We are called to share God’s love with the world. That means the people next door, across the state, and on the other side of the globe. At Advent, we take Jesus’ command to be witnesses to the ends of the earth very seriously. In addition to supporting global missions as a part of our United Methodist connection, we actively support more hands-on efforts. We send out multiple groups per year in international missions, and one of our four primary missions of the church--we call them Cornerstone Missions--is Full Dimensions Ministries in Tanzania.
You can read more about individual efforts below. But, don’t just read about them. Come, go on the journey of a lifetime!
In 1995, Advent UMC provided Pastor William Makali with $5000 and a promise of continued support as he returned to his childhood home in East Central Tanzania to bring the word of Jesus Christ to his people after completing his Masters of Divinity degree at Erskine College.
Recognizing that Jesus calls us to feed the hungry and care for the sick, as well as share our faith, Pastor Makali set out to develop medical support and preschool education and children’s meal program. In 2004, Advent Member Jerry Warren founded Full Dimensions Ministry (FDM) USA as a not-for-profit organization to help support Pastor Makali and together William and Jerry have worked to build a medical clinic, a preschool, a fresh water well, and support buildings for our mission in Tanzania.
In 2014, Steve Hendrix, South Carolina resident and member of nearby Mauldin UMC, moved to Tanzania as FDM USA’s first full-time missionary directing the daily operations of the mission in conjunction with Pastor Makali. You can follow Steve's journey through his blog.
Mission teams travel to Tanzania on a regular basis. In 2013, a group of 11 (8 from Advent) led a Vacation Bible School and conducted seven rabies clinics throughout the Valley. The hope is to conduct rabies clinics on a 3-year rotation with the goal of ridding the valley of rabies, which kills 25,000 people in Africa every year.
Cuba, the mysterious Communist island country, ninety miles off the coast of Florida brings to mind all types of images; in reality Cuba is a country of contrast. A beautiful country with a high rate of poverty because 80% of their economy was lost with the fall of the Communist Regime.
While a high level of medical care is available to everyone, the embargo restricts medical supplies from easy access. The economy is fragile but the hearts of Cuba’s residents are warm. The United Methodist Church of Cuba is doubling every four years by meeting the spiritual needs of the residents.
Since 2009, an annual UMVIM team from Advent UMC has worked in Cuba to assist the building of Churches. UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers In Mission) is a successful ministry built on the premise that each person has at least one skill or gift that can be used to assist others for the Kingdom of Christ.
UMVIM teams work, live, and share with their Cuban brothers and sisters as equals. It is a ministry within a ministry that makes these teams so successful. The next trip will be a Sister Church Team in July of this year. If you are interested in going on a Cuba UMVIM Mission, please contact Rev. Nick Elliott.
Visa applications are due 90 days before the mission-so a timely response is a must. If you want a life changing experience-take an international UMVIM mission trip.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the Earthquake of 2010 brought so much destruction that one has to wonder if Haiti will ever recover. We at Advent UMC believe we can assist the people in Haiti's recovery and we hope to involve many people in the process. We have sent several UMVIM teams to Haiti - the last one just in February 2014. Like all UMVIM missions, we will be working side by side with our Haitian brothers and sisters. Our project in February was spent helping to build an orphanage for children displaced by the Earthquake.
On a recent Mission to Haiti, a team member detected that the men assisting us did not know how to put gloves on or even what they were. When he returned and shared this story, a young lady of 12 picked up this idea and collected over four hundred pairs of work gloves which were sent to Haiti. This type of “thinking outside the box” for the good of the Haitians is only one example of how we can assist them.
Would you like to personally assist Haiti? Please contact Rev. Nick Elliott
In the summer of 2013, Advent UMC sent its first-ever, all-Advent, international mission team to Panajachel, Guatemala to work with the UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission) site called Mission Guatemala. Tom Heaton, a United Methodist Pastor from Indiana, started Mission Guatemala in 2009. Mission Guatemala exists to help the poor of Guatemala and has a mission site in San Andrés that includes a medical clinic, dental clinic, and preschool/nutrition center.
Advent UMC sent two teams in 2014. The first was a Mission for the high school Class of 2014 in July. The second was for adults in August. The Class of 2015 will be going to Guatemala in July 2015.
Stop Hunger Now is a terrific way to participate in hands-on international missions without ever leaving the country. By partnering with Stop Hunger Now, hosting packaging events, and raising money to purchase food, the people of Advent help to provide food in destitute places around the world. Over the past two years, the people of Advent have been a part of packaging nearly 1,000,000 meals through Stop Hunger Now that have gone to feed people in Liberia, the Amazon river valley, and Haiti.
Learn more about Stop Hunger Now on their website or contact Leigh Randall.
RATIONALE FOR MISSION TEAMS
One of the most exciting revelations a Christian can experience is knowing you have the gifts and talents to make a difference in Christ’s Kingdom. Each person has at least one gift that can be used for making a Christian difference in this world. Your gift/talent may be teaching, building, sharing or loving someone in the name of Christ. The possibilities are limitless when God leads you into the Mission Field.
The mission field can be anywhere: Tanzania, Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala or even in your own neighborhood. Advent UMC desires to enable others to serve in these opportunities. Remember the explanation: “if you have Christ in your heart-you are a missionary; if you don’t have Christ in your heart-you are a mission field.” STEP OUT AND PUT CHRISTIAN LOVE IN ACTION!
PROCEDURE FOR ADVENT’S UMVIM TEAMS
When a trained Team Leader from Advent, feels led to lead a team, the first contact shall be the Senior Pastor for written endorsement (email is acceptable). Included with the request shall be the location, projected date, probable cost and project description and purpose.
At this point the Team Leader shall write up a description of the team, project, location, costs, etc. for distribution on the Website so applications may be completed (applications will be available on the website). This information shall be placed on the Website and include team composition, deposit, total cost, team leader name and address and other contact information. The website will have a printable application.
The third step is to contact the Financial Manager and set up any needed accounts for the project and team. For expediency sake, the team will be listed by location, date and team leader name. When funds are available, the Advent Missions Committee may contribute toward project supplies for an Advent member on an Advent mission project.
Each participant should use their first and last name and team designation. This is a very fluid stage in the process and names will be added to the list as members are selected. This procedure should assist the missionary and Financial Manager with keeping the totals for each person readily available. This would make it simple for persons interested in supporting a particular missioner or project. . Time for initial deposit is set by the Team Leader and the Team Leader must meet any requirements suggested by the Financial Manager. Deposits, materials, insurance, fees, etc. may come due at different times.
After the above is completed, the Team Leader shall contact UMVIM, SC for approval to lead a team before solicitation of team members begin. This usually involves attending one of the monthly meetings for approval. Currently, UMVIM, SC meets the first Tuesday of every month at Leesville UMC, Leesville SC.
Solicitation of team members shall be done initially by the bulletin and other normal communications used by Advent. In order to assure proper opportunity for potential team members from Advent, solicitation for Team Members shall be accomplished by no less than four advertisements in the weekly Bulletin and E-news and listing on the Website.
After four weekly bulletin advertisements, the Team Leader is encouraged to solicit Team Members from other sources. The Senior Pastor of Advent shall endorse by signature any and all Team Members upon their application, even those that may not be members of Advent. UMVIM, SC also shall endorse any and all Team Members prior to the purchase of airline tickets and UMVIM, SC has the final right of approval of all Team Members.
UMVIM, SC TEAM LEADER REQUIREMENTS:
1. Served on a prior Team
2. Receive endorsement from Team Leader
3. Receive endorsement from Pastor as a Team Leader
4. Complete Team Leader Training (usually offered twice a year)
5. Receive endorsement from SC UMVIM Executive Committee