Responsively Yours: Mission Map Skills
Does anyone else remember learning map skills in grade school? I remember working through booklets to learn about scales, capitals, compass points and roadway interchanges. Mapmakers, cartographers, help people process information. Maps shape our understanding of distance and access and the relative size of the regions they depict.
Maps can also show us connections. Mountain ranges cross state and national boundaries, connecting people regardless of the political boundaries. Rivers run from one state or one country to another, and lakes connect the regions at their borders.
The mission maps in this issue of response depict a web of connections. For us, Pakistan or the Philippines or Puerto Rico are not just distant places. They are places where United Methodist Women connects to schools for women and girls. They are home to Dr. Rukhsana David of Kinnaird College in Lahore and Emma Cantor, our regional missionary in Manila, and the Robinson School, which has provided college preparatory education in Puerto Rico for many years.
We are connected to places both near and far by our calling to put our faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth. Each of the projects also reflects that faith, hope and love back to us. When several of us were with the Isabella Thoburn family in Lucknow, India, in November, we saw the evidence of women responding to God’s call for 125 years in buildings, faculty, innovations in education, plans for growth and in the alumnae who are making contributions throughout India.
Every visit to one of our projects is like this. United Methodist Women members have expressed their commitment in clinics, schools, programs of leadership development and spiritual support. The grants from Mission Giving, A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial Offerings and supplemental giving show up in some very unlikely places.
When I visited Spofford in Kansas City, Mo., the director gave specific instruction to the person giving me a tour of the building that I was to ride the elevator. This seemed curious to me, but I waited and learned. The facility was designed with space for an elevator, but there were not enough funds to include one when it was built. A grant from United Methodist Women provided an initial gift and a challenge to other donors during a campaign to fund the elevator years later, and the director wanted me to know that your faithfulness made it possible.
Most of our places have dreams they want to share. Isabella Thoburn needs a new dorm. The girls hostel in Bulandshahr that I visited would like to refurbish an older building and add some classroom space now that the hostel has been refurbished through A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial.
The Toberman Community Center at the southern edge of Los Angeles in the port district needs more space and would like to reduce operating costs by “greening” the building, and so would Hattie B. Cooper Community Center in the Boston, Mass., area. We are building a new vision with the School of Public Health at Africa University, existing health programs in Zimbabwe and the General Board of Global Ministries.
These maps are an absolute web of relationships and a demonstration of faith, hope and love in action. I hope that our “map skills” will help us tell these stories of mission, continue and extend our commitments and be fervent in prayer. God is at work in the world, and we are a part of it!
Harriett Jane Olson
Deputy General Secretary