Mission 200: UMVIM—What? Why? How?
“People appreciated our presence in their community and said over and over again how important that presence is to them. The also recognized that many people in our communities and families had made it possible for us to be there.”
“I will go on other mission trips—without question. It was a week where working to help others in need brought me many unexpected gifts.”
UMVIM, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, is a part of the Mission Volunteers program area of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. UMVIM is “Christian Love in Action”.
The understanding that ‘we are called, and ‘we are sent’ is the foundation of our faith…. We are called, wherever we are in the world, to love all of God’s creation and to demonstrate that ‘love in action’. Through Volunteers in Mission, every person in the church has the opportunity to serve in short-term mission. Using what God has given us in service with others, we have ‘life-transforming’ experiences.
What UMVIM offers is the CONNECTION. It is the connection with other UMVIM teams and individuals who have responded to that call of mission. It is the link for us to build bridges and
develop relationships through cross-cultural experiences.
UMVIM teams go only where they are invited. Officially approved projects come as a result of the needs of churches and their communities at home, nationally and internationally. A pastor, district superintendent, or bishop must officially request assistance from UMVIM to help meet these needs. The host community takes ownership of their own projects, UMVIM teams come as helping hands. Mission ministry must be done in partnership with those being served and must respect the local context. Once a mission site has been approved, teams arrive, one after the other, to continue projects and build relationships.
People of all ages are welcome as volunteers in mission. Mission opportunities have been identified for adults, youth, and families, based on the skills and needs of each project. Some projects require technical or specialized skills while others look for helping hands and open hearts. Missioners must be ready to let the experience shape them rather than going in to shape the experience.
Those attending this workshop will participate in activities that identify mission, look at ways to be in mission through UMVIM and learn ‘next steps’ to get involved in an UMVIM mission project.
Mission is a way to excite and activate people within the congregation to step outside the walls of the church. Jesus said, “Go and serve.” Get your feet dusty! Through a mission experience they can make a meaningful difference in the life of someone in need. Working and worshiping alongside brothers and sisters whose faith withstand the trials of poverty and major disasters helps expand the awareness of how other people survive in the world. The entire congregation becomes involved in the process and the journey through fundraising, events, sharing, prayer, sending the team and welcoming the team back.
“As the team prepared to [return home], we all asked, “Where do we go next?” God will have an answer for us. We will answer, “Here am I Lord”!“
UMVIM opportunities are ever-changing. Those interested in volunteering might ask: What are they passionate about? What are their skills? Where are places they would like to visit and serve? When? For how long? Check the website or contact your conference UMVIM coordinator for more information about possible sites.