Russia: Volunteers In MissionThe Russia Initiative began in the winter of 1991-92 under the leadership of the General Board of Global Ministries. Its primary purpose was to deliver food to Russia's Moscow Region. Following that project the GBGM established a Russia Initiative that expanded beyond aid programs to include the re-establishment of Methodism in the former Soviet Union. The Eurasia Annual Conference was established in 1997, with expansion to four annual conferences in 2003 and a fifth annual conference in 2005.
Many United Methodist congregations have participated in Supportive Congregations (Salary and Program Support) and Partner Churches (Development of programs where no Methodist presence exists) programs. UMVIM teams have also been an essential part of the Russia Initiative. Many teams have worked in Russian orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospitals, etc., and successfully realized many other helpful projects.
More than 6000 Methodists from the United States have visited the former Soviet Union since 1991. As a result, participants have seen new visions for mission and found renewal in their spiritual journeys.
Local Churches and Conference Camp Facility
Several local Russia United Methodist congregations, with assistance from their Supportive Congregations, have secured facilities and most are in need of renovation. In addition, the Eurasia Annual Conference recently purchased a former sanatorium (health resort) in Voronezh, Russia. The property, needing much repair, is to be developed as a Conference Camp and Leadership Training Center. UMVIM teams are needed in both programs and are invited to contact the Russian Initiative office for information about ministry sites and logistical assistance.
More about the Camp Voronezh project
Russian Orphanage Projects
Orphanages provide work opportunities in repair and maintenance, as well as direct interaction with caregivers and children. There are more than 6,000 state-owned orphanages in Russia where children are at risk. The caregivers do a tremendous job, even with inadequate facilities and limited resources. With an economy in transition, government assistance is inadequate and help is needed from abroad. The Russia Initiative has received many requests for UMVIM teams. For teams already involved, sharing in this ministry is a deeply moving experience.
Many work groups and UMVIM teams have participated in the Russia Initiative since 1991. Additional teams are needed and projects can be developed for specific teams. Because of the complexities of Russia's Ministry of Interior rules, traveling and working in Russia presents many challenges. The Russia Initiative leadership team will identify ministry sites, provide orientation, assist in securing Russian entry visas and travel insurance, provide in-country logistical support, and other necessary documentation and help as deemed necessary. UMVIM teams are needed! Call us!