How can our local church help survivors of natural disasters?

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Rosalee Mohney and Jim Truitt of The PNW Conference's United Methodist Volunteers in Mission visit Tacoma: Mason UMC - connecting the congregation to ways a local church can support disaster response ministry.

By Jesse N. Love with Rosalee Mohney and Jim Truitt

An early November flurry of snow flows over Tacoma’s Proctor District.

Tacoma, Wash. – On a snowy Sunday morning, Mason United Methodist Church in Tacoma opened its doors to two of the PNW Conference’s dedicated leadership for United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Jim Truitt and Rosalee Mohney. Truitt serves as disaster response coordinator while Mohney serves as wildfires UMVIM coordinator for the Conference.

Jim Truitt and Rosalee Mohney of UMVIM presented Sunday’s message at Mason UMC. Both introduced the work they do and the current state of disaster response ministries targeting areas affected by wildfires and recent hurricanes.

Both shared the scope of their work and the need for more volunteers in recovery for victims of the 2014 & 2015 Okanogan wildfires, southeast hurricanes, and California wildfires.

“We covenant to pray with one another, lifting prayers for transformation and change. We are better together than alone and can do all things through Christ who strengthens us,” shares Mohney, reading from the resource “A Mission Journey: A Handbook for Volunteers”.

Following service, the congregation of Mason UMC was interested in learning much about volunteering opportunities with VIMs. Some asked about how to raise funding for sending teams, others simply were curious about the experience and skills necessary to be a part of the effort.

 

Members of Mason UMC view a video presentation by Jim Truitt and Rosalee Mohney sharing the lasting effects from the Washington Wildfires of 2014 & 2015.

Truitt and Mohney further detailed the current needs in Okanogan County:

  • This fall, two homes are nearing completion with four more being ‘dried-in’ for winter work.
  • Volunteer teams are especially welcomed if willing to travel during winter months. There may be specific needs as the interiors of the houses are completed this winter.
  • Consider forming teams now for possible spring and summer opportunities of 2018. “Every team that volunteers their time and talents in helping others, comes away wanting to go back. All say it’s a great trip and are amazed at their accomplishments for the people they are helping provide a new home for,” shares Mohney.
  • A reminder: monetary gifts to this project are preferred; large donations of clothes and other housewares become “the second disaster” when volunteer work shifts to sorting – and disposing – used materials.
  • Donations to help the Rebuild: Up from the Ashes project should be given through your local church with “#352-Rebuild” on the check. This ensures that your gifts will go to building homes for the Rebuild project.
Jim Truitt, disaster response coordinator for UMVIM, prepares a video presentation on the Okanogan Wildfires.

In between teaching and learning moments were times of fellowship and establishing relationships with one another for further learning and volunteer opportunities.

Contact Rosalee Mohney or Jim Truitt if you are interested in having your local church learn more about their work through a personal presentation on the Rebuild.

You may also check out these sites to learn more about Volunteers in Mission.

Facebook: PNW UMVIM
PNW Disaster Response
Rebuild: Up from the Ashes


Special thanks to Pastor Karen Yokota Love.

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