The UMCOR HotlineIn Today's Hotline:
US: Tornadoes Cause Extensive Damage Across the Midwest
CHINA and MYANMAR: Partnering to Bring Relief
US: Preparing a Home for Newcomers
DRC: Seeds for the Harvest
JFON: Crossing Over
US: TORNADOES CAUSE EXTENSIVE DAMAGE ACROSS MIDWEST
Powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through the midsection of the U.S. on Sunday killing at least seven people. Hardest hit were the towns of Parkersburg and neighboring New Hartsford in Central Iowa.
According to a letter from Bishop Gregory Palmer, “destruction in Parkersburg, a community of nearly 2000 residents, is widespread. Some 400 homes were damaged with 200 being destroyed. City hall, the high school and twenty-one businesses are destroyed. The Kwik Star gas station and the local grocery store are also heavily damaged.”
While the Parkersburg United Methodist parsonage and everything inside are completely destroyed, Rev. Betsy Piette reports that the church is still standing with minimal damage. She states, “the amazing thing is that the crosses still stand on the church; when people come into town that’s what they see!”
Bishop Palmer asks for prayers for Reverend Piette and her family as well as for the communities of Parkersburg and New Hartsford.
UMCOR is contacting the affected annual conferences to offer resources. The damage is being assessed and once the area has been deemed safe, relief workers can begin working with the most vulnerable to help them rebuild.
Help the affected annual conferences with your gifts to Domestic Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance # 901670. And please continue to pray for all survivors in the US and around the world who are dealing with violent weather.
CHINA and MYANMAR: PARTNERING TO BRING RELIEF
When a disaster strikes outside of the US, UMCOR serves as the primary channel for United Methodist assistance. Working with partners who are on the ground, UMCOR ensures that all relief goes directly to help those in need and is never channeled through foreign governments.
In response to the recent earthquake in China, UMCOR is supporting the relief efforts of the Amity Foundation, a voluntary Chinese Christian organization and longtime partner of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Within hours of the earthquake, Amity began to assess crisis relief and procured drinking water, dried instant noodles and tarps to distribute to those in need.
Likewise, in Myanmar (Burma), UMCOR is working closely with Church World Service and ACT while also supporting the efforts of local groups like the Methodist Church of Lower Myanmar to distribute water and food and provide temporary shelter for those affected by Cyclone Nargis that devastated Myanmar’s most populated areas on May 2.
Please continue to pray for the people of China and Myanmar. Your generous gifts allow us to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of the survivors of the China earthquake and Cyclone Nargis. Please give today to support UMCOR's relief efforts in China through International Disaster Response, China Earthquake, UMCOR Advance #982450 or UMCOR Advance # 3019674, Myanmar Emergency, to help the survivors of Cyclone Nargis.
US: PREPARING A HOME FOR NEWCOMERS
When Nancy Spalenka, missions chairperson at Wesley Park United Methodist Church, Wyoming, Mich., was contacted by PARA, a Church World Service affiliate to sponsor Saif, his wife Safaa, and their son Fahed who are refugees from Iraq—many preparations had to be made for their arrival.
PARA found a furnished apartment and the church provided gifts of kitchenware, linens and other necessities. Church volunteers offered help with English classes and private tutoring, while others helped with transportation, bill paying, grocery shopping and more. Shortly after their arrival, Saif and Safaa considered moving to Arizona where they had family—but after experiencing genuine compassion from their new friends, they chose to stay in Grand Rapids, Mich. The couple will soon enroll in job training classes to be able to find work.
“It’s a pleasure to help when needed, to introduce them to sites of interest in the area and partake in home cooked meals from around the world. More than that, it is satisfying to know that even though we can’t solve all of a family’s problems, we can offer a comfortable home and help people resettle safely,” said Spalenka. Help newcomers feel welcome by supporting programs like these. Give to New Hope to Newcomers, UMCOR Advance #901779.
DRC: SEEDS FOR THE HARVEST
The agricultural centers of Pweto, Moba and Dubie in the Democratic Republic of Congo will soon reap a bountiful harvest as a result of UMCOR’s seed distribution and farmer training this past February.
Through the Pweto Food Security Program, UMCOR distributed over 40,000 kg of seeds that included maize, beans, groundnuts, soybeans and rice to fill a field of over 755 hectares. More than 500 farmers throughout the Pweto, Moba and Dubie regions participated in UMCOR training sessions that educated farmers on weed management, integrated pest management techniques, as well as the benefits of soybean crop production to enhance children’s nutrition. The farmers will soon see the fruit of their labors as they put their acquired knowledge to use to produce nutritious crops.
Since the beginning of this program about 12,185 households—mainly displaced people and returning refugees benefit from UMCOR’s food security program. Your gifts make a difference in DRC and help others plant a harvest of hope. Please continue to give generously to DRC Emergency, UMCOR Advance #198400.
JFON: CROSSING OVER
Maria*, a mother of four from Oaxaca, Mexico, worked for the Mexican government as an interpreter for Mixtec-Spanish. Her husband physically brutalized her for years, beat their oldest son and even beat Maria’s mother. Maria’s beatings resulted in several broken ribs and loss of a good job. She was reduced to working more than 100 hours a week on a farm in Mexico. Her oldest son was forced to leave school in order to work in the fields.
Realizing that something needed to change, Maria made the decision to risk coming to the US. With the help and counsel of UMCOR’s Justice for Our Neighbors Program (JFON), Maria crossed over into a better life. She was granted immigration relief under the Violence Against Women Act and was granted legal permanent resident status. Today, Maria’s oldest son, a 21 year-old math major, is enrolled in community college and intends to become a math teacher.
Most of JFON’s clients are women and families with children. The majority of cases involve naturalization of immigrants and reuniting families. This ministry provides free, high-quality immigration services and a warm welcome to immigrants in our congregations and communities.Support JFON’s work by giving to Justice for Our Neighbors, UMCOR Advance #901285.
* Not her real name.
UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit umcor.org. You can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. You can also give online by clicking on any of the "Give Now" links. UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.
And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.
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