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April 2009

A Race for Water

Mike Lightfoot is Director of Music at FUMCBy Elliott Wright

New York, NY, April 17, 2009--Michael Lightfoot wanted to do something exciting and worthwhile for his 50th birthday.

On May 24, Mike will compete in a 56-mile marathon in South Africa, with the funds raised by hundreds of United Methodist backers going to support mission-related clean-water projects in Africa. He is director of music at the First United Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas, and his birthday has turned into "Project 56," a mission cause of a mission-minded congregation.

Each family in the 5,800-member congregation has been challenged to contribute $56.00 to Mike's race for water. The money raised will be contributed through The Advance, the United Methodist designated-giving mission channel, to projects such as Water for Life, a ministry to bring clean water to 45 communities in Liberia. The Advance is part of the General Board of Global Ministries, the international mission agency of the denomination.

Lightfoot has already qualified to enter the grueling 56-mile Comrades Marathon, one of the longest and most famous foot races in the world, run between the South African cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban since 1921. "My goal is to finish the race, not to win it," he said in a telephone interview. "Runners have 12 hours to cross the finish line. Seeing how many make it is as exciting as watching the winner come in."

Lightfoot says that the idea of dedicating funds raised by his run to water projects in Africa was inspired by a sermon in which Pastor Oliphint pointed to a lack of uncontaminated water in parts of Africa.

The project Water for Life, Advance #3020811 is intended to rescue 45 communities and residents from poor living conditions by constructing wells, which will provide safe drinking water for these communities.

Several well-digging and clean-water projects in Africa can be supported through The Advance, and every dollar goes to the project or projects designated. Go to www.givetomission.org.

The First United Methodist Church of Richardson has an average weekly worship attendance of between 1,900 and 2,100, and between 800 and 1,000 in Sunday school. There are 22 adult Sunday school classes with more being added, according to Rev. Anderson. It supports five covenant relationships with missionaries through Global Ministries and has partnerships with congregations in the Czech Republic and Russia.

Elliott Wright is the information officer of the General Board of Global Ministries.


Missionaries in Covenant Relationship with at FUMCAdvocate of the Month

The heart of this church is as large as the state. First United Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas, honors missionaries by making and keeping a covenant with them. A covenant is not only support but a relationship, a promise to cherish and sustain.

When a church like First United Methodist is faithful to God's mission, The Advance celebrates its witness. Whether a church is large or small, the difference the gift makes to honor a missionary is vital.

First United Methodist Church supports the following missionaries through Global Ministries:

Nancy Boye, Advance #10763Z
Ruth Wiertzema, Advance #773993
Jerri Savuto, Advance #08799Z
Chris Hena, Advance #11501Z


Heifer ProjectDid You Know?

In giving to Heifer International projects, especially as they highlight April as "Pass on the Gift Month," please be reminded your giving can be processed through The Advance. The Advance is an accountable, designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church that ensures 100% of each gift reaches its intended mission or ministry.

Advance # 982532 Living Gifts - Heifer International
Engaging families in local congregations to make a difference in eradicating hunger

Advance # 982418 Fill the Ark - Heifer International
Working with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth in sustainable


Individual Covenant RelationshipFeatured Resource

Individual Covenant Relationship Brochure

As we continue to support the missionary community, here is a unique opportunity for individuals to partner with a United Methodist missionary. For additional information, click Covenant Relationships and download the Covenant Relationship Form.

To order additional Individual Covenant Relationships Brochure, go to www.advancinghope.org.



Thank you for giving generously through The Advance. Your gifts truly make a difference!

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