Friday, November 27, 2015

A Correction


So Sorry,
For those of you who are going to donate on giving Tuesday, to get in on the matching funds the correct start time is 12 AM CT December 1, 2015.  See prior blog entry for other details.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Refugees Welcolme

May the blessings of Thanksgiving be yours.


I have been in Harrisonburg, VA one week.  My experience volunteering with Church World Services (CWS) as a General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) Individual Volunteer in Missions (IVIM) has been even better than I imagined. 

As I walked down the long hall, I was happy and relieved to have arrived safely, a feeling shared by the refugees served here through Church World Service,

As I waited for the office to open, I was in conversation with a refugee also waiting.  He is 25 years old, has done a great job of learning English.

He has training and experience as a chef in a large restaurant.  He recently came to the US at the invitation of a family member.  His was a long journey, from Cuba by way of a S. American country then by car, bus, train cross country to VA.

I am staying at an Extended Stay Corporate Suites.  It is the most expensive lodging I have had on any of my four IVIM assignments, $285 a week.

This is the first IVIM assignment that allows me to have a hot shower every morning.  That feels like I am in the lap of luxury. 

Because I drove I was able to bring some of the comforts of home.  Those who know me well, know books were the coveted take along.  When I flew, I had only three personal books plus my Bible.   
Here, check out my books and innovative bookshelf.

Yes, there are some UMW book list books.

It has been pure joy, well almost.  I have enjoyed learning the background of all that CWS does for refugees.  Beyond serving at the office, I have been involved in cultural orientation classes, the women’s group, and bicycle riding class and driving lessons.  I was glad driving lessons were only book learning, helping refugees pass the knowledge part of the driving test. 

What made it less than totally joyful was transportation issues.  I am very dependent on my GPS.  I had a family all belted in and ready to be transported to the site of the bicycle class.  What a sinking feeling when the GPS would not recognize the school’s address.  Sure was glad it recognized the school’s name.

Transporting the next day to the driving class I was given the address 957.  My GPS had me turn a road too soon, but after finding the correct road, there was no 957.  I knew I was looking for an apartment building.  After knocking at three different dwellings, I found the right building and apartment.  The address error was understandable.  The refugee had given her number reading from the right to left; the correct number was 759.

The refugee I transported spoke enough English so we could carry on a conversation.  English is her fifth language.  She was an inspiration t me, I am committing to improving my Arabic.  A large percentage of the current CWS caseload are Arabic speaking.

After class she invited me into her home.  She showed me photos of her family in their native beautiful, colorful dresses.

UMC Hospitality & Service Opportunities

I attended Asbury United Methodist Church the first Sunday I was in Harrisonburg, Va.  I chose this church because they provide space for Church World Service’s needs.   
I was greeted warmly, and invited to Sunday school.  One class member moved and sat with me during Sunday school so I did not have to sit alone.  She gave me her phone number in case I needed anything during the week.

A Wednesday Community dinner is offered by Asbury UMC.  I will be a volunteer there for the rest of the Wednesdays that I am in the area.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with one of the families from the church.

I had met Kate, another volunteer with CWS at the bicycle class and driving lessons.

At a rally for refugees on Monday, Kate introduced me to her Mother, Laura.  Laura invited me to have Thanksgiving with the family.

 Wow they sure are good cooks!

This is a caring community.  I had three invitations to family dinners, two from families at the church.

The community of believers God has surrounded me with is an answer to our prayers!

The Refugee Issue

I attended rallies for refugees and immigrants.  Many in this community cherishes their new neighbors.  They are actively working for and asking for support from their elected officials for the values for which America has always stood.   

The links below will help you hear God’s heart on refugees!

Cokesbury, a publishing outlet, has lifted up the plight of refugees through an excellent video, Beyond Bethlehem.  Follow this link, click on videos, it is the second video that has a picture of Jesus as the cover picture.  In our Christian Tradition and because of the realities of that first Christmas, we are called to service on behalf of the refugees around the world.  We will not all be called to do the same thing, but we all have the call to love our neighbor.

The West Michigan United Methodist bishop, Bishop Kiesey, penned a letter and called on those in the Michigan area to advocate for the safe resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Church World Service, where I am currently serving, has condemned the discriminatory, anti-refugee bill that passed the House of Representatives.

Special Event Giving Choice: Giving Tuesday December 1st

Before deciding if and how much to give on the upcoming giving Tuesday, use the link below to see where you are placed in the wealth of our world.

Ponder your reality of where you are seen as God looks at the world.   As Mordecai said to Ester,  "Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such times as this?"  
Is our relative wealth to for donating for such times as this?   

Luke 12:48- from TNIV version, a quote from Jesus.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked"

The General Board of Global Ministries has designated December 1 as giving Tuesday.

Their website has the following notice.  “Every gift made online through The Advance at on Dec. 1, 2015 will be matched up to $1 million see more and donate at:

Since donations of more than a million are expected, the match does not last all day.  Making donations immediately after 12: AM Eastern Time is the recommendation for being in on the matching funds. 

I have attached the list of Advance Projects in the Holy Land.  The needs are great.  Please prayerfully consider a donation on giving Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

To Do Lists

This blog has suggested some "to do" options.  Please continue to pray for the refugees and me as I serve here in Harrisonburg, VA.


Today’s affirmation from my daily devotions in the book, The Way, by E. Stanley Jones is as follows.

Today I shall have a Christianity that is Christian.