Long Term Recovery in the GNW
Blue Mountain Region Long Term Recovery Group
In February 2020 the Blue Mountain region suffered its worst flooding in decades. More than 600 families in Washington and Oregon were affected by swollen creeks and rivers. Just as community organizations began to mobilize in response, we were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, disaster response involves federal, state, and county representatives physically surveying damage and contacting survivors so they can apply for assistance. While some initial assessments were made, the normal process for assistance was stymied by our inability to meet survivors.
The Blue Mountain Region Long-Term Recovery Group (BMRLTRG) was organized in the wake of this flooding and models a nationwide best practice for recovering from disasters. Our areas of concern include Walla Walla, Columbia, and Umatilla counties, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. While our current focus is recovery from flood-related damage, we provide collaborative preparation for any future disasters that may impact the region. This is a coalition of community organizations includes non-profit, faith-based, private sector, community action, foundations, and others.
Just as winter is creeping closer, we are moving into the recovery phase of this disaster. Rebuilding can feel overwhelming, and even though financial aid may be available, it usually is never enough. Involving volunteers allows for funds to be stretched and many times doubled or tripled in value. As volunteers, we strive to serve with compassion and help survivors return to a safe, sanitary, and secure primary residence.
If you are a group leader or an individual interested in volunteering, please visit our Get Involved section of the website to learn how to volunteer. You can also contact Louise Kienzle, OR-ID UMVIM Coordinator.
Mission from Home
Is there a need in your local community that is not being met? This could be a food drive, collecting supplies for a detention center, writing cards, cleaning debris, putting up a fence or painting a house. Choose your timeline, one day or many. Invite others to participate. Find an example flyer with other suggestions here.
Exactly the same as a 'regular' mission but different. A Virtual Mission helps teams connect with one another while practicing social distancing, and then when we can gather in community again, it can help us connect with our neighbors. It also allows those that want to know more, learn and build relationships even from a distance.
You may ask, "what does this look like?" Here is a short video from a June Virtual Mission Trip to 'Give Ye Them to Eat' in Puebla, Mexico.
Find out more by contacting your UMVIM Coordinator.
Other Ways to Serve
Lead a mission team with members from your local church or conference. Join a mission team from your local church or conference. Or, participate in opportunities listed below:
Primetimers offers educational and mission service experiences for individuals ages 18 and up. These exciting 5-15 day experiences offer opportunities for educational forums, cross-cultural exposure and faith-filled reflection.
NOMADS are mission volunteers who:
- are looking for retirement with a purpose
- enjoy traveling in an RV
- want to share their Christian faith
- enjoy using their skills in service to others
Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up), who seek long-term partnerships with communities around the world. Mission Volunteer opportunities are diverse and range from working with refugees, children and youth, serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years.
When you volunteer, we all grow! Learn more about becoming a Mission Volunteer.
Global Mission Fellows
Global Mission Fellows are young adults, ages 20–30, who are committed to work in social justice ministries for two years. They serve outside of their home communities, either in the United States or overseas. This graduate-level fellowship allows participants to address the root causes of oppression and alleviate human suffering alongside community organizations in a variety of issues including public health (including HIV/AIDS), migration/immigration, education and poverty.
Sites and Projects
Use these lists when looking for a place to take an UMVIM team. Click the location to access the list; contact details are included.
In the Greater Northwest:
Are you looking for a place to be in mission while having the opportunity to enjoy the wonder of God’s nature? There are camps in the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Conference that offer both and would welcome your presence.
There are opportunities for all ages to serve in a variety of projects from dishwashing to painting, clearing trails to minor construction, sewing projects to window washing, supporting camp program activities and so much more. There may also be opportunities for local community projects.
Enjoy the misty mornings at Smith Lake and dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean at the end of each day. Come serve on the beautiful Oregon coast, enjoy living in Christian community, and change lives by being a part of the wonderful work we do at Camp Magruder. Contact Troy Taylor for ways you can serve.
Nestled on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains fourteen miles west of Sisters Oregon, Suttle Lake Camp is a special place where the vivid green of Western Oregon mingles with the sunny beauty of the east side. Contact Jane Petke to get more information.
The main reasons volunteers serve at Wallowa Lake Camp in northeastern Oregon is to have fun serving God in community a few hours a day in a gorgeous place, with delicious meals, beautiful lodging and plenty of free time to explore the area! Contact Peggy Lovegren for more information.
Youth Service Opportunities:
L.A.S.T. Living and Serving Together
L.A.S.T. is a service-learning project that links small groups of youth and adults with service opportunities. Participants are encouraged to think through what they are doing from a biblical perspective. Time is spent studying the root causes of poverty and examining ways to be a part of the greater solution. Through service, participants learn about the food distribution system from community garden to food bank, serve at a soup kitchen, work alongside a man who has a passion for the environment, encounter the wisdom of older adults and children, serve lunch at a local free lunch program, do minor painting and yard work. Participants explore the root causes of poverty, experience what it feels like to be in a different culture, see new places and meet new people, study the Bible with new eyes, and break out of their comfort zones.
L.A.S.T. is active in three locations: Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.
Contact Jeff Lowery for information on how to reserve your week.
Idaho Mission Project (IMP)
The Idaho Mission Project (IMP) is based out of Twinlow United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center in beautiful North Idaho. They partner with local not-for-profit organizations to help make an IMPact in the Spokane/Coeur D' Alene area. They also provide a combination of Mission Trip and Summer Camp Experience all wrapped into one week. Service projects are tailored to your group’s abilities and goals based on the information you provide when registering. IMP partners with local organizations that are on the front lines serving individuals and communities in need.
Service projects take place in the mornings with the group returning to Twinlow in the afternoons to enjoy some rest time, lake time, whatever is needed, and then gather for dinner with the camp community. Each evening there will be an opportunity to reflect and share with each other the highs and lows from the day. Bible Study will be incorporated and can be led by Twinlow staff. There will be evening campfire, group games and activities with the rest of the camp community. At the end of the night is a chance for youth leaders to gather their own group and accomplish any personal goals your group might have or work with other group leaders to dive deeper into reflection and service learning.
Sierra Service Project
Sierra Service Project (SSP) is committed to providing safe, accessible, and affordable programs for youth to deepen their relationships with God and others through service. SSP trips cover housing, meals, construction training, spiritual development, fellowship and more. They also offer scholarships to groups and individuals who may not otherwise be able to attend.
See details on the SSP website.
All monies collected for UMCOR go through your church treasurer and are sent to the Conference Treasurer with the ADVANCE #901440 on the memo line. Remember, 100% of the money you donate goes to the program you specify!
Relief kits help provide care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis. UMCOR is presently focusing on these kits: hygiene, cleaning kits and school bags. Contents can be found on the UMCOR website under RELIEF SUPPLIES with specific instructions on how to assemble and pack the kits. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE PACKING SLIPS OR MONEY.
Transportation of relief kits to the Salt Lake City UMCOR Depot (UMCOR West) is provided. Kits will be transported twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Monetary donations are requested to help cover transportation costs (gas and meals). These donations can be sent in a check written to "Conference Treasurer", with # 1-44-320-5499 on the memo line, and sent to United Methodist Conference Center, 1505 SW 18th Ave., Portland, OR 97201.
There are twelve United Methodist churches in our conference that serve as collection points. Kits can be brought to any of these churches for storage until they are picked up for delivery to UMCOR West.
Crater Lake District: Grants Pass, Coburg and Ebbert Memorial
Cascadia District: Trinity - Salem
Columbia District: Tabor Heights, Lake Oswego and Rainier
Sage District: LaGrande, Caldwell, Boise First, Jerome and Pocatello
Serving at UMCOR West Depot
Individuals and groups can sign up to work at the Depot in Salt Lake City for a week or less. Contact Rev. Brian Diggs, director: 801-973-7250. Once you have a date, please register your team with the Oregon-Idaho UMVIM Coordinator.
Housing is available at:
- The Episcopal Center of Utah in downtown Salt Lake City for $55 a night per room. 75 South 200 East, Salt Lake City; 801-322-4131. For housing and general questions, contact: Gary Lindemann or Rhonda Uber.
- Hilltop United Methodist Church with accommodations for small groups. Donation requested. 985 East 10600 South, Sandy UT; 801-571-5777 email
- Christ United Methodist Church with accommodations for small groups. Donation requested. 2375 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-486-5473 email
For more information contact Donna Waltman, UMCOR Coordinator for UMCOR West Depot, 503-622-3226.
You can support mission projects without leaving your home. By giving through The Advance, 100% of your donation reaches your chosen mission project or ministry.