Blessing the Journey of Mission Kits
by Linda Beher
Patty Maddox helps pack a tractor trailer with relief supplies donated by Assembly participants. Credit: Mike DuBose/UMNS, May 4, 2006
In Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, a family of five is cramped in a single room in which they've lived for two years. Their baby was born in this barrack-like apartment building far from home. There's no running water. They are displaced from Abkhazia, a disputed region.
Across an ocean, another group is sitting in a well-lighted meeting room at a United Methodist Church. A few sip hot tea. The members of Martha Circle of United Methodist Women are making health kits. Each kit includes a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, bandages, a nail clipper and other small items wrapped into a hand towel; all inserted into a plastic bag.
Even as one circle member puts the finishing touches on a kit, she's skeptical. How can such ordinary things make a difference to anyone?
Despite her skepticism, she joins the others in blessing the finished kits - a carton full. One of the women offers to take the carton to a shipping facility. By the next morning, the kits are on their way to Sager-Brown Depot in Baldwin, La., a Women's Division-owned facility where UMCOR stores and distributes relief supplies.
At Sager-Brown, a volunteer checks the kits from Martha Circle to be sure they include everything. They'll go first to the seaport in Houston, Texas, and then to the Black Sea port city of Poti, Georgia. From there they will go by truck the 300 miles to the UMCOR office in Tbilisi.
The family of five receives their health kits, and the workers leave a school kit for each of the older children. The new baby receives a layette kit.
United Methodists made more than 346,000 school, health, layette and sewing kits in 2005, each one a blessing for a family like the displaced family in Tbilisi. Ordinary items can and do make a difference.