Women's Division President: 'Ask What You Can Do for Mission'
In the wake of major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and continued suffering of immigrants, Women’s Division President Inelda Z. González urged United Methodist Women members to redouble their outreach to neighbors in need in her address to directors at their semi-annual meeting in Stamford, Conn., April 8-12.
“We saw the terror the earthquakes brought forth into the lives of the people of Haiti in the Atlantic and those in Chile in South America,” Ms. González said. “We learned of the deaths of whole families that had been crushed or swept away as we comfortably sat in our homes. We even learned of the deaths of two of our staff of the General Board of Global Ministries. They were doing God’s work. …What can we do?”
Ms. González said United Methodist Women members responded quickly to the disasters, sending financial gifts and providing United Methodist Committee on Relief with thousands of health kits, layette kits and birthing kits to ship to Haiti and areas in need. And, she said, United Methodist Women is commitment to helping these neighbors over the long haul to recovery.
“Yes, we will be participating with our partners in rebuilding the lives of the survivors,” Ms. González said. “This is not a short-term, quick fix for those who survived the earthquakes.”
United Methodist Women has heeded the mandate to serve and care for marginalized person who have no voice, she said, asking: “Who are these marginalized persons? Are they those who suffered in the destructive earthquakes? Are they the persons in Africa who are being driven from their land? … Are they the immigrants? Are they my neighbor?...Yes, they are all of these.”
Ms. González called on United Methodist Women members to continue to ask themselves what they’ve done for their neighbors in need as a reminder of their call to mission internationally, at home in their local communities and through the organization’s national mission institutions.
“We are a monumental mission giving organization that spurs and revolutionizes women to do things and go places where others choose not to go,” she said. “We stand side by side with our sisters, keeping our eyes toward the cross in order to stay focused on our Purpose in what we do and what we give to serve our Lord God.”
Report of the President to the Women’s Division
April 11, 2010
Looking out at each of you seated in this group of United Methodist Women’s Directors of the Women’s Division brings me great pride and joy. We are a group of women coming from various cultures and races who have dedicated our lives to be the voice of those women, children and youth who are the marginalized victims of what injustices can bring to their lives in various forms throughout the world.
God created this earth and everything in it. Nature brings us beauty and pleasure, but it also brings destruction through tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, to name a few. Many of these unexpected disasters can happen at a moments notice without much warning. The aftermath destruction is unbelievable.
Even with these destructive forces, God is constantly with us, always by our side. God is so good. Even with our many faults, God has given man so many special gifts. One such gift is the intelligence to develop and realize inventions to improve our lives. One of these is technology.
Yes, technology has surely improved our lives. I really like having my ice-making refrigerator, my television, my cell phone, my computer, and the list goes on. BUT this technology has brought the devastation of two different earthquakes into our lives and homes through means of our televisions and our computers.
We saw first hand, the terror the earthquakes brought forth into the lives of the people of Haiti in the Atlantic and those in Chile in South America by the devastation the earthquakes left behind. We saw the destruction that was done. The collapsed buildings, the torn roads, the trees uprooted and so much more damage. We learned of the deaths of whole families that had been crushed or swept away as we comfortably sat in our homes. We even learned of the deaths of two of our staff of GBGM. They were there doing Gods’ work. We felt the loss along with their families. Although we did not experience the devastation brought to our brothers and sisters in the world that we share, we felt their grief and their pain.
What can we do? What did we do? The various humanitarian groups of the United Methodist Church, such as United Methodist Women, UMCOR from GBGM and others responded with what we could do. United Methodist Women quickly got the word that we needed to prepare health kits, layette kits and birthing kits in order to ship to Haiti. United Methodist Women sent thousands of kits through our conferences to UMCOR so that we, too, could participate in the relief that was so needed at that time.
Yes, we will be participating with our partners in rebuilding the lives of the survivors. This is not a short term, quick fix for those that survived the earthquakes. We will be in partnership through this rebuilding.
History has truly brought much change into our lives. United Methodist Women have heeded the mandate “to serve and care for those marginalized persons who have no voice”. Who are these marginalized persons? Are they those who suffered in the destructive earthquakes? Are they the persons in Africa that are being driven from their land? Are they those that are starving? Are they the immigrants? Are they my neighbor? Are they my brother? Yes, they are all of these. What have I done to impact their lives? Am I being their voice?
What have you done for those that are being driven from their land? What have you done for those that are starving? What part have you played in the immigration issue we are experiencing today in our country? Think about it.
What has impacted your life? Have you been transformed? How have you been transformed? I’m sure that all of us in this room - no matter our age or our position - can recall at least one story when a United Methodist woman, unit or event changed our life and sparked our desire to transform and impact the lives of those marginalized victims of injustices who have no voice.
Each one of us has many stories to tell. Let me tell you one of mine.
Although I was a teenager at the time, I remember that most of the women in our local WSCS unit worked outside the home in order to provide extra income to the family. Some of the women worked long, hard hours from sunrise to sundown in agriculturally related seasonal jobs. Others worked long hours in factories, like Williamson Dickies where men’s pants were made.
Even though the unit members made an individual Pledge each year, some of the ladies were not able to fulfill their individual Pledge and thus, their unit Pledge. But, they, too, had heard the stories of the women and children suffering injustices and being in need in various communities throughout the world. Their desire to do all they could to alleviate the suffering and needs, prompted them to take action.
The WSCS local unit held a variety of money-raising projects each year in order to make sure that their local unit would be able to fulfill their Pledge and surpass it as a unit to the Women’s Division. They knew that the Pledge was the driving force of the mission work the Women’s Division did throughout the world. They knew that their pennies were being widely stretched because they had read many stories of women and children in Response. I, too, was one of those that helped along side of my mother and the other women during our money-raising projects.
One place we knew of that received Women’s Division monies was Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville, Texas. We also knew that our Call to Prayer funds sent to Women’s Division, were to help with the repairs of the building when needed. Our hard-working women had little, but they always had a burning desire to alleviate the hardship of others even if the funds sent to Women’s Division were not as much as they hoped to have gotten. They were dedicated women. The little they gave went a long way.
We own many National Mission Institutions throughout the United States. We have to support them with our many gifts and our prayers. In order for those institutions to serve and give those in need the spiritual guidance, the safe haven, the clothes, the food and so much more, we must remember that we, who have so much, will be rewarded when we come before the Lord. Do you visit and volunteer in the National Mission Institutions within your conference? Does your conference plan a special Mission trip to one close by, but not in your conference? Get one organized!
We are a monumental, mission giving organization that spurs and revolutionizes women to do things and go places where others choose not to go. We stand side by side with our sisters, keeping our eyes toward the cross in order to stay focused on our PURPOSE, in what we do and what we give to serve our Lord God. We are United Methodist Women!
*Yvette Moore is the editor of United Methodist Women News.