo for being in the role God used him to play in this.

God is working through Kathy Dickriede who has done so much in working with us on this trip and as a result, East Ohio UMVIM Teams are scheduled for Liberia as:
Dates                                                               Local Church and Team Leader
December 28-January 9 2013                      Faith UMC, East Ohio, Cara Stultz-Costello
January 13- 27, 2013                                     Pedaling Parsons, East Ohio, Don Richards
February 3-March 3, 2013                             East Ohio, Kathy Dickriede
June 2-16, 2013                                             Mt. Vernon UMC, East Ohio, Mary Blencowe
June 16-30, 2013                                           Youth and Young Adults, East Ohio, Jason Hockran

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” Titus 3:5. I wish express my   appreciation to Denise, Mary and Jan of Mount Vernon, Chuck, Bunky, Jason, and all those loving Christians of the East Ohio area.

The Missouri area was again an opportunity: Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver, III and the St. James UMC were gracious to us for which we are grateful. We also appreciate Azel, Brenda, Valinda and Mark, Alex and Alice, for their time of sharing; and Bro. Franklin D. Walker, of the St. James UMC at Kansas City who led us to a meeting with the Office of Creative Ministries at Columbia, MO.  Below is what was posted thereafter:

MissionCast – Water for LiberiaLiberia has been on our minds lately after the visit of Flomo Shaffa Seward, the VIM Coordinator for the United Methodist Church in Liberia. While in Missouri he was hosted by Franklin Walker who led a VIM team from St. James UMC to Liberia last year.  Shaffa was the person who showed the St. James team around. While in Columbia Shaffa had lunch with Bishop Schnase and the Office of Creative Ministries staff.One of the challenges in Liberia is pure water.  Shaffa visited with Jeff Baker about the pure water program in Haiti.  We are grateful to UMTV for this video and the permission to use it.  UMCOR’s Water for Life program in Liberia addresses this challenge.  Donations for this ministry may be made by sending contributions to the Conference Office clearly labeling the gift as Water for Life, Liberia – Advance Special #3020811.To view the MissionCast on YouTube click the picture.  To download the MissionCast or to view it in other formats go to http://momissioncast.com  Thanks to Max Marble for the post

At the Trinity UMC in Denver, Colorado, we promoted the Traditional Birth Attendance Program being run by the Board of Health and as the last funding for the project was raised and sent, we extended thanks for and on behalf of Bishop John G. Innis, the Lay Leader and members of the Liberia Annual Conference. Bob and Kathy Gibb, and the entire Trinity UMC family are doing a great job for this initiative. A special thanks to Glenn and LaDanna Graveille and the Littleton UMC for their roles played. We pray that their interest in the new Ganta Hospital project will grow as well.
There is a brother in Christ who always considers my visit an opportunity to share God’s Word and the work of the UMC in Liberia. Phillip Haworth, Music Minister at the Suncreek UMC in Allen, Texas honored our visit with so much Christian love. His pastor, Tom Palmer and the entire Suncreek family were very receptive and appreciated my being there. As such, we had the opportunity to share with two Sunday school classes on the gifts of the Pentecost. We were delighted in meeting our old friends amongst which were Karen and her family, and in meeting new ones especially Fiona and William.

“I will make darkness light before them” Isaish 42:16

On the other hand, our department through the volunteer secretary, Dehkontee P. Tarr, coordinated two teams: an assessment team from the IGRC for the construction of the internet facility at the Camphor Mission area led by Mike and a work team led by Sandy VerDuin of Garfield UMC, Ohio who worked with the parsonage at Camphor. Thanks to Dehkontee for ably handling the affairs of LUMVIM during our travels. Also, renovation works were done in the St. Paul River District at the A. B. Anderson UMC and the Anderson-Weamah UMS in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.

In closing, we thank God for still being in the business of working with us. Therefore, we want to thank Una Jones and staff at the Mission Volunteer Section of the GBGM, Bishop John G.  Innis of the Liberia Area of the UMC, the Director of Connectional Ministries, and all those, whose efforts contributed to our trip and God’s mission. To Aletha and our children, I appreciate you for your love and prayer.

In mission,

F. Shaffa Seward

F. Shaffa Seward

UMVIM Coordinator