Just These Lines about our calling to be missionaries of hope…
About five years ago, I had the gift of becoming a ‘salt water missionary’ for a short time, as a UMVIM mission volunteer in Recife, Brazil. ‘Salt water missionary’ is an affectionate name for missionaries who travel from the United States to other countries, crossing an ocean. We United Methodists are a connectional church reaching people with the love and grace of Jesus Christ around the world. Our General Board of Global Ministries has many stories to share of some 350 UM missionaries serving in more than 60 countries around the world. They often serve in places of poverty, with something they share in abundance- prayer and hope.
I heard a story of a widow who first learned about Jesus from the local Cambodian Methodist community. Providing for her three children harvesting aquatic plants from her canoe, she found herself homeless after a house fire. She was taken in by the local Methodist church, given a small motor for her canoe, and the means to start working again. She went on to volunteer as a woman’s leader in the church and freely loans out her precious motor to others, to share her love of Jesus.
There are UM stories of a new Methodist preschool in Cambodia, a free medical clinic near the Vietnam border, pilot missionaries bringing nurses and doctors to places in the Congo without medical facilities. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet one of these UM ‘saltwater’ missionaries, along with the many UM missionaries serving all around the USA?
Here at Ramsey we have many local ‘freshwater’ missionaries… while you may not have become a ‘salt water missionary’ yet… you are already playing a part. About one quarter of missionary funding comes from our mission apportionments from local congregations like ours. After apportionments, Global Ministries has the responsibility of raising half the funds for missionary needs. About one in ten local congregations have established covenant relationships to support a specific missionary. Ramsey has had a partnership for many years with Project Crossroads in Marion, VA, making treks to the Appalachian region. Ramsey offers mission trips in VA and in disaster impacted regions of the USA every year. We hope you will come and be a part of a mission team. Even closer to home, Ramsey Church offers a monthly community food pantry and a monthly neighborhood supper; both opportunities to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors. Throughout the year, we offer opportunities to reach out to neighborhood kids through our partnership with J.L. Francis Elementary School and to persons experiencing homeless through CARITAS. Thank you Ramsey Church for being a beacon of God’s love and hope in our community! And thank you for making missionary tracks for Jesus!
I love being your Pastor and friend,